i did some minimalizing around the house yesterday. i didn’t set out to find a minimalizing project, i was just looking for some dishsoap. but when i opened the cabinet door under the kitchen sink, i knew i had found my most recent minimalizing effort – cleaning solutions of all sorts, sponges, scrapers, and plastic bottles.

i followed my typical formula: pull out everything, create three piles (sell/donate/trash, relocate, return), reorganize, and complete. but for this project, i added one important step: test. that’s right! i took every product that we don’t use regularly and tested it before deciding to keep it. it’s amazing how many “specialized” cleaning solutions seem to do the same job as one multi-purpose disinfectant.

it took me one trash bag and about 45 minutes to complete the task. at the end, i had one new minimalized, clutter-free cabinet, a new understanding of our cleaning solutions, and one clean shower (the bathroom cleanser worked so good i decided to keep cleaning and finish the shower too).

my advice to my wife and to you – the next time you are about to buy a new, specialized cleaning solution in fresh-looking packaging, ask yourself if you really need it. and if you do, ask yourself how you ever kept it clean without it…

related posts: benefit #4 – easier to clean; i had to do something

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i have been working the past few mornings on minimalizing our basement/storage room.  it is a large room with tons (possibly literally) of storage from the past nine years of marriage, two kids, and four houses.  to date, i have collected over eight 33-gallon garbage bags of items to throw away/sell.  it’s been an overwhelming task and i have hit “the wall.”  the easy stuff is done – what remains is the pile of “questionables.” 

and i needed a break, so i chose an easier project this morning – cups.

it took me about 15 minutes to minimalize one of our kitchen cabinets – the one with glasses/mugs/cups/plates/bowls.  it doesn’t take too much brain-power to know which cups we use and which we don’t.  those we use, i kept.  those we don’t, i threw away.  i removed over 40 items from our cabinet and i love the result. 

i’ll let you know about the storage room…

a minimalist kitchen

June 27, 2008

i have been dreading the day that our journey to minimalism lands in the kitchen. so many gadgets in so many drawers and so many pots/pans/bowls on so many shelves – i have no idea where to start.

until today. i just found an awesome article at the new york times: A No-Frills Kitchen Still Cooks.  mark bittman, a professional chef, decks out an entire kitchen for $300 with every cooking utensil that you would need to cook like a pro.  not only does he list every utensil that you need, but he lists exactly how much to spend on it.  and i love his philosophy that “it needs only to be functional, not prestigious, lavish or expensive.”

it’s a must-read for anyone tired of their kitchen clutter.