Friday, March 27, 2015

Attacking the Kitchen

Flickr: rubbermaid

We started minimalizing our house about 3 weeks ago. We started in our bedroom closets and are gradually spreading out from there. I will admit that my closet isn't done, but I have several things still mentally tagged for the sell & discard destinies.

The biggest area of clutter in our lives is our kitchen, though our bedroom was a top contender until very recently. It was difficult to know where even to start, so I started with the most visible thing in our kitchen - the utensils canister that holds the kitchen tools we use on a near-daily basis. I took some cues from Leo Babauta to guide me. Here are some of his tips:

  1. Do it in small chunks. One canister, shelf, or drawer at a time. 
  2. Take everything out of a shelf or drawer at once. Dump it all out, and maybe take the chance to clean the drawer/shelf/canister while you're at it :) 
  3. Sort through your pile, one item at a time, and make quick decisions. Put back the stuff you KNOW you really use. The other stuff sort into sell/give away and throw away piles. 
  4. If you are on the fence with a lot of things, create a “maybe” box. There were some kitchen tools we weren't sure of, so we put them in a grocery sack so they could possibly be saved from donation/selling. These were things like the 4th and 5th spatulas - Kyra does a lot of canning, so maybe she really does need that many, but probably not :P
  5. Celebrate when you’re done! Don't forget to admire your accomplishments!
After we'd gone through this process with the canister, we'd managed to take out 1/3-1/2 the tools without eliminating a single type or size of tool that we frequently use. Duplicates were an easy choice, as were damaged items. 

2 days ago we started in on our glasses. We had multiple sets of very nice breakfast glasses that we simply have not used. If we hosted more breakfast parties, then perhaps they'd get a lot of use. That's DEFINITELY not where we are in life. 

The first real difficulty we had was our mug collection. I was all for eliminating most of the non-matching mugs and sticking to the mug set that matches our plates and bowls. Kyra felt the opposite - she prefers to have unique/special mugs to drink from on a regular basis and wanted to get rid of the boring matching mugs. We were at a small impasse until later that day I realized what our family norms are. My mother's kitchen only has matching mugs, my MIL's kitchen only has random mugs. For their family, choosing your morning mug is almost a part expressing your feelings about the morning. 

One thing we've learned in our marriage is to respect family norms, then work around them in a way that works for our little family. So with that we got rid of the random mugs that just didn't have much significance or were just plain ugly as well as about half of the matching mugs. We decided to keep 12 mugs. That number might end up going down in the future months, but it's still a good step. 

Other high points from the kitchen so far - if you honestly can't remember that last time you used a kitchen knicknack - no matter how useful it seems in theory - get rid of it! 

We're going to have a great garage sale in a couple weeks :P

Anyone need a couple sets of barely-used breakfast glasses?

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