Stopped by Fear (Of Avocados, Legos, Cutesy Baskets, Etc.)

I used to suffer from a fear of avocados.

I loved them, and would be happy with a family-sized serving of guacamole all to myself, but I wouldn’t buy avocados in the store.

See, I did once.  It was early in marriage, and I was proud of myself for putting Guacamole-from-Scratch on our menu for the night.

But I didn’t know what I was doing. I grabbed the prettiest, shiniest avocados I could find.  I took them home and made dinner (I have no idea what it was), and attempted to cut the avocados.

And cutting them was so much more difficult than I thought it would be.

And we couldn’t eat them.  They wouldn’t mash up into guacamole, and the slices/chunks I whacked out of them were inedible.

So I went on strike.  I didn’t buy another avocado for the next 12 years.

I would buy packages of pre-made guacamole when it was on sale AND I had a coupon, but otherwise we just learned to live without guacamole as part of our Tex-Mex meals.

And we eat a lot of Tex-Mex meals.

Anyway, last year on our first (and next-to-last) liver cleanse when we ate only fruits and veggies for two weeks, I mustered up some  courage and asked a little old lady in the grocery store to help me learn how to choose a good avocado.

She was very helpful, and I came home and made perfect guacamole.

And now . . . I buy them all the time.  Fresh, homemade guacamole is often my lunch.

And I wonder why I avoided them for all those years.

It’s the same with other things around here.  I avoid toys-with-teeny-tiny-parts because we’ve never found an effective way to keep them under control.  I won’t let myself near the cutesy-basket-aisle because I start having flashbacks of failed organizing projects of the past.

Thankfully, none of my kids seem to be obsessed with toys that have teeny-tiny-parts, and our home is ever-so-much more organized due to the fact that I let myself JUST declutter.

But maybe at some point, I should try again to use baskets to organize.  Maybe I shouldn’t accidentally misplace every toy-with-teeny-tiny-parts that enters our home.

Maybe I could try one basket for the kitchen counter’s never-ending parade of vitamins.





  1. 1
    Nora Jones says:

    We do use baskets to corral stuff but it requires constant vigilance or else they become kind of an overfull dumping ground for anything and everything.. especially the one I use in the kitchen for library books/borrowed items that need returning. Yesterday I cleared out a bathing suit, two sippie cups, a stack of books and magazines, a race medal, a valentines art project… and probably more that I can’t remember. And it’s not that big of a basket!

  2. 2

    Almost every one of your posts is something I can totally relate to. (My own de-slobification process is an ongoing project). One small thing I learned about baskets / containers: Square or rectangle ones work better for me than round ones. Stuff fits in them better, and the baskets / containers fit together better. Kindof like Lego. They don’t make much round lego ‘cuz it doesn’t fit with the other stuff. Get squares and rectangles. The round ones are for looking pretty, NOT for the slob-brained.

  3. 3

    I call all those teeny tiny parts of toys “little lose em’s” and often times that’s what happens. My daughter has a ton of these types of toys and we have decided it’s just a fact of life that some of them will get lost. I am more than impressed that with 3 kids you have managed to avoid having these things in your home because it seems EVERY toy my kid wants has small parts! Some ways we have organized them include a clear shoe organizer with pouches hung over the back of the closet door, using clear tupperware style bowls with lids like mini storage bins and see through zippered pencil bags from Wal-Mart. During the Polly Pocket phase we had the zipper pouches in a binder for all of Polly’s different stuff.

    You should totally check out the cutsey basket aisle because baskets have come a long way! Like Andree, I have found the square ones work best. In particular the square ones with some sort of lid. Those you can cram whatever will fit in there and no one will be the wiser. This is handy if you find yourself grabbing a pair of dirty underwear up off the living room floor after someone else has already opened the front door for a surprise guest. 😉
    Congrat’s on learning how to pick a good avocado. Fresh guacamole is sooo much better than any of the store bought brands! If in the future you grab one that isn’t quite ripe, just sit it on your window sill a day or two until it is soft.

  4. 4

    Love fresh guac! ….Mmmm!
    Hate ‘land mines’ and boobie traps (ie: small parts) That one made me laugh! I just recently put a foam puzzle back together, then placed it in a big manila envelope and SEALED IT!
    On the front I wrote:
    CAUTION: DO NOT OPEN- by Order of the (50+) Tiny Pieces Federation!
    YES! …then I displayed it for The Daughter. When she LOL…I picked it up off the shelf and handed it to her.
    …and said, “Here you go. You can take it home to your house. I’m sure the Littles would love to play with the puzzle Mommy bought them!” ….we giggled.
    Then with the evil look in her eye…she said, “Mom, I gave that to you. It’s a gift. Surely you don’t want me to take back a gift.”
    She’s on to me.

    Lastly, Ditto to what the two ahead of me had to say about square or rectangle baskets. If one must have baskets. They too, must be easily organized!!

  5. 5
    Brandy Dowdy says:

    Girrrrrl, the never ending parade of vitamins! I totally know that parade. I take many medications for my fibromyalgia and my depression, PLUS all the vitamins- mine, the kids’, the husband’s (that he *never* takes)…. I’ve got a cabinet in the kitchen that totally needs to be re-arranged & sorted.
    And as for Legos (2 boys, ages 8&4), I want to completely eradicate them from my home. I stepped on one HARD back in September, and my heel still hurts like crazy. So now I’ve got a bad bruise on one heel and plantar fasciitis in the other. Bummer, dude. Too bad walking and standing are pretty much required as a mother!

  6. 6

    We banned toys with teeny parts from our home due to DH being diabetic. Small parts are not good for diabetics to step on. On the avocado front, I made inedible guacamole once, too, until I learned how to purchase perfect avocado’s too. As for the baskets, I love ’em, but DH does not, so I have to be careful not to go overboard. LOL.

  7. 7

    I just went through my medicine/vitamin cupboard. I tossed a bunch of expired stuff. The dollar store here has little rectangular totes — I think they’re meant for art supplies — with lids that snap on with hinges. They’re taller and narrower than most other bins. I find they’re a good height for most vitamin or medicine bottles, plus they’re see-through, which helps me. The vitamins we use regularly are in a shorter, wider bin without a lid, at the front of the cupboard, so I can just take the whole bin down, find what I’m looking for, and put it away properly. So far, so good.

  8. 8

    You linked to the previous post (about your husband’s wet shirt) on FB today and I forgot I wasn’t still reading forward and clicked on this one. (Still in July of 2011, thankyouverymuch!)

    I totally agree about toys with little parts. (And PUZZLES! OH, the PUZZLES!) Sadly, those things mostly end up as “one-time-use” in our house because the second time we go to use them, pieces are missing. 🙁 Trying to get better about this. I recently rounded up EVERY puzzle and EVERY puzzle piece I could find and we put them all together. My PLAN was to throw away anything with missing pieces…but I ended up putting them in a bucket on the top shelf of my kids’ closet. Because I’m SURE that pieces will turn up. (One even has. Okay, okay, I’ll throw them away when I get home tonight. You’re so BOSSY. ;-))

    I have tried leaving baskets here and there to catch clutter so it doesn’t end up all over the room. My problem is that when I want to clean off the kitchen counter, I just throw stuff in the basket because THAT’S WHAT IT’S THERE FOR. Then the kids get into it or I start digging through it and before I know it, things are all over the counter (or the floor) again. When I take the time to actually clean it out, I usually end up leaving something in it to (–get this–) remind myself that the basket is there to catch clutter. Ditto the basket in my laundry room, designed to contain pocket-emptyings.

    This is a long comment. Sorry. 😉

    Take Care! Going back in time again for now!

  9. 9

    Sooooo, please share how do you know what is a ripe avocado? I love guacamole but I’ve never braved making my own, which is weird as I’m an adventurous cook and cook everything from scratch.
    Love Sal (uk)

    • 10

      They are just right when you push in with your finger and they give just a tiny bit. Not soft, just not rock hard. But if they only have rock hard, I’ll go ahead and buy it and leave it out on the counter until it’s ready to eat.

  10. 12

    Hi Nony, I have a zippered pouch that I use to contain my medication and supplements (and like Brandy above, I have lots of it.) The zippered pouch also makes it easier to pack my pills for trips. The rest of the medication (Advil, Tylenol, cold medicine, kids’ medicine, etc.) stored in the same kitchen cupboard are contained in one of those plastic shoeboxes. I don’t keep the lid on it. I try hard not to stock up on too much extra medication so that it doesn’t spill over the edge of the shoebox. I put a note on my calendar twice a year to sort through the medication and to discard the expired stuff so that it doesn’t get too overwhelming.

  11. 13

    Sal – Here’s how you pick a ripe avocado: Back in college (30+ years ago) my roommate – who knew nothing about cooking or picking out produce – wanted to go to the store and buy ripe avocados to make guacamole. Back then white leather K-Swiss tennis shoes were all the rage. I had her put on the tennis shoes, then told her when she got to the avocado bin at the grocery store she should hike one foot up to rest on the edge of it, then find an avocado that felt about as firm/squishy as the toe part of her shoe. She came home with 2 perfectly ripe avocados. We are nearly 50 now, but to this day that’s how she picks out her avocados. I think of her and her tennies every time I make guacamole!

  12. 17

    That’s brilliant

  13. 18

    Yes try baskets! My whole house is in a basket, bin or box! :). Love them…. They camouflage so much. Then it’s not so intimidating to go through a basket at a time to clean them out. 🙂

  14. 19

    Ok… I wasn’t going to comment but just in case you read back through…I remember you mentioning you like chicken salad… Try chicken, avocado, and just a little red onion! Best chicken salad EEVEER! ( you gotta read the EEVEER part in a sing songy voice 😉

  15. 21

    And if you do have toys with teeny-tiny parts, put your kids on notice that any teeny-tiny part found underfoot will be summarily confiscated and held for ransom (bathroom cleaning? 5 minute pickup? dinner cleanup?) Can you see how diligent this system would make both parties?

  16. 22

    I use baskets too. I have found that they work better for my family if they are big enough to hold (laying flat) magazines or any 8-1/2 X 11 papers without scrunching up the corners. Took me much longer to figure that out than it should have.

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