Just in case

Last week I got stuck into my pantry. The messiness had been driving me crazy.

I decided – today was the day.

I emptied all the shelves, then surveyed the kitchen counter. It was covered in hundreds of jars, bottles and tins. Also some odd things like half-burnt birthday candles, syringes (don’t even ask) , and a packet of brown treacle sugar so hard it could knock someone out.

First I decided to check on the expiry dates.

I am embarrassed.

Some items were older than my kids!

Some items I’d be terrified to open – like tinned mussels from 2003 (in case we got unexpected visitors and I had to whip up some snacks)

I tossed out the seriously old stuff and the scary-looking stuff, cleaned the cupboard and then started packing what was left back into the pantry.

As I picked up a large tin of pie apples (expired but still healthy-looking) it suddenly hit me. Some of these items, like the tinned apples, condensed milk and granadilla pulp, were in my cupboard just in case I needed them.

Just in case I needed them.

But I never use them! Mainly because I plan meals, dinner parties and outings before, and then go and buy the stuff I need.

The “just in case” stuff sits there gathering dust. I do not use them. Ever.

I set myself a challenge.

I am going to use up the “just in case” items in my pantry during the next few weeks. I’m looking for an excuse to make an apple pie!

I have decided not to buy anything just in case anymore. It’s a little scary – but I am sure we won’t starve!

I remember Joanne Fedler wrote a book about her battle with weight called “When Hungry, Eat”. Her Mom taught her to always take a banana in her handbag – just in case she got hungry. She always ended up eating the banana – after all  you can’t let things go to waste!

She realized the “just in case” items were part of her weight problem.

I’m taking up this challenge – I have just invited some people for dinner.

I have no idea what I am going to cook

I do know that apple pie with a granadilla custard is how we will end off the meal!

How about a challenge for you:

Haul out some “just in case items” in your house.

Use them in the next week or so…. or ditch them.

Let me know what you decided to do…


BTW when I looked in the pantry last night I felt really good. It looks neat and tidy, it’s not overflowing and I could easily find what I wanted. Somehow losing those “just in case” items have made for a more streamlined and easier to manage cupboard. I feel lighter and more organised too.

Long may it last!

“In a sense, clutter is the end result of procrastination”
 Jeff Campbell

Photo by Flickr

About Kirsten Long

Coach. Toastmaster. Prison-worker. Wife. Mother. Friend.
This entry was posted in Choices, Habits, Life Mastery. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Just in case

  1. Olaf says:

    Hi Kirsten.
    Clearing the clutter is vitally important, and really should be done from time to time, whether it be physical, mental, spiritual or emotional clutter. But there is another side to this coin: basically nature abhors a vacuum, so once the clutter is gone, don’t leave the space empty! Replace the clutter with useful stuff. If it’s clutter of the non-physical kind, then it is necessary to develop a new pattern in your life to replace the old behaviour which either resulted from the clutter, or even reinforced it. That is the hard part, of course!

    Love, Olaf.

  2. Robin says:

    Hi Kirsten,
    Clearing Clutter is the first step on my weight loss / Healthy Lifestyle program.

    “It’s the emotional clutter in our lives that cause us to accumulate the material clutter in our homes , that create the physical clutter (‘fat’) on our bodies ” -RDP

    I shed 50 Kg of excess weight and tons of unwanted clutter from my home. I feel the freedom of ‘less’

    • Kirsten Long says:

      Robin, you are absolutely correct! Well done on losing that weight – thats absolutely awesome!!!! Clearing the clutter has an amazing effect on our emotional, mental and spiritual spaces… and as you have proven also on out physical bodies.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Rowena says:

    Oh wow – that hit the nail o the head for me – I have soooooooooooooooo much ‘just in case’ stuff that the necessary stuff is fighting for its rightful place in my cupboards and on the shelves.

    I am going to dive into the ‘just in cases’ and clear out all the extraneous stuff that definitely has expired, has no purpose, doesn’t fit, isn’t healthy, or isn’t applicable in my life anymore.

    Thanks for the kick in the posterior!!!!!

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