As part of my path to “balance” this year, I’ve been working on cleaning out and re-organizing my house. (remember my “Word for the Year” post?) It’s slow work, as I’m only able to do a little at a time due to time restrictions and other obligations. But it’s very rewarding.
Cleaning out an area, even if it’s just a small kitchen drawer, feels so good! Usually, if I just do one small area, I get energized and want to do more.
Last weekend, I cleaned out 2 boxes of stuff I was storing in my basement. Then I moved on to the kitchen. I was just going to do “one drawer,” but I ended up tackling the whole thing. Every drawer and cabinet and the pantry!
At the end, I had 4 bags of trash to take out. It felt GREAT!
Once the old stuff was cleaned out, I re-organized what I wanted to keep. Everything fit so nicely on the shelves and in the drawers. Those items had room to “breathe” with empty space around them, and I had some “room to grow” for new items I may need later.
I also found a few things I had either forgotten I had or lost all together.
One of those things is an old apron that once belonged to my grandmother and was later used by my mother. I “inherited” it during one of those times when my mom was cleaning out her own kitchen. Actually, I think I said something like, “Don’t get rid of that! It was Granny’s! I want it!”
I’m not usually the sentimental type. I can throw things out and never look back. But there are just a few things that tug on my heart strings, and that apron is one of them. I don’t really remember my grandmother wearing it because she passed away when I was young. But I do remember my mom wearing it and telling me how it had belonged to Granny.
Something about it conjures warm, happy memories for me. The smell of my mom’s kitchen when she was cooking homemade biscuits or peach cobbler or something good straight from her garden. Me, hanging around watching, maybe helping, but probably reading a book. Ha, ha!
But, it reminds me of being home, of feeling safe and warm, and loved. And happy.
The apron is worn out and faded. But whenever I come across it in my own kitchen drawer, I smile.
I don’t wear it much myself, mostly because I don’t cook very much. Which is another issue I’m working on.
A friend of mine has been shaming me into cooking again. Well, actually, I guess I’m shaming myself. It seems like whenever we talk, he’s always cooking something. And it always sounds so good, and healthy, and economical. And grown up.
And I look over at my frozen, microwavable burrito and feel like a cop out.
I CAN cook, I say, I just DON’T.
Truth is, I used to cook. And I was pretty good at it. But life got busy, and I “didn’t have time” for bothersome things like cooking. Why bother when I could just nuke something, open a can of something, run through the drive-thru window somewhere? And there are still days when that is really all I can manage.
But I think there’s something to be said for cooking a meal. Taking the time to plan it out, buying the ingredients, putting everything together. The way it fills the kitchen and the house with delicious smells. Even the mess and the clean up is good, in a way. It forces me to slow down. Take time AWAY from things like social media, the computer, the television.
I’m up, moving around, working with my hands. It’s soothing, cathartic. Normal.
Before there were microwaves, electric stoves, and take out – food was WORK! Our ancestors had to hunt and kill their food, grow it in their gardens, and go through the process to bring food to the table.
And it was good for them.
Tonight I made spinach lasagna. This is a recipe I’ve had for years and made many times. It’s a lot of work, but it always turns out well. I figured, if I’m going to start cooking again, I should probably start with a “sure thing.” Once I get back in the habit, I will try some new recipes. For now, an old standby will do.
So, I tied my grandma’s apron around my waist and cooked! And you know what? I really enjoyed myself! It’s amazing what you can discover, or rediscover, when you slow down, clean out, and find those hidden treasures.
Now, it’s your turn. What is something you used to do that you’ve stopped doing? Why did you stop? What would it take for you to start again? What kind of joy could you get from rediscovering something? Join the conversation and leave a comment below.