Spring has sprung – and it’s raining Tupperware and socks

By Brianna Walker
For the Enterprise

It’s time for spring cleaning. And with each cupboard and shelf that is cleaned out, I am both pleased and puzzled. Pleased because it always feels good to minimize, puzzled because I never am quite sure how all the junk got there in the first place. Those two feelings followed me throughout the house.

In the living room there were books I’ve never seen, written by authors I don’t read; magazines I don’t subscribe to, nor have ever bought; and a few ugly knickknacks I don’t remember collecting. In the bedroom I found a box in the back of the closet filled with unmated socks. Why did I keep them? I have no idea. Why they ended up in a box in my closet? Just as good a question, with just as bad an answer. I have no idea.

The closet was filled with clothes that no longer fit anyone, shoes no one wore even when they were new, and sheets that fit a bed we haven’t had in three years.

It was easy to fill a garbage can in the bathroom. Half empty (or often completely empty) bottles of hair and skin care products lined the shelves in the cupboard. Why do we keep these things? And put them back in the cupboard? I asked myself this over and over as I tied my second bag of trash.

The kitchen was no less full of random things we didn’t need. I found spices, I don’t know how to use, boxes of crackers no one has ever liked, and home canned jars filled with “goodies” I can’t identify – in jars that are not mine. Under the sink I found more almost empty bottles of dish soap and cleanser and other cleaning supplies. Is there some kind of subconscious thing that prevents us from using something all up before opening a new bottle?

I kept going through the cupboards, dishes I didn’t know where came from, spoons that didn’t match any utensils I own, even a tablecloth I’ve never seen before was tucked away in the back of a drawer. I must say though, that even though each cupboard brought its own puzzlement over the contents, I was still feeling mighty pleased with myself for all I’d accomplished. The living room was full of boxes marked Goodwill, Basement, Junk – and one marked Husband, just because I figured he should at least doublecheck his junk before I tossed it.

The last cupboard in the kitchen I went through was home to all my Ziploc, Tupperware, and Rubbermaid containers.

By the time I was done, I had found a couple of dishes without lids, but I had a whole stack of lids without dishes. How does one end up with so many extra lids…especially since I seem to clean them out every few years?

My first reaction was to make a neat stack and put them back in (on the off chance I found them later), but then I remember my husband’s advice about putting things in the fridge just to let them “finish dying.” Still not quite able to just toss them in the trash, I put them in a box and hauled them out to the Junk pile in the living room. I’d let my husband haul them out, then I wouldn’t feel quite so bad about tossing perfectly good lids. I set it right next to the box of single socks.

Chatting with my mom later about these oddities she laughed, “I am pretty sure that unmated socks die and come back as mismatched Tupperware lids.”

From now on, I will have a less difficult time throwing away unmatched socks and lids….as long as I toss them out together I can think of it less as “junking” them, and more like reuniting lost loves.

Brianna Walker is a farmer and writer who contributes occasionally to the Enterprise.