Thursday, June 2, 2011

Operation Screw All These Dishes

So I was reading a cooking blog the other day that focuses on minimalistic cooking/kitchens. The author was writing about her experience living in NYC in a small apartment with limited kitchen space. Her logical solution to the space dilemma was keeping only enough cutlery, plates, glasses, etc for a meal for two people, and cleaning them immediately afterwords. I kinda wanted to kick myself repeatedly after reading that post when I thought back to the small apartments my husband and I shared for 5 years, and the ridiculous amounts of plates, cups, mugs, etc we had on hand, which would always just pile up and make the kitchen a disaster of a place. HOW HAD I NEVER THOUGHT OF THIS?

Fast forward to the present, where we are living in a townhouse with a decently sized kitchen and a reasonable amount of cabinet space, and our kitchen is still a disaster area. We moved in right before I gave birth and so I never had time to organize the kitchen the way I would have liked. Add to this a busy husband, and until more recently, a busy me with little time to do much else but tend to a demanding baby, and you might be able to sympathize with my constant pile of dirty dishes and altogether unorganized kitchen.

My son is older now and, God bless him, able to amuse himself for spans of time, and so I got it into my head to improve my kitchen. A month or so back I went through everything and put all of the items we basically never used in a box and later in a yard sale/Goodwill. And more recently, after reading the aforementioned blog, I became enamored with the notion that I really didn't need the piles of plates, bowls, mugs and cups we had sitting in our cabinets, taking up useful space.

We are a family of 3 and I rarely entertain guests, so this seems do-able for us, but I'm sure some families are so large or busy that this scenario wouldn't be plausible. Now, what I propose to do, is to cut out all but the essential amount of plates, bowls, cups/mugs because these are the big space takers. I'm down to 4 large plates, 4 small plates, 5 large glasses, 3 bowls and 4 mugs. The idea is to simply pick up a sponge and clean our plates, cups, etc right away. That simple. Limiting the amount of plates available to us will motivate us to be sure we clean them right away so they are dry and ready for use the next time we need them. Further motivation will arise from the energy and water we will save thanks to not running the dishwasher 2-3 times a week.

Mind you, I'm not automatically getting rid of all those extra dishes and cups. Some will go into the cabinet in the dining room so if we do have people over, we have easy access to them. The rest will go in a box in the basement until I decide if this whole operation actually works for us. I am all for quickly cleaning dishes right after use. The main thing is getting the h-band on board. To be honest, as I write this I haven't told him my plan yet. I don't forsee him having an issue with it so I'm just going to spring it on him tonight when he gets home :)

We'll live like this for about a week and see how we like it. I'll be sure to write about the experience after the week is up. Ever done anything like this yourself? I'd love to hear how it went for you!


Unni Strand said...

Interesting project!
I'm not sure if I could do it, though. -I'm too much in love with my various china, vintage plates, bowls etc. But I'm moving quite soon. Moving is a good thing. It always makes me think og what I really need.

A Knit Storm said...

Hah, I know what you mean, Unni! It was easy with my plates and bowls b/c they are all simple clear glass, but when it came to the mugs I had a tough time deciding which 4 I liked best to keep in the cabinet!

I'm a few hours into this whole project and, so far so good! The sink is bare and beautifully spotless, as is my counter. I am loving it. My busy husband has a tendency to eat in his office and leave plates, glasses, etc sitting in there so I'm a bit worried about him continuing that annoying habit, but we'll see if I can't shake him of it.