Once we answered "why", and had our household policies set and making sense (well, at least to us), it was time to start "Yes, No or Maybe."
I started with the cabinets. All the food was scrutinized, and divided into three groups- Yes, No and Maybe. In terms of food, "Yes" for us="Yay, it has an OU, or a circle K! I recognize this trademarked hechsher, Yay! I can keep *this*!"... then I might clutch the package of food exuberantly, like it was a lost puppy I just found, and happily put it back into the shelf. "No" foods involved reading every printed word on the box, then frantically turning the box upside down, examining all six sides, reading the ingredients and sighing. For a few special foods, it may have involved squinting at the registered trademark symbol, wishing the "circle -R" was a "circle-K". Maybe at 2AM one night I wondered if someone might put a hechsher inside the box... but to my credit I never actually dismantled a box. Really. Nor did the "circle-R" become a "circle-K". All the "No" foods went into a large box labeled "Treyfe" (Actually, I spelled it "Traif"... hey, I'm a newbie. Cut me some slack).
Finally there is the "Maybe" category. For me, there were unpacked goods- raw nuts, craisins and rice... or some expensive gourmet items that I set aside to ask a rabbi about ("I will ask the rabbi about these Bonito flakes... but first I will have to explain to him what Bonito flakes are...")
I started with one cabinet of food and worked my way across the kitchen. My kitchen is tiny, so this wasn't as major a feat as I make it sound. All the non-kosher items were put in the box to give to a non-Jewish friend of mine. Boy was she happy (and confused) to get all this food. She also wanted to know what Bonito flakes were. SIGH. I am quite into exotic foods, so this part was a tiny bit painful. Fortunately, my husband is amazing at finding the unfindable on the Internet, and he kept e-mailing me links to things like kosher miso paste and Reggiano Parmesan.
Then, I put all the kosher products back in the cabinets and found I had s_o _______ m_u_c_h ______ s_p_a_c_e..... I then put the questionable items aside in one little shelf in a plastic Ziploc with a post-it with a "?" on it. I jotted down the items to ask the rabbi.
I did the same thing with our "pantry" (we have our extra food stored upstairs , as there is no classic pantry in our itty bitty kitchen).
Then the fridge. I had one drawer quarantined with "?" items, and set aside space for the "to give away" treyfe. I also put a plastic bag around the treyfe and wrote "treyfe" on it- (well, actually "traif")
And then the spice rack.
And then the freezer. This was the first time I really considered consuming much of the food instead of giving it away. I don't think this is a terrible idea, but some process in me had started that made it feel somehow... counterproductive.
And then I did "Yes, No and Maybe" to the liquor cabinet.
And then... the wine. Deep breaths. This was hard. And this was the second time I really considered consuming the non-kosher goods right there, on the spot. Sequentially in this case. But I just ended up separating the wine out so that I could bring the non-kosher wine to non-Jewish friends. We still have a few bottles left to give away, but they are out of our wine rack and we do not drink these in our home- they are viewed as gifts and we will not bring any more non-kosher wine into the home.
Fortunately, I started the treyfe hunt along with the chometz hunt from Passover (the previous week) so it went by quickly. Plus, have I mentioned that our kitchen is tiny? Once I was done I had a Dr. Brown's Black Cherry soda and went to bed pleased. Phase One- complete.
If you are doing this, celebrate completing this step. And don't hit your husband with the non-hechshered Pillsbury crescent rolls when he brings them in the day after you give away the big box of treyfe.