Thursday, June 5, 2008

Minimalist's Angst: Not Clutter Again!

I don't know how or why it happens but clutter just seems to happen. Somehow yesterday I looked at my kitchen and thought, wow, we're slipping. The thing is I have zero tolerance for clutter. I have never understood how some people can sit happily with a neighbor sipping tea in their kitchens with piles of paperwork that needs to be dealt with, dirty dishes in the sink, random items that should be put away in other rooms and perhaps even a basket of laundry that needs folding. It makes me feel like Monica from Friends! I just want to start cleaning!

So to my horror, I looked at my own kitchen realized it had lost it's sparkle and needed to be decluttered. So what was wrong with it? All of my systems were in place and functioning, no appliances on the counters, no dirty dishes in the sink but some odd items were creeping in where they don't belong. First of all, my table has six chairs which seems like a great place to drop my purse, jackets, and dog leash. No, this is not where the go and I have an easy place to hang these things in the entryway closet but alas they were there. A pile of checks and misc. papers had accumulated on the table as well as some keys. Under the sink my recycling system had exploded, there were two cutting boards on my counter, a fruit bowl with one apple and two tomatoes in it, and a watering can that belongs outside. This may not sound like a lot, but in my tiny row house kitchen it is.

So I took action. First I got my iRobot vacuum going and took out all of the recycling to the garage. ( Green note: I recycle and compost 90% of my garbage so we only have garbage pick up once a month.) Next I put all of the items away that didn't belong there. Then it was time to pare down. I put the watering can on the back deck, put the random fruit in the fridge, washed out the fruit bowl and put it away, and put one of the cutting boards away. I decided to lose the table runner and put a new candle in the center of the table and wash the throw rug by the door. I had a huge bamboo bowl filled with pine cones that spilled over in what can only be described as "Northwest Chique" that seemed to be screaming winter, so they had to go. I bagged them up, put them into storage in the garage, washed the bowl and put it away. Next all of the surfaces were sprayed with bleach and water which then sat for one minute and then I wiped them all down. That kills most of the germs and bad bacteria in your kitchen. I of course washed the floor then picked some flowers in the back yard and put them where the pine cones had been. This may not seem like a lot but the room now feels bigger and more comfortable and inviting.

I hope this post will inspire you to hit your own kitchen and if you want to check out how my kitchen systems work, read some of my past posts on reducing kitchen appliances, reducing the amount of junk mail you get, and composting.


self taught artist said...

i feel the same way, hard to function when everything starts to slowly pile up. it was motivating just reading about the decluttering!

The Offended Blogger said...


I am a minimalist, too and a clutter control freak. I guess that comes from living with a pack rat, non-cleaning mother?

BTW, I absolutely love the colors in your kitchen and dining room and it's funny, ours is set up almost exactly the same as yours as far as the layout. :)

becoming minimalist said...

this is helpful stuff. is it just me or does clutter just attract itself? one purse, then a set of keys, next a piece of mail... it just keeps attracting more and more.

my family and i just started the process of becoming minimalist.