The following is a guest post from Andrew Odom on how to declutter your kitchen. Take it away Andrew!
I grew up in a kitchen where social status was measured in tupperware containers; the more you had, the better cook you were. My mother never met a Pyrex she didn’t like. Later in life I went to work at my aunt’s gourmet kitchen supply store eventually developing my own love for kitchen gadgets, machines, and “clutter.” But times are a changing and Crystal and I have learned that less is more and that even the most difficult dishes can be prepared with the essentials.
Let’s be clear though. Decluttering a kitchen is a big job. There are so many areas of a kitchen to focus on that it can be instantly overwhelming. Before anything I suggest breaking the job down into more manageable tasks. So today I want to talk about target area #1 (and possibly the most difficult) – the kitchen drawers! We all have them. There is the silverware drawer, the serving drawer, the “junk” drawer, the towel drawer, and even the lid drawer.
When we moved into the Bungalow and again established our own culinary cave, we had a fair amount of boxes (many being unopened wedding gifts), some pieces from my bachelor days, and just about two of every cool gadget sold at the local box store. We spent almost three solid hours working on just the contents of our two, new, unchristened drawers. There was more coolness than kitchen!
Looking at things through the eyes of a relatively new minimalist gives an entirely different perspective on such a task. Instead of asking, “How many of these should we keep?” we started asking, “Do we really need to keep this?” It’s a small difference, I know, but it gave us a totally different starting point. One instance began with the assumption we would keep something as long as it wasn’t old or broken and we had room for it. The second question seeks to determine if it’s necessary and if we could manage without it. (Is a coffee pot that important to our morning? Is a microwave worth the space it takes up? Should we get a toaster oven?)
We knew that we would be cooking only about half of our meals in the Bungalow as in our latest communal living situation we eat dinner with four other people each week night. And because Crystal enjoys it so, most of our cooking is done from scratch or with a number of freshly prepared ingredients. It’s much cheaper, it’s certainly healthier, and it’s not usually too much added effort to scale up a recipe you were already making anyway. Needless to say, letting go of kitchen gadgets was somewhat challenging since we (okay, me) use them a lot. But when we reflected on the our decision to only have a 4-piece table setting with equally numbered silverware, we figured we could make do with a lot fewer gadgets and utensils.
5 Tips on How to Declutter Your Kitchen (or the aforementioned target areas):
- Start by throwing out anything old, broken, or rusty.
- Prioritize by picking out the items you use 95% the time.
- Pick up every remaining item one at a time and determine if it is used often enough to justify keeping it. Ask, “Would I buy it again?”
- Isolate items with only one purpose. See if you have another tool that could perform it’s function and get rid of the unnecessary tool.
- Finally, give everything a home, place similar items together, and space items out so they’re easier to see.
Now that baking season is upon us we are beginning to realize that we can probably make another pass and pass on even more things. Do we really need a talking digital thermometer? I am pretty sure my grandmother just watched the cakes and cookies to see when they were done.
What about your drawers? Can you open them? Are they so full of “clutter” you don’t even know what is in them? Have you recently scaled back? And as always, leave a comment, or share this post on Facebook or Twitter by clicking the ‘Like’ button!
About Andrew Odom: Bigger does not always mean better. Progress does not always mean forgetting our roots in order to forge a new future. Blogger, photojournalist, tiny house enthusiast, and hobby farmer Andrew Odom has spent much of the last few years rediscovering the lost art of living, growing, and being truly happy. Visit him online at www.tinyrevolution.us.