what to do when you run out of things to do

By now you have cleaned the fridge, sorted your sock drawer and washed the front of the kitchen cabinets…what’s left? plenty.

  • Clean the gadget drawer. Sure you clean your silverware drawer and that ubiquitous junk drawer, but what about the drawer of things you rarely use? dump them on the kitchen table, wash EVERYTHING and clean the bottom of the drawer and only put back the things you can remember using. What’s left? if you still need them, but them elsewhere. for example Consider putting all the canning devices in a box marked CANNING tools, so you can put them away until that season rolls around.
  • Oil all your wooden utensils... but BEFORE that, take some sandpaper to the edges of the spoons and spatulas and smooth down any rough spots that have resulted from use.
  • Check your kitchen knives, when’s the last time you gave them a good going over, if you don’t have a sharpening steel or whetstone, (WHY don’t you have a steel?) you can make a sharpening block with sandpapers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QV8MtMU3Eck
  • Clean your can opener, I bet the gears are yucky. Use an old toothbrush and some dish soap. When it’s dry, hit it with some oil, if not mineral oil, you can use baby oil (mineral oil with perfume) or petroleum jelly, any similar lubricant. Just don’t use a cooking oil.
  • Clean the stains in your coffee cups, and your coffee tea devices while you are at it. Usually you need something with grit or a coffee maker cleaning product. But you can fill the cups with water and a bit of bleach or an oxygenated cleaner and let them sit over night before washing them. Even baking soda and elbow grease is better than nothing.

Scan your family photos. IF there was ever a time it’s now. Upload your photos to a cloud service or backup to a flash drive. Don’t have a scanner? no problem. Set up a spot on the kitchen table and USE YOUR PHONE, it has a better camera than the scanner and takes less time. Shoot all of them, even the bad ones. Now take a marker or pencil..and WRITE ON THE BACKS OF THE PHOTOS THE NAMES OF THE PEOPLE IN THE PHOTOS! Gold Star Level: Go into the Digital File folders, Display the image file details – Rename the photos with the names of the subjects and add detail to the description.

Give your shoes a spa day. Wash the exteriors with a nail brush and the appropriate cleaner, I like liquid shampoo. Wipe out the interiors with a cloth damp with lysol or something similar. Rub and buff them if they are leather, clean out the treads of your hiking boots, I always forget that.

Give your books some love. Don’t just alphabetize, dust their tops, straighten their dog ears, cull them if you need to, make lists of what you want to add…..shop online (bookfinder.com) and replace beat up copies with nice shelf copies. Sort the shelves, Put your best stuff at eye level, and put those textbooks under the couch, give yourself room to grow. I ordered a hard copy of Handmade Rugs for about $5 and I expect it to be an awful copy…turns out, it has an Old Corner Bookstore sticker and had once been in a real bookstore’s inventory for a decent price. And Bonus! someone took the time to paste in a magazine clipping of a Cape Breton woman hooking a rug. So I am very very happy it will join my shelves.

Create a ‘pantry’ if you don’t have one or survey the one you do have. Even if you only have one cupboard of canned or dry goods, that’s a pantry. A ‘pantry’ or ‘stockpile’ is purely mental, it is how you think about the items you have at hand, This is money you have invested for emergencies like this. Even though you can’t do much about it right NOW, take an inventory, make lists of what you actually USE and make predictions of what you should have at hand. Start tracking what you use, write purchase dates on the cans you have, if you don’t know, write today’s date, or the last day you shopped. Use the oldest things first. Everytime you shop, invest $1 to $5 for stored foods or spare household items. If something is on sale, but an extra one for the back of the cupboard. It will fill that cupboard up quick. So don’t go crazy. When you have several months worth of stored items, then put that same $1-$5 towards a larger emergency purchase, a water filter, a camp stove, etc

Go through your travel gear. When this over we are all gonna need a vacation.
So, start now. Pull out your travel gear. Wipe down the exteriors and interiors of your backpack or luggage, including the pockets; use a disinfectant or a bit of chlorine bleach in the water. (I guarantee your gear is made of a plastic, so it will survive.) Don’t forget your toiletry bag and all the little TSA approved containers. Wash out your water bottles with the same and let them air dry, never store them sealed. Go over your first aid and emergency gear, replace what’s been used and rotate what is outdated. Order refills of single use first aid items on ebay. Wash your bandanas, buffs even your gloves. Plan your trip. Stay safe.

  • Wash your gaskets. When you cleaned your fridge, did you look at the gaskets around the edges? don’t look too close, just wipe them with a diluted bleach, especially the freezer. And get the vents!
  • Wash your washing machine…and drier if you have one. Run an empty full load with a couple of cups of bleach in it, and wash the exterior. AND the hinges, gaskets etc.
  • Clean out the medicine cabinet., it’s something you should do yearly anyway. Remove the expired meds, combine things into others, use up stuff with only a little in it etc… Don’t flush RX meds!
  • Darn something. Sooner or later you are going to sort your clothes, trust me..you will. After you sort them into keep, save and throw, Make a pile of things that need repairs or hemming, and Netflix and SEW.
  • Bake something you don’t have to eat today. crackers are a great quick project. Bittman’s got some Parmesan crackersEpicurious has some butter crackers. Good Housekeeping has Saltines