What percent of your kitchen cookware and dishware could you get rid of and not miss? Could you do most of your cooking with a fraction of the stuff you own?
This is a question I'm thinking about while we are neck-deep in the process of moving to a new home. It occurred to me yesterday morning when I opened a cupboard and, for once, didn't see forty coffee mugs of various sizes jammed every which way. Instead, I saw just two. Our two favorite coffee mugs, plus one backup mug just in case. Laura had boxed up everything else the night before.
I'd normally have a series of choices to make at this point (Hmmm, let's see: the Hawai'i mugs? The Somerset Eye Care Mugs? The "You're 40!" mugs?), but on this morning, I didn't have to agonize at all over which mugs to use for our morning coffee. I literally had no choice! It was a relief.
This was tantalizing, so I opened another cabinet. And there, instead of our stash of twenty wine glasses, I saw only two. Our two favorites.
Amazingly, 70-80% of our stuff is gone, yet nearly everything I need is within arm's reach and easy to get to. There's got to be a lesson here, if I could just put my finger on it.
And it can't be just a coincidence that my desire to cook--which has gone AWOL for the past few weeks--instantly reappeared in this now-uncluttered kitchen.
(Permit me a brief tangent: before this move I smugly thought of myself as quite the minimalist. Sadly, that notion was horribly, horribly flattened under an infinity of boxes I personally lugged over to our new townhouse. Moving doesn't just suck, it crushes your illusions too.)
A final point. I've talked before about how there's an 80/20 Rule at work in cooking. Most of us do the majority of our cooking and eating on a small fraction of our equipment and dishes. The rest of our stuff collects dust, takes up space, or just gets in the way.
I guess I never thought how much further I could go to exploit this rule, and how much of a relief it could be to get rid of even more stuff in my previously-thought-to-be-minimalist kitchen. Of course, like any idea, it can be carried too far, but every household is highly likely to have plenty of items that are rarely or never used. Why not give them away to someone who will use them?
Which brings me back to my original question: What percent of the items in your kitchen could you get rid of--and not miss?
Today, when I opened my kitchen cupboards, I discovered that it was a much higher percentage than I thought. How about you?
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