We're about to have our kitchen refitted. We've been in our house for 25 years and the kitchen we have was put in well before we moved in. It's still a good kitchen but it looks dated, so we've gone for it - decided to have it all taken out and replaced.
At the moment, I'm clearing out the cupboards, finding all sorts of stuff that has collected over those twenty five years. Like...
Thirty assorted conical party hats, most foiled but some covered in smiley faces; 300 red, white and blue drinking straws; millions of disposable forks and spoons (no knives though. Weird) and party bags that were never used in the 'birthday' cupboard.
Lids with no tubs and tubs with no lids; the 'nibble pots' we used to use for snacks at bedtime when the kids were small (now Squidgeling T just 'nibbles' straight from the cupboard); three teapots (yup - three. Why, when I usually dunk a teabag in a mug?); a squillion wine glasses; thirteen glass pudding dishes from when I had a thing about posh creme caramel; two aprons that have never been used; various vases of odd shapes and sizes; cook books we've barely used... You can imagine what the charity shop's going to say when we turn up with some of that lot.
The art cupboard's been sorted and the Hama beads, acrylic paints that are still liquid, a margarine tub full of leaded pencils and various sheets of assorted card, and decorative edged scissors have all been forwarded to a friend who runs a craft club.
Out of date packets and tins (severely out of date - 2013!) have been binned (there weren't many as we're pretty good about using stuff up) and expired medicines from Mr Squidge's various operations bagged up and returned to the chemist for disposal.
And the grand sorting of the Squidgelings' artwork... Oh. My. Word. The memories that dragged up... I've always loved having the kids' art displayed, even if it did make the kitchen look a little cluttered. As new artworks were created, the old ones joined a growing pile on top of the cupboards - and it goes right back to when Squidgeling J could just about hold a crayon and Squidgeling T was at the finger painting stage.
I found the random circles that had had to be labelled as bits of the car Squidgeling T insisted he'd drawn. The fire engine I'd drawn for him to colour in, completely red and with a small tube attached for the hose and a piece of paper stuck onto the roof for the ladder. Squidgeling J's first attempt at writing her name and a proper, colours-in-the-right-order rainbow over our house-with-the-blue-door. The very wonky Taj Mahal (you can see every single brick) from Year 3. The banner that was made to celebrate Mr Squidge's Coast-to-coast charity bike ride. Hand drawn Pokemon creatures, and robotic dinosaurs that transformed into planes...
I realised I've not had fresh artwork for a long time, and it'll be strange in my newly fitted kitchen to have bare cupboard doors, but at least I've kept some of the very special pieces to look back on in years to come.
It's been quite liberating to get rid of things we don't need and to focus on what we do. I'm just hoping that, when we put everything back into the new cupboards, we won't suddenly want something we've let go...
Refit begins next week, fingers crossed.