Posted in Life and Family

Little Things are Overrated

A while ago I bought two ‘sweetener’ products. One is a big jar that looks as though it’s filled with sugar, and the other is a tiny plastic dispenser of sweetener tablets. You are supposed to work the dispenser so that a tablet or two drops into your tea or coffee. The big jar of sweetener is probably more for sprinkling on your strawberries.

But… I can never find the dispenser. You would think it would be a handy, space-saving gadget that you could pop in a purse or pocket and carry everywhere. But it’s never there, partly because Mum is always moving things around in the kitchen, and things are never where you saw them last. I don’t just mean ‘picking up a jar of marmalade and putting it down in a different corner,’ I mean she cleans out cupboards and switches things to different cupboards, and she throws out packets and pours biscuits, tea or whatever into some opaque jar with a lid. A few months later she throws the biscuits out because nobody knew they were there, and they went soggy.

When you ask “where are my Punjabi teabags?” she points at a pottery jar that says ‘Dried Fruit’ on the side.
“But how can I tell it apart from your Earl Grey teabags?” (in a similar pottery jar).
“Well, your jar says ‘Dried Fruit’, mine says ‘Tea Bags’.”

“But,” complained my poor Punjabi teabags, “why didn’t WE get the proper TEA jar? Why do we have to be Dried Fruit??”
“Just because that was all that was left!” sniggered Mum.

Sometimes I worry about myself, carrying on conversations with teabags (and involving Mum). The phrase ‘tea and a chat’ takes on a new meaning. But when she left the kitchen, I switched the pottery jars round, and turned them so that the labels were facing back. “Now let’s see who gets confused!” (Next time I passed, they were still where I put them, but had been shifted so that the labels were facing front again. Tcha!)

Anyway, I don’t take sugar in my tea, but coffee without sugar is something I can’t get used to. Hence the sweeteners. And I can never find that little sweetener tablet dispenser, so I end up reaching for the big jar of loose sweetener crystals. It’s always in the same place in the same cupboard.

So I said to Mum that sometimes you are glad that things are big and chunky, and normally to be found sitting in the same spot. The little, ‘space-saving’ gadgets are just never there when you need them, but are lying around all the time when you don’t. They turn out to be clutter, and not space-saving at all.

And Mum looked thoughtful, as though she had seen the little sweetener dispenser somewhere and had put it in a jar marked ‘Pickles’, but couldn’t quite remember.



I live in the UK with two cats -- Samson and Delilah.

8 thoughts on “Little Things are Overrated

  1. Ah. Fun. My mum was bad for that. When they came to visit she’d often help “organise” my kitchen and it would take weeks after they left to find everything. I’ve resorted to clear containers in the kitchen so Iwe know what’s in them…
    Since I started school again, in my crazy attempt to maintain sanity and keep our life remotely organised, it’s been challenging to try and keep things together. Things have acquired designated places if I use them all the time. I have little time (or patience) for using free time to play “find the thing” lately…and that way my husband can (knock on wood) find stuff when I’m not there.
    It’s gotten to be a source of amusement for me lately that J has been leaving random things where they are when he’s done with them…and then lamenting later when he needs them again that he can’t find it. I usually (if I see it) put it back where it “should” be, but I the frequency of things becoming “gone forever” has increased a lot since I haven’t been home to put them away 🙂

    1. Things can disappear all too readily, and the cats are not helping! I bought a pair of reading glasses and they’ve been gone since June. I think they fell into the waste paper basket when no one was looking… their disappearance is just too definite; they’re not anywhere to be found. 😦 Sometimes the cats walk around on the tables and dislodge things so that they fall off; but sometimes it’s us!

  2. I hate the tiny little phones they’ve come out with. I almost find myself missing the old rotary phones with big wonderful finger-holes and a big easy-to-grip receiver with a speaker large enough that I could actually hear the person on the other end without constantly asking them to repeat themselves…

    Ah, the good old days…

    1. Nowadays they probably deliberately keep phones and things quiet so that they don’t ruin people’s hearing… kind of aggravating to have that choice made for you, though.

  3. Ah, this post made me chuckle. I hate it when people move things around too, and likewise, it’s normally my mum who does it! It makes finding anything a nightmare. I think you may be right about the clutter point; we seem to have so many utensils in the kitchen that finding the one you want can be disastrous and mean you end up using a fork when you want a whisk…and then when you’ve started using the fork, the whisk will magically turn up. Huh, I think gadgets, utensils and anything that is defined as an object, all have minds of their own! Oh dear.

    1. Yes, that’s exactly it… you can never find the one thing you need, whether it’s a corkscrew, nutcracker, exactly the right screwdriver, etc, even though you know it’s probably somewhere in that same over-stuffed drawer you’re raking through. 😉

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