15 Jun 2011

Hestia...begins to clean the kitchen

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/blog - image
The new heightened awareness of my own mortality after getting my gall bladder out has had some spectacular side effects:  a) I weep at absolutely everything and b) I am compelled by some newly-awakened drive to clean out my cupboards.

This latter compunction is utterly alien to me - I have never wanted to tidy anything and am perfectly happy to wallow in my own filth for 6 weeks at a time, as you know.

So why do I want to clean?  I have thought about this a lot, reader and it boils down to this: Since my gall bladder op, I am afraid of dying and experiencing some sort of hideous after-death shame when people go through my cupboards and my slatternly house-keeping is laid bare for all to see.

Seems stupid when I write it down like that in black on white, but yes, that's exactly what it is.  I'm not proud of how slapdash I've been with my life so far - nearly 50 years and not an awful lot to show for it.  Other than Sonshine.  And my Kitchenaid, of course.

Anyhoo, I am currently to be found cleaning out my kitchen cupboards at the rate of one every two days.   I didn't say that it was an URGENT urge.

Yes, I've been hoovering up the indeteriminate things that live in the cracks of the back of those cupboards, bleaching the shelves, wiping off the thick layer of dust that mercifully obscures the long redundant sell-by dates on jars and bottles......trying to put dishes that are hardly ever used at the BACK and commonly used dishes at the FRONT.  No matter how pleasing it is to have the big stuff at the back and the little stuff at the front.

Here is a photo of my newly tidied under-hob cupboard.  Yes.  Truly, this is the tidy version.  You should have seen what it was like before.

After Tidying Session

Oils and vinegars are now stood in regimented rows instead of milling around aimlessly with the chilli sauce bottles which pleases my OCD-challenged Tartarus greatly.

Yes, there IS rather a lot of porridge and stuff to help one's bowels move.....

Two bottles of tomato sauce have been quietly binned (the expiry dates being 2007 and 2009 - we are currently working our way through the one that expired in 2010)

And this cupboard here...this, I suspect, will be my Nemesis.

Reader, meet the Corner Cupboard - the one that gets crammed full with all the stuff that you get given that never see the light of day again..... the stuff you inherit that is 'too good to throw out' but too shite to be ever used ......the Hallowe'en bowls, the old mixer that smells of burning, some misellaneous sandwich trays and forty thousand cookie cutters.

But that's a job for another day.

What are you lot up to?


  1. Oh my. You really do have the fear. It looks very shiny.

    It makes me happy that you have corner cupboard. we have corner cupboard too.

  2. I psychically predict a car-boot sale in your near future ;-) LOL

  3. All corner cupboard look like that. Thankfully ours is quite small so it can't get into too bad a state. Cleaning can be very therapeutic. Perhaps that is why I'm such a mess, because I never do any ;) xx

  4. Dear Alison, I think the phrase is something like "in the midst of life, we are in death". This feeling can also make you go out and whoop it up too but I guess you are still not feeling 100%. I have been watching a show here called Acumuladores about hoarders and it has made me go all German Hausfrau too. I have been finding all sorts of things as a result like my Australian Women's Weekly Royal Wedding Edition which I hadn't even opened. There is nothing like putting your feet up with a magazine and a cup of tea after you have exorcised some lurking demons in a dusty cupboard. More power to you, Alison! Lindaxxx

  5. Oooh every so often I get a freak bout of OCD and need to tidy a drawer or cupboard before I can do anything else. It scares me as I'm not a tidy person. I wish I had a corner cupboard to stash rubbish in, it's currently in the corner of my studio, I should be stronger & just ditch / donate it. Maybe I should photograph my jewellery drawer so you can feel better about yourself xx

  6. Much the same as you Alison we have the first lot of Paying guests arriving on Saturday, so I am up to my neck in cleaning and the real deep cleaning too, polishing floors and cleaning windows and for added pressure Belle Mere is arriving on Sunday, so I have even more cleaning to do, oh Joy.
    MG keeps complaining about our kitchen cupboards which are in the same state as yours, I really am going to have to get round to doing them.

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  8. I was awful after my hip op, constantly weeping at everything, even Jeremy Kyle's DNA tests had me sobbing.
    I daren't even look inside my cupboards, the shame of the out of date spices!
    I'm off to paint an old blanket box this afternoon. xxx

  9. wow...come down and clean mine when you're done....I cleaned my oven for the first time in 7 years....well first time ever actually...and that was only cos I needed to film an oven being cleaned and was being paid to do it!! well done...xx

  10. thats tidy! well it is in my house.

    Your corner cupboard is like mine..only with mine the shelf has collapsed...I keep heavy kitchen bits n bobs in there & for some reason it decided that it didnt want to any more.

    Ali..when you've finished...I have a spare room :) xxx

  11. The crying? The need to keep cleaning everything? Yer not preggers are you???;)
    I always have to have a (relatively)empty laundry basket before I go away anywhere - that fear of not making it home and someone having to find it all!
    Hope you return to your less weepy self soon - but my, won't your house look splendid!xx

  12. It's hormonal. Once a month I feel myself getting weepy and eyeing up the domestic catastrophe that is my house critically. A cursory scrub here and there of the worst bits, followed by a bottle or two of wine usually blurs out both quite satisfactorily :D

  13. I cried in the Eurotunnel train last week, but I think it was more to do with seeing British folk en masse for the first time in weeks at the terminal.

    Fear of what people will think of my leavings is my chief raison de cleaning - I watch too many crime dramas, and the cops always pick through your stuff and make JUDGEMENTS. When I am brutally murdered I want Morse/Lewis/Taggart/Rhebus/Miss Marple to think it was because I was an anal OCD pain in the butt, not the smelly slut I secretly am! Happy cleaning! :) xxx

  14. I hope Tertarus has lifted his eyes off the TT long enough to notice.

  15. Ali -

    Very happy to hear that the bowls that I identified as Halloween material really WERE Halloween material! As for the copious amounts of cookie cutters - necessary evil, IMHO, ;-)


  16. I see your 2007 tomato sauce and raise you a box of 2001 basmati rice. We moved house two years ago as well - there is no justification whatsoever for it still being in the kitchen cupboards, other than my extreme slatternliness.

  17. So nice to hear you're becoming the domestic Godess we all aspire to. I just hope you haven't gone completely wonky and thrown out the ancient inhabitant of the bread bin.

    Sorry to hear about the crying and the "Fear of Death". It happens to us all at some point, although you seem to have reached it earlier than most.

    Well done.

  18. Hi Ali,
    Sorry to hear your tearful and in need of doing the cleaning. I'm sure it will pass and you'll get back to your old ways. Earlier this year, we cleaned my MiL's cupboards out and found a 1993 bag of rice, a jar of vaseline that looked like it was from the 60's, and in an old paper Boots The Chemist bag (from the 70's) was an Izal toilet roll!!! There's more but two kitchen cupboards was enough, we have more to tackle at a later date. Lesley x

  19. There is something very therapeutic about cupboard tidying. We have a "Productive Ward" scheme that I am sort of in charge of and this week I have mostly been clearing out our ward memesis - the store cupboard. We have thrown out, tidied and organised and it's brill. I have OCD at work - tidying areas, rotating the drug cupboard and (shock horror) putting things back where I found them. The same cannot be said for home which is ... well ... a tip. Although the parents are coming in 10 days ...

  20. I think I need to get my gall bladder out:)

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  22. Dearest Ali, I love the after picture. I should send you mine. It's definitely OCD. Things go in height order too... I know, it's really not right!

    Good luck with your cleaning, I think your pace sounds perfect. Much love, C xx


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