Culling the kitchen

Assorted items that did not make the cut. Including the blue pan I love but cannot just

Assorted items that did not make the cut. Including the blue pan I love but cannot justify.

The kitchen-stuff-minimization project is mostly complete, and I have to admit, it was fun. I have been needing an excuse to do this for ages. It is so easy to hold on to stuff you never use just because you have it. Donating or finding a new home for things is work, and so you shove them in the back of a drawer and convince yourself you need them.

No more.
I have set up a “minimalist” test-kitchen within my kitchen, as a bit of a pilot-project. It is s till a few months before I move, so I want to make sure I haven’t either thrown out things I need or kept things I don’t need before I finalize my plans. So the cupboards on the far wall of my kitchen are the test-kitchen, with all dishes I plan to put in storage or have not yet given away in the other cupboards and drawers.

To help this make more sense, I should say that before I even entered the kitchen I spent two days doing research. With the help of my friend Google I looked up blogs and websites about minimalist kitchens (faves included this, this and this), so get some idea where to start. There is a lot of info out there. I knew I wasn’t looking for the “use a spork to eat out of your camping dishes” kind of minimalism (like this - OK, there was no spork, but still not for me), but I did need to cut a lot. After much reading I prepared a list of what I intended to keep:

  • 3-4 pots, varying sizes
  • 2 frying pans, varying sizes
  • 1 each of lasagna pan, loaf pan, baking sheet, pie plate, etc.
  • Basic cutlery set, plus steak knives
  • Knives: Chef’s knife, utility knife, paring knife, plus shears
  • 1 each of wooden spoon, slotted spoon, spatula, various cooking tools
  • 3 piece mixing bowl set plus 1 glass salad bowl
  • Assorted Tupperware/storage pieces
  • Slow cooker, rice cooker and food processor
  • 8 dinner plates
  • 4 each of salad plates, bowls, coffee mugs, dessert bowls
  • 4 drinking glasses, 2 pint glasses, 4 wine glasses
  • Assorted utensils: corkscrew, bottle opener, measuring spoons and cups, etc.

So… in other words… not particularly “minimalist” at all. Except that my kitchen contains that 3-4 times over.

Setting these aside left a pretty big pile of stuff to sort through. What was going out for good, and what was worth putting into storage? On the chopping block were various single use appliances: popcorn maker, espresso machine, waffle maker, plus the blender, toaster, kettle, etc. Also gone are all the extra utensils: the extra wooden spoons (I had about 6), the second set of measuring cups, various things I couldn’t even find a use for. A cheese plate. Extra dessert bowls. An assortment of extra mixing bowls. And so much more. Many items sold, and still two boxes of stuff on the table to give away.

Being packed away until I have a full kitchen again are: 8 x cups and saucers and 4 x salad plates and bowls. And the entire china set, which I love and will not get rid of but can’t bring with me. Plus the second baking sheet, muffin tin, lasagna pan, etc.

This is what my (usable) cupboards now look like*:

DSC_0518

DSC_0519

DSC_0521

DSC_0522

DSC_0523

I plan to be in my new home no later than June, so for the next few months I will be testing out my cooking only the items in the list. This is not exactly a hardship. Everything I need is there (or so I think). Still it will be interesting to see how it goes, and how accustomed I have gotten to having more dishes than I know what to do with. Wish me luck.

* Slowcooker was in use, not in picture. Food processor still in box, bought to replace the blender we just sold, on the presumption that we will use it more. Also, changed my mind about the mixing bowls. While the plastic ones pictured have lids and are thus multi-functional, I prefer the stainless steel set, and so swapped them out.

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