Monday, August 20, 2012

DOWNSIZING: Why I Love My Minimalist Kitchen

Whether you’re moving into a smaller space, or just need to create more space in your kitchen, downsizing to a minimalist kitchen can make you happier.

A kitchen doesn't have to be big to be fabulous — just use some creative storage solutions. All images: Lara Edge for HouseLogic
You know that feeling you get after a major haircut? When your head feels 10 times lighter? That’s nothing compared to how you’ll feel when you downsize your kitchen to a minimalist kitchen. I’m still reveling in the feeling of light-headedness it gave me.

I won’t bore you with gritty details of why my husband and I had to leave our kitchen that was big enough to be its own apartment and had enough counter space to tease you into collecting every imaginable kitchen gadget.

The point is: I don’t miss that kitchen. I love, love my new minimalist kitchen.

Here’s why:

It saves me money

It’s simple economics: When you have less storage space, you buy less. Seriously. ‘Nuff said.

It’s keeping Alzheimer’s at bay

It forces me to be creative, exercising my mind to seek alternative solutions. Some of my solutions:

Since my countertop space is limited, I didn’t want to waste part of it with a dish rack. Instead I made my large strainer a multi-tasker:

Pitchers as vases: Instead of keeping vases and pitchers, I just use pitchers to show off my flowers.

One set of glasses for all beverages: I must have eliminated four shelves of glasses when I downsized. Who really needs
a glass for tea, a glass for wine, a glass for margaritas, martinis? I found the new stemless wine glasses fit the bill for all beverage needs. And they’re cheap (99 cents at most discount home stores).

Rubber bands and paper clips: Better than those clips you buy to seal open food bags. Rubber bands are particularly great for tightly closing frozen food bags.

Salad serving bowl: I have two that serve a multitude of uses:
Salad (duh)
Food cover (turned upside down)

Casserole dish: Countertop storage for potatoes, onions, lemons, limes, which are easy to dump out when you need the dish.

Liquid measuring cups: They work well for syrup, gravy, and sauce. Not fancy, but serviceable.

I’m skinnier

Yep. I lost about 15 pounds when I downsized.

Our new fridge is much smaller, so our usual stock of meats, sandwich cutlets, and poultry, plus the healthy green stuff, just wouldn’t fit. We consciously decided to go vegetarian, instantly gaining space in the fridge.

I’m not saying you need to go vegetarian, but if you’re downsizing your kitchen, it’s the perfect time to take stock of the foods taking up space in your cupboards and fridge. It’s been proven: Your kitchen could be making you fat.

I get to eat out more

That may seem counterintuitive to the point about losing weight and saving money. But if you’re eating right at home, splurging on a restaurant meal is more affordable, both in terms of budget and waistline. Eating out becomes a fun adventure instead of a fallback meal plan that makes you feel guilty later.

I stress less

When I had the big kitchen, I felt the pressure to entertain BIG with serving platters and bowls, special serving utensils, dipping bowls, etc.

Not anymore. I have a couple of big spoons, one big platter plus the casserole dish, salad bowls, and pitchers mentioned above. Otherwise, all I have is:
8 dinner plates
8 small plates
8 bowls
8 coffee cups
12 stemless wine glasses
Silverware for 8 (very inexpensive. I noticed that guests — in an effort to help with cleanup — would accidentally throw away silverware. Now, when that happens, investing in a replacement isn’t as big a deal.)

Entertaining has become more fun. And guests are surprisingly resilient. It’s the company and the hospitality that makes a party. Guests seem to relax more when it appears you aren’t going above, beyond, and all fancy just for them.

And if I have more than 8 guests? Chinet, of course. What’s less stress than that?

I feel prettier

There’s something about a minimalist kitchen that simply makes me feel better about myself. See, here’s a picture of me when I had the BIG kitchen:

And this is me now with my minimalist kitchen:

OK, that might be a slight exaggeration. But whoever said “happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold; the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul” must have had a minimalist kitchen.

Next time I’ll blog more specifically about tips for downsizing your kitchen. But in the meantime, what tips do you have for keeping your kitchen functional and fun but minimal? What’s the one gadget you couldn’t live without? What gadget are you trying hard to keep yourself from buying?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I agree so much. After having the nightmare of moving elderly family members who needed to downsize 20 years ago, and who almost died where they were (house full of clutter), we have become minimalist.

We took the Christmas dishes set to the Mennonite Thrift Store, and feel more free to use our china dishes for Christmas (we don't need 2 sets). We plan to not buy any more plates, but will use our china set as the need for more plates arise. We will not be like our friends, whose husband died at age 65 and the wife had not even taken out of the box some of the china she had (it was packed too far back and hard to get at).

We need to be ready to downsize further, and at 90 move in a couple of taxi rides to an appartment.

Don't accumulate.....use the garbage pick up you are paying taxes for (!!) and fill your garbage up and recycling up weekly.

When we are 80... we will have less energy than in our 50's....

Thanks for the wonderful article. When we renovate our kitchen (leaking this and cracked that...) we will have metal racks for dishes and pans, etc. and put nice tiles of Alpine theme on the walls.

All the best to you dear lady, for writing this nice article:) brightened our day!