I’m not the best cook. Gourmet meals don’t often grace our dinner table. The food served up in my kitchen tends to be pretty simple. Because it’s so simple, I don’t have a lot of kitchen gadgets. Not having a lot of gadgets is a really easy way to keep the cabinets and drawers clean, but even I had to declutter kitchen stuff.
At the start of the minimalism journey, we had three different (and old) dinnerware sets. Each set included plates, bowls, cups, and saucers. I’m not sure why we had so many when we used so few.
The first thing I did in the kitchen was to get rid of the three sets. I donated all of them, and then I went out and purchased a new set. The new set has eight large plates, eight bowls, and eight small plates. For our family of four, it is absolutely perfect. And I didn’t spend a fortune. I bought them at Walmart. I’m ok with that. I know some minimalist people are down on Walmart, but I chose to spend the big bucks elsewhere (you’ll see later in the post).
I didn’t worry about getting matching cups. I had a cabinet full of coffee mugs, and those are the type of matching cups you get with a dinnerware set. I didn’t need them.
With my plates and bowls finally under control, I moved to the cup cabinet. I donated over half of my coffee mugs, and almost all of our plastic cups. I saved a couple of plastic cups for lunchtime juice for the kids, and a couple for daily water cups for the kids. The rest went away – it was so wonderful to clear them out.
I don’t know why, but cups and mugs are the types of things that just multiply like rabbits. It is a constant struggle to keep those items in check! I replaced the yucky plastic with nice glass cups – the kind that will last and that don’t get funky after using them for a while.
I also tossed extra water bottles that were no longer getting used. We must have had ten water bottles just sitting in the back of a cabinet. They were old and gross… why do we hold on to stuff like that?
And then I moved on to pans.
I’ve always been one to just buy a cheap set of pans and use them until they were falling apart and no longer usable. This is not a recommendation I make to anyone. Because I aim to create a minimalist lifestyle, I finally bit the bullet and purchased good pans. Stainless steel pans. Pans with lifetime warranties. Pans that I was informed are the type of thing you end up leaving for your kids when you die.
I don’t know if that last part is true, but I do know that stainless steel pans are built to last and I seriously doubt I will ever have to replace them.
What I discovered when it comes to pans is that minimalism doesn’t really work if you are constantly replacing these things. What a waste! Spending a little extra (ok, a lot extra) means I get quality… lasting quality.
I’m willing to spend more now in order to not end up replacing things later.
I also replaced baking dishes that were cracking. I learned that ceramic looks pretty, but it isn’t always a great choice. It doesn’t last as long as some good ol’ Pyrex. Pyrex isn’t that expensive… but it is tough!
The rest of the kitchen is pretty standard. I have the same utensils that we’ve used for years. They were good when we bought them and they are good now. I have one crockpot, two pizza pans, and three cookie sheets (three different sizes). I have a cutting board and the same knife set I’ve had since I got married. It’s all very simple. I don’t buy kitchen stuff on a whim just to have it. Some people do, but if I’m not going use it, I avoid the purchase.
One last thing I did was to donate my cookbooks to the library. I kept three. I had an entire bookshelf full of cookbooks, and none were getting used. I think that’s what we call a fantasy self thing. My fantasy self cooks amazing meals with exotic ingredients. My real self throws some hamburgers on the grill and some fries in the oven.
Minimalism my way, in the kitchen cabinets, means being realistic about what I use. It means not filling up the space with things that will only collect dust and remind me of all the great meals I’m not creating. It means being real about who I am and the abilities I have, and creating a kitchen that reflects me. I’m no Martha Stewart, and I never will be. Rather, I’m an average mom with a very basic amount of cooking knowledge. I cleared out the clutter, stopped the repeat buying of cheap garbage, and left in my cabinets only those things which I find to be useful.