6 Tips for a Healthy and Minimal Kitchen (Decluttering Progress: Part III)

The kitchen can be a sanctuary. The kitchen can be a grimy hell hole. Sometimes it's a little bit of both.

I think that to maintain an organized, tidy, healthy, and clean kitchen there are a few things to remember.

You can see how these tips have changed my kitchen for the better, as I show what my kitchen used to look like in my KonMari video here.

1. Clean with non-toxic and safe cleaning products.

The whole point of cleaning is to make it a healthier place to be, right? Why poison yourself with harsh chemicals? I make my own multi-purpose cleaner with a few natural and safe ingredients. I am going to post a video about the recipes I use next week. Stay tuned!

2. Clean often.

This is something that we're working on. Eventually, after decluttering more, I think it will be easier to actually clean surfaces on a more regular basis. 

Matt and I have been really good about doing our dishes at the end of the night each night. We do have to get better at cleaning the refrigerator and floors at least once a week.

3. Use glass containers for food storage.

We are trying to figure out the best way to buy bulk items in an attempt to reduce the waste we produce. We have some jars for these items but might need to head over to the thrift store to find some more.

We also like storing our leftovers in glass containers rather than plastic. Plastics leach into our food when the temperature changes. Glass containers also last longer and I think they look nicer.

4. Get rid of items you don't use.

Keeping the amount of things in the kitchen to a minimum is important to me. Our kitchen is pretty small to begin with. We cook a lot so we need all the chopping space we can get.

We have a few items sitting on the dining room table in purgatory, waiting to learn their fate. Will they be sold or donated? 

I also wrote a blog post about keeping the kitchen manageable, in terms of dishes and silverware. The idea I discuss has been a game-changer for me.

In my last video about our decluttering progress, you can also see the before and after of the under the sink situation. It’s MUCH better now.

5. Have a designated place for each item.

Giving each item a home in the kitchen makes it that much easier to put it away after using it. It keeps things looking tidy and you always know where everything is! 

6. Incorporate plants into the kitchen.

Plants just add some freshness, color, and a sense of calm. The trick is to not go overboard and get so many plants that you can't keep them looking nice. I learned this the hard way.

If you have any kitchen tips to share, I’d love to hear about them! 

Decluttering Progress: Part II

Here is a quick video about my continuing decluttering progress.

In this video I show what it looked like before I tackled my bathroom cabinets, hallway shelf, and under the sink kitchen cabinets, as well as what it looks like now. 

Tip: Baskets are cheap and nice ways to organize items. I got 5 of them at Goodwill for $7. :)

What are your tidying/decluttering tips?


Decluttering Progress: Part I

Last week my boyfriend and I had a conversation about our ideal home situations and what we needed to do to make them more of a reality. 

If you’re interested in that conversation, you can check it out below:

We both want a clean, simple, organized, and personal home that is as functional as it is cozy

We both found some photos that represented our ideal homes. 

Matt’s photos:

My photos:

I think we’re lucky to agree on so many aspects of a home.

So the next step was to make a plan.

We decided to start by decluttering the basement and the bedroom. 

In the basement we have/had a lot of junk. Some of the junk was there when we moved in like paintings, fishing rods, a weird mattress thing, a desk, a clothes rack, buckets of some junk, another desk, and an air conditioner. 

We also have some clothes we forgot about, DVDs, CDs, books books books, and a guinea pig cage no one should use because it’s weird and too small.

On the other hand, we have stuff down there that we actually use. A cat carrier, laundry supplies, tools, extra dishes for when we have company, Matt’s band stuff, and painting supplies. 

The main issue with the bedroom was that Matt had a lot of clothes he didn’t wear that he needed to sort through so that he’d have more room to store the clothes he does wear.

The first step in decluttering the basement was to organize the items into piles: trash, donate, sell, keep, not sure yet. 

The subsequent steps are to throw away the trash, haul the donate stuff to Goodwill, sell the sell stuff, and find a home for the items we want to keep and decide what to do with the ‘I don’t knows’.

We are in this phase now.

The bedroom however, is in pretty good shape. Matt took the clothes he didn’t want anymore to Goodwill and has organized the clothes he wants to keep. We might need a better solution for his shoes. 

Decluttering a home can be a little stressful. It’s sometimes hard to get rid of your own things for sure, but I think it can even tougher to talk about it with your partner and get to a place where both people feel good about the plan. Matt and I are pretty lucky to be on mostly the same page.

The final and never-ending step would be limiting what comes into the home. It’s easy to fall into the habit of buying for reasons that aren’t really good enough if a decluttered home is the goal. 

Good enough reasons for me to buy something:

  1. it’s a necessity
  2. it’s going to last a really, really long time
  3. it will bring me joy for a really, really long time

Bad reasons for me to buy something:

  1. it will give me a rush for the rest of the day or week
  2. boredom
  3. to be cool

I will continue to share as we continue to make progress on our home and work toward our goals. 

What is your ideal home situation? What can you do today to start making that a reality? What are you waiting for? 

When Your Partner/Housemate Isn’t Into Decluttering

This house is too much for me.

I can’t keep up.

The guinea pigs, the floors, the dishes, the laundry, the bathroom, the clutter.

I went through all of my things in April using the KonMari method and asked myself whether or not each item sparked joy. (There are some things in the basement that I didn’t include, like extra kitchen dishes and spices. I need to go through these things to eliminate clutter down there.)

I got rid of a lot of things that didn’t spark joy.

However, not all the systems I set up have lasted. This clearly means I need some new systems and places to put things away and perhaps even to further declutter my personal things.

I want to encourage my partner by being an example and show what it’s like to live without clutter. I think it’s just hard to see through all of the other clutter. 

We are pretty busy. By busy, I mean we like to do things and we have jobs. 

What we don’t like spending our time doing is cleaning up.

A piece of this puzzle is that permanently decluttering provides that clarity and space to actually clean the house regularly. 

If we spend so much time putting things away, we don’t have much will power left to devote to cleaning the house.

So I’m trying to think of things I can do that benefit us both, without coming off as pushy or preachy.

  1. I can do it. People say, “If you want something done, do it yourself.” I agree. It’s a little bit tougher when what you want to do is to someone else’s things. I can make some piles and organize and when he has the time he can go through them. This might show what the place could look like if there were less things. 
  2. I can better develop my own systems of storing my items in hopes of inspiring change. 
  3. I can give up my dream of having a clutter free home.
  4. Just kidding I can’t do that. I WILL NEVER GIVE UP.

If I do something that helps, I will let you know.

Does anyone have any experience with this kind of thing? If so, please give me some insight!

A Storage Update: Storing Clothing the KonMari Way

I just wanted to show you how I'm currently storing my clothes, according to Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." I had previously been storing them in a way that made it impossible to maintain. 

I also filmed a very short update video:

Storing my clothes this way has reduced the amount that has ended up on my floor and couch - clean or dirty.

pants, leggings, tights, socks, sleepwear, extra tees, underwear, bras, & swimwear - some contained in shoe boxes

pants, leggings, tights, socks, sleepwear, extra tees, underwear, bras, & swimwear - some contained in shoe boxes

shoes, bags, books, inbox, jewelry & essential oils, more books & paper file folder, hair care, more books, & work out equipment

shoes, bags, books, inbox, jewelry & essential oils, more books & paper file folder, hair care, more books, & work out equipment

In the book, she writes that you'll know when the amount of things you own and the way you are storing those things "clicks" into place by how easy it is for you to maintain it. I think I'm on my way, but hope to get rid of some more of the clothes I still don't wear and invest in some higher quality, more versatile pieces. 

clothing rack with jackets, robe, skirts, dresses, & tops

clothing rack with jackets, robe, skirts, dresses, & tops

In the upcoming month or two I will be building a capsule wardrobe for the cooler seasons.

Do you have a capsule wardrobe or want to build one? If so, how many pieces do you want to include? Please let me know in a comment.