Clarity will come. Walk with me.
The Spice Disaster
COVID pandemic and social isolation lend themselves very well to cleaning cupboards. The longer it goes on, the more inclined you will be to delve into areas you never delved before, and for me this week, it was the spice cupboard
The pic above details our spice cupboard before the clean, flowing onto the counter, spreading itself farther and farther into the kitchen. Every time the cupboard was opened to locate a spice, jars and containers would hail down upon the searcher’s head. I considered a helmet for protection when going in, but they don’t sell spice helmets on Amazon. The closest I got when I searched the internet was an Old Spice baseball cap which doesn’t provide any cushioning but smells great.
The Spicy Goal
Today, I determined to get tough on my spices. The goal? To fit all the spices in the cupboard with no overflow. The intention was a clear counter and clear labeling of spices. No more nose tests to play What Spice is This? Interestingly, you will find that pepper does not yield the consequences of sneezing as reported by reputable cartoon series. It burns. Besides any respiratory compromise by inhaling anything up your nose is probably not in your best interests, especially now.
Now, what do spices and organization have to do with financial fitness. Again, stay with me. I’ll wrap it up with a neat little bow at the end.
The Embarrassing Facts
On first pass of my cupboard, I made a few discoveries. I had repeats of multiple spices. I also had spices which were as old as our time in this house which we inhabited when my youngest son was 2 (he is now in his late teens). One of my takeaways was the knowledge that I have spices that I have only used for one recipe, e.g. dried chili peppers, lemon pepper and fennel. The other was the unidentifiable spices…what the heck is fenugreek? What would I have used it in?
Now, we all have different spices which make a regular appearance in our homes. For us, they are cumin, paprika, chili powder, thyme, basil, oregano and cinnamon to name a few. These are our go-to spices. When something needs to look pretty with green flecks, I go straight for the parsley, and when the recipe says Italian, I liberally scatter oregano and basil. My Tikki Masala and Spanish rice require copious quantities of cumin, and chili powder is self-explanatory. I am not a fancy cook, just a utilitarian one who occasionally likes it to look pretty.
My cleaning was merciless. I was determined to get those clean counters. Many a spice ended up its days as compost. Those microbes are going to make some well-seasoned loam. Admittedly, I hate throwing out food, but have learned from my mistakes and made a few rules to avoid future waste.
- I am not allowed to buy massive packages of spices which I rarely use (Has anyone ever found a small packet of garam masala? Problem solved below.).
- I am not allowed to buy spices which I know I will only use once.
- Label spices immediately once they are put into a reusable container.
- Make mixes of spices instead of buying when possible and LABEL.
The Big Picture
The point of financial independence is to look at everything in your life and see where you can stop the leaks. In the scheme of finance, spices would not have a big effect on our bottom line, but I have learned that the small things add up. It also creates habits of thinking differently and mindfully about what you spend. Instead of just purchasing a spice when it comes up in an interesting recipe, I will pass on by. It’s about making conscious choices and being respectful with our money and our spice collection.
Besides, my frugal soul loves the idea of a DIY spice.
Here are a few helpful recipes so you can avoid cupboard clutter…
All Recipes – Pumpkin Spice
Budget Bytes – Taco Seasoning
All Recipes – Garam Masala
Gimme Some Oven – Italian Seasoning
There’s nothing worse than fenneling your money away. Basily, be mindful of where money is going because it may be thyme to whip those finances into shape. Pepper your life with joy and don’t as*salt* your finances with unnecessary expenditures. Gingerly spend and live a well-seasoned life.