Apr 8 2011

4 kitchen thermometers [minimalist challenge item #50]

[item] Lot of 4 kitchen thermometers

[purchase info] Purchased new from housewares stores or coffee shops

[time in my possession] Approximately 13 years

[last used] Over 5 years

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Thrift store

[info] I had a ‘bouquet’ of these in a small vase of coffee beans.  This is a true picture of excess, as I can only use one at a time.  I kept my 2 favorites, one in use, one in the dishwasher if it’s dirty.  Why did I feel the need to have 6 of these???  My senselessness on display here.  :(


Apr 7 2011

salad serving set [minimalist challenge item #49]

[item] Orange polka dot salad serving utensils

[purchase info] Received as a housewarming gift

[time in my possession] Approximately 4 years

[last used] 1.5 years ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium

[destination] Given to a family in need

[info] I have 2 sets of these and I’m downsizing to one.  This was a bit of a tough choice, as I received them as a gift.  I really like them, but I just have to keep going with the downsizing.


Apr 5 2011

pineapple oven mitts [minimalist challenge item #47]

[item] Pineapple oven mitts

[purchase info] Purchased new at Ross

[time in my possession] Approximately 6 years

[last used] 6 months ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Given to a family in need

[info] I have more of these than I can use at one time.  Not needed.  Cute pineapples, but not functional at all.  The floppy tops get into the food and they don’t protect well from the heat.


Apr 4 2011

silicone hot pads [minimalist challenge item #46]

[item] 2 red silicone hot pads

[purchase info] Given to me by a friend that had 2 sets of them

[time in my possession] Approximately 8 years

[last used] Over a year

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Given to a family starting over

[info] I like my old, crappy looking Calphalon cloth hot pads.  I like that these are easy to clean, but I don’t like using them.


Apr 3 2011

knives [minimalist challenge item #45]

[item] 6 different kitchen knives

[purchase info] Purchased new

[time in my possession] Approximately 10 years

[last used] 3 years ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Given to a family in need

[info] I have plenty of knives.  I can only use one at a time, so why do I have so many?  The world may never know.


Mar 26 2011

grocery shopping update [day 304]

I’ve gotten a few questions on my new grocery shopping plan.  I shop more frequently, but buying less, limiting myself to 25 items or less.  You can read the story about the downsizing and new shopping plan that was published in early February 2011.  Take a look.

Here’s the before and after photos of my pantry.  The after was taken a couple of weeks ago and even has less in there today.  I don’t have photos of the refrigerator or freezer, but they are sparse as well.  Here’s some of the results or the new way of shopping.

Money savings.

I started shopping at Aldi versus Kroger, Tom Thumb, WalMart or Target.  That, coupled with the 25 items or less, has produced the following monetary results.  These amount reflect groceries, the occasional toiletry items and some wine.

February 2011: $268.95

March 2011 (so far, 1 week left): $149.89

I started this in mid January, so I didn’t look at that month.  Here’s what I spent the 2 months prior.  Continue reading


Mar 17 2011

vintage oven & stovetop [minimalist challenge item #28]

[item] 1956 retro GE built-in over and electric stovetop in turquoise blue

[purchase info] Purchased on eBay

[time in my possession] Approximately 4.5 years ago

[last used] Never

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium / hard

[destination] Craigslist

[info] I bought this when I was having a new house built.  The builder never started building the house, so I had to find an existing house, as I had a limited amount of time to move.  This has an interesting story behind it.

The people that owned it before me live in Minnesota.  I found this set on eBay for $300.  The house I was building had a place for a built in oven, but I couldn’t justify the amount of money it would take to ship it to Texas.  I happened to mention this to some friends (whom I had only known about a month) that just moved here from Minnesota.  They asked where in Minnesota, as they had to go back in a week and move their stuff here.  I told them.  Turns out it was 3 miles off their path and they offered to pick it up.

My grandma, who was visiting around this time gave me some money toward it as a housewarming gift.  Needless to say, I was disappointed when I realized I couldn’t use this.  Most of the homes now have the space for the range unit, not built-ins.  Well, not in my price range anyway.  (pun intended)

I really struggle with getting rid of this.  I know I have no use for it, but the fact that people are involved with it makes it a really difficult decision.  I haven’t listed it on craigslist yet, but I plan to in the next few days.  I’ll be asking $100 for both the oven and stovetop.  Both are in working order.


Mar 8 2011

apple slicer [minimalist challenge item #19]

[item] Apple /pear slicer

[purchase info] Given to me by a friend that had 2 of them

[time in my possession] Approximately 5 years

[last used] 6 months ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Thrift store

[info] I rarely use this and I can do the same job with a knife.  Not needed in my new world of minimalism.


Feb 24 2011

kitchen utensils [minimalist challenge item #7]

[item] A scoop, small condiment tongs and a wooden butter brush

[purchase info] The scoop and tongs were free, paid full price for the butter brush

[time in my possession] Approximately 8 years on the tongs and brush, scoop 1 month

[last used] Tongs, years ago.  Scoop, never.  Brush, 2 months ago.

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Thrift store

[info] I got the scoop for free in a bag of other stuff.  I simply don’t need it.  The tongs I think were marriage-acquired and not needed.  The butter brush is one of two that I have.  I’m not Rachel Ray and I clearly don’t need a back up brush.


Feb 7 2011

downsizing the kitchen & food supply [day 256]

I’ve been doing a lot of downsizing lately.  Right before snowmageddon, I decided to clean out the kitchen, not just utensils and cabinet crap, but food.  I don’t like being wasteful, and although we waste a lot less than the average American family, I felt that we needed to make some changes.  We made some radical changes and some subtle changes, and the results are proving to be really good.  I’ll share the overall goodness of this, the process of cleaning out the kitchen and a couple of mini-challenges.

The big picture.

We haven’t died of starvation. Again, we started this a couple of weeks before the ice storm.  We have much less food in the house, but we had plenty to eat during the 4-5 days at home.  I didn’t buy extra, in fear that we would starve and have nothing to eat for a week.  I bought a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread the day before the storm hit.  We had plenty, and I was even able to feed the two painters working in my house a couple of times.

Airstream… I mean streamline. Okay, I want an Airstream, but that has nothing to do with my kitchen.  The tasks of cooking, grocery shopping and cleaning the kitchen is much easier.  Cooking is easier, as there’s less stuff to shuffle around and I know what ingredients I have on hand.  Grocery shopping is easier, again, because I have less and I know the few things I need.  Cleaning is easier too, as I have a lot of extra pantry and cabinet space.  So much extra, that I was able to move all of my pantry items into empty cabinets while the oil paint takes 5 days to dry.

Here a snack, there a snack, everywhere a snack snack. My kids will open every bag of everything we buy at the store.  We could have, and have had, a pantry overflowing with food, and yet the kids can’t find a thing to snack on.  With much less in there, this is not a problem anymore.  It’s easy to see we have two open bags of crackers or pretzels.

Waste not, want not. We are wasting very little food these days.  Not that we wasted a lot before, but it was still more than I was comfortable with.  Waste is unnecessary, and by making some small changes to lessen it allows us to save a little money, be better to our environment and enables us to help others that don’t have enough to eat.

What did we do?

Downsized the pantry. If you have a smaller house like mine, the pantry is a small closet.  The picture is my “before” picture.  I don’t have an after right now, as the oil paint is still drying.  Whether your pantry is large or small, stuff always gets hidden in the back.  My pantry wasn’t horribly unorganized, it just had too much in it and could use a little more a system of “first in, first out”.  We took everything out and carefully selected what would go back.  I had cedar balls that didn’t smell like anything anymore.  Out.  Ridiculously expired stuff?  Out.  Open bags of stale crackers and chips?  Out.

We broke down the boxes and recycled them.  We couldn’t see all of the food behind the big boxes of crackers and cereal.  The boxes take up a lot of space.  I found it best to use see-through containers and baskets as much as possible.  Most of the stuff I didn’t know I has was in these black plastic crates and could not be seen. Continue reading