Clutter-busting 101 and a Pitch Pick Contest

 clutter busting 101 and a pitch pick

Are you a saver or a tosser?

My sister-in-law once told me if you didn’t use something in a year, it was time to get rid of it.

I’ve got stuff that I haven’t used in… 10 or 20 years!

As many of you know, we are moving from Colorado to New Hampshire at the end of September.

Clutter busting 101 and a pitch pick

We’ll be flying 2000 miles to relocate so that we can be closer to our daughter and grandson.

clutter busting 101 and a pitch pick

With a little more than a month to go, I devote several hours each day to clearing out closets and drawers.

I wish I had taken my sister-in-law’s advice – my current task would be less overwhelming.

A couple of years ago, I saw an Andy Rooney segment on 60-minutes – he related the clutter in our lives to the contents of our kitchen gadget drawer.

He said that most of the items he found in his kitchen drawer had not been used for 20 or 30 years.


When I went to empty mine the other day, this is what I found:

  • Rubber gripper for opening bottles (I use this ALL the time)
  • Graham Kerr sheet metal thing with ruler marking on one side (maybe for pastry making…have never used it)
  • Orange cylindrical plastic thing (lemon juice extractor?)..I actually have 2 of these
  • Wooden honey dipper (not sure what you call it…when I need honey, I use a spoon)
  • Green plastic grapefruit sectioner (we don’t eat grapefruit)
  • Orange Tupperware spreader/spatula (never used…will take it out of gadget drawer so I will have it when I need it)
  • Yellow plastic cylindrical thing labeled Sunkist (maybe for extracting juice from an orange)
  • Old-fashioned metal garlic press (I usually hit the garlic clove with the flat blade of a big knife)
  • Wooden double mini rolling-pin (didn’t know I had this…could have used it several times in the past)
  • 3 top-notch wine bottle openers (my husband doesn’t drink wine anymore and I never did!)
  • Old-fashioned metal can opener (just in case the electric can opener doesn’t work, I guess)
  • Lobster/crab leg cracker and set of picks (we have lobster or crab legs MAYBE once a year!)
  • Red plastic flour scooper (why isn’t it in the container with the flour)
  • Broken tea strainer
  • Metal melon ball scooper (I can’t remember the last time I scooped melon balls)
  • Vacuum pump and rubber corks for sealing open wine bottles
  • Wooden roller thing (not sure what it is for)
  • My oldest son’s original baby spoon (he turned 41 last month)
  • Set of cheese spreaders/cutters (use them at Christmas)
  • Set of 4 multi-colored mini rubber prep bowls (so small I don’t know what I could prep in them)

Clutter busting 101 and a pitch pick


What’s in your kitchen gadget drawer?  I’d love to know that I’m not the only one with items I have never used and have no clue what they are for.

If you have a few minutes, please head over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog today where she is having her July Pitch Pick. My pitch for the third book in my Tomato Turner series is there – The Tomato Turner Get a Job. You get to vote on the pitch you like best!

I apologize for being MIA from blogging in recent weeks. On Friday, I’ll be reviewing a GREAT new picture book – Chick-o-saurus Rex – by Lenore and Daniel Jennewein. I’ll also be presenting helpful posts with back-to-school tips for parents and kids over the next few weeks.


About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on August 21, 2013, in clutter, Moving, Pitch Pick Contest and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Good luck with the tossing and packing and the move east! I tend to accumulate– and we moved 7 years ago and it seems we still have tons of stuff. Too hard to throw things out!


  2. Wait. You have an ORANGE cylindrical plastic thing for LEMONS and a YELLOW cylindrical plastic thing for ORANGES??? I don’t get that! 😉 Good luck with the donating/selling! 😀


  3. I had to empty out a house that I had lived in for more than 30 years. Of course, everyone was busy and my fiancée and I struggled through 30 years of clutter. I would say that at least 60% of the stuff was not even mine. It took me more than a year and on the last day. I was still putting things outside on the curb. Good luck!


    • Thanks for sharing your experience with this type of hassle!!! I keep thinking, as I go through boxes and drawers, isn’t it better for me to be doing this than for my kids to have to do this in x number of years.:) 🙂 We did purge a lot when we moved here from Connecticut 17 years ago…but both my husband and I tend to ‘collect’ and not throw away STUFF.:)


  4. I can be both. I’ve done major cleaning on moves, but end up collecting new. What gets me most is the paperwork that you need to keep for tax purposes for 7 yrs. and files.


    • Oh my gosh! Pat…I just shredded tax papers from boxes labeled 1997, 98, 99 and 2000…now why was I lugging those around for so long? Yes, it’s too bad you can’t just keep the actual tax return…that would be lots less paper.:)


  5. Okay, your message is getting through to me…I have things I haven’t used in a decade or more…but that I’m just “so sure” I’ll suddenly need after they’re gone. One thing that has helped is this: whenever ARC or Goodwill call because they’ll have a pickup in our area on a certain day, I always commit to at least one bag. Sometimes I get really busy have two or three bags waiting for them to pick up in the driveway. So far this year I’ve done this 8 times already, and it is helping…and I know it’s going to a good cause.
    Good luck!


    • That is super, Marylin! I do that also…it is definitely an incentive to clear out a closet or a drawer so that I can donate something…because if I say yes, I want to provide, as you say, at least one bag or so.:) This move, however, is a whole other level of clearing out…we, too, are sure we will use that item that we just cannot throw out…the problem is that when you need it, most of the time, you cannot find it.:) 🙂 And have to buy another anyway!!! 🙂 Thanks for the good wishes for the move…we are progressing…already have our movers booked and also our flights out of Denver.:)

      Marylin…do you want to try to connect in person before I leave at the end of September? We could meet at a Panera (North Academy or North Nevada) for hot chocolate or coffee. Let me know if that works for you.:)


  6. I’m definitely a tosser so I wouldn’t have any problems getting rid of your stuff. 🙂
    It also helps to move every few years because it means you’ve got less to pack. I’d say most of the stuff in my kitchen, I use on a regular basis, or at least once a year for seasonal items.

    Good luck with the packing and tossing!


  7. As you know, we share some similar tendencies… and this is one for sure! When my 17 year old, and beginning hoarder, was in Germany this summer… I finally cleaned his room. Three giant bins of stuff, I removed, are now in our storage room. I wanted to respect his right to let go of it eventually on his own, but I wanted to clean his room and relieve him of the same debilitating anxiety I feel, when I try to clean my own office. It’s all the decisions that are so hard! That said, I feel a new inspiration, recently, to let go of things. Like you, there are boxes I haven’t opened since we moved here 13 years ago! What could I possibly need in there?? That said, the giving away, throwing away, donating, deciding which… is so hard! Kudos to you, Vivian! Huge job, and you are my inspiration as I’ve resolved to CLEAN out my office, when school starts! Way to go!


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