In my last kitchen post I shared our attack on the kitchen cabinets. After living with our purged kitchen for a couple of weeks, I can genuinely say that Dream and I feel good every time we prepare a meal. We have no more overstuffed cabinets and no more searching for things we need. Everything is easily accessible and right at hand when we need it. You can flip back to the Kitchen Purge if you’d like a refresher or if you missed that post.
Purge our Drawers
I left off at the point where we were ready to purge our drawers. Like we did with our cabinet purge, we started with the easy areas. This included the silverware drawer and the cooking utensil drawer. These were pretty easy, but we stayed pretty conservative on this go around. We may have kept more than we needed, but we use much of what is in these drawers, so we didn’t want to toss anything we might actually need and use.
We did toss five wine cork thingies. We rarely drink wine, maybe once a year. We kept one, but now that I think of how infrequently we use it, I’m going to walk back over there and toss that last one as well. We replaced some of our aging silverware with some new ones that we discovered during our cabinet purge.
In the utensil drawer we disposed of extras like spoons, spatulas, and whisks. We had a lot of duplication in that drawer. We do a lot of cooking, so we did keep a few duplicates since it’s a lot easier to have two large spoons when you have two pots of different stuff cooking. I read a post recently where the Tanja Hoagland of the Minimalist Packrat had gotten rid of the whisk and used a fork instead. I use a whisk a couple of times a month, so I decided to keep one (for now anyway.) Our utensil drawer isn’t completely minimalist, but it’s better than it was, and most of what remains gets used on at least a somewhat regular basis.
I get so excited about purging that I’ve been forgetting to take pictures. I did manage to snap a shot of the utensil drawer before and after the purge. I’m actually finding the pictures helpful because I can see in the after shots that I still have more that can be purged.
The Dreaded Junk Drawers
We saved our junk drawers for last. We have two official junk drawers and two that were hybrids with some junk and some stuff that logically needed to be there. So I guess you could say we had four junk drawers. Actually writing that down here, it’s easy to see how crazy that is. Four drawers full of junk that rarely and quite possibly never gets used.
We started with the junkiest of the junk drawers. We completely emptied it and put back things that we needed to keep. There wasn’t much from any of these drawers that ended up in the donate pile. Pretty much all of it that didn’t make the cut ended up in the trash.
We had screws, nuts, and bolts out the wazoo. I kept one set of drywall screws, and the rest went in the trash. We kept the scotch tape, shipping tape, stamps, address book, a pocket knife, and some other stuff.
Our second junk drawer held things like hair ties, our checkbook, and lots and lots of papers; receipts, business cards, and other papers that seemed important at one time. We trashed all the paper and some of the other miscellaneous junk.
Our third drawer didn’t have much in it, but did manage to accumulate some papers and a few other junky items. We kept a set of coasters, our spare batteries, and chip clips. You would not believe how many chip clips we have. These turned up at various points during our purge. We now have a drawer half full of chip clips. We kept them for now, since we use them a lot for chips, cereal bags, and pretty much anything else that comes in a bag and needs to stay fresh.
The fourth drawer was all junk. It wasn’t very full, but everything in it went in the trash.
One benefit of cleaning out the drawers was that it freed up one drawer for me to keep my keys, wallet, and cell phone in. This allowed me to move these items from the counter where they appeared as visual clutter, to a drawer where they are hidden from view. Dream loved that immediately, as she’s always asking me to clean that countertop space. Now it’s clean and out of site!
Our Big Purge has been a lot of work. That work is rewarding though. The whole family feels better when we get an area cleared of clutter, and paired down to only the items that get used frequently. The awesome thing is that, as we continue to purge, it gets easier and easier to let go of things.
I have a feeling that some of you reading this, especially if you are already deeply entrenched in your minimalist lifestyle, may be looking at some of the items we kept and thinking, “Why?” I’m with you on this, I’m thinking “Why?” myself. I am sure that some areas of our house will need a second and maybe even a third go-around. It is very hard to let go of some things. In some areas we have been able to really go all out with the purge, while other areas are not so easy. There are still emotional attachments, even to junk.
We gradually break those emotional attachments during the first purge. Those attachments continue to break and during the next go around I think we’ll be able to view things even more objectively. It’s already happening now and I think back to the coaster that we rarely use, the extra spatula, and the drawer full of chip clips. Sure we use these items, but not enough to clutter our kitchen with them, and not when we have duplication or alternative items that work just as well.
Stay tuned, we also work on the kitchen countertops, the office, and the playroom over the long holiday weekend. If you’re excited about following our journey towards minimalism, you should subscribe to the RSS feed and get new articles delivered directly to your email or your RSS reader.