Saturday, June 8, 2013

Minimal frustrations

I've been experiencing some minimal frustration lately, and by "minimal" I don't mean "hardly any." You'd think that being a minimalist would be easy, but sometimes? Really, really not.

Well, simple is never simple, right?

When I went through my kitchen last year at the start of this whole minimalist ordeal, I got rid of a lot. But as time has gone on, I've noticed the things I thought I couldn't bear to part with have not been used. At all. In eight months. Cake pans, tart pans, stoneware, kitchen gadgets. Lots and LOTS of kitchen gadgets.

So last week I put everything on my counter, and nothing went back that hadn't been used since my last clean-out. I just didn't think about it, that's how. I am emotional. All of my everything is associated with a memory. Even my lemon zester. So yes, I am at war with myself sometimes. That's why I don't think, I just act. You might be surprised how easy it is not to think. (Ha!)

And you know what? My cabinets are gorgeous now. Sometimes I like to just open them up to admire the result. Well, I don't get out much, that's why.

But anyway, right after the big second culling, instead of feeling shiny and happy* like I'd expected when I FINALLY moved that unwanted stuff on out of my kitchen, I started to feel frustrated. I was a little depressed is what I'm saying.

For one thing, my once clean retreat is brimming with crap again. All my unused, unwanted, stupid crap. I feel like I'm making such great progress, and I bask in the glow of my uncluttered cabinets, and then I come into my room and I have to look at piles of crap.

I've started up the classified ads again. Things are not moving as quickly out as I would like, i.e., so far not at all. (Why do I always get the lessons in patience? Dude, it gets old.) I guess the upside is that the church rummage sale is coming up in a couple of weeks, and this will soon be just a bad memory.

I'm also frustrated because my big ideas often go nowhere. I've cleared off a lot of counter space because I love the look of nothing. True story. Plus it's just easier to clean. Anyway, I have two crocks of utensils on my counter, and I thought that having no crocks would be even better. So I dumped everything out, and picked through, and discarded. Then I found an unused plastic basket in the freezer (don't ask) that I cleaned and tossed everything into.

That's when I discovered that A) Not everything even fits and B) My counter might be clear, but finding stuff in this basket is going to be practically impossible. Plus: Where the hell do I put the basket?

Frustration Part C is my silverware drawer. I used to have three crocks of utensils, and since I have two now, I guess it doesn't take a genius to figure out where THAT all went. (In case it doesn't translate: My silverware drawer.) More dumping on the counter, more ruthless culling, more clean uncluttered after to swoon over.

It's lovely, all right, but there are a few things I use and don't have room for now if I want to keep things uncluttered--looking at you, three sizes of cookie scoops--so those got tossed into my General Purpose Kitchen Tool Catch All Basket of No Return, too.

Also, can someone please explain to me why I am keeping a set of biscuit cutters I've used like twice in the three years I've owned them? Sometimes not thinking doesn't solve everything. (I'm tossing them in the rummage pile right now.)

The normal thing to do would be to just put everything back in the crocks and forget about it. What's a little clutter, really? Instead I went online to see if I could find some stainless steel, made in America, multi-use utensils to weed out even more of this shit.

What I learned is that finding stainless steel, made in America, multi-use utensils is HARD. And by "hard," I mean impossible.


Okay, fine, having two crocks is just the way things have to be in this house. I put one back on the counter and the other, with the less used stuff, is in a cupboard. When I do my baking, I take it out, and when I'm done I put it back again. Sure, it's an extra step, but it's a compromise I'm willing to make. Someday I might decide to upgrade my cooking utensils, but for now I'm going to let it go.

The General Purpose Kitchen Tool Catch All Basket of No Return has become simply The General Purpose Kitchen Tool Catch All, and is also in a cupboard. It hold the things I use on more of an occasional basis--the cookie scoops, my steamer basket, my two funnels--but because not everything is in there, I can easily find what I'm looking for without having to rummage through the thing.

I still need to go through the food storage area and under the kitchen sink, but for the most part, my kitchen is now a shining, happy spot in my house. And because it's literally like the center of the house, when it's shining and happy, the everything else tends to be shining and happy, too.

So it's not perfect yet by any means, but it's better. My frustration level has gone down, maybe not all the way, but let's say at least by half. I'm trying.

...And Abby wants the computer, so I guess this is done.

*You're welcome.


Kandice @ The Simple Year said...

I so needed to read this. :)

Trisha said...

Oh, I'm glad! It's been a process... or, should I say, is a work in progress? If only I had a magic wand.