Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Food Minimalism (Becoming Minimalist)

I'm still kind of writing this series by the seat of my pants, as I continue to uncover what "becoming minimalist" means to me.  I'm loving this, you guys!!  I'm realizing that there is a ton of overflow from the practice of becoming a more minimalistic thinker and today, I'm sharing how I have seen it bump into my household running, specifically with food management. 

I mentioned in a recent post, that I had stopped the giant overstocking of food from Costco.  I got a ton of great feedback from that so I know that many of you are tracking with me on this.  I mainly quit doing that, because; 1) it was expensive. 2) It required management- in that I didn't have a great place for all of that excess storage so I was constantly breaking down boxes, moving half of the items into the pantry, trying to find containers for the rest in the garage, etc. 3) Our freezers were full to overflowing and meats were getting lost and wasted from freezer burn etc.

So it got me revamping a lot of our food items.  I put three little storage bins into the freezer that is attached to our fridge.  One for veggies, one for dairy (shredded cheeses mostly) and another for meats.  There was a pull out drawer at the bottom which became bread products, as those seem to be the largest.  I labelled all of the bins and we mostly stick to that storage in the inside freezer.  If it doesn't fit, it probably needs to be dealt with. Outside, I have a really tiny model of an additional freezer.  It's so small that it doesn't hold much, but it's handy to have.  It's a great place for storing the extra casseroles or soup that I often split in half to freeze for later!

I guess the point I'm making, (same point I've been making all along) is that in all of life the more you have the more you'll have to spend your time managing it and minimalism for me... is all about freeing up that time for anything else!  I grocery shop weekly, I meal plan, I budget, I allow for leftovers but keep in mind a great meal I can sub in, in the off chance there aren't the leftovers I had planned.  Mostly, I try to cook fresh, delicious things that won't go to waste and will nourish us.  Because I can open up my fridge and see the organized plan, rather than old foods rotting and hiding behind crowds of bottles, containers and other things... I'm better able to do that.

I'm also better able to enjoy the process.

Remember this post I did, where I decanted my spices? It freed me up to truly consider what I needed, get rid of what I didn't, and then enjoy a more streamlined process, using what was left.  It was so worth it... At some point, I just decided to stop the madness in every area of my life and this is one more of those areas of massive positive.

I get asked a TON of great questions but here are my top two lately...People keep asking what happens if the jar I'm decanting product into doesn't hold it all. Answer: I just tuck the ugly packaging in front of the pretty jar and use that remaining part up first... but it doesn't happen very often, as I do try to use containers that are sized correctly in the first place. (If you're not buying huge containers of spices at Costco (I'm sorry but I'm totally calling this one out)... you'll need WAY less space to manage things like THAT!) (I can't tell you how many homes I go into, where the bottles of oil and vinegars and spices are totally, 100% out of control. Too many... who needs that much taco seasoning before it all goes stale, anyway?!) (Maybe the taco truck guy... I bet he uses that much seasoning.) (Palm to forehead.) (Just saying.) I run a family of four and we do just FINE with regular sized spices and things.  (They do have a good price on their vanilla extract...  But I like Trader Joes' better. So.)

The other great question, is that when getting organized, it really costs something.  Bins, baskets, drawer dividers.. not cheap!  People ask me how to get minimized and organized with out it costing a fortune.  Answer: Little by LITTLE!  Minimalists don't tend to jump quickly and make stupid purchases that go to waste next week when they 1. see something they like better 2. see Joanna Gaines's next collection (oh yes I DID.) (And for the record, I do adore her stuff and own two of her items...) (I'm just saying, and I know you know.) or 3. haven't thought through the whole space and planned the RIGHT thing.  Minimalists purchase better, just less.  Minimalists purchase carefully, so less waste.  And, minimalists commit longer to what they do buy, because of those first two things. Get the right things, think it through and take your time.  (When I began deeply organizing my home a few years ago, I would often buy one acrylic drawer tray per grocery shopping trip.  Or just do one drawer at a time.  I knew what I wanted and it took me several years to hit every space in our home.)

Fun fact, side note...I read somewhere that if your kitchen area is decluttered and organized, you'll likely weight about 25 lb less than those who don't keep a kitchen tidy! 

What?! WOW! I just wanted to end on that motivating thought.  

And please don't hate me for calling out the size of Costco spices.  

14 comments:

  1. This is a great post and a goal I want to achieve. Thank you!

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  2. More good ideas! Thank you! I buy my spices at a local Penn-Dutch market, and they are all in the same size clear, flat, round containers. They're great for stacking, and because the size is regulated, I can fit lots of different spices in my cupboard! There is a store tag on the top of each where I note the date purchased. Since that isn't visible when I look into the cupboard, I use a sharpie to write the spice name on the side of the the container, and then (just shoot me) I alphabetize them. Makes things so easy to find! At the same store, all of the baking ingredients are in clear plastic bags that I can easy decant into something more stable for in the cupboard. I didn't realize how many things I DO decant until I started reading all of your posts. 🤔

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  3. This was so informative and an area where I still need a little work. Good motivation to get better organized in the kitchen. I have a clean and neat and very organized home but still have too much in my kitchen. Good ideas.

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  4. Love this! The only bulk spices we get anymore are the ones my husband uses for BBQ because goodness gracious we couldn't get through them fast enough otherwise. At the end of last year I just got so overwhelmed with all the plastic and packaging I was throwing away from my Costco trips, not to mention the food waste, that I have been only once since then. I feel like minimizing our grocery shopping has allowed me so much more flexibility which saves money in the long run....I was surprised at that since I thought bulk shopping was saving us so much.....However with school starting back up I'll do a run to stock on teen feeding supplies. ;)

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  5. I totally agree with you on the Costco spice thing. I mean, really, let’s face it. The people using that much spice have to be people in the restaurant industry. I generally only purchase paper goods there. As in paper towels and TP. Once in a great while we get meats there if we are having a big gathering.
    Great tips and insight on your post.
    I have been slowly decluttering and organizing spaces. You are right , we can only do one space at a time. I really want to apply this to our kitchen too, but I am working on other spaces that need this first.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Love this, thanks for sharing, such good motivation!

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  7. Another great post! How do you store your casseroles and soups in the freezer? It's almost fall nesting time for me (I love fall) so I want to have some easy dinners prepared for the busy week nights. Loving this series!

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    1. Thanks Sandra! I store casseroles normally in a disposable pan (because I often share.) and soups normally go into a freezer safe container.

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  8. Where did you get the white shelf that's on your counter? Clutter in my kitchen is a HUGE issue for me. Spices may be a good place to start. Cookware is also taking over my space. And PAPER CLUTTER. Everytime I think I've found a solution for it, I find myself with piles of papers everywhere again. Are you a minimalist for hire?? ;)

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    1. Thanks Meagan... I made it~ Just a board and little feet added! Then painted.

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  9. Loving these posts! Have you read "A Life Less Throwaway"? (Or did you tell us about it? haha that would be funny)
    https://www.amazon.com/Life-Less-Throwaway-Lost-Buying/dp/0008217718
    A great resource and the statistics it quotes are eye opening.
    Thanks for the great ideas!! I want to take a nap on your sofa, it all looks so serene.

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    1. I haven't read it... thanks for the recommendation. I'll be sure to peek at it!

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  10. Perfect motivation for a weekend of pantry overhauling!! I've already "shopped" my house for baskets, etc. to make due until possibly buying some other baskets/containers in the future. Love what you said about that!!

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