Thursday, 13 April 2017

Kitchen Purge

A kitchen purge is another of my favourite activities lately.  When my nesting habits were at their peak crockery was something I was highly attracted to and not only did I want to be well equipped to put on a beautiful dinner for ten people with all the required dishes, cutlery, glassware and serving pieces, I tended to be drawn to random finds in thrift shops so would end up with an large and eclectic assortment  as well as pieces that ended up being essentially decorative.  I do prefer the look of  open shelves and colourful crockery on display to a pristine, monochrome and everything hidden away sort of kitchen, but I am becoming less tolerant of clutter too so my definition of what is attractive and what is just too much is shifting.  Also, the reality of my life is that I do not make meals for or entertain ten people.  I do not entertain any people.  At most there may be one or two other family members and we are quite casual.  It only makes sense to be equipped for the life you actually live.  I began purging items from my kitchen a year ago. I am still purging and I thought I'd gotten rid of a lot already.  I had gotten rid of a lot. I am a bit embarrassed now by how much I had, how many boxes I moved into this place with and what I continued to add.

It's along way from prepared to host ten elegantly to casual meals for two but that's the reality of my journey.  The gluten-free and grain free way that I eat now has also eliminated much baking and certain types of cooking so various implements are also now not needed.  Getting rid of extra cake pans and duplicates in the kitchen tools drawer was fairly easy.  Getting rid of the pretty things is a bit harder so I don't force that on myself in the name of simplifying.  I wait until it hits me that I no longer love something, no longer believe it to be useful or beautiful.  In some cases I may still think it's an attractive item I just no longer feel an attachment to it. When I look at something and think objectively that yes, I like that but I no longer feel some sort of connection to it then it's time to let it go.

 At one time in my life I had a thing for jugs.  I still rather like them but I had accumulated quite a few, the way some people collect mugs or that salt and pepper shaker collecting craze of the seventies.  I Had visions of using these jugs regularly, serving the morning orange juice in a pretty jug for example but that's not reality.  I don't drink orange juice and there is no family breakfast table.  I like fresh flowers displayed in a jug, and in summer if I make sangria or lemonade it's nice to put that in a big jug but okay there, that's two jugs I can argue a need for.  There are seven remaining in my possession and while I like all of them they are sitting on a shelf gathering dust and this has come to outweigh any joy their appearance brings. 

I've selected three jugs to give away, as you can see in this photo of items I pulled off the shelves today.  These are destined for the donation box. 

The watering can and the brick of butter are not being donated, but everything else on this counter is.  It's a lovely soup tureen and I do make soup often but I do not need a tureen.  I've never used this one and have had it for seven years. It took me about five minutes to pull all of these items off the shelves and feel certain that I could give them up.  Large serving platters, extra wine glasses and mugs, some canisters and some cruets, a small tea pot in a green colour I love but which is quite useless as a tea pot.  When the moment comes that these things seem surplus to want and need it seems so obvious.  How could I not see it before.  But then I've felt that way about breaking up relationships too.  Yes, I did just compare tossing out unwanted crockery to tossing out unwanted boyfriends.

I definitely don't have a minimalist kitchen because I still have items surplus to what I use regularly.  I have a few duplicates, a few not yet used items I think I am still going to want and I have some things that I really like and am not ready to part with for now.  The irony is that other than a home I rented for about four months, this is the largest kitchen I've ever had.  I quite like the counter space and the room to walk around but I have more cupboards than I can fill.  About a year ago I took the doors off the upper cabinets to see if I would like living with open shelving.  While the doors are in excellent shape the cabinet cases are terrible.  They are cheap looking and ugly, not the older solid wood type that one might paint and use as open shelving.  I intend to take them down and replace them with more attractive open shelves but the reality is that I don't actually need half of them.  I'm pondering what to do about that, whether I want to leave empty wall space or put up shelves I don't need.  I could more thinly disperse the crockery I do have and put some plants on the shelves too.

My plans horrified my mother, who said this sounds too radical to be suitable for resale value.  Since I don't have any plans to sell my home in the near future I am prepared to take that risk.  If I need to sell I can buy some new cheap upper cabinets that can be someone else's problem after I am gone.  For now, while the ugly cases are still there, I also have on display some of the items I am not yet ready to part with.

The task this weekend is to get some boxes and pack up the items for donation carefully with some newspaper to protect them.  Everything is in pristine condition and it would be a shame to let it get chipped or cracked on the way to the charity shop.

There will be future purges in the kitchen, I am certain.  For one thing, I have a supply of alcohol that I don't drink.  I have no idea what to do with that and may end up pouring it down the drain.  I'll see if I've got any local friends who want it before I get that drastic.

Nobody is going to walk into my home and mistake me for a minimalist.  It's simply not my aesthetic style.  I still like a home that feels cosy and has personality and to me a minimalist home has none of that.  I will have just insulted any minimalists by saying that but I assume it goes the other way and that my home would seem cluttered to a minimalist and not restful because of that. 

Easy Kitchen Purging Tips:

Duplicates or Multiples?  Pick your favourite and get rid of the rest.

Haven't used it in a year?  You probably don't need it.  Give it to someone who does.

Don't know what it is or what it does?  Into the donation box it goes.

You won't be ready to get rid of everything that is surplus.  Be patient with yourself and review and purge again in a few months or keep a box in a cupboard that you can put items into one at a time as you reconsider them.  I still have too many jugs and a small collection of glass vases even though most of the time I put flowers into the same green jug because it's my favourite.  I'm not ready to let go of any of those things yet but the time may come.

The next kitchen job to tackle is my spice cupboard. 

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