Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Downsizing is a good idea. ? .

I subscribe to several blogs on minimalism, decluttering, and downsizing. Why? Certainly not because I'm doing a good job of any of that! But it's interesting to think of the extremes of life with hardly any stuff in a country of too much. Plus I like looking at other people's spaces better if I can see the furniture, rather than heaps of their collections.

The mandate on getting rid of stuff seems to start with, "If you don't use it, give it away." or "If you haven't worn it for a year, pass it along." Great ideas!

My difficulty in decluttering is squarely centered around those principles. What don't I use? In the past week, I thought about downsizing my kitchen some more. What else can I give away, after donating bags of stuff last year? The cabinets still feel full.

However, while I've been thinking on what I don't use,  since Sunday I have used (some more than once):
  • 4 teapots and over a dozen teacups, mugs, glasses
  • 1 kettle, besides our hot tap (love it! can't imagine a kitchen without it)
  • 7 different pans and pots
  • 3 sets of tongs (2 sizes)
  • 2 soup ladles, 5 kinds of spatulas (from metal to plastic to wooden)
  • 5 different Henkel knives
  • 2 juicers (our Vitamix and one with a strainer)
  • Various sizes and kinds of dishes and serving bowls
  • 2 different vegetable peelers, plus a metal scrubber for peeling carrots
  • 3 cutting boards
  • Microwave, convection oven, oven, stove, griddle, toaster
  • 3 trays (wood, metal, plastic, all for different uses)
  • 3 types of placemats (stiff British, with flower pics; Indonesian wooden roll-up; handmade double-sided fabric from a girlfriend - used both sides)
End of list - because I'm tired of counting, not because I didn't use more things. I haven't spent the whole week in the kitchen, though I cook most of our meals since I've been working from home.

People like me USE their stuff, and enjoy it. While I may not pull out my footed cake plates often, they are within reach when I need them. I like having the right sized baking dish for the recipe, plus a fondue pot and a raclette set.

Could I do without it all? Sure. I stopped buying things the past years, and have passed on more than I've kept  (including 10 teacups and saucers last week). My life is not defined by stuff, but I enjoy the tools God has given to create settings of hospitality and health. I feel recklessly thankful, living in a country so abundant that only kings and queens could have imagined such wealth in other generations.

Think about what you've used in the last few days. What could you pass along to someone else? Maybe readers will sigh over your beautifully clean, uncluttered space in Elle Decor magazine someday. But I doubt mine will make it there!

On a cheerier note, want to come over for tea? I have a few teapots, a plethora of teas, and at least a dozen cups and saucers we can choose from! And that's just in the kitchen.

Read more:
*Elisha told [the king], "Get a bow and some arrows." And the king did as he was told. Elisha told him, "Put your hand on the bow," and Elisha laid his own hands on the king's hands.

Then he commanded, "Open that eastern window," and he opened it. Then he said, "Shoot!" So he shot an arrow. Elisha proclaimed, "This is the LORD's arrow, an arrow of victory over Aram, for you will completely conquer the Arameans at Aphek."

Then he said, "Now pick up the other arrows and strike them against the ground." So the king picked them up and struck the ground three times. But the man of God was angry with him. "You should have struck the ground five or six times!" he exclaimed. "Then you would have beaten Aram until it was entirely destroyed. Now you will be victorious only three times." 2 Kings 13:15–19 NLT

*She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Proverbs 31:25–28

*Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose his life or forfeit his very self?" Luke 9:23-25 NIV


  1. I agree.

    An instinct is to horde. Ie. save for a rainy day. However, there is also a cost to clutter, and it is not much point having something when one cannot find it later.

    I find it a challenge how to strike the right balance. I see that being inclined towards generosity is one solution.

  2. So true. Life works best when all is in balance, doesn't it?