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!
Marjoram - zuchinni soup. Amazing.ReplyDelete
Gah, your kitchen always looks so beautifully clean! Good job. :)ReplyDelete
I think it's interesting to see other people's kitchens. I love that you consider a whip cream thingy to be essential, which I don't think I'd ever need. But I don't think I'd survive with only one skillet. There are times I've got every stove burner turned on, drying my cast iron skillets. I threw away my springform pans recently...they got rusty, and I never used them, so out they went. But I don't know how in the world you can survive with almost six kids and only one basket of kid cups! I've got only two still using plastic cups, and I use one half of a whole cupboard shelf for those things!ReplyDelete
Nice work! I loved your comment about whipped cream- we are total snobs about it also and have the same dispenser :) I noticed that your toothpicks are in an egg cup and I was so happy for that idea because I knew I didn't need my egg cups since I pretty much never have soft boiled eggs but they are so cute! So I kept my favorite of the four I had and got rid of my ugly toothpick holder! Yay! I need to get rid of my non-used spices too...ReplyDelete
It turned out great!!! You are not only brave, but an inspiration. I do have to admit my husband hates that I am following you because every time you post something I say "no seriously let's just get rid of everything".ReplyDelete
Wow, seeing it all so uncluttered is ... I don't know, refreshing! It makes me want to take a deep cleansing breath. We are moving in about a month and I want to somehow quickly go through everything we own to avoid bringing clutter into our new home. Love, love, love your blogs. Keep up the great work!ReplyDelete
This might be a little helpful for you.Delete
When we bought our first house 2 years ago I packed like this, boxes went to the new house, black bags were trash, and white bags went to Good Will. When moving day finally came all of our wonderful family and friends knew what went where(I was 8 months pregnant so we had a lot of help). I found sorting as I went to be very very helpful.
Our family moves quite a bit (about every two years), and I've found that I purge twice. Once while I'm packing and once while I'm unpacking.Delete
If you're packing yourself, then you are really doing yourself a favor to purge!
We've found that when we stay in a home more than two years, each of us feels the need to purge at about month 24. It is just so freeing!
Good luck with your move!
I am so inspired by your blog and the idea of living with less! I have started to look at my life and evaluate what we truly need and what we can do without. I look forward to continuing to read your posts and become inspire of new and exciting ideas to live life with less stuff and with more meaning. Thank you for the inspiration, JenniferReplyDelete
When I saw you only had one set of measuring cups I have to say I cringed just a bit. I have two sets and often that is not enough, I find myself washing them during my bake-a-thons. Sounds like you also bake a fair bit, how do you manage with just one set?ReplyDelete
And I have to tell you, your my new hero! I'm following along with you and can not believe how much 'stuff' we have and how much of that 'stuff' is going to good will. And as strange as this may sound, finding out your from Ontario (as am I) made me sit up and pay more attention to your posts. Not sure why but glad it did. :)
Hi Judy! I don't think I've ever had more than one set of measuring cups...so I guess I'm just used to washing them. I normally have a sink of hot water while I cook or bake so that I can wash as I go...that helps.Delete
Thanks so much for reading the blog and following along! :)
I keep a one cup in the flour, 1/2 cup in the sugar, 1/4 in the brown sugar. That way you don't have to wash all the time.Delete
I am noticing a lot of Pampered Chef products.ReplyDelete
Loving this blog. I look forward to your updates every day. We started a major purge just days before you started this blog. Although we don't consider our home cluttered, it is AMAZING how much stuff we've been housing for no good reason. It's been a long almost four weeks but I'm in the home stretch now. Two rooms left and then the fun stuff begins. I only wish I had kept better track of how much has left our home. Put it this way, the 30 (yes, 30) 20 gallon rubbermaid containers only held about 1/3 of the items I have purged. What can I say, I'm really good at organizing LOL Looking forward to tomorrow's post. The kitchen looks great!ReplyDelete
It looks great but one casserole dish?? I would die. I frequently make lasagna, peach cobbler, and a breakfast cake all in one day. :) I have two and sometimes I wish desperately for a third... So inspired by all you've done!ReplyDelete
Put marjoram in homemade chicken noodle soup. Yum!ReplyDelete
You are giving me lots of ideas on what I should purge from my home!
I have really enjoyed following your journey. I have been on the same one and I can actually feel a sense of peace in my house. I actually have empty walls, drawers and shelves now. I used to think my house wasn't big enough and now I realize I just had too much stuff! I noticed that you have a salad spinner. I got rid of mine several years ago. I just put my washed greens in a pillowcase and swing it through the air while standing on my back deck. It's actually a great stress reliever.ReplyDelete
Wow, what a cool idea about the pillowcase! :)Delete
You are an inspiration. I am looking at my stuff with fresh eyes now- and gettin rid of a bunch of it. A couple questions:ReplyDelete
Do your kids just use normal bowls? I've got plastic bowls and plates and kids silverware alon with the plastic cups. Of course our dishes are all glass so that may make a difference. Do your kids stay out of the kitchen drawers? I am always amazed to see knifes in drawers- my 2 year old son would be testing them out. And what about that ice cream maker- is it easy to use? What brand is it? We love ice cream, but not the ingredient list on most ice creams!
Yes,my kids use normal bowls. We have a couple small plastic ikea bowl in with the cups too. My kids know to stay away from the knives....they reach into the silverware drawer to get their own utensils, but they've never touched the knives. The ice cream maker is a second hand Donvier. I'm pretty sure it's at least 25 years old! But it is easy to use and works well :)Delete
Thanks so much for reading the blog and taking the time to comment!
Yesterday my 4 year old helped me clean out two double cupboards. Each one only took 20 minutes. The only one left is the Tupperware storage.ReplyDelete
Don't think you have to have all day to purge-just do one a day.
You might be interested to know that you can use your food processor to cut butter into pastry and biscuits. I use it for pie crusts and biscuits every single time. You just use the regular blade and cut the cold butter or shortening into small cubes first. Eliminates the pastry blender thingy!ReplyDelete
I think I will try this method. I remember when we remodeled our kitchen a few years back that we had so much stuff I couldn't believe it. But we just put it all back dutifully. Time to try again, I think. A good rainy Saturday task.
Also: If I need a strange spice that I rarely use, I just go to Bulk Barn and buy what I need for the recipe. I actually find they have a better spice selection than the store.Delete
Love all your posts on this blog, but this post made my thrifty decluttering heart flutter! :) Love how roomy your drawers are without the extras. I do this to my kitchen every couple years, but I think it's time again!ReplyDelete
Your kitchen looks so spacious!ReplyDelete
I totally need to go through my kitchen utensils drawer...
Dear Kelly, I am (still) oh so much with you on your project! I have really started to declutter stuff in little tiny steps. I only have two bathrobes now instead of 4! :-) We are not rich at all, we just have too much room. And a family of hamsters who collect china and silver which they pass on to me to pass it on to my kids - and I don't have the guts to refuse or (much better) just sell it right away. I have moved with my grandmother's ugly engagement china packed into a box so often that half of it is broken by now and I still don't have the heart to just dump it. :-(ReplyDelete
But I will keep following this blog and feel encouraged by it and keep getting rid of one little thing each day!!!! Thank you for that!
I have an issue though: Marjoram is a wonderful herb! Have you ever stewed cucumber and sausage together? If not, try it, and use marjoram with it! It also goes with green beans, peas, and lentils. Did you know that oregano is part of the marjoram-family?
If you have not used it for a while though, you'd better just dump it. Dried herbs don't last for much longer than 6 months, they lose most of their taste (and medical effect) after that.
Thank you so much for inspiring. After seeing your post, we made a plan to declutter our home over the next 4 months so by Christmas we should have a clutter free home. I love the idea of the spices in the drawer.ReplyDelete
I have been following your blog quietly since the second posting and while I haven't done anything drastic, yet, you are inspiring and encouraging me BIG TIME!!! My husband and I were married in March and we found ourselves trying to combine two fully equipped homes into one. I decluttered lots of stuff but there is so much more that we could do to simplify our lives and that of our, soon-to-be, 7 children (he has 4 adult kids, I have 2 preteens and there is now a baby on the way). THANK YOU for sharing your story...and for helping me see just how much stuff I DON'T need!!ReplyDelete
My kitchen is "minimalist" compared to most Americans, but you've inspired me to get up and go through it right now. I can think of at least 5 things I don't need before I've even gotten out of this chair. But I do hear a whipped cream dispenser calling my name!ReplyDelete