Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Great Clean Up and Clean Out!

Making your home a gluten free zone is one way to make life a little bit easier when you are dealing with gluten and wheat intolerances or allergies.  It's what we've done here at our home. And for the most part it works really well. We even hosted a completely gluten free birthday party for our 3 year old twins twin's and it went very well!  Getting to this point has had it's ups and downs and one of the things that I have found helpful is doing a pantry purge and getting organized.  However, before we were able to start organizing, and after eliminating what we knew had gluten, we first went through a kitchen purge.  Even if your home is not completely gluten free and especially if it is not, clearing out the clutter and getting organized can help you to streamline your mealtime activities and reduce the potential for exposure via cross contamination if everything is in its place.

This is what we've done so far:

Round 1: This occurred after I learned that your cookware can harbor gluten no matter how meticulous you are. Things like wooden utensils and stoneware can harbor gluten forever that you just can't get out. That goes for plastic too. Especially colanders.  The next step, then , was to eliminate all cookware that was made of wood, stone or plastic. This included my cutting boards, colanders, stone bakeware, etc.  Afterward, we replaced a few essential items like my pizza stone, cutting boards and a stoneware baking dish.  (this was about 9 months ago)

Round 2: I went through cabinets and drawers and got rid of multiples of items that I don't need more of. Just how many garlic presses does one need anyway? Apparently we thought we needed 4 of them! Going through your gadget drawer can be an eye opening experience!  (this was a few months ago)

Round 3: This recently occurred when I got a cleaning bug and decided that we needed to decide what we needed to get rid of more "stuff" and only keep what we truly need.  Even after going through the above,  we STILL had coffee mugs in 4 different cabinets and one of those cabinets was a dedicated mug cabinet! (There are essentially only 2 grown adults in our home who drink coffee or tea on a regular basis)  So during this round I was able to clear out another 4 boxes of dishes, mugs, etc.  This included getting rid of our mismatched "everyday" dish collection and bringing my great aunt's china out of storage (the date on the newspaper was 1996) and using our somewhat nicer dishes for everyday and Great Aunt Ruth's china for special occasions. This also helped get one more box out of our basement which we are also cleaning out!(this was a month ago)

Round 4: This was the final gluten purge.  I pulled everything out of our pantry, wiped down shelves, and dumped everything that was obviously or questionably had gluten.  Some of the cereals and unopened products that were not also expired were sent to grandma's or the babysitter's house where gluten is served freely.  Everything else got composted and/or fed to the chickens.  Chickens really like Kashi! Then I tried to rearrange things  into categories like baking supplies, dinner supplies, tomato products, etc.  But, it's still not finished. (also about a month ago-I was on a roll!)

Then, life has gotten in the way. This past month has been sort of nuts at our house.  Along with August and July! I have been reading a great blog by Miss Minimalist as well as two of her e-books on minimalism.  And although they are inspirational and were a big part of why we started downsizing, I am now left with dealing with what I have left.  And it still really isn't "organized" if you want to be honest about it. <sigh>

So, that's why I was so excited to find this 14 week challenge on A Bowl Full Of Lemons! Each week a different room is tackled with all the steps listed to do that week. This week is the laundry room and that's where I am going to start.  Our laundry room also acts as an extension of our pantry at the moment.  But I intend on going through the whole house, so we won't just be gluten free we will be clutter free too!  I'll be going back at the end to do the first four weeks!

So tomorrow I will post before pics of my laundry room. That is, once I get up the courage to air my dirty laundry... hahaha...get it?   Ok, not a comedienne. Want to join me in this challenge?? I'd love the company!