Today I finished purging my kitchen. I KONMARI the hell out of it.
I always prided myself on having a well stocked kitchen, and by well stocked I am not talking about cabinets overflowing with canned goods or boxed products, but rather cabinets filled with exotic spices and high quality loose ingredients. I try to make everything from scratch and my cabinets showed this. Everything inside was an explosion of singular items.
What I didn’t realize was that I was drowning in these “high end ingredients” that had long, oh so very long, passed their prime. What an utter waste of money!! I had two bags worth of various grains alone that expired back in 2014!
Kamut? Into the trash.
Sicilian dried lemon peels? They petrified…I could literally use them to chisel wood and stone.
What started out as a simple clean out to prepare for our upcoming baby turned into a multi-day long purge of my entire kitchen. I am overwhelmed. I am astounded by the sheer volume of crap I unknowingly accumulated and the sheer waste of money and resources here.
Part of minimalism and mindful living is, well, being MINDFUL of your LIVING and MINIMIZING your items. For a few years now I have tackled the wardrobe and other areas of the house, yet somehow this one small room eluded me. It was wasteful in the sheer volume of ingredients and specialty items that got tossed.
All of those things cost something. Money. Resources. Time. When we get the item into our homes, we often only look at the price tag that we paid. More often than not, we forget that item traveled far and wide. It required soil and water to grow, a farmer to cultivate and harvest it, a transport to take it from point A to B. Then it took a number of steps to be turned from the raw item to the usable item, which required more labor and more resources. Afterwards it was packaged, shipped AGAIN to the store where you spent your time and your money to purchase it before taking it home to slowly rot away in your cabinet.
There is a lot more to that item’s value than we tend to think. Being mindful, to live more aware of the impact we make on the world, requires us to see these items for more than just their shiny packaged face value. It requires us to look past the font and price tag to the journey that item took to get to us. Just tossing it isn’t just wasteful for us, it’s wasteful for everyone and everything that played a part in its journey.
So…Yes…Cleaning out my kitchen was a major eye opener, but I am grateful because it reminded me that even with the best intentions we can forget how easily it is to slip into bad habits.
Food is one of those things that can be overlooked in their overall impact in our lives. It feels temporary but it is something that took months to grow and process. It’s more than just the package or single piece of fruit. It was someone’s livelihood and source of income. It took resources away and time. What we put in our kitchen reflects this. Or it should.
Let’s put value and meaning back to our kitchens. Remember that the kitchen isn’t just a place to stash food or supplies, but it’s a place to nourish us and to try our best. It’s a good place to cut back, reevaluate our purchases and take back our health.