Last week, my husband and I had a “Light Bulb!” moment (I am saying that in my best Gru impersonation). We occasionally chat on the computer during the day, and send photos and articles from our research that we think the other might find interesting. Often we are both sucked into the world of tiny homes and how people get rid of all but their necessities and live very happily in extremely small and awesomely designed spaces. During one of my searches on ways to get rid of excess ‘stuff,’ I came across the website becomingminimalist.com, and I was sold. I especially loved the nudge from his neighbor that made him realize that he wanted to be spending time with his family, rather than cleaning a garage full of their possessions.
Lucky for me, Jeremiah was on board, and we committed to working toward a realistic minimalism for our lives. For us, I know this won’t mean living without books or computers, and we will still enjoy our various creative hobbies. What it will mean is taking a good hard look at what we really need, use and enjoy in our home and lives, and eliminating the cluttering excess.
I started with the kitchen this week, because this is where it all happens at our house. I am not completely finished, but this is how I have gone about the process. I hope to post more progress throughout the week.
1. Take photos of your existing space (even inside the cupboards). Photos can help you look more objectively at your things and will give you some motivation to declutter. They also help you take a good look at how things are stored and used.
Spices and Baking Items:Before
Storage Containers and Misc. Cooking Items: Before
2. Make a list of your problem areas. Mine are: Spices, Storage Containers, Coat Rack, Shoe Basket and Countertops.
3. Take stock of what you really use, and how often you use it. Do you really need four spatulas, three wisks, and five large water bottles? Pick out the ones you use all the time, and donate the rest. Take a deep breath, and let it go.
Yay! The donation pile. Most of the stuff in the plastic bag came from the storage container cupboard.
4. Remove all items from the cupboards, wipe them down, and only put back what you use. I love using baskets or bins for their organizing benefits and because they look nice. Measure cupboards and items when looking for organizing systems to make sure it will actually help you rather than just clutter up space even more. It can be difficult to find containers to fit the 10 or 11 inch depth most cupboards allow.
5. Organize according to use. Don’t use prime shelving or cupboard space for items that are only used once per year. I use open shelves for everyday dishes, cupboards for baking items and container storage, and my base cabinet for the crock-pot, stock pot and dutch oven. I also just moved my mixer to the base cabinet, because I don’t use it often enough to warrant taking up prime real estate on the counter. Less frequently used items like the dehydrator, waffle maker, etc. go in the back part of the pantry. The pantry closet will be a
much later post, as we are designing a complete overhaul for our needs.
Spices and Baking Items: After
Storage Containers and Misc. Cooking Items: After
Base Cabinet: After. The mixer was added and a skillet taken away.
6. Remove things that don’t belong in the kitchen. Right now, I have a box for the garage, a box for the basement and a box for donating. I know this will be the step that I have to be the most vigilant about. You know, so the boxes don’t become a permanent part of the kitchen.
Are you interested in spending more time with your loved ones and less time stressing about clutter? I am incredibly excited to be going through our house one room at a time (the garage is not safe either, don’t worry!) and getting rid of the clutter that is adding unnecessary stress to our lives. I am also hoping this simplification of our lives has a positive and lasting effect on our kids. Join us on our adventure as we discover our unique way of living with less stuff!