Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 41: Putting a Limit on the Scrapbooking Supplies

The Task: To fit all of this...

into this....

(after some serious purging, of course!)

The Why:  I use Project Life to keep my scrapbooks simple, in theory.  Project Life combines the simplicity of a photo album with the flexibility and creativity of a scrapbook.  The problem is that I had collected so many scrapbooking items that getting out my supplies was an ordeal, and sorting through my options was overwhelming. 

I love the strategy of creating limits for our stuff.  By having a single bin for my scrapbooking supplies, I not only make scrapbooking simpler and more fun, I also prevent myself from buying more than I need, since I can only keep what will easily fit in the bin!

I have to actually use my craft supplies before I can shop for more.What a novel idea!

The How:  I have a general look that I'm going for in my scrapbooks and use many of the same items over and over again. I use a lot of brown kraft paper and white pens, paper doilies and labels.   So I just went through my craft stash looking for items that go well with my scrapbooking style.  I basically created a customized kit that is full of things that delight me. 

The most time consuming part was to go through photos and only keep the good ones that I actually plan to scrapbook.  My new rule is that if a photo isn't good enough for the scrapbook, it isn't worth keeping!

 The Verdict:

I did it!  I created a compact little kit full of scrapbooking supplies that I love to use.  It's easy to take out and use, and then put away when I'm done.

Having a little container full of embellishments I love is really so much more fun than the huge selection I had before.  I open this happy little container and start dreaming of the possibilities!

Last night I was eager to use my new little scrapbooking station and loved that even when everything was laid out on the coffee table in a jumble, I was still able to see and use everything!

The scrapbooks sit on a shelf in my living room.  One of them holds my unused page protectors.

If you're wondering, I use the White Signature Binders and the Clementine edition Journaling cards (although the new cherry edition looks super nice too!), along with a wide array of the photo pocket page protectors.

We are doing one small thing (almost) every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 39: Bath and Beauty Products

The Task: To reduce our bath and beauty products and to choose safer products.

The Why:  First of all, moisturizers are having sex in my linen closet.  It is the only possible explanation for why I own 11 different moisturizers.  Either that or people who don't know what to give me for Christmas or my birthday pretty much always give me moisturizers and lotions.  Maybe I look dry?

But seriously, there are a lot of weird ingredients in the products we are marketed and sold for the sake of beauty.  Go ahead and type some of the ingredients in any ordinary shampoo into the Skin Deep database and you'll see what I mean.

Maybe it's because I'm a bit of a skeptic when it comes to consumer and marketing issues, or because I don't own a television and haven't seen a cosmetics commercial since 2006, but I really think that it is kind of strange that we rub products that contain dubious chemicals all over our bodies in the name of beauty.

I would like to opt out of a consumer culture that is constantly trying to sell me (and my daughters!) the right products to make us all look like supermodels.  In fact, I know this is a little counter-cultural, but I want to embrace the idea of growing old with grey hairs and laugh lines.

Well, I do most of the time, anyways.

The How:  Since this project started we've been reassessing our products as they run out.  When a bottle of a certain product became empty we would ask ourselves if it was really necessary, and if so, what is the safest product we can find to do that job. We've been using to choose items that we feel are safe enough for our family.

Today I went through and disposed of products we won't be using (such as the absurd amount of yummy smelling moisturizers).  This is what we are left with:

This is every bath and beauty product we own!
  1. Shampoo.  We chose  Aubrey Organics Blue Chamomile Shampoo because it is currently the second highest rated shampoo on It's mostly just for the kids (since hubby and I have dreadlocks and wash our hair with soap).
  2. Soap.  We use Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap in Almond as a body wash.  Luke and I use it (diluted) to wash our dreads, and I've been using it to wash my face too ever since I ran out of face wash, and I am very pleased with the results. 
  3. Deodorants. Because of the available selection at our local stores, Luke and I settled for deodorants that were safer than many other options but still have some questionable ingredients.  In the future, we may order a safer product online or consider making our own, but for now these are a step in the right direction.
  4. Razors and Shave gel.  I've always been too cheap for shave gel, so I've been shaving my legs with just soap for at least 10 years.  I'm pretty sure Luke just buys whatever shave Gel is on sale.  We've both chosen razors with reusable handles because it seems awfully wasteful to throw away a perfectly good handle when all we really need is a new blade.
  5. Moisturizers and lotions and creams.  We kept three.  It's interesting to note that the regular grown-up lotions that we happened to have scored much better on both and The Skin Deep Database than either of the two "gentle" baby lotions we had!  We also kept a Bee Silk bar and some Sweet Almond Oil.
  6. Toothpaste.  We've been using Tom's of Maine Fluoride-Free Toothpaste for ages now and love it. My favourite flavour is Fennel! (My kids don't like the fennel flavour that much, but our bathroom isn't a democracy so I buy the fennel anyways!)
  7. Lip Balm. We are using a Peppermint Lip Balm by Made On Skin Care. It contains only 4 ingredients: coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax and peppermint essential oil.
  8. We also have plain ol' hand soap in our soap pumps. I wasn't sure if that counted as a bath and beauty product, so it's not in the photo.

Things we are happily doing without:
  • Specialty dandruff products.  We've discovered that an apple cider vinegar rinse can help with dandruff.  Put about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in the bottom of a 250ml mason jar, fill the jar with water, and slowly pour the mixture over your head.  Let it sit for a minute or two, and then rinse it out.  Although your hair will smell like vinegar when it's wet, I find the smell goes away once the hair dries.
  • Specialty kids' products.  I have found that kids products such as baby soaps and lotions and kids toothpaste almost always score worse for the safety of their ingredients than the grown up counterparts!

The Verdict:  The other day I had to go to the drug store for some razor refills and I was pleased to see how little I needed in that store.  It felt good to take my one little item up to the cashier and be in and out in minutes.

And I really don't think that our larger selection of bath and beauty products was really ever doing anything to make us cleaner or better looking. Between you and me, I think it's all just a scam....

We are doing one small thing (almost) every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Announcing The September Monthly Challenge: Eat Your Pantry Month!

Each month we encourage you to join us in our pursuit of radical simplicity by doing one small thing with us for a whole month.

The September challenge is a dare to eat your pantry!

If you are like us, you have things in your pantry that have been there a while.  Foods that have been sitting there for months (or years!) because we lack the imagination and creativity to turn them into dinner.

When I stand at the pantry door and exclaim that there is nothing to eat, what I really mean is that there is nothing I want to eat.

This month we are going to clean out our pantry the old fashioned way, by actually eating the food we have.  We expect to see our grocery bill to go down, and maybe even learn a thing or two about contentment while we're at it.

And by actually eating the food, we insure it won't come to the end of it's safe shelf life while still sitting on a shelf.

Obviously there will have to be some exceptions.  We don't plan to use up the almond extract of corn starch.  But the three different types of dried beans I've had for, well, um, ages?  We'll be eating them this month.  Even though I hate beans.  (Don't ask why somebody who hates beans has three types of them in her pantry...I can't explain it.)

Will you join us? Will you commit to eating those beans and lentils and split peas in your pantry this month?

If you're planning to take the plunge with us, I've made a banner (it's 300 x 300px) for you to display on your own blog.  Just cut and paste the code below.

<a href=""target="”_blank”"><img src="" /></a>


You can let all of your friends on facebook know that you are taking the challenge by visiting this photo that I've uploaded to our facebook page and clicking the "share" button!

Thanks so much for taking this challenge together with us! We can't wait!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 37: Downsizing the DIY Dreams

The Task: Downsize my pinterest boards to contain projects I really might actually do some day.

The Why:  Does anybody else feel like they have too much inspiration and not enough time?  Sometimes I get stressed out about all the projects I want to complete even though they are completely optional projects that shouldn't have the ability to stress me out at all!

Plus, I think sometimes pinterest convinces us to make something we really don't need or even really want, just because it's a neat idea.  Just because I can make a handbag out of my old tank tops doesn't mean I should make a handbag out of my old tank tops.  It isn't up-cycling if the finished project is clutter I don't need!

And the convenience of curating all the ideas and inspiration in one place lost it's actual convenience around the time my Pinterest pins exceeded 1000.  It was becoming easier to search Google for a new recipe than to find one I had pinned!

The How:  I created a few new boards and moved all my favourite pins into those few boards.  I left a couple boards alone, like my "recipes I've tried" board, which is uber handy when I'm looking for that peanut butter cookie recipe I know I tried but never got around to writing down.

I made a point of asking myself questions like "Does this project/idea/inspiration fit well with the life we're trying to live."and "Is this a project I may actually want to tackle in the coming year?"

The Verdict:  I went from 51 boards and 1477 pins down to 12 boards and 245 ideas I really think I might use someday. I was reminded of some great projects and recipes that had lost their appeal amid all the digital clutter.

By the way, you can check out my pinterest boards here, if you want!

We are doing one small thing (almost) every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

How is No Dryer Month Going?

We've almost made it.  The August monthly challenge, No Dryer Month, is over after next week.  And as I plan to share with you the September challenge in the coming days, I thought now would be a good time to check in and ask: How is no dryer month going?

Us?  We've loved it. mostly. There have definitely been a few humid and rainy days that I have wished I could just pop things in the dryer.  And we've had a couple toddler meltdowns over blankies that aren't dry for nap time, but other than that I don't miss my dryer much at all.  In fact, I really hope to continue not to use it, at least not on a regular basis, after this month is over.

So, for all you fabulous people who took the challenge with us, please take a moment to leave a comment and let us know how it's going!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 34: Dreadlocks!

I know that many of you are following along each day, trying to accomplish the tasks as we do them.   Consider this a day off.

I know it's not for everybody, but my husband and I recently decided to get dreadlocks!

The Why:  We have been trying a number of natural ways to wash our hair, things that didn't involve nasty chemicals.  We tried the baking soda and apple cider vinegar method and gave it a couple weeks because apparently your hair needs a couple weeks of a new routine for the PH to balance out or something like that.  We tried a shampoo bar and found it left an awful residue that made our hair feel heavy and dirty.  We bought an expensive natural shampoo that works nicely, but is just too costly considering how much hair we have. And both of us, for ages, have wanted dreads.  As we struggled against our hair to try and get it silky smooth without using any of the chemicals that make it silky smooth we finally just decided to get dreads.

I had dreadlocks when we met, and I spent weeks conditioning them and tediously washing and combing them out 7 years ago because I felt that it was time to start looking like a responsible grown up.  I am so over that.

Dreadlocks are a journey.  They are a practice in patience and contentment.  They take time to become what they are going to be, and in the mean time you just wear a lot of bandannas!  They are controlled chaos.  Instead of using products to get your hair to look a certain way, you just wash dreads with regular soap and let them do what they naturally want to do. I don't just love our new dreads, I love the idea of dreads.

The Verdict: I know that a lot of you have actual jobs that require you to look professional.  I know that this isn't for everyone, that many of you are shaking your heads right now and writing us off as crazy hippies.  But for us this is a letting go of what we think we ought to be.  For us, this is a stepping into freedom.

Besides, let's face it: Luke is a construction worker with a passion for organic farming.  He reads Joel Salatin and Wendell Berry and will go off on tangents about Monsanto and Walmart if you let him.  I am a tattooed homeschool mom who wears clothes I made myself and writes about giving away all our stuff....we weren't really ever in the running for normal anyways!

The kids, by the way, don't have dreads.  They are using Aubrey Organics Blue Chamomile Shampoo (It is currently the second highest rated shampoo on, a site that rates products according to their safety to our health, environmental effects, and social impact).  My five year old is asking for dreads, but we just aren't sure.  We've told her to ask again when she's six....

We are doing one small thing (almost) every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 33: Purging the Children's Toys

The Task: To limit the children's toys to the ones they really use and enjoy

The Why:  If you have young children, you know that kids toys seem to multiply in the toy bin.  When friends who are new moms ask which toys are best to buy for their kids I tell them not to buy anything, toys will mysteriously appear in their home and in a few years they will be looking around the living room asking "Where did they all come from?"

The How: First of all, I should point out that my kids have grown up with a mom who regularly reorganizes and declutters.  In our home, phrases like "less is more" and "when in doubt, throw it out!" are common.  So they are particularly good at purging and decluttering.  They know that getting rid of things they don't use actually makes the things they do use more fun. 

We starting by laying a blanket on the front lawn and taking every single toy outside.  We grouped toys together by type, throwing away anything irreparably broken as we went.

We decided that the favourite toys pretty much fit into 4 categories;  mega blocks, the tea party and dress up stuff, the trains and cars, and the playsilks.  With only a couple exceptions (including a small basket of baby toys), we are donating almost everything else.

Here is what we've kept:

Plus we have a drawer full of mega blocks by the kitchen.  This is a great way to keep our busy twins occupied for whole minutes at a time.

And we piled all of the dolls and stuffies on the living room floor and let the three oldest kids take turns picking an item to keep until our "stuffy basket" was full.  This turned out to be a fabulous way to do it, the kids all got a say in what was kept and the tangible limit set for them helped them to part with what was left over.

The Verdict: We got rid of one giant Rubbermaid bin heaping with toys as well as a recycling bag full of stuffed animals. All in all, I think we've reduced our toys by at least half.  My kids are pleased with what we chose to keep, and I am so pleased to not have to pick up/trip over/curse at a million toys every day. 

Also, it gave us an opportunity to discuss with our kids why we declutter.  We talked about not storing up stuff on earth, and about how too much stuff makes it hard to enjoy and care for and appreciate what we have.  We talked about kids in developing countries who are thrilled to receive one tiny shoebox full of toys each year, and how our own gratitude for how much we have should be demonstrated through generosity. 

Of course, our kids still have a ton of other things to play with.  We have craft supplies and board games, books, puzzles, and bicycles. We have a sprinkler and kiddie pool for hot summer days, and I let them use my loaf pans to make snow bricks in the winter.  They even have a swing set and a slide in the backyard, a fire pit for roasting marshmallows on cold autumn evenings,and a garden to tend and explore. These kids definitely are not suffering from a lack of things to do!
We are doing one small thing (almost) every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Day 32: Journaling

The Task: To start and keep a journal.

The Why:  I've never been much of a journal keeper.  I've tried, but I've always been so overwhelmed by everything I think my journal ought to be.  I get hung up trying to write the right words in beautiful handwriting with nothing scratched out or misspelled.  My perfectionism gets in the way.

But God is doing something big in us right now and I want to put it on paper.  I am the type of person who likes to make lists and mind maps, I don't feel like I fully comprehend something until I've brought pen to paper. And part of this project is to be more intentional, more aware, more authentic. Regular journaling sits well with those goals.

I was moved by this post.  It was inspiring and freeing to see a journal that was colourful, and creative.  I longed to have a time of reflection and creative expression as part of my morning ritual.

The How:  I'm using a notebook I already had and a great set of colourful pens.  I keep notes on what I'm thinking, reading and praying.  I make doodles and mind maps and lists.  I tear pages out and scribble over mistakes and I'll probably glue stuff into it sometimes too.

 I like to sit on the back porch in the morning with my journal and my bible and whatever book I'm currently reading. (Right now it's The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne.  I totally recommend it!)  I do this while the kids play in the backyard and the laundry dries on the line, and it's a part of our morning that we all look forward to.

The Verdict: Ann Voskamp describes her journal as "a place to place a day, so it won’t get lost in the dark."  That resonates with me.

 In the past, all my attempts at journaling have had a specific focus; a prayer journal, a journal for sermon notes or notes on a book I'm reading.   But that feels so contrived now.  The books I'm reading, the thoughts I'm thinking, the prayers I'm praying, they are all a piece of this journey I am on.

And I'm finding that taking some time daily to reflect on what is moving my heart and changing my mind is refreshing for this sometimes weary mama.

We are doing one small thing (almost) every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 31: Cleaning out the Inbox

The Task: I promise that tomorrow I won't talk about email.  But after yesterdays post about scheduling e-mail times I decided I should probably deal with all of the stuff currently in my inboxes.

The Why: The email I use frequently had 73 emails in the inbox; all stuff I had read and failed to do something with.   My other email, the one I use mostly for newsletters and people who still send me forwards of cats and midi music, had a whopping 764 emails in the inbox, largely unread.

I was still receiving regular emails from a big-box store that we resolved last New Years not to shop at anymore.  We haven't been to this store in 8 months, and have no plans to ever go again, but I didn't think to unsubscribe from their emails?***

I even still had my confirmation email from when I signed up for myspace.  MYSPACE!?  Wow.

The How: So I went through my emails, filed things into appropriate files, deleted a lot of stuff, and unsubscribed from a bunch of mailing list, including all the mailing lists that well meaning people had signed me up for against my will so that I could receive all those handy coupons and junk mail.  Oy vey.

Time Spent:  The whole thing took me about an hour, but only because my husband has the day off today.  If he were at work and I was alone with the children I'm pretty sure the project would've taken me a day and a half. 

The Verdict:  So now, each day when I spend time dealing with my emails, I can empty out my inbox. Stuff that may be needed for later reference can be filed in appropriate folders, and everything else can be deleted once I'm done with it. No more junk hanging over my head.  I have clean and happy email inboxes ready to be used for actual communication.

Now if only I could unsubscribe from cute forwards filled with pictures of cats...

***(I'm not going to tell you what store it is, but it rhymes with, um... Doll-Cart.  Just Sayin'.)

We are doing one small thing (almost) every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 30: Scheduling E-mail Times

The Task: To set a time each day to deal with e-mails efficiently.

The Why:  One of the things we are trying to accomplish this year is more intentionality in how we spend our time.  We want to be purposeful about where the minutes in our days go, and we want to be more present to those around us.

This is hard for a busy mama.  I am so accustomed to doing two or more things at once.  The problem is that my activities often suffer a little bit from not having my complete attention.  My e-mail inbox is a good example of that.

My e-mail inbox is one of the tabs set to open every time I open my browser.  Which means that even if I'm just turning on my computer to look up a recipe for dinner or check the weather report, I always have that little tab telling me whether or not there are any new e-mails to attend to.  And more often than not, there are.  But instead of waiting for a time when I can deal with the e-mail properly, I quickly skim it, and often mark it as unread so that I don't forget to deal with it later.

This is not only hugely inefficient, but also a whole lot of mind clutter!  It's like I'm inviting my work into every part of my day!

 The How: I am setting up two times a day to check my e-mail; once in the morning, and once during our afternoon quiet time.  I've removed my e-mail account from my homepage tabs, so that it no longer automatically loads when I open my browser.I have to actually go to my e-mail to check my e-mail.

This way I will only be dealing with e-mails when I have time to respond to them and archive them appropriately.

The Verdict: I already feel more free! And I believe that by scheduling times for tending to e-mails I will become better at promptly and efficiently doing so.

I considered having a third e-mail time in the evening, but I've decided that since the evening is when Luke and I spend our time together, e-mails can wait for the morning. 

And finally, I have one less thing to procrastinate with when I should be working on something else.  For example, I wrote this entire blog post without  once drifting over to my inbox... I think I just made personal history!

Do you have a scheduled e-mail time? 
We are doing one small thing (almost) every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 27: Decluttering the Kitchen (Part Two: The Minimalist-ish Kitchen Tour!)

Welcome to the longest post in the history of blog posts.  Don't say I didn't warn you...

As I mentioned yesterday, Luke and I have been working hard at radically decluttering the kitchen.  We are eager to embrace the less is more philosophy in this space that we spend so much of our time.

But I'm hesitant to call it minimalist.  We are a large family that cooks from scratch, entertains often (just last weekend we had nearly 40 people at our house for a birthday party!) and decorates cakes for fun...what is minimal for us would be excessive for many others.

We did try to eliminate multiple items.  We've really discovered that having one of what you need, washing it and putting it away is far more efficient than having half a dozen of them that could at any moment be in the drawer, the dishwasher, the sink or the counter top.  So we have one wooden spoon, one casserole dish (for a baptist homeschooling mom, one casserole dish is pretty radical!)  and one turkey roaster (Yes, I had two of them.  Don't ask....)

I'll confess that a few times I found myself wondering "would a minimalist have this?" and I had to remind myself what we're doing here.  It's not about roughing it or having some bare minimum list of essentials, but about only owning the things that are helping us to lead the extraordinary life we're choosing to lead. It's not about having less for the sake of less, but refusing to consume more for the sake of more.

So come, snoop through our maybe-sorta-kinda almost minimalist-ish kitchen.

We are keeping 1 casserole dish, 2 muffin tins, 2 cookie sheets, 4 cooling racks, a cast iron skillet, 2 pizza pans and a big beautiful woven trivet tray thingy.

I took a very scientific approach to deciding which  casserole dish to keep....I kept the prettiest one!

I suggested to Luke that we probably don't need to own chopsticks and he suggested that we don't need any silverware except chopsticks and I took that to mean that the topic was not up for debate.

In our cooking utensils drawer we have 3 knives and a knife sharpener, kitchen shears, a pizza cutter, a cheese grater, citrus press, 1 flipper, 1 wooden spoon, 1 ladle, a kitchen scale, a set of  measuring cups and measuring spoons and miscellaneous small tools like the vegetable peeler, can opener and meat thermometer.

We had a whisk too, but I broke it yesterday making buttertarts and discovered that a fork accomplishes the same task pretty well. 

I use dollar store cork tiles to keep things from slipping around inside the drawer.  This doesn't work if you slam the drawer, but if you're gentle it works quite nicely!

I finally have a baking drawer!  I've always wanted to put all my baking supplies together in one drawer but have never been able because I had too much stuff!

We have 4 mixing bowls, a dough cutter, a pastry blender, a set of biscuit cutters, 4 ramekins, 3 spatulas (probably a little excessive, but I like them all...), a funnel, some measuring bowls, tea towels for covering dough while it rises, and some cupcake liners.

That nifty white device is a whipped cream dispenser. You put cream in it and it comes out like store bought squirty cream but without all the weird additives. Which may seem rather indulgent but we are kinda whipped cream snobs;  in our 7 years of marriage we have never once purchased a can of processed squirty cream, and we wear that fact as a foodie badge of honour!

We kept only one frying pan, but it's a huge one! We also have a set of 4 pots (we keep two of them on the pot rack, along with a colander), a sieve, a steamer basket and a stick blender.  I heart my stick blender....

Some bbq tools and 3 flexible plastic cutting boards.

We didn't declutter the spices at all, but we probably should because I can't remember the last time I put marjoram in anything. Ever.

By streamlining the number of cake and dessert pans I own I believe I have also greatly streamlined the amount of curse words I will need to utter when retrieving my spring form pan. Just sayin'....

For small appliances I have a kettle and a french press coffee maker, a stand mixer (with some attachments), a food processor (with a blender attachment), a salad spinner, a toaster, a crockpot and a hand crank ice cream maker (which, um....we used three times last week...)

One thing we did that we should have done sooner is we got rid of all of the food processor attachments we never ever use.  We've been housing parts for years that we don't have any interest in using, just because they came with the food processor.  Ditching them was somehow freeing!

We have 2 tea pots because I have a favourite and Luke has a favourite and if we had tried to figure out which one to keep, one of us would have been sleeping on the couch.

I have everyday white dishes plus white china dishes that we use frequently.  When we have both of our families over for one of the kids birthdays we rarely need to use disposable dishes, so I consider our massive amounts of dishes to be a great thing!   The baskets hide the kids cups and baby bottles.

That cake plate on the top shelf is probably going to get donated to the thrift store, I just put it there for the picture because that shelf was empty....

All of my cake and cookie decorating supplies now fit in two labelled shoe boxes that I store in the pantry.

We also have a stock pot, a 22 x18 sheet cake pan, and a turkey roasting pan stored in the basement.

The verdict:  We are donating 4 diaper boxes and a laundry basket full of kitchen stuff!

 I think we will probably eliminate even more as time goes on.  There were a few things we were uncertain about, so we kept them tentatively in order to avoid a massive case of purger's regret sending us frantically to the store. 

After this experience I would say that emptying the entire contents of your kitchen for a big giant purge is A) a little bit crazy and B) a great way to do it.  After having the entire contents of our kitchen laid out to be seen all at once, neither of us has any doubts about whether or not we own enough stuff!

We are doing one small thing (almost) every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!