There is a new phenomenon in our world: tidying!
Everybody knows about tidying. I’m pretty sure we all remember vividly this somewhat boring & time-consuming task – never ever liked -, but wait… Tidying is no longer an ordeal: Marie Kondo entered the stage & sold millions of her book about how to get happy when tidying!
Here is „her bible“*:
„Tidying“ is intimately connected w/ „decluttering“ – another buzz word spreading throughout the Internet. All of a sudden lots of people think that tidying/decluttering may help them get their lives under control, save money, make them happy… whatever else…
My blog is – mainly – about food & cooking & baking: all happens in the kitchen… So: what about tidying & decluttering your kitchen? In order to start over w/ new ideas for cooking/baking & having more fun?
Before I ever read Marie Kondo’s book (or even better: before the book even was written…) once in a while I met a point in time when I realized that my kitchen was too small, that there weren’t enough cupboards, that the kitchen shelves were too limited. I just had too many pots & pans, too many equipment of any kind – especially electrical gadgets (not to mention china, glassware, cutlery…).
I’m honest: lots of my „kitchen & dining equipment“ often came unexpectedly as presents from family & friends, however, lots of equipment seemed useful to me when roaming one of these glamorous kitchen & housewares shops in department stores etc.
Finally I asked myself: which kitchen equipment do you really need?
Monitoring „real life” cooking & baking in my kitchen I noticed that quite a good deal of my pots & pans etc. – especially of my smaller or bigger electrical kitchen helpers – had a very lazy life coming into action only once a month, once a year or so (…& hence I stored all these which I used only „once in a year or so” somewhere in the basement.)
In addition I noticed that some equipment needed always a thorough – time-consuming! – cleaning after having been used (especially if not being able to put it in the dishwasher) so that I reconsidered a replacement by other means. (I remember vividly an electric juicer which had to be disassembled & cleaned at once after usage – otherwise all parts messed up w/ the sticky juice & it became a hell of cleaning afterwards. Fortunately often I could rely on my old classic lemon squeezer or my blender…)
Eventually I decided that I won’t need a lot of sophisticated equipment with – as a rule – very limited use. Also I won’t need any equipment which needed a good deal of attention after its work was done.
Having this in mind I discovered that on the other hand there are some (simple) kitchen gadgets covering quite a range of activities… I won’t go into details now because recently I stumbled upon a post by Chocolate & Zucchini about “The Minimalist Kit for the Beginner Cook“.
When scanning the post I realized that almost all of these items were in my kitchen… & that only a few more beyond these lounged around – demonstrating that some simple basic equipment works for almost all occasions.
Next to kitchen gadgets are the supplies. How much space do we really need for storage?
It’s never a bad idea to store pasta & sugar & flour… However, keep it simple. When reading my 101 you’ll get the idea – I think – of limiting yourself to very few types of the same staple foods when cooking/baking. For example: I always use all-purpose flour for any „sweet” baking – no experiments w/ other types: therefore I only have in store all-purpose flour!
For the record:
Yes – sometimes I get a present, sometimes I stumble upon a new recipe asking for another special type of flour, but I always try to consume it up fast.
So I learnt to minimize my storage by reducing to a minimum variety especially concerning basics like pasta, rice, flour, sugar, oil etc. When buying „something special“ in case a recipe asks explicitly for it I try to use all of it for my planned meal or consume any leftovers fast – as already stated. And I’m also rigorous concerning dumping as soon as the use-by date is near. It’ll save you a lot of space in your kitchen pantry.
When summing up it’s like:
- Use all kitchen equipment which you own (i. e. discard any equipment you don’t need or use or which has become unusable)!
- Don’t fall under the spell of any showpieces!
- You’ll need no stockpiling especially concerning china or glassware!
- Cook simply & clear the leftovers from your pantry as soon as possible.
- If a recipe needs a very special ingredient (usually expensive!) think twice if you really need to buy it (or if there is a substitute – maybe even sitting in your pantry)!
- If you bought something wrong/unnecessary/exotic or got some alike presents just discard them!
Coming back to Marie Kondo: I admit that – although I thought about tidying/decluttering my kitchen before – Marie Kondo helped me a lot to do a real deep cleaning & decluttering:
- 1st step: get rid of all equipment which is „a little broken“ or unusable or beyond repair!
- 2nd step: ask yourself: „Does it spark joy?“ (It’s Marie Kondo’s signature question!)
(Maybe… concerning kitchen equipment ask yourself also: when was the very last time I needed it & really used it…).
What else about Marie Kondo & her world-famous KonMari Method?
(Which is extreme in every respect – I think!)
Her book is quite enthralling & if you are honest w/ yourself you know that your home is cluttered… always… never-ending-story…
I admit that it takes some courage to start. I did somewhat tidying my clothes & got rid of all damaged clothes (easy!), all worn out clothes (also easy – you’ll never need as many shirts for any workout as you’ll pile up next to your fitness equipment), all old-fashioned things (not so easy: although I was pretty sure I’ll never wear again… most of these were rather new!)… I was happy when my wardrobe got some air to breathe… although I’m sure that there is more decluttering waiting!
Marie Konto provides for you a detailed process how to do thoroughly tidying & decluttering – and covers all the loopholes you are comfortable with… It’s always „Does it spark joy?“ in the end…(Read the book!)
From my clothes I went to books, CD & DVD… Fortunately today you may store a lot online… Then there is our small office w/ lots of shelves & drawers… Finally the basement…
I started a continuous tidying/decluttering activity (despite the angry glances of my better half!) in order to get a free & easy & calm mind in a tidied/decluttered home!
Once again Marie Kondo’s „bible“*: