They always say the kitchen is the heart of the home. That wasn’t exactly the feeling I had about my own.
My family has always been dysfunctional. Family gatherings and holidays usually ended in giant messes from the sheer number of people, and almost always a giant argument. But, the family’s typical form of love is through gifts and more “stuff”. Every year for Christmas, since being out on my own, I have been given new storage containers, and other kitchen goods.
Leaving these holiday gatherings usually consists of sitting silently, trying to re-acclimate to the stillness of my own home. Over the years, I have simply put the new gifts in the cabinets, and never purged any of the old.
This habit has resulted in kitchen cabinets bursting at the seams, and a mixture of brands, styles, colors, and patterns that just aren’t me. Today was the day my husband agreed to help me end that cycle, a finally declutter our kitchen.
We carefully went cabinet by cabinet, drawer by drawer, and pulled everything out. We laid it out on the counters so we could see everything that had once been stuffed and hidden. We chose the items we would keep. We tossed what was unable to be donated, and we boxed up everything that could. By the time we were done, we had a giant contractor sized garbage bag, and our kitchen trashcan absolutely full of trash. We also had three boxes of gadgets, cookware, storage containers, travel cups, and things I didn’t even know I owned ready to be donated.
Before I started this process, I binge watched Maid on Netflix, a show about a young woman and her daughter who fled a domestic violence situation with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Sitting in the living room of the beautiful house I own (along with the bank), with my incredibly perfect-for-me husband, and my mostly perfect dog… I was taken back. I too, fled a violent marriage at only 20 years old. I fled with only the necessities I could fit in my car, and my pets. Many of my household goods, sentimental belongings, and other personal items were gone forever.
Before actually getting started with purging my kitchen, I absolutely knew I wanted to donate anything I could to a domestic violence resource center. I contacted one in my area, and asked if they accepted donations of this kind. I was (in a way) pleased to hear they were in need of these items. It made it easier going into this process, knowing that I could lighten someone else’s burdens, while also lightening my own.
I was able to decrease my kitchen by almost half, and I know these things will give someone else most of the things they will need to begin making meals for their own children, as they try to get their feet on the ground and wrap their head around their new beginning.
Some of my purges:
- Waffle Maker – I am entirely too lazy to even make waffles, I always make pancakes in the same pan I cook my eggs because its faster and an easier cleanup.
- Reusable Straws – I bought them with the idea they were more earth friendly, but I don’t need 47, I kept 4.
- Mismatched Plates & Dishes – We had a matching set, and there’s only 2 of us. We didn’t need the extras.
- Travel Cups – I have an unhealthy obsession with tumblers, mugs, and travel cups, especially the novelty ones with snarky quotes. I did a giant purge and rid myself of an entire box.
- Magic Bullet – an impulse buy, that I was convinced I would use more often. The tiny cups are obnoxious and I have a really nice blender I always reach for instead. This purge saved so much room.
While I may not have a TV worthy kitchen, or the most popular taste in decor, this refreshed feeling has shown me that this journey is worth it. I chose everything that’s in my kitchen. Everything has its own place, and there is organization and peace in my kitchen. This journey is just beginning, but today was empowering, freeing. I was not bound by any “stuff”, I was not concerned with whether or not something may be useful, or with hurting anyone else’s feelings if it’s not here when they choose to visit once a year. I live here day in and day out, and gave myself permission to choose what belongings occupy this space with me.
If you are beginning your journey along with me, please leave a comment below about how your feeling about tackling your kitchen or how it went for you! I’ve created a little kitchen checklist for you. You can find that below. Be sure you’ve subscribed to this blog so you can follow along and we can navigate having more with less together!