Analyzing Shelf Life

Spice Cabinet: Tins with Spices

Tired of having spice bottles fall off the shelf when I was trying to extricate one from the bunch, I decided to weed through the shelf contents.  Embarrassing to say, I had not one, but three, old bottles of chili powder.  Even more embarrassing to say, I uncovered bottles that had to date from the early part of this century. (At least I can almost certainly say none were from the 20th century as I have reorganized that shelf within the last few years.)

Why would I have two bottles of orange peel  when I rarely use that spice?  What is the purpose of hoarding spice bottles when each spice loses its potency over time?

Shelf Life?

Whether common or exotic, spices are meant to enhance food’s flavor.  Stating the obvious here, but to work, spices must be applied.  Purchasing the spice and displaying it in your spice cabinet adds nothing to the intensity of your meal.

I must admit I have not only hoarded spices, but also ideas.  I look forward to reading journals and scouring  the Internet for new ideas to incorporate into my library program. I’ve created various folders on my computer to store the treasures I find.  But if I am just storing these ideas on a “computer shelf,” then I am doing no better with them than I am with the spices I have accumulated.  These ideas cannot help my program unless I apply them.

I must make a conscious effort to break the information cycle (seek, read, store) I have created.  Although there is nothing inherently wrong with  seeking, reading, and storing information, if the purpose I am doing these tasks is not being satisfied, then I am no different than a hamster endlessly running on its wheel.

Have you found yourself in a rut lately?  If so, what steps have you taken to break out of the routine?

“We judge others by their behavior.  We judge ourselves by our intentions.” Ian Percy


Image Attribution:

“Spice Cabinet:  Tins with Spices” by Chris Martino

Used through a Creative Commons license


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3 Responses to “Analyzing Shelf Life”

  1. Andy Woodworth Says:

    When you say that you are ‘storing’ ideas, what exactly do you mean (if you don’t mind me asking)?

    Personally, I find that I give away ideas that I can’t use. Think of it as a Freecycle for thoughts. It’s just taking up space, I can’t use them (for whatever reason), and I know someone who can. It may not be something someone else is looking for, but I think it spark further thoughts and ideas for both you and them since it gets an idea out of your storage.

    • Fran Bullington Says:

      Andy,
      By culling ideas and sorting them into folders, I “store” them. Some I come back to and use later, while others remain in limbo in those folders.

      I like your Freecycle for thoughts idea. Perhaps one way I can break my seek, read, and store mentality is by consciously sharing ideas with others.

      If you don’t mind me asking you (!), how do you share ideas? I follow you in my Google Reader so I know you share some of the interesting blog posts you read. How else do you share ideas?

      • Andy Says:

        I share idea either by tweeting them, posting them on Facebook, putting them on my blog, and by messaging or emailing people I know who could possibly use them. As to this last point, I will figure out who could possibly use the idea, formulate a short message with the idea, and fire it off. I usually toss in a caveat saying, “I know I can’t use this idea, but I thought it might be useful to you.”

        In that way, giving away ideas is like finding the right home for them. It might be noted that these can be free as in kittens, not as in beer. It can represent work for someone else, but it might be something that sparks their own creativity.


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