“My kitchen is way too small.” That’s what I thought about my apartment. When my husband and I bought our house, I was so happy to see that it was bigger than the kitchen in my apartment. When we moved in, however, the kitchen seemed exponentially smaller than it had at first. I never seem to have enough room for all my kitchen stuff!
Finally, when my husband and I started exploring minimalism, a realization dawned on me. The size of my kitchen was never the problem. The problem was how I used the space I had.
I have way too much stuff.
Any time I want to put up leftovers, I have to dig through plastic containers, glass containers, a mandolin slicer and its parts, a french fry slicer, and cabinets of other assortments for a container and a matching lid. When I want to throw a pizza in the oven, I have to fight through bread pans, stoneware, cooling racks, and everything else under the sun to find my pizza pan.
I have way too much stuff.
My cabinets, my counters, and my pantry are all in the same shape: packed to the brim. When this became the case, I ran into an additional problem: because the kitchen naturally looked so cluttered, it was easy to just toss additional things onto the counters that didn’t belong (if you read my post on the broken window theory, you can see how it applies in this situation).
I decided that things had to change.
The first thing I did was go through my cups, bowls, and plates. We got a nice set of all of those for our wedding, but we still had our crappy ones from college. We decided to keep our nice stuff and a few plastic cups. Everything else is in the pile for next weekend’s garage sale.
Pots and Pans
I had a good amount of pots and pans from college, my parents, our wedding two years ago, and purchases over time. I decided to keep two skillets, a saucepan, a stock pot, and my two cast iron pieces. Everything else was redundant, so it’ll be in the garage sale next weekend.
During one of my ambitious weekends, I decided that I was going to cook several nice meals for the week, then put them in individual portions in the fridge so we could have nice lunches at school and good meals at home. Naturally, I bought dozens of plastic containers. Guess how many times that happened? I think almost once. I elected to keep one massive container, five normal-sized ones, five baby-sized ones, and all five of my Pyrex ones. For containers, as well as the other aspects of decluttering my kitchen, I abided by the rule I mentioned several posts ago: if you’re not 100% sure you need it, and you can easily replace it for $20 or less, get rid of it.
This one was tough. I decided to divide these into three categories: frequent use, occasional use, and pieces I never use. I kept the things I use often and most of the things I use occasionally. All the things I never use are going in the garage sale next weekend.
Utensils and Tools
I came from a big family, so out of habit I keep extra ladles, spatulas, and similar items. I took an honest look at what I actually use, and got rid of what I didn’t need (or didn’t need more than one of). In order to save counter space, I went from keeping them in my tool-turn-about to keeping them in drawers.
I decided to sell most of my tools. I don’t really need the mandolin slicer, the french fry cutter, or half of the things I have. If it didn’t serve a practical use, and if I didn’t use it often, I got rid of it.
I ended up keeping most of my appliances. Not only are they handy, but they would cost more than $20 to replace. I kept my mixer, waffle iron, crock-pot, dehydrator, and bread maker. I went ahead and got rid of my popcorn popper, toaster oven (I decided it didn’t do anything an oven couldn’t do), and electric griddle.
When I got rid of my redundant or unnecessary items, I ended up with a lot of space in my cabinets. I decided to use this space for things that had been taking up counter space — flour and sugar containers, mixer, et cetera. In the end, my kitchen looked as clean and open as could be. I have plenty of room to cook. I even bought a plant for my counter!
The more decluttering I do, the more I enjoy it the results. The more I enjoy the results, the easier it gets. So far, Operation: Cut the Crap has been a huge success!
Which room of the house should we do next?