Downsize This: Coq au Vin or Oatmeal? (Notes about a Simple Life 2)

Dear reader,

last week we launched a series of Notes about a Simple Life, starting with limiting online presence (offline being a new luxury). About the past week experiment, I must say I love it. I managed to limit online activities, apps and accounts to only what I really need for my work and I really do check facebook and other media only once/twice a day. Result? Not only have I managed to spend more time outside, but also this new amount of re-gained time I used for my second project. Since yesterday, I have a new kitchen.

My kitchen is very large. It could easily provide enough capacities to cook for 10 people (and there were occasions where this has been more than useful!). However since most of the time there is only three of us, it might be reasonable to question whether I really need all these gadgets and widgets within easy reach, though I use it maybe once a year or never (for some utensils I don’t even know what they’re used for, though I would never admit, khm).

The answer is no of course. So I woke my husband up in the middle of the night one day soon after the experiment with offline life started and introduced an idea how we might change our kitchen and make it brand new for less than 80€. Since we’re both fans of recycling, re-use and DIY, this meant creative work and not ordering new kitchen from catalogue. We like home-made vintage and unique style. Translated into real circumstances, these things take time to evolve to truly flourish. Yet as the winter turns into spring and the time is right to eliminate old and replace it with brand fresh, he was totally on board and we started the very next morning. I enjoyed every single cupboard being taken down and the feeling of painting the walls was simply sublime. But the most enjoyable part was removing all the plates, cups, mugs, souvenirs, ladles, etc. we haven’t used in years. Here’s the agenda I followed and all the things and items that didn’t fit within it, were removed, donated, thrown away or stored:

  • if the item doesn’t remind us of a special common moment
  • if we haven’t used it in less than 6 months
  • if there is more than 10 similar pieces (this goes for mugs, glasses, plates and cutlery)
  • if I don’t like it and have a more suitable substitute (this goes for pots of different sizes).

In doing so I learned some lessons:

  • most of the time I use only 3 pots (small, medium and occasionally large and one frying pan)
  • if there is something I don’t like, I most probably won’t grow to like it in the future (i.e. a cup or a bowl). If I keep it it will only remind me of how much I don’t like it and it will take additional space
  • if this gadget is to prepare dishes you seldom eat, having that gadget near you won’t increase the frequency
  • if you buy juicer, home-made bread maker or grinder to change your style of preparing or consuming your food, it’s probably not going to last if you haven’t changed your habits as well. So why bothering buying things you won’t use for habits you won’t stick to? In other words: buying superfoods won’t make you super healthy as well as buying juicer won’t make you eat less.

As the end results, there were still plenty of items in our kitchen. But the difference was huge in terms that we had great fun building a common kitchen together, designing our cupboards together and placing the items that have emotional or functional value for us as a family and not us as consumers. We felt like newlyweds moving in together and building a home together, though we’ve been living there for seven years now. Of course we celebrated immensely and again I noticed what a wise choice it was to eliminate virtual and replace it with life experience. Also we realized we enjoy simple food and simple meals, but prepared with lots of love. So we removed food items such as processed food (prepared soups or sauces) and ingredients that sound complex, because neither of us is a fan of high cuisine. But we do appreciate organic and whole food. Which leads me to another note about a simple life: our garden. More to follow soon, I hope you enjoyed this story 🙂

Happy redecorating!


kitchen our new

Simple is good. That includes food.

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