So far in our Big Purge we have purged our walk-in closets, our bathroom, our master bedroom, and our kitchen. The kitchen has been the biggest undertaking so far. In a way I expected this, but in a way I didn’t. Before we started I knew there were a couple of clutter areas in the kitchen. We had a couple of junk drawers, a massive pile of Tupperware in one of the cabinets, and a variety of items spread out on the countertops. I never really considered the rest of the kitchen to be much of a problem.
Summary of our Kitchen Progress
As we tackled each cabinet one by one and as we moved from drawer to drawer, it became obvious that the kitchen is a major collection point for junk. It makes sense, there are so many storage areas hidden in drawers and cabinets, it is an easy place to lose track of items. Also, for some unknown psychological reason kitchen knick knacks, whatzits, and doo-dads are amazingly attractive to consumers. It’s like an unending quest to make cooking easier with the latest gadgets, but these gadgets end up creating clutter, which ultimately makes cooking harder since you have to dig past all those gadgets to get to the essentials.
We’ve spent a total of five days attacking kitchen clutter. Not full days mind you, but an hour or two or three on each of these days. We spent one day on the easy cabinets and easy drawers. One day on the hard cabinets. One day on the junk drawers. One day on the pantry. And, one day on the countertops. Each time we came out with at least one bag of trash and a pile of items to sell or donate.
Thinking back on my experience in the kitchen, it might be a good exercise to imagine the space without any doors on the cabinets or fronts on the drawers. I think a truly minimalist setup would be pleasing to the eye even without doors or drawer fronts.
The Pantry Purge
About a month before we began our Big Purge I cleaned out our pantry. I went through and removed expired items and organized like items. I also threw out some things that we hadn’t used in a while. As I approached the pantry with my new Big Purge Minimalist ideals, I found that even after the cleaning a month earlier, there was still a lot to purge. This is a good illustration of how cleaning and purging are two different animals.
Let me share these pictures to give you a better idea. Here is a picture of our “clean” pantry followed by a picture of our “purged” pantry.
The main items of note here are the cookbooks on the top shelf and the cleaning supplies on the shelf below. Dream is a wonderful cook. Being a stay at home mom has allowed her the time to practice and experiment. During this experimentation we acquired a large number of cookbooks, cooking magazines, and recipes printed from the Internet.
During the purge we set aside any cookbooks that she hasn’t used in the last six months or so. Than we flipped through the ones she had used and eliminated any that weren’t up to our culinary expectations. We kept the cookbooks that had our favorite recipes, and ones that had beneficial tips that we use for reference.
One thing we discovered as we went through our collection of cookbooks is that most of our favorites didn’t come from a book at all. She found most of our favorites on the Internet, and those were printed and neatly organized in a little red three ring binder.
After the purge we may revisit this area and transfer our remaining favorites from the cookbooks to the three ring binder. This would keep all our favorites in one easy to access spot.
Here are some close-ups of the cookbook and cleaning supply shelves.
Like our experience in the bathroom, we also had a good collection of cleaning supplies in the kitchen. These are all stored in our pantry, out of reach of our four year old daughter. We trashed a majority of these half used bottles, and kept only the ones used on a regular basis. The cleaning supplies we kept were returned to the shelf and placed in a single line so that each could be easily found and removed without digging through other items.
Here is a look at the ridiculous pile of cleaning supplies.
Throughout the rest of the pantry we simply decluttered, removed duplicate items, and disposed of things that we don’t regularly use. This project was definitely made easier by my earlier cleaning of the pantry.
Of all the cleaning in the pantry, I am most pleased with the cookbook cleanup. Prior to the purge, every time I reached for a cookbook I had to search for it, and then be careful that the rest of the stack didn’t come down on my head. Now it’s much easier to find the desired cookbook and I no longer worry about a potential avalanche of books.
Have you gone through your cookbooks? Do you have some cookbook or pantry decluttering stories that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!
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