Monday, June 17, 2013

The road to less - part 1: the kitchen

That day I woke up, with yet another mild feeling of panic, something shifted in my gut and I just knew enough was enough. I had to wrestle back control of our waste, our consumption, our consumerism.

I have no intention of living with radical minimalism. I simply want us to make conscious decisions. I want my boys to know that owning lots of things doesn't make you happy. That there is a huge difference between necessity and convenience. And a huge difference between needs and wants. I have no interest whatsoever in never fulfilling the 'wants', but I do have a strong interest in becoming more mindful consumers.

Our kitchen is the heart of our home. I spend hours in it cooking for my family, teaching my boys how to bake, sipping hot tea, entertaining friends, and sitting under the window, laptop fired up, in my 'office' with a view. It made sense for me to start my journey there.

My kitchen was overspilling with out of date food, utensils I never touch, appliances that we don't use or need, and junk drawers that were full of... junk, funnily enough.

But I tackled it.  It took a full day - from 8am - 5.30pm. Somewhere in the middle I wondered if I'd actually make any sense of the chaos. But I did. I gifted, and thrifted, and tossed a huge amount of stuff that wasn't needed or useful, that was beyond repair, or out of date.

It's not perfect. There is still too much stuff. But I have made a huge difference, and importantly, a commitment to review in a month and undertake another cull.

Here's a visual of the beginning. Imagine this in every cupboard and drawer.

Yes, that is an old receipt. And a formula scoop that hasn't been required for at least 2.5 years. Why???
And here's the midway point; when I wondered how I was going to make sense of it all.

And here's the end result.

I cook a lot. For pleasure, for health, and for economy. I try to avoid boxes, packets, additives and preservatives, which means we have a lot of raw and whole ingredients. Having them well organised so they can be identified at a quick glance is total luxury. 
Not even 'under the sink' escaped. As as much as I love the smell of these cleaning products, I won't be replacing them when they're finished. I have been using boiling water and eucalyptus oil to clean absolutely everything all year and I am fully converted. It's environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and a natural disinfectant.
Pared back. We had seven pairs of tongs. And so much plastic kiddo cutlery. Crazy.
I think the bathrooms are up next.


  1. Bet that kitchen space feels pretty good right now!

    I get so much more of a kick dropping stuff at the op-shop than i ever do buying something new.

    rachel x

    1. It does! And now that I've had a week and a half living with it, it's amazing how much more efficient I am in there. No more rummaging or trawling through drawers to find things. Everything is as it ought to be, and where it ought to be. I love it. x

  2. It looks amazing Jen! It's unbelievable to things we hang on to. Looking forward to following your journey on the road to less xo

    1. Thank you lovely. I have appalled myself in various ways so far! It's going to be a slow journey, but I'm determined :) x

  3. Good on you Jen! Sounds like you're well on the track with your project. I've been slowly doing the same around our place all year, such a great feeling to just be holding onto things you actually need and want :)


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