I’m going to breathe a big sigh of relief now. I started my packing party in the kitchen this week, and, let me tell you… I feel lighter already. I don’t even want to look at the stuff we packed up again. Hopefully you can breathe a big sigh with me soon, if you are planning to join in the decluttering packing party in the kitchen!
If you haven’t already read last week’s post, you may want to read it first. It will explain the concept of a packing party, which is the key to getting through the decluttering and minimizing process FAST.
Last week, we also talked about motivation, and about how even the most gorgeous minimalist home pictures on Pinterest aren’t going to do the work of getting rid of your excess stuff. They can help inspire you, but you’ll have to dig deep if you want the kind of motivation that can really carry you through the process.
Read Post #1 in the series from last week here: Decluttering and Minimalism for Families: It Doesn’t Have to be so Hard
This week, I’m going to share a little bit of what we decided to pack and what we kept out in our kitchen, as well as a few before and after pictures. If you have a kitchen waiting to be decluttered, I hope this post can inspire you!
I also have a BONUS for you guys. I created a Minimalism Motivation Worksheet to help you find your deep motivation for getting this done. There is also a place to record some of your personal goals and family goals and vision, which is SO helpful to keep in mind when going through your belongings.
Click the picture below to get it FREE!
Packing Party Schedule
Before I show you my kitchen, I want to let you know what’s coming up the next couple of weeks, so you can follow along and do your own packing party if you want. Look for a post in this series every week on Thursday. You are welcome to switch things around or take things at your own pace! I’m just giving some dates for those who want to follow along week-by-week. Here’s what’s coming up:
This week, I suggest you start your packing party (if you haven’t already) with your kitchen. And really, download the free workbook – it will seriously help you out! The kitchen is a room that is usually somewhat straightforward about what you need and what you don’t. You know generally how many plates, bowls, cups, pots and pans you use, and you can pack up the rest. Remember, if you pack something up and you do end up needing it in the next few weeks, you are allowed to get it back out!
On July 27 (next week) , we will be tackling the kids’ rooms and playroom (if you have one). This is an area that is VERY overwhelming for a lot of people, so we want to get it out of the way. We will be going through kids toys, clothing, shoes, and more. I have found that kids often surprise parents with their reaction when the stuff is gone (many are very happy with the reduced clutter and open space), and this can be motivating to continue with our own clutter habits. We’ll talk about some ways to get the kids involved, so they can feel content with the process.
After that, we will be packing up the master bedroom, bathrooms, and linens. This will include going through clothes, and we’ll talk about the easiest methods to pare them down.
In future posts, we’ll tackle the living room, storage areas (like the basement, garage, or attic), keepsakes, books, office, and our homeschool room/craft room. If you have questions or concerns about these areas or any other areas of your house, please take a minute to comment or email me and let me know. I’d love to talk about the things that are YOUR struggles and speak to your circumstances.
Our Kitchen Packing Party
Our kitchen may end up being the least “minimal” room in our house when we’re all done. Going through it was actually more of a decluttering than an all-out switchover to minimalism. This is because our family has a lot of goals and a vision that centers around our kitchen.
Here are some of the ways that our kitchen “stuff” helps us with our family vision and goals:
- I bake a lot, and see it as part of our family’s service to others. My husband and I host a welcome ministry at our church, where we make coffee and a healthy baked good every week, and people can come early to eat and fellowship. I love how it has brought people from our church together.
- We have a goal of keeping our kids away from tons of sugar, and I would rather bake healthy snacks and things like holiday desserts or birthday cakes than buy store-bought.
- My husband and I are coffee people (have you noticed?), and we hope to one day open our own coffee shop. We have a bit of coffee equipment, but it’s kind of our thing.
- We love having people over, and feeding them dinner.
- I have this blog… and sometimes I make delicious things to eat and drink, and I take pictures. 🙂
I wanted to share these goals and make sure to let you know, we are each on our own journey, and our goals and vision are going to be different. You may keep things that I get rid of (and the other way around), and that’s ok. Minimalism is going to look different for each person or family.
This is important… if we are getting rid of things that are key to our goals and dreams in order to fit an ideal of “minimalism,” or to have the least number of belongings possible, then the idea of minimalism is no longer serving us; we are serving it. We are making the number of things or the look of our home more important than our family’s vision and purpose.
We need to keep in mind that all of the things we keep to help us reach our goals are tools. I don’t want “things” to own parts of my heart. Things have value, because they are useful to us (this includes the things that are ‘useful’ in creating a peaceful and pretty atmosphere in your home). Just keep in mind, they are also replaceable. I am not SO attached to most of my things that I couldn’t get another one if something happened to one of them.
Of course there are things that have memories attached, but if something happened to those things, we would still have the memories. It’s the memories that are really important (and usually because of the people that are in those memories), not the things.
Our Kitchen “Before” Photos
I didn’t take a ton of before pictures. Our kitchen is pretty small, and we have reduced the amount of stuff in our kitchen several times already. I thought we were doing okay, because the room looks pretty clean most of the time. Little did I realize how much excess we actually had (mostly hidden inside the cabinets) until I started packing it up! In all, our kitchen was surprisingly full of stuff, but also was not nearly as bad as some of the other rooms in our house we will tackle later. (You will get to see the shocking pictures of our basement and garage at some point).
Here are a couple pictures that show the insides of the cabinets before our packing party (Sorry, these are a little dark):
This one makes me cringe a little:
What we packed
The picture below is everything we packed up from our little kitchen:
As a side note: the bookshelf on the wall is full of cookbooks, which I will go through later, at the same time as the rest of the books in our house. I’m excited to tell you then about the system we are using to minimize books and homeschool supplies!
Here are some ideas of the things we packed up from the kitchen:
- extra kid-sized bowls and spoons
- extra glasses, plates, cups
- extra water bottles
- extra food storage containers
- extra griddle
- extra cleaning spray bottles and supplies
- a dish drying rack we never use
- papers and things from on top of the fridge
- LOTS of meds we don’t use
- supplements we don’t use
- spices we don’t use
- candles we don’t use
Where we put most of the boxes:
For the kitchen, I found it easiest to pack most items into smaller boxes, label them, and put them on top of our cabinets. Because I didn’t move them far, I didn’t worry about wrapping each individual item with packing paper, and they are also close-by if we do need to get something back out. I don’t love having boxes on top of my cabinets, but I can deal with it for a few weeks!
If you don’t have space on top of your cabinets, maybe there is a closet, a shelf, or a corner where you can stack boxes for now. I know it’s not ideal, but they will be out of there for good soon! All of these things have fit in your house up to this point. It may take some creativity, but hopefully you can find a place to stack them for a few more weeks!
What we Kept Out
First, here are those cabinets you saw in the before photos, and I am feeling much better about them now:
- 4 small teal plates
- 4 small gray plates
- 4 teal bowls
- 4 gray bowls
- 4 large gray plates
- silverware for 8
- 8 glasses
- 2 baby cups
- 3 kids bowls
- 3 baby spoons
- glass containers and lids
- a couple jars
- 2 travel mugs
- 6 mugs
- 4 water bottles
- food processor, blender, stand mixer, toaster, crockpot, coffee grinder, microwave
- Travel Berkey water filter
- Drying mat
- Pots and pans – simple, stainless steel
- One large griddle
- One bread pan, two muffin tins, two cookie sheets, two glass baking pans
- One large colander
- Two large and one small Pyrex bowls
- One baby bottle
- Small “grass” drying rack (in top left cabinet photo – this is where we keep the “baby” dishes in the cabinet)
- Sandwich bags, aluminum foil, parchment paper, and cloth napkins
The list of stuff we kept seems big to me, but I’m happy with where we ended up. Could we have gotten by with one bowl and one plate per person? Yes. Do I always have time to wash dishes after every meal? No. Do I need one more excuse to pick up take out for dinner when we are short on time and there are no clean dishes? No.
If we have two bowls and two plates per person (not including the baby), we have enough to do breakfast, lunch, and dinner without washing dishes. I can continue my routine of running the dishwasher every evening and have clean dishes for the next day. If we have people coming over, I can wash up dishes and have enough to serve eight people. If more than eight people are coming over, we may have to buy paper plates, or ask someone to bring plates!
The end result
I am SO happy with how the kitchen turned out, and also how easy the process was. The packing party idea has been amazing so far. It really is easier to let go of things when you know you can still change your mind for a few weeks if you need the items. And now that all our kitchen extras have been packed up for almost a week, I have not taken anything back out, and I really don’t want to!
Our kitchen feels much more spacious, and everything has a place now. I hope this has inspired you to do your own kitchen packing party.
For help and motivation to get started, please make sure you get the FREE “Minimalism Motivation Workbook” that goes along with this post! It will take you through the process of finding your motivation, writing out your family vision and goals, and recording any modifications your family will make in your own packing party. By the end of the simple workbook, you’ll be ready to dive in and quickly declutter your home.
If you are joining us and doing a packing party of your own (whether you are modifying or following our schedule or not), please let me know in the comments! I’d love to see how many of us are in this together, and celebrate with you!
In case you want to go back to the first post in this series, here it is again:
Here are the next posts in the series:
- Stop Toy Clutter for Good | Decluttering and Minimalism for Families (Post #3)
- How to Declutter Kids Clothing with a Capsule Wardrobe | Decluttering and Minimalism for Families (Post #4)
- Minimizing our Master Bedroom + Toddler Items | Decluttering and Minimalism for Families (Post #5)
- Your Questions About the Packing Party | Decluttering and Minimalism for Families (Post #6)
- Finding “Hygge” and Decluttering the Living Room | Decluttering and Minimalism for Families (Post #7)