Things I learned through packing

Source: yummyhealthyeasy — My jello never looked like this.

Expiration dates – I am very good about expiration dates. At least once a year I go through medicines and spices throwing out anything outdated. I check baking ingredients too. As I was cleaning out the pantry, I found expired jello. Really expired. The oldest was from 2009. That’s a long time ago! Then I looked at them all and realized there was a theme. We don’t eat jello. It’s a kid food that I overdosed on during my high school cafeteria days. I only eat it when I’m having a colonoscopy. The day before the procedure eating is restricted to liquids and jello. As I looked at all the expired dates they correlated to colonoscopies the beloved husband and I had. That made me laugh!

What to do, what to do – My mother had some enameled blue pans with white dots. When she died in 1986, I put them in my basement. I have moved them several times but I haven’t used them. When I go to clean out, I get flash backs of Mom baking in them. This time I put my hard hat on and they are in the donate pile. These are one of those things that bring me joy but serve no purpose. I kept one. Just one. But next move it goes too.

We have a lot of packing to do so I’m sure there will be more lessons. Last move was 17 years ago.

66 thoughts on “Things I learned through packing

  1. Hello Kate! I’m coming to your blog through a comment you left on The Widow Badass Blog. I laughed out loud when I read that your expired jello coincides with your colonoscopies. So true. I can also relate to not wanting to give away something that contains such lovely memories, but that serves no practical purpose. My mother died almost a year ago, and cleaning out her house was one of the more difficult things I have had to do. Good luck with the move!

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    • Just a year? I kept everything except her clothing and furniture for at least 5 years. Then slowly, ever so slowly, I started to let go. I even wore her nightgowns until they were shreds. Now I’m down to a few minimal pieces. I gave her chest on chest to my niece about a year ago. That was the biggest piece I had kept.

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  2. Somewhere around here I have a tin cup that is blue with the white dots – cowboy cookware I think they called it and we had it as a knickknack and replaced it with another country-style knickknack. You sure have your work cut out for you. I meant to mention your new house looked nice and I think I pressed “send” too quickly. It looked large to me (I have a small house), so maybe you will end up with too much empty space now! 🙂 I’ve lived in this house since we moved here in 1966. The basement is frightful!

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    • I forgot how annoying moving is. Today for the first time we noticed that there is no light over the kitchen table. There is a fan but no light so if you get up early, you must go to the dining room to read the newspaper. We never thought to look. I wonder what the last people did. It’s dark for dinner too in the winter.

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  3. Hi Kate, I am not as good as you about purging through my supplies. Yes, for some, such as fresh food and salad dressings. Very funny and yet not funny on the relationship between jello and colonoscopies. Maybe we need a move to go through our stuff. I am delayed in reading and commenting re recent flood in our family room.

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    • Gosh! A flood inside the house? Hope it didn’t ruin a lot. I usually do spices and cooking ingredients right before the Christmas baking blitz (which there won’t be any this year) and condiments before picnic season starts. Jello? Never obviously!

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  4. Good for you for not taking the pans with you, but I do understand that can be a difficult decision. I have many items that I have associated as sentimental family “treasures,” and they really serve no other purpose. Sometimes the opportunity to let a few things go does feel good in the end, or at least once the decision has been made. You are setting a good example, Kate! 😇

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    • I don’t have a lot from my mother these days. She died in 1986 so some things wore out or were given away during a different move. I am drinking from her “No. 1 Cook” mug today so I can feel her approval.

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  5. I have a colonoscopy scheduled for January so good to know about jello (we don’t have any so I’ll send you my address so you can ship those expired boxes to me). I remember those enameled blue pans with the dots. I think my mother had a big one that she cooked our Thanksgiving turkey in. Good thing I don’t have it because it might be hard to let go of.

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  6. It’s amazing what you’ll find when you start digging during a move. And even more amazing when you realize that certain something will serve someone else far better than yourself. It’s such a process and gets even more complicated once you try to fit things in a new space that’s totally configured differently. Good luck as you go through the whole process.

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  7. Every time I clean out my fridge I run into the same expiration date issue, with condiments. I clean my fridge regularly so how do I end up with condiments that expired a year ago?!?! I blame it on gremlins. My story and I’m sticking to it.
    Good luck with the packing!

    Deb

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  8. Ah, expiration dates. We went through MILs cupboards when she was taken ill and into hospital in 2011. We had to drive from Lincolnshire to Poole, so it wasn’t exactly down the road. We found a dead mouse in the cornflakes, partially eaten sweets and cakes stuffed behind, in and under the bed, and containers dating back to before we left (2007). We went through her freezer too, and had a shock. Half opened packs of food stuffs dated best before sometime in 1999. We replaced everything we threw away and cleaned the house throughout, did the washing and changed the beds ready for her to come home. Didn’t get a word of thanks either.

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  9. I’m tough on unneeded things. They can multiply so fast. Michelle, on the other hand, keeps everything. It’s like pulling teeth to talk her into getting rid of anything. If I haven’t touched it, in over seven or eight months, it’s time to donate or trash it. Like someone said, sentimental items are nice, but just one is nicer.

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  10. I’ve moved infrequently, but we’ve done MANY renovations over the years which have required packing everything up in one area and then the subsequent unpacking. I’ve discovered through this process (we just finished another one), that there are 2 phases to the purge – the obvious packing stage, but also again when things are unpacked and need a home in their new environment. I’ve discovered I’m even more brutal on the second purge.

    This past weekend I finally let go of a container of my mom’s knitting needles. These seemingly insignificant but sentimental items are the trickiest to let go.

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  11. When we moved not long after we got married I found an embarrassing collection of saucepan lids. If I burnt a pan I threw it out but forgot to find the lid and dump it as well. I hid the lids from my husband whose father had been a chef. My cooking is better now.

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  12. I remember when we were packing to move here 24 years ago after two or three (or four) days of packing I began getting really SERIOUS about tossing stuff I hadn’t used in at least a year. One thing I learned back then though was you can never have TOO MANY boxes at the ready when you’re moving. There’s always something that needs to go in a box (but keep an eye on the cats since cats love boxes!!!!!!).

    Hugs, Pam

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    • We are hoping to pick up more boxes today before the storm. Packing is like a puzzle. You want to keep like things together but that doesn’t always work. Gracie loves boxes best. I always make sure there is not bit of gray fur in a box before I seal it.

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  13. You are so amazing resolute about the discarding. One blue dotted pants all you need – it’s the touching of it for a bit…but not down the road is a photo of it in a binder of other photos of stuff…much easier to store and move, I’ve been told HAHA
    We rarely had jello at home – it was the first thing I grabbed when we ate out at the cafeteria ( I always took lunch to school…I felt deprived). Always wanted to make pretty jello for kids…mine never turned out pretty…epic parent fail.
    Hang in there!

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    • My worst colonoscopy story is the last one I had while working. They gave me the wrong time to start the meds. After an hour, I felt squishy inside and I went home. Good thing too. A little while later and it was splashdown. Would have been a bad scene at work!

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      • Good plan! At what point do we age out of the screening – just curious. I had my last pap smear this year…won’t miss getting those done. They said no more needed after 65. One of the few benefits of aging.

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        • I think it’s age 80. Dan had one within the last year or so. In ten years he will be 80 something. When I was in my late 50s I found out that you can get a HPV test and if you didn’t change sex partners you don’t need yearly paps. I had that done then. I still go to my gyno for a checkup every other year. The other benefit is you are exempt from jury duty at age 70. Other than that it’s all mysterious new aches and pains.

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          • I have done the HPV test too so just once every 5 years for the pap, but still glad to be done with that. I won’t miss the colonoscopy either!! I’m sure lots of other tests will emerge over the years to annoy me.

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    • I use ketchup and mustard beyond dates because they don’t go bad unless they are very, very old. Hmmm…mayo. I buy the small jars because we don’t use it much except in the summer for some salads. I bet there is a funny story in your details! Ok, maybe not so funny for the person experiencing them.

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  14. Jello use to be a staple of any holiday menu, and it would be dressed up for the occasion. Now, I use it once or twice a year to make a cranberry dish my Mother-in-law was famous for making. The blue enamel baking dishes made me smile because every family had them and just the thought reminds me of fabulous meals. I’m down to a tiny one now too. 🙂

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    • We rarely had jello when I was a kid. It was the standard school cafeteria dessert along with canned fruit cocktail. My mother made a poke cake. It was a standard vanilla cake. When you pulled it out of the oven, she poked holes in it and dumped jello on top. It was a great summer dessert because you had to refrigerate it and who doesn’t like a cold dessert in the hot summer!

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