Organizational expert Marie Kondo has put me on notice, and I’m all the more joyful for it. Like the rest of America, I was aware of Kondo’s New York Times #1 bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Unlike the rest of America, I found her easy enough to tune out. While my friends folded their shirts into weird little tents, I moved piles of laundry from Point A to Area 5. They thanked their mismatched teaspoon sets for their service, then dropped them off at the Wellesley RDF Reusables area. I rescued those mismatched teaspoon sets from Reusables and shoved them into my utensils drawer, just in case my 1/4-teaspoon measure ever got crunched in the garbage disposal. Hey, it’s happened, and I lived in fear of a repeat.
With the advent of Kondo’s Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, the Japanese neatness guru has got me facing down my fears. All the teaspoons, plastic lids, and ratty dishtowels in the world aren’t going to prepare me for some end-of-world scenario or keep me solvent if the world banking system collapses. I’ve just got to live in the world as it’s presented to me at this moment and hang onto only those possessions that, as Kondo says, “spark joy.” Her message is simple: if a material object doesn’t spark joy, you should thank it for its service and let it go.
So far, my kitchen spices drawer is the most joyful place in the house. Goodbye curry, so long poppyseeds, I never loved you anyway, paprika, but thanks ever so for your service.
The truth has set me free. I’m never going to learn how to cook with the many spices I’ve impulse-bought and then ignored. The fact is, my family didn’t really like the recipe for curry chicken, or the way the aroma hung about the house for a couple days after. “Can’t you just go to Singh’s when you’re in the mood for Indian?” my husband asked.
As for the poppy seeds, I stirred them into the lemon loaf recipe exactly once. My family objected to the extra flossing the black specks caused, and everyone voted for going back to the regular lemon loaf, no poppy seeds, thank you very much.
The nutmeg had expired in 2015, meaning it was originally ground at least a couple years before that. I do use nutmeg on the regular, but at 1/8 teaspoon per scatter in the buttermilk crumb muffins batter or as part of the apple crisp, I should stay vigilant and replace it yearly. Same with the paprika, which in theory gets sprinkled onto the devilled eggs except for the times it doesn’t, like when I hosted Bunco last month. Everyone devoured the devilled eggs sans paprika. Paprika, you may have lost a job.
Why, oh why, did I buy another container of red pepper flakes when I already had one? Because, as Marie Kondo would gently note, I didn’t know I already had a full container because my spices drawer was crammed too full.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s amateur hour in the Brown house and this spices drawer example proves we don’t know what real clutter is. I know because I’m Facebook friends with so many of you, and you are posting really impressive pictures of your own de-cluttering progress. I’ve seen pictures of beds piled with clothes, scarves, shoes, belts, linens, toys, books, and more. At least I think those were beds under there. Send some of your pictures to [email protected] and I’ll add them to this post.
All this talk of spice drawers is actually a huge smokescreen. My true hoarding secret? Well, I can’t even speak it aloud. The picture below says it all. Go ahead and judge me. I deserve it.