Cleaning Out My Kitchen


It’s that time of year—the end of February (still two-feet of melting snow outside)—when the spring-cleaning gene kicks in and the urge to clean out everything becomes irresistible.

But here’s the truth about my kitchen: I don’t actually live on a farm. But I do live in the woods with a huge garden! And this year, I’m not just spring-cleaning; I’m also giving lots of our old furniture to my “wasband” (a term I learned on my recent trip to California that seems the most fitting description).

I’m actually excited to start over and let go of a lot of our things. He really liked Mission-style furniture, which while I enjoyed it, now feels a bit too heavy and dark. I’m ready to lighten up. Still, I can’t help but relive some memories as I empty out the cabinets. One piece in particular is bittersweet to part with: a beautiful mission cabinet with copper and brass details and green glass windows that I used to store my vintage tablecloths. My old friend Cletus Lutz found it for me. He was my “dealer.” He would call and say, “Maria, you have to see this piece—it’s perfect for you.” And even when it wasn’t, I couldn’t help but surrender to him. After all, he did beautiful restoration work and needed the money.

But now that Betty has retired, I don’t use the tablecloths as often, since they need to be ironed. And since my mother passed away and my in-laws (or “was-laws”?) are too old to travel, I don’t do the big family entertaining as much either. So the truth is, I can do without the cabinet. I’ll store the tablecloths elsewhere.

Besides, now when I look at it, I remember the week that Cletus died of AIDs. And I remember that I couldn’t get to his funeral because we were stuck in Miami as a result of an airline strike—our worst vacation ever. I remember calling from a dingy hotel room, crying on the phone with his partner and telling him I was trapped.

Feeling trapped is a horrible thing. And I think it’s at the root of the desire to spring-clean. We’ve been “trapped” all winter in our homes and have a desperate need to clean out and lighten up and be FREE! It’s time to open up the windows, smack the dust out of the carpets, and prepare for the joy of spring.

I’ll miss that old cabinet a tiny bit, but it’s going to a good home, and my kids will still get to enjoy it. In the meantime, passing it on provides a perfect excuse to clean out and…redecorate! And really, we can’t take our things with us when we “go” to wherever Cletus went to, so it’s kind of good practice for the big “letting go.”

What’s really important isn’t so much the piece of furniture, or even all my glorious tablecloths collected from around the world, but the memories of wonderful meals shared—all cooked, eaten, and enjoyed with love in the actual, real Maria’s “Farm” Country Kitchen!

May there be many more meals, recipes, and memories to come!


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7 Responses to Cleaning Out My Kitchen

  1. Donna in Delaware February 26, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    Oh Maria, Maria, Maria! Just the other night I was telling my husband (was-band, a great descriptive word, by the way) that it’s time to get some new, more modern pieces of furniture. I am feeling the need to clean out and donate, and to modernize a bit. I want WHITE, walls, sofas, leather, clean lines, with dashes of colored pieces. I am tired of the dark, heavy traditional wood pieces that we own. It’s beginning to become tiresome. I’m feeling invigorated thinking of spring, and the warm months ahead! I’m raring to go and get things accomplished, especially the décor!!

    You are correct in saying that parting with certain things can make you sad, but think of it as a new beginning. Let go of those things that once gave you joy, but now have no place in the life of the “new you.” Remember, the best things in life aren’t THINGS, and being ‘willing’ to part with, make you ‘able’ to part with, so one can move one and start the second part of their life unencumbered by the past. Best wishes.

  2. Deborah Wilson February 26, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    I am so sorry about your wasband I like that but starting over can be nice .You can have all the things you love. I do like those tablecloths so colorful. I really enjoy your site one of my favoraites. I will be cleaning things out also already started good luck with everything, looking faward to spring also and trying to do everything organic can be a little overwhelming but I am doing better than most.Thanks for all your information.

  3. Karen Miles February 27, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Would love to take some of those vintage tablecloths off of your hands. I still.use and love of the few things I keep while downsizing

  4. mary March 5, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    I would buy those tablecloths if they are for sale, I have been collecting them for years. Feel free to contact me if you are selling

  5. mary nicholson March 5, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    I would love to purchase those tablecloths if they are for sale, feel free to contact me

  6. Sarah Waters March 5, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    Ok ! I just want to know where are all Your etsy stores ???? If your all cleaning out there should be plenty of goodies for sale ! XO . Waithing for all your replies .

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