Cleaning out the plastic-utensils cupboard

Yesterday, I noticed that my silverware drawer was getting hard to close, because restaurant-takeout disposable chopsticks and drinking straws were getting in the way.

(I’ll note upfront that this is not an advice-request post; also, please be careful in your comments not to imply that reduction of clutter is inherently or universally good or positive or praiseworthy.)

So I took most of those things out of the drawer (leaving the non-disposable chopsticks and a few straws), planning to put them in the upper cupboard where I keep paper plates and napkins and plastic silverware and disposable cups and such.

But then it occurred to me that that cabinet could use some improvement. For the past couple years, I’ve just been stuffing things into there without regard to organization, and I figured that it was about time to get rid of some of the stuff there.

(…This whole sequence was really sparked a little earlier by, among other things, some recent discussions and articles about Marie Kondo; I don’t want to turn this post (or comments on it) into a Kondo discussion, but the main relevant point is that I was thinking about whether various things I own are things that I have any good reason to keep or not. Most of what I own is stuff that I do want to keep; but some of it isn’t.)

So I got out a stepladder and started pulling stuff out of that cabinet—and discovered that it was almost half full of heaped-together stuff, from the base of the cabinet to about halfway up it. When I order food to be delivered, most of the time it comes with plasticware and sometimes with plates, even though I always say not to include any of that stuff; and the cabinet is a little too high for me to easily reach without a stepladder, so I’ve just been standing on tiptoe and shoving stuff into it.

The main purpose of that cabinet is primarily a place to keep party supplies—but I haven’t hosted an in-person gathering in three years, and am unlikely to do so anytime soon, especially not one that features food. So there’s no need for me to keep all that stuff—and anyway, there were enough disposable items for probably four or five of my parties, back in the days when I did occasionally host parties.

So I emptied out the cabinet, sorted the plasticware into two categories (loose individual pieces vs. plastic-wrapped sealed sets), sorted the napkins (and recycled or composted any that weren’t in good condition), and bagged up and set aside about three-quarters of the whole collection—I’m gonna see whether any local food banks or other organizations might want some of that stuff before I throw it away.

Then I put the remaining items back in the cabinet, better-organized; it’s possible that someday I’ll use them. And as new disposable stuff arrives in my house, I’ll try to keep a better handle on it.

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