Friday, October 26, 2012

Minimizing the Kitchen, Part II

An update on what I've done so far.

I'm doing as much as I can to eat down the food that we have - one week, the grocery bill was a record low of $50 (usual is $150). I have consolidated roommate's food and glasses into on cabinet, and the same with my baking and Japanese food ingredients. I still have lots of extra kitchen stuff, but I now have the majority of the food actually in the kitchen. The pantry has 'doubles', hot chocolate, and the sweets that they want and I don't. It is also now holding a boxed set of china that had been in my clothes closet.I also went through my supplies of canning jars and reduced it to what I actually have room to store. This has been a big help.

Things that I have planned on going to DD when she moves out are being kept. She'll get some nicely seasoned cast iron skillets, probably some Corningware, some glasses, not sure what else. I don't mind keeping in a few extra years, and she'll get set up well from the get-go. Unlike me, using crap skillets because I couldn't afford anything else. There was a good reason I asked for Revere Ware pots for college graduation! I'm still using one that is going on 40 years old and good as new, from my mom's wedding gifts.

When the coffee pot died, I didn't replace it - I am actually fine drinking instant coffee, and no one locally has the kind of coffee machine I want. The additional space in the kitchen helped my organize the front closet, as stuff that was in there but belonged in the kitchen was able to put away correctly. Now that closet isn't overstuffed.

It's been nice to see the minimizing of the kitchen cascade into other areas of the house as well!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Minimizing the Kitchen, Part I

Note: I meant to post this when I wrote it, sometime in September. Sorry about the delay!
The kitchen is overflowing.

I thought I was doing good in the kitchen. Then I realized that the food always overflows - granted, it overflows to a designated pantry, but sometimes (ok, frequently) this means that 90% of the food is in the pantry, and the cabinets have dishes and cookware. That sounds a bit overflowing to me. And it's true even in the current kitchen, which is larger than I've had for years.

I want to start by looking at what I have vs. what I need, and what the 'immunities' are. Immunities, for me, are things you will pry from my cold dead hands because it would reduce me to tears for them to leave. Not worth the fight with myself, and they do get used.


  • Need: Settings for 3, plates/bowls
  • Have: Settings for 6, plates (10" & 3") and bowls. 3 small glass bowls, 12-ish extra-small glass bowls. 3 black rice bowls. Plus immunities.
  • Have: 4 1/2-cup & 2 1-cup baking ramekins. Gravy dish, butter keeper,
  • Have: Plasticware: 1 black flat dish with lid, 1 glass flat dish with lid, 1 plastic sandwich holder, 1 stack of red-lid Glad tupperware (TW), 1 stack 4oz TW, 1 set cream-lid sturdy TW, sm red Pyrex w/lid,
  • Immunity: Settings for 3, fish and seashell dishes. 10 total. In use but not the primary set. Plus 3 shallow, rimmed oval dishes that are really useful.
  • Need: 2 coffee mugs, 2 general mugs
  • Have: 3 dedicated coffee mugs, 1 dedicated tea mug with lid,  at least 4 general-use mugs
  • Immunity: the 3 dedicated coffee mugs 
  • Have: 2 serving plates: 1 blue, 1 white. 2 blue serving bowls. Woven bowl for breads.
  • Need: stockpot, soup pot, steamer...TBD
  • Have: cast-iron skillets: 12", 6", 3". Stockpot, soup pot, 3pc saucepan set, steamer, double-boiler.
  • Have: 2 slow-cookers - 5qt & 1.5 qt. Will keep both till they die and assess replacement at that point.
  • Have: Large and small strainers
  • Have: Blender. Needs replacing - I don't use it often but there is no substitute. And it just helped me simplify putting up tomatoes, so it can stay =)
  • Have: Food grinder thingy. Gets used to store the garden harvest.
  • Have: 3 different sizes of mortar & pestle. I should be able to go back to just one.
Ideas: I can replace the separate double boiler & steamer with inserts for the Revere Ware that I have. Provided I can find them; the steamer insert I found but apparently they quit making the double boiler one a decade or two ago. Then again, I could go back to using a canning jar in pot of water - I normally use this for homemade HABA items, so that should be fine. Actually - I don't think I've used this more than twice in 5 years. Off to the donate bin it goes.... with 2 mortar & pestle. I'll keep the white marble one I use the most.

  • Need:  1 metal 4x9" pan, 1 pizza baking sheet, muffin pans, TBD
  • Have: 2 metal, 1 silicone muffin pans. The silicone is for freezing food in; muffin recipes always seem to bake by the dozen so I have enough for that.
  • Have: 2 loaf pans, 2 8" cake pans, 3 cookie sheets in different sizes, 1 glass 13x9" pan, 1 glass and 1 metal 4x9" pan, 1 pizza baking sheet, 8" square glass pan, 2 qt & 1.5qt Corningware dishes with glass lids, blue 60s Pyrex, large black snowflake 50s Pyrex.

Roommate has: 

  • 1 blue tulip goblet
  • 1 dedicated tea mug with lid
  • 1 blue general purpose mug
  • 1 blue oversized bowl
  • stack of 3" blue/cream plates

Links I found useful:
How to Downsize Your Kitchen
how to setup a minimalist kitchen: part 1 – things to avoid and part 2 the essentials & the nice-to-haves