I’m always finding myself caught in this minimalist hell of frustration when it comes to seeing other minimalist creators. There are some out there who tend to slap the word “minimalist” in front of things like gift idea lists for Christmas or kitchen essentials. In reality, this is just another form of pushing over-consumption with the handy dandy label of being minimalist. On the other hand, we are all just trying to get by and my hope is that these creators only recommend things they themselves truly use and believe in — because I’m also a big fan of true product reviews so that I can make the best, most informed decision possible when it comes to making a purchase. That being said, I felt the need to make a plea for why minimalist kitchen essentials are total crap and how you can figure out what you really need.
You have too many bowls. LOL?
Spending a good portion of your time being active on social media is not for the faint of heart. It takes every single ounce of strength in my bones not to respond to every single troll comment with oozing sarcasm and a Regina George-like meanness.
Make no mistake, my default setting is Mean Girl. Only when it comes to people who spend their free time bullying other people on the internet, of course.
That’s why when I received a comment on a recent post I shared where you could see inside my kitchen cabinets, my first reaction was to roll my eyes in annoyance. My second reaction, however, was to use this opportunity to inform the minimalist masses.
Here’s what the comment said: “Decluttering? That’s a lot of bowls for 4 people. (insert laughing emoji) no judgement your house is beautiful.”
Ahh that good ‘ol backhanded comment. Wait, maybe she’s the Regina? That’s cool, I’d rather be a Janice Ian anyway. Wow, I really didn’t intend to drop this many Mean Girl references, so let me get to my point.
The essentials are total crap
I kindly took the time to create a second video informing this commenter or anyone who thinks like her that we have good reason for having more than 4 bowls in our cupboard (something I never imagined I would have to defend myself for).
Why we have more bowls than people in my house
- We have more kids that don’t live at home and they visit frequently
- I host family gatherings, and groups of friends
- When we host more people than our 4 in-home family members, I prefer to avoid disposable plates, bowls, and assorted cutlery if I can
- If any of my 4 in-home family members chooses to eat more than one meal that requires a bowl, I don’t want to have to wash dishes to make it happen.
For some people, having the bare minimum of dishes in their cupboard might serve them immensely. It could simplify their entire day. I don’t know how because for me, it would just create added stress.
We had one spatula (the pancake flipping kind) for nearly a decade and my husband almost divorced me over his frustration of having to wash it.
At the end of the day, we each need to decide what a functional, easy, home looks like for us.
How to find your own essentials
My biggest recommendation for finding your own minimalist home or kitchen essentials is to start in the areas of your home that aren’t working for you.
Where is there too much stuff?
Does your junk drawer jam up every time you try to get something out of there?
Do you hate the clanking chaos of your coffee cup cupboard when you know you are only using 2 mugs anyway?
Do plastic cups tumble out all over the floor?
Tupperware lids too tangled to navigate?
If any of these ring true, then it’s safe to say, these would be good places to get started on decluttering. Read 16 Expert Tips for Small Kitchen Organization and Decluttering.
Where is there not enough stuff?
Admittedly, when I first started minimalism, there was a part of me that was terrified of owning too much stuff. It was as if I believed the other minimalists of the world would chase me down with pitchforks and shame me for being a materialist a-hole.
In reality I have come to accept that in some areas of our life, for each different individual person, there may be times when we want to allow ourselves to have a little more in order to make some other aspect of our lives much simpler.
For example, I used to love the idea of washing dishes immediately after use. When we stayed briefly at my in-laws house during or house downsize transition, I was really good about keeping the kitchen sink free of dishes and kind of liked the process.
When we moved into our smaller house, however, I tried to live with the acceptable amount of dishes only to find myself in a constant battle of trying to keep up with the dishes. Turns out, when I had a full house, homeschooling, and running a blog to do, washing dishes 3 times a day was an unwelcome neussance.
So I bought more dishes. Read: How Many Pants Should I Own and Other Silly Minimalism Questions
Time requires minimizing too
The LA Minimalist shares that she carries this same mindset with her clothing. She much prefers doing one large load of laundry per month instead of per week, or every other. Therefore, she has more than 30 pairs of undergarments, enough workout clothing, sports bras, etc. to ensure she can make it through one month without having to do more than 1 round of laundry.
Most people go into minimalism believing that having less stuff will bring them less stress. They’re not wrong, many studies have show that living with less does reduce stress, however, as listed above, you might be better able to understand how in some cases, allowing your to have a few more things can help you cut back the amount of time spent doing chores in a day (or a month). Read: How Decluttering Your Space Can Get You More Time Back In Your Day
Having more stuff can sometimes reduce consumption
When it comes to practicing more sustainable minimalism there are ways that buying more stuff can actually allow you to be less wasteful and consume less. Read: 10 Ways to Give Your Kitchen a Frugal, Sustainable Makeover
Some things I’ve bought to be less wasteful:
- Reusable paper towels
- Washable napkins
- Reusable totes for groceries
- Compost bins
- Reusable ziplock bags
In taking the time to purchase these items, we were able to greatly reduce our carbon footprint and potentially save ourselves the cost of buying the non-reusable items such as paper towels and Ziplocks. (On the rare occassion we do buy Ziplocks, we re-wash and re-use them as many times as possible.)
To each their own
So, before you go scrolling Pinterest in search of the top recommended Minimalist Kitchen Essentials, take the time to ask yourself what is essential in your own life.
Where do your priorities lie?
Do you like the idea of simplifying your time and doing fewer chores? If so, perhaps allowing yourself to have a little more isn’t such a bad idea.
Are there areas of overwhelm where you feel you are drowning in clutter? By all means, begin applying all of the best decluttering practices. Read: My 4 Bin Method for Decluttering
Don’t get yourself too caught up in the way other people are doing things (that’s what caused most of us to over-consume in the first place). Instead of looking to someone else for all the answers that are right for you and your family, take the time to assess your needs before you take on the recommendations of others (myself included).