Kitchen Minimalist

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I’ve thought a lot lately about what it means for us to live a more minimalist life.

Minimalism is everywhere, and I hope that means Americans are starting to see the light: a bunch of expensive, excess “stuff” is never going to make us happy. I am not saying Mr. V and I don’t have a lot of stuff laying around – because we do! – but I am not especially attached to it unless it has real sentimental value to me.

(And hey, Mr. V, any time you’d like to get rid of those three broken computers we have, I’m all ears.)

JessieLeigh wrote the other day about how she is pretty minimalistic in the kitchen. And while I would probably call myself a minimalist in this area, too, I have every single one of the excess kitchen tools she listed: bread machine, garlic press, salad spinner, and even pastry bags. (Plastic ones, but I have the tools to go on them – a Pampered Chef find at the thrift store!)

Cheese Grater
source: Charlie Matters via Flickr

I think for me, as JL puts it, everything must “earn its space.” When your space is smaller, having pastry decorators might not be the best use of space. One of the greatest things about our apartment, though, is that I have a ton of cabinet space. And it houses items I use, often. Because I bake a lot of cupcakes for our dorm boys, the decorators come in handy pretty often. Items that I don’t use as often – that bread machine and salad spinner, the tupperware vegetable tray and cake carrier – are relegated to the laundry room shelves, where they are still easy to access but not taking up the prime real estate.

Today I pulled my cheese grater out from the dishwasher for the zillionth time. And I thought, maybe I should buy another cheese grater. Because I grate almost all of our cheese, and we eat a lot of it. I’m forever washing that thing or running it through the dishwasher.

But do I really need a second grater? No, I need to wash it when I want to use it. For me, that is minimalism enough. We don’t have one plate per person or anything, but our kitchen isn’t overflowing with duplicates just because we have the space.

So maybe that is my version of minimalism. Having what we use – whatever that may be – and being responsible with it. Maybe we don’t need stacks of DVDs we don’t watch when we can watch stuff on Netflix and Hulu Plus. Maybe we don’t need enough clothes to wear without washing for weeks; I need to do laundry more often.

Also like my pal JL, I am going to share with you a tool to help you get more use out of those kitchen tools you have. Our friend Tara from Feels Like Home compiled a great e-book of lists of uses for some of your kitchen paraphernalia, everything from a muffin tin to empty eggshells. Tara kindly hired me to copy edit her work, and I was astonished at how many of the tips I had NEVER heard before. I especially liked the idea to clean my kids’ stuffed animals with baking soda and the vacuum cleaner!

The book, Coffee Filters to Cheese Graters, is full of these great lists, plus tons of simple recipes and helpful tips. I enjoyed reading it as I worked and I think you would, too!

2 thoughts on “Kitchen Minimalist

  1. I’m the opposite. I never have the kitchen gadgets or tools I need! I mean, I have the basics – the VERY basics. But every time my best friend is with me while I’m making dinner, she finds one more thing she can’t BELIEVE I don’t have. It’s a wonder we ever eat here! 🙂

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