The time after Christmas can feel like an explosion of stuff, and too much stuff in the kitchen can make mealtimes stressful. But figuring out where to start with minimizing is an overwhelming task too, don’t worry! I’ve got the 6 things you can minimize in your kitchen this new year to feel more peace.
It’s no secret that clutter is the enemy of a peaceful meal experience.
It’s so hard to focus and enjoy your family when there’s an explosion of stuff anywhere.
If you have kids you know that any thing left out also becomes a toy which makes it even more stressful.
Minimalism is more than just a “hot topic” it can make you feel so much more peace at meal time. Let’s look at how we can find more peace with these things to minimize in the kitchen this year.
6 things to minimize in the kitchen this new year
Let’s start out with an obvious one. Kitchen tools. I honestly believe that missing socks come back in the form of kitchen spatulas. Unless of course you need a spatula, then it’s something else clogging up your kitchen drawer. You get the idea though, right?
Most of us have way more kitchen tools than we would ever need.
In fact, I had to laugh this last week when my brother-in-law was looking for a knife at my house. “He asked me, where’s your knife set?”
I laughed and told him I didn’t have a knife set, just one chef’s knife that I use on 99% of my chopping (I also have a paring knife, bread knife, and a set of steak knives…you can listen here for my opinions on the best kitchen knives)
He responded that he was sure I’d have a top of the line knife set since I enjoy cooking so much.
Nope, but I do have a top of the line knife 😉
So what should you look at getting rid of in your kitchen, specifically?
Only you can make that decision, but here’s a few ideas to start.
-Anything you have duplicates of
-Single-use items that you rarely/never use (think ice cream maker, pasta roller, etc…)
If getting rid of these things is causing you too much turmoil (you may have thoughts like, but it’s a perfectly good whatever, or it’s really fun to make ice cream, even if we do only do it once in awhile) that’s great!
But getting the things OUT of your kitchen can still do wonders to making you more productive in the kitchen so consider creating a little used kitchen item bin and storing it in the garage for those special times you do want to use those things.
You might find after a little time not being right in your face you might feel more ready to get rid of it at a later date.
Also, if you find yourself feeling guilty for getting rid of things due to concerns about the world/environment/waste consider posting your items for free or cheap on fb marketplace, I love doing this because then I feel like the item is actually wanted (rather than just donating it to a thrift store).
Remember that you can’t do anything about the poor buying choices you made in the past, but holding on to the item and never using it doesn’t make that better. Instead choose to let go, but learn from the experience so you make better buying choices in the future.
That half-empty jar of olives from the time you decided the mediterranean diet was the way still hanging out in your fridge now a year later? It’s time to let it go.
In all seriousness, many of us have all sorts of rarely used items clogging up our kitchens.
When you start de-cluttering your ingredients, the easiest place to start is with anything expired or no longer good.
But after that, what do you do?
I also encourage you take a complete inventory. If there’s something you didn’t particularly like or can’t figure out how to use it get rid of it. Again, the only reason to feel guilt about this is if you make it a habit, if you resolve to minimize the ingredients you BUY in the future, as well as what’s already in your kitchen you can feel good about letting a food item serve it’s purpose and throw it away. If you do like the item, make a concerted effort over the next few weeks to work through cooking using all of these items in your pantry.
Your Meal Plan
The easiest way to stop yourself from buying little used ingredients and appliances in your kitchen is to minimize your meal plan.
Many of us are constantly trying new recipes and new things, when the recipes we already have are just fine.
I promise, your family isn’t going to revolt if you stick to the same 15-20 recipes most of the time.
I mean honestly, if you think about it, even if you only have 20 recipes in your repetoire you can eat 5 meals/week for an entire month without repeating a meal.
That seems pretty darn’d good for me.
Minimizing your meal plan does more than just minimize the ingredients you need to buy.
It also makes meal planning so much easier. Instead of choosing from a cornocopia of ideas on pinterest you’ve only got your tried and true recipes.
It should also minimize the amount of time you spend cooking because instead of constantly trying new things you are able to really get to know your recipes and eventually you’ll probably even have them memorized.
If this feels a little too suffocating to your creativity (um hi, me) consider adding a new meal day where you try a new meal once a week on a day when you have more time. If you like the meal you can add it to your rotation. Try to choose ingredients even in your new recipes that you know you’ll have no problem using up in other recipes in case you don’t end up liking the new recipe much.
Guys, phones in the kitchen really have to go.
Try an experiment.
Try making the same meal using a recipe on your phone one night, and then using a printed paper recipe another night.
I guarantee you’ll be faster on the night you use a paper recipe.
…and again if you’re only cooking from 20 or so recipes for a month it’s easy to keep those printed out and stored in a recipe box or binder.
Time spent doing the same tasks
The biggest way to minimize the amount of time you spend in the kitchen is to consolidate tasks as much as possible.
If you use cooked chicken 3 nights a week, then cook enough chicken on night 1 for all 3 nights, if 4 of your meals call for onions, chop 4 onions.
This topic has been talked about over and over again on the podcast, but I thought it was important enough to give another mention in this episode.
You could even consider writing down the tasks you find yourself doing over and over and over again and see if you can think of any way you can consolidate those tasks. You might have to do some research to see what can be done ahead, but with a little creativity there’s no reason to be doing the same monotonous thing over and over again each day (maybe each week, sure, but not each day)
Mom Guilt (AKA shame)
The last thing I want to address is something that we all could do better at minimizing and that’s mom guilt.
I absolutely love brene brown’s work on guilt and shame.
She share’s this on her blog about guilt and shame.
“Based on my research and the research of other shame researchers, I believe that there is a profound difference between shame and guilt. I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful – it’s holding something we’ve done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort.
I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.
I don’t believe shame is helpful or productive. In fact, I think shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, hurtful behavior than the solution or cure. I think the fear of disconnection can make us dangerous.”
Even though it’s called mom guilt, mom shame is a far more accurate description of what most of us are doing to ourselves on a daily basis.
If we don’t make homemade meals we feel like we aren’t properly doing our jobs, if our kids don’t eat well it’s somehow our fault, if we can’t get our kids to stop standing on the table it’s because there’s something inherently wrong with us as mothers.
It. needs. to. stop.
I honestly believe that mom guilt is keeping so many moms stuck dead in their tracks because of fear of not measuring up (which, you won’t)
Let’s all resolve this year to do our best to let go of the shame, and use guilt only as feedback to help us learn and be better as we move forward.
Alright that’s it friends.
Let’s recap the 6 things to minimize in the kitchen this new year so you can go from feeling frazzled to fine in the kitchen and beyond.
The 6 things are kitchen tools, ingredients, your meal plan, scren time, time doing the same thing over and over again, and finally mom guilt.
I hope you feel inspired friends to do a little de-junking in your kitchen and your mind and that your mealtimes come back stronger than ever because of it.
Next week I’m welcoming another guest to the podcast who will be talking with us all about how to meal prep for a road trip. Covid vaccines are coming and I think we’re all hoping for some level of normalcy sometime in 2021…her tips are stellar and will totally have you planning your next road trip, like right now.
Thanks for listening friends, until next week, happy planning!