Author Topic: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem  (Read 3058 times)

red_pill

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 206
  • Location: Canada
Hi,

A few years ago I got sick of tripping over stuff and went on a massive purge. We probably got rid of 60 to 70% of our "stuff" and I keep working at it.  For the majority of the house, we do very well.  Very clutter-free. 

But I'm not happy with our kitchen.  Just too much stuff in it.  It escaped the major purge since it is my wife's domain and she is less of a minimalist than I am.  She says she can just "look past" any messes - I cannot. I like VERY clean. 

I have been analyzing the flow, and as best I can tell, dishes exist in one of three states: Clean, Dirty, or In Use.   If the dishes are fairly evenly distributed between those three conditions, then it is okay.  But it's when there is an abundance in one area that causes problems.  Everything is clean - cupboards are overflowing.  Everything is dirty - dishwasher is overflowing and sink is full, and there's not enough to use.  It is especially problematic for our leftover / lunch containers.  These are square glass containers so they aren't like bowels that stack neatly - they eat up a ton of space in the dishwasher when dirty and the drawer is always a disaster if they are all clean. It probably doesn't help that we have a bunch of different sizes and lots of them.

There's 4 of us in the household, so there is a bit of volume for dishes, but nothing that should be unmanageable since everyone does their share.  Still, we can't seem to make it as smooth as I would like. Drives me crazy.

We have been talking about downsizing in a few years and I see my opening!  There's no way we will fit it all in to somewhere smaller. 

Does anyone have any strategies that worked for them to reign in this mess?
« Last Edit: April 13, 2019, 11:14:29 PM by red_pill »

GoConfidently

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 208
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2019, 11:34:52 PM »
When the dishwasher and sink are full, look at whatís not bing used and start purging things into a box. If you donít need those things in a month or three, take the box to goodwill. Done.

Zikoris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3487
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
  • Vancouverstachian
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2019, 11:36:31 PM »
I see two distinct problems.

It sounds like you don't have a fixed routine if it swings between "everything's clean" and "everything's dirty". So start one. Here's a sample: start the dishwasher before you go to bed every night, empty it in the morning when you go to have breakfast. We don't have a dishwasher, but have a system where the sink has to be empty every night before bed, and if it's not, we just have to stay up doing dishes until it is.

Second, you need to toss a lot of things. ERE has an interesting solution here - take everything out of your kitchen and box it all up. Only take things out as you need them. After a month or two, anything still in a box gets turfed.

SotI

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2019, 01:50:08 AM »
I can relate b/c I also find we have too much stuff in the kitchen. And that's after a big purge to reduce duplicates.
Here, the problem is that DH is our home chef - and he used to cook professionally, so his kitchen tool-kit and knife selection is massive.
But that's why he resists further reductions (as"he may need things" ...). This include loads of containers, pts,  jars, you name it.

I could live with 1/3 of the stuff, but he's the cook, so I have simply accepted it as his "professional assessment".
Mind you, I have the same issue with his workshop tools and equipment.
The compromise solution is: a dedicated space - and he has to stay within those parameters.
Then I don't need to deal with the stuff elsewhere (and try to ignore it in the dedicated space).

So far, this is the only solution I have found.

Cranky

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1757
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2019, 05:13:47 AM »
I boxed everything up in my kitchen a few years ago because we remodeled, and I did get rid of quite a few odds and ends. I still have a LOT of kitchen stuff, some of it fairly specialized, because I like to cook. I think I'm pretty organized, though, and everything has a place.

When I cook in a relative's tiny minimalist kitchen I think, "This is horrible!"

Ann

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 264
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2019, 07:25:44 AM »
I have a suggestion but it is not Mustachian: completely re-do the lunch containers. I purged vast majority of my storage containers and buying sets of matching Tupperware (weíll probably a different brand, I didnít pay attention)..  There are 5 sizes:  shallow and medium ďsmallĒ which can stick and have the same lid and shallow, medium and deep ďlargeĒ which can all stack and have same lid.  It eliminated searching for lids and I can stack them all.   I have a small apartment kitchen - it literally has one drawer - and this worked for me.

I tried to donate and recycle all my previous containers, which were a hodgepodge of mismatch and old food containers being reused.  So, I feel a little guilty I bought more plastic junk to replace workable old plastic junk ... but I did this two years ago and it still makes me happy.


magnet18

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 231
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2019, 07:31:28 AM »
We had this issue massively when we lived in a house, mostly with the dirty state overflowing because we got married, and EVERYONE wants to get you kitchen stuff, so we had enough to go 3 weeks without doing dishes.  At one point I ziptied a bunch of my cabinets shut to avoid the temptation of just grabbing a clean plate.

Downsizing into an rv helped a lot, but only because we only have a few days worth of dishes now

Assuming you don't want to downsize into an RV, two suggestions

1. I've seen RVers with dishwashers do this, consider taking enough dishes for the family (4 plates, 4 bowls, etc.) And having them live in the dishwasher full time, getting rid of all the others.  Then run the dishwasher before leaving for work, and again before bed.  Depending on the size of the dishwasher, you can expand that as much as you want so long as you leave enough space for miscellania to go in there as well.   All the space your plates and bowls used to take in cabinets can store other things.

2. I'm the 5th person to say box it up, and put it away, for good reason. If your wife hesitates, tell her you can keep the boxes for a whole year. After downsizing to the rv, over a year later I'm still noticing things in the kitchen we didn't use once in a year and purging them.


My kitchen has
1 mixing bowl and set of measuring tools
1 strainer
1 big saucepan we use for basically everything
1 small frying pan
1 small round cake pan
1 pot, small by most standards
4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 forks, 4 knives, 4 spoons, 2 sets of chopsticks
One pint glass and a couple wine glasses
Knife block and two very thin cutting boards
Instapot
Immersion/stick blender
Waffle maker
Coffee pot
A small collection of matching Rubbermaid Tupperware (4lg, 2md, 1sm)
One large Tupperware bowl for salads
One miscellaneous drawer of spatualas and canopeners and such

The only thing we have way too much of is coffee cups, because of my wife, but she's down to a half a closet hanger and one dresser drawer, so i don't fuss about the fact that we have 12 coffee cups/travel mugs for two people

We both do quite a bit of cooking and this loadout has worked perfectly for a year for two people

freya

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 330
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2019, 08:15:49 AM »
Kitchens are kind of different from the rest of the house.  The more functional it is, the more clutter is involved.   The only people I know with clean, minimalist kitchens are the ones who eat out or get takeout for most of their meals.  Not very mustachian!  My suggestion would be that if you ever decide to move, you might want to consider a closed kitchen to wall off the clutter.

It also sounds like you need either more cabinet space, or better use of existing cabinet space.  I have a small kitchen so I can relate.  These interventions have done worlds of good for me  - sorry, some of them involve spending money but it doesn't have to be expensive:

- Periodically clean out a cabinet, rediscover the stuff jammed in the back, and consolidate/use/throw out as needed.
- Buy a lazy susan for spices or small items, if you have them stashed in a cabinet.
- Put up a wall board and use that for utensils, small pots, even pot lids, oven mitts, and the compost bucket.  I got a metal one with variable kinds of hooks on Amazon that is stronger than the cardboard variety.  It doubles as decoration and looks great, plus is super convenient.
- If you have thick stoneware plates, get rid of them and buy lighter, stackable Corning ware.  I bought a beautiful stoneware set in college secondhand and loved it, but the pieces took a ton of room in cabinets and the dishwasher, and were heavy.  I replaced it after I had a shoulder injury, and have not regretted the switch.  I do have a few beautiful one-of-a-kind pottery bowls though.
- Second the recommendation to simplify Tupperware/equivalent to just a few sizes that are stackable.  You can also get silicone lids in various sizes that you can put over regular bowls, pots etc, to reduce storage needs.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2019, 08:24:27 AM by freya »

red_pill

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 206
  • Location: Canada
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2019, 08:36:44 AM »
Wow, some outstanding tips and they have helped me identify some of my issues.

1) No routine. The dishwasher gets run at various times - sometimes in the morning, sometimes at night.  But why?  Because we don't run the dishwasher unless it is full. But our dish usage is not at a constant rate.  So sometimes we go from a 75% full dirty dishwasher to 125% full after a meal, meaning sink overflow.  If I can identify the best time to run it, even if partially full, then I'll eliminate most of my problems.   @magnet18, your idea of essentially storing all dishes in the dishwasher and running it twice a day hit me like a lightning bolt...that would never have occurred to me.  I've read of people having two dishwashers and doing pretty much the same, but there's no way I was going to do that. 

2) Excessive supply of stuff.  We have a "buffer" supply of plates and containers, and we regularly use this buffer, so it feels like we can't get rid of them.  BUT, if we solve issue #1 and smooth out the flow, then we could dramatically reduce the needed "buffer".  Not only that, but right now I am storing my buffer in my prime storage locations, making them too cluttered.  If they are truly buffer supply then they can go to a secondary storage location (hard to reach high cabinets, which are currently filled with crap we really don't ever use, hence the reason it is up there).  So, the unused crap is going to go, the buffer stock will be relocated, and then the primary usages stuff will be in a less cluttered area.  Actually, @freya your comment the silicon lids was awesome - we have those! That means we can use our mixing bowls as "buffer" leftover containers at Xmas and Thanksgiving, etc.  The application of the "box it up and save it in case you need it" tactic will be useful here. That was our go-to technique for the rest of the house, but we only did it a bit in the kitchen.

3) Worrying too much about "right sizing" containers.  My wife loves to match up the quantity of left overs with the perfect size container. Seriously, I have seen her reallocate leftovers from one container to another just to match the size properly.  This contributes to a need for an excessive supply of stuff.  We could probably get rid of a few of our smaller containers.  @Ann  I'm afraid we can't do the nesting plastic ones - we find the idea of heating up food in plastic containers pretty gross, and we don't like the quasi-disposable nature of plastic containers. We are all glass, but the problem is they don't nest. @freya I agree about the smaller Corning plates - we do have the stoneware stuff and I agree it is too bulky. But, my wife hates the corning stuff, lol.  So, no luck on that one. 

4) Excessive usage.  Wife and I talked about this last night - right now if someone needs a glass they get a clean one, use it once, and then put it in the dishwasher (if it's empty, otherwise it goes into the sink).  I'm probably the worst offender for this.  So, instead, if we have dedicated glasses, we eliminate that problem instantly.

It feels like with minimalism there is a "tipping point" - sure you can get rid of 50% of your stuff without altering your lifestyle at all because it was just crap you never used.  But then you hit a bit of a roadblock, where if you try to get rid of anything else you create friction with your current habits, workflow, lifestyle, etc.  This is where we are stuck at.  I have this nagging suspicion, though, that if we made some lifestyle adjustments (and they might not even be that hard), then we could get from 50% to 80% reduction of stuff instantly.  It just requires a new way of doing things.  I'm not even sure that makes sense, but I have this feeling that I'm missing an opportunity to do things in a fundamentally different way than what is "normal", and that there would be tremendous benefit in doing so.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2019, 08:38:36 AM by red_pill »

freya

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 330
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2019, 08:56:57 AM »
Nice summary!

My family successfully deals with the non-reused glass issue at large gatherings by using cup markers.  These can be as simple as colored rubber bands.  Then you know which glass belongs to who, even if it's left somewhere before it's reused.

About the Corningware, keeping a few stoneware or pottery pieces might be a good compromise.  Also she might warm to the idea once she realizes how much lighter they are.   Maybe you could relegate stoneware to "buffer" and a Corning set for everyday use?  Get a Corning set, or maybe just a few pieces, box up half the stoneware, and see how it works out.  If you get the Corningware secondhand, you can always sell it for the same price if the experiment fails.

lizzzi

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2103
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2019, 09:36:28 AM »
Or compromise with a nice set of china that's medium-weight. Heavier than Corningware, but not as massive as stoneware. For years now in my family (Three generations, nine separate people, three states) you could go into our homes and see either Johnson Brothers Friendly Village or Johnson Brothers Willow Blue. You don't have to pay too much if you get the more recent stuff that's not made in England. Or you can find the Made in England stuff on Replacements.com or Etsy. Or choose your own creative, stylish, mid-weight china, of course. Maybe square plates, or those ones shaped like parallelograms. I keep service for four on hand, just in case I get a little company, but I have room for it in the cupboards. Any more than that, and it will be either dining by Dixie or go out to eat.

I live alone in my own one-bedroom apartment now, so can do exactly as I please with the kitchen. It was a bit trial-and-error for a while--I had been used to living in a house and cooking for 5 to 8 people. Over two and a half years I've just donated to charity what I realized I didn't like or wasn't going to use--I like a simple, minimalist kitchen with good tools, but only the basics and only what I really use. The non-negotiable rule for myself is "No dirty dishes on counter or in sink...ever. So if it doesn't go in the dishwasher for some reason, I hand wash it immediately. I run the dishwasher every evening after supper--with all the virulent germs around, I like the idea that the dishes are getting sanitized-- and empty it before bed.

Malkynn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1490
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2019, 10:05:06 AM »
-re: dishes
Fine china is dirt cheap these days, far more durable than the bulky stoneware, and people are always looking to get rid of it. We've used only fine china for years with just a few plates dedicated for microwaving things.

re: glass storage
Transfer your food to a dish to heat it up.
Research the environmental implications of glass, it's not necessarily better.
I can store 40 nesting containers neatly organized on one shelf. Think about it.

re: Glasses
We have only crystal and handblown double walled glasses and mugs here. They all get hand washed daily. We each have one glass/mug of each kind. That's it for daily use.
For guests, we have a set of 8 stemless wine glasses. The fine china set also has tea cups.

Overall, yes, you will have to adjust your patterns if you want to downsize your kitchen inventory, which might be a pain in the ass for about a week, but really, it's not nearly the hurdle that it appears to be.


Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2019, 10:57:27 AM »
I would try to identify those items you arenít using and get rid of them.  We have done this by just paying attention. You know what favorite things get used.

freya

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 330
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2019, 02:26:52 PM »
And another idea, this one from my brother:  he bought square dishes instead of round, because they pack more efficiently into cabinets.

Here's to small, well organized, easily navigated kitchens!   A couple of links to articles about how professional chefs have organized their own small kitchens.

https://www.domino.com/content/professional-chef-kitchen-design-tips/

https://www.thekitchn.com/at-home-in-the-kitchen-with-da-45115

https://www.thekitchn.com/a-chef-at-home-michelle-marek-in-montreal-kitchen-tour-201822

driftwood

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 339
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2019, 05:29:27 PM »
Most everything I've thought of has been mentioned.

Nesting glassware does exist. Just doesn't nest as tightly as plastic ones.

There are three of us living here, and I used the dishwasher twice... when I moved in, to wash all the new kitchen stuff I got. I wash the dishes every night, usually start as I'm making dinner. Wash the remaining dinner dishes after. Put them away or just reuse them the next day. Dishwasher twice a day works too, not sure if that'll make any noticeable impact on utilities.

What does your family think about trying to cook just the right amount instead of having leftovers?  I've found that I seldom want leftovers, so I cook less food and if I cooked too little, it's easy to supplement the meal with sides or snacks.

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8358
  • Age: 63
  • Location: The Villages, Florida
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2019, 06:45:14 PM »
If your wife is responsible for most of the kitchen tasks, and she is happy, then I suggest you let this go.

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4864
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2019, 08:24:58 PM »
Most everything I've thought of has been mentioned.

Nesting glassware does exist. Just doesn't nest as tightly as plastic ones.

We have an entire cabinet of pyrex :)

red_pill

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 206
  • Location: Canada
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2019, 09:51:04 PM »

What does your family think about trying to cook just the right amount instead of having leftovers?  I've found that I seldom want leftovers, so I cook less food and if I cooked too little, it's easy to supplement the meal with sides or snacks.


We bring our lunches to work every day.  So dinner one night is the next day's lunch.  My wife is an awesome cook, I love left overs!

red_pill

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 206
  • Location: Canada
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2019, 09:52:31 PM »
If your wife is responsible for most of the kitchen tasks, and she is happy, then I suggest you let this go.

I had to check to make sure this wasn't my wife posting this...lol.   She's not responsible for most of the kitchen tasks. She does most of the cooking, but I do most of the cleaning.  It's a good division of labor, and totally works for us, but it means there are two people's preferences to accommodate.  Plus, she likes the house clean and uncluttered, but she just probably wouldn't generate the decluttering tasks herself if left to her own devices. 
« Last Edit: April 14, 2019, 10:07:20 PM by red_pill »

red_pill

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 206
  • Location: Canada
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2019, 10:06:02 PM »
Some great progress today.

Wiping down all the cabinets was on my list of things to do anyway, so today my wife did it with me and as we took everything out to wipe down the cabinets she disposed of a decent amount of stuff.  It's amazing what was there that we just never really saw, but were tripping over daily.  So, a little more breathing room. 

One problem I see is STACKING..... it's not a problem when identical items are stacked - you just take the top one and away you go.  But when different items are stacked on each other it's a nightmare.  Constantly digging under things to get at whatever is underneath...what a mess.  So, I'm going to try for one "layer" of things in all the drawers and cabinets.  This will take some rearranging, but I think it's doable with the new breathing room.

Another problem I see is an excess of number of items combined with them being non-matching.  I think I counted like 23 forks.  That's too many (even though we needed them before we instituted a cleaning schedule - see below), but what adds to the problem is that they are a hodgepodge since we have never bought new ones.  They don't nest together well, and we end up digging past the ones we don't like for the ones we do.   So, I'll go through and remove the junky ones and put them in the "maybe get rid of box" and see if we miss them. I'm betting we don't.  Worst case scenario - it's not hard to grab a dirty fork from the dishwasher and clean it by hand.   She vetoed me on paring down the 12 mugs and 6 crystal glasses, but that's okay.

Finally, we are going to start a dishwasher schedule.  It gets turned on after dinner and put away before bed, thus starting the next day all clean.  This goes well with our sweep through the house to put away any clutter as part of our regular clutter busting routine.   My wife thinks this is a waste of utilities since it won't be a full load, and she's probably right, but I don't care.  There's nothing better than waking up in the morning to a clean house! So I vetoed her on this one.   She was cool with it :)

Oh, and I think instead of bringing my containers home from work dirty (I usually just eat at my desk and work through lunch, and then put the containers back in my bag), I'll take a minute and clean them out in the office kitchen.  Saves me from having to deal with dirty dishes at home, and saves a bit of hot water and soap. Maybe it will offset the partial dishwasher loads. 

Appreciate all the suggestions and, most of all, the motivation to dig into this.  My suspicion is if we really get solidified in some good habits we will find that we don't even need a dishwasher and will just clean as we go.  Maybe someday.

« Last Edit: April 14, 2019, 10:09:04 PM by red_pill »

Malkynn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1490
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2019, 03:29:53 AM »
A minimalist kitchen is a process, not just a sweeping change.

Start with the modifications you've done and then slowly observe what works and what doesn't and alter things accordingly from there. With daily dishwasher running, she may notice that you have way more glasses/cups/mugs than you need on a day to day basis and may be willing to get rid of a bunch eventually.

It's a process, good job on getting the ball rolling

OtherJen

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1588
  • Location: Metro Detroit
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2019, 08:36:40 AM »
It also sounds like you need either more cabinet space, or better use of existing cabinet space.  I have a small kitchen so I can relate.  These interventions have done worlds of good for me  - sorry, some of them involve spending money but it doesn't have to be expensive:

- Periodically clean out a cabinet, rediscover the stuff jammed in the back, and consolidate/use/throw out as needed.
- Buy a lazy susan for spices or small items, if you have them stashed in a cabinet.
- Put up a wall board and use that for utensils, small pots, even pot lids, oven mitts, and the compost bucket.  I got a metal one with variable kinds of hooks on Amazon that is stronger than the cardboard variety.  It doubles as decoration and looks great, plus is super convenient.
- If you have thick stoneware plates, get rid of them and buy lighter, stackable Corning ware.  I bought a beautiful stoneware set in college secondhand and loved it, but the pieces took a ton of room in cabinets and the dishwasher, and were heavy.  I replaced it after I had a shoulder injury, and have not regretted the switch.  I do have a few beautiful one-of-a-kind pottery bowls though.
- Second the recommendation to simplify Tupperware/equivalent to just a few sizes that are stackable.  You can also get silicone lids in various sizes that you can put over regular bowls, pots etc, to reduce storage needs.

Yes to all of this! We have a small kitchen and small house and these are good tips.

Instead of a lazy susan, we bought a half-dozen shallow wooden spice shelves from Ikea and installed them on the wall next to the stove. We can easily access everything without taking up any cabinet space, and the shelves are only a few inches deep so they're unobtrusive. We also bought two wall-mounted metal pot racks (also Ikea) to hold all our pots and pans and a few other things. These are nice because the tops of the racks double as shelves so we can store our cast-iron dutch oven and glass mixing bowl on them.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6865
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2019, 10:34:21 AM »
Quote
3) Worrying too much about "right sizing" containers.  My wife loves to match up the quantity of left overs with the perfect size container. Seriously, I have seen her reallocate leftovers from one container to another just to match the size properly.  This contributes to a need for an excessive supply of stuff.  We could probably get rid of a few of our smaller containers.  @Ann  I'm afraid we can't do the nesting plastic ones - we find the idea of heating up food in plastic containers pretty gross, and we don't like the quasi-disposable nature of plastic containers. We are all glass, but the problem is they don't nest. @freya I agree about the smaller Corning plates - we do have the stoneware stuff and I agree it is too bulky. But, my wife hates the corning stuff, lol.  So, no luck on that one. 

I'm with your wife on this one, mostly because our fridge is stuffed at the beginning of the week with leftovers and produce.  I have to right size to fit everything.

Do you travel or go camping?  Some of our mismatched items permanently live in the "camping gear" or "picnic basket".  We even went through last year and filled a small bin with "stuff we don't need".  Found it a year later.  In the meantime, we'd lost about 4 serving spoons at our potlucks.  So now those "ugly, extra spoons" are our regular spoons.

nessness

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 415
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2019, 10:57:06 AM »
My personal opinion is that you should have no more stuff than you can reasonably fit in your cabinets at one time. Anything else (not being able to unload the dishwasher until you dirty some dishes) would drive me crazy.

Do you have seldomly used items that can be stored elsewhere? I store canned goods (not seldomly used but easy enough to grab when needed), wine glasses, and things that are only used for parties/holidays in a cabinet in the hallway.

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11377
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2019, 11:08:21 AM »
If your cutlery is an issue (all mismatching), Canadian Tire carries decent cutlery (i.e. Lagostina), and it is reasonably priced when they have a sale.  I have also bought Anchor Hocking glass storage containers there, the sale price is usually good.

I second the idea of getting nice china. Auctions often have nice stuff cheap. Someone's "good" china will become your "all the time" china. And your kids grow up using it, instead of it being tucked away for special occasions.  I have nice (Noritake) china that I got at auction cheap, and my wrists and storage space definitely appreciate it.  My DD freaked the first time she visited after I got it, it was "too good to use".  No, let's enjoy our lives and eat off nice china.

StarBright

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1404
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2019, 11:17:03 AM »
If your wife is responsible for most of the kitchen tasks, and she is happy, then I suggest you let this go.

^^^^ amen. She/He who does the cooking, cleaning, shopping etc, can decide how they want their space.

I will say - if you are drowning in lunch containers, we make due with one small and one large container for each person. They get popped into the washing machine every night and washed.

Between breakfast, dinner and lunch dishes we run a mostly full load every night.

We have a simple set of dinnerware for 8 and two packable lunch dishes a person (and too many coffee cups). We also have two sets of 4 piece food storage: 4 largish and 4 medium.

Any extra dishes for guests are stored in the basement with our holiday decorations.

CrustyBadger

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 832
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2019, 02:37:21 PM »
I have been analyzing the flow, and as best I can tell, dishes exist in one of three states: Clean, Dirty, or In Use

I think there should be only two states:   Currently Being Used, and Clean.   

I don't live this way in my own home of course, but I aspire to it!  When I take my Scouts camping, that's how we live, and it is utterly simple.

Each person has her own mess kit containing whatever she feels like using for meals.  A cup, a plate, a fork knife and spoon.  Perhaps a cereal bowl.  She stores the plates and utensils in a mesh bag.     She uses what is needed for the meal, then scrapes any leftovers off with a utensil, and wipes everything off with her napkin until it looks clean.

At this point, hand washing the dishes is extremely quick and easy and takes just a little hot soap and water.  When camping, we just hang the bags to dry so no one needs to dry any dishes.

How to adapt for home?  Everyone has their own plate, bowl, utensils either labeled or marked in some way, and you only have one of each per person.   If someone uses a plate and doesn't wash it, they have to wash it to use it again.   You have to teach them how to clean it quickly and easily (scraping first, then polishing with a napkin until it looks clean, and only then washing.  Otherwise they will waste a lot of water and soap trying to clean a dish full of food.)

As for storing leftovers, I have had luck with these 3 cup containers.  They are made of glass and have easy lids.  And they stack.

https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/pyrex-reg-storage-plus-glass-container-collection/3280812?skuId=45382109&&mrkgcl=609&mrkgadid=3335539190&mcid=PS_googlepla_nonbrand_bakeware_online&product_id=45382109&adtype=pla&product_channel=online&enginename=google&adpos=1o2&creative=224484706032&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=Cj0KCQjw19DlBRCSARIsAOnfRehSsDmbzwx2bg-GdqX_fradWBMNFP5U99TNLupVt46O-KHB6WWvin0aAmyOEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

Rosy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2129
  • Location: Florida
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2019, 04:05:51 PM »
If your wife is responsible for most of the kitchen tasks, and she is happy, then I suggest you let this go.

That was my first thought too.
How the hell would you like it if someone constantly messes with an area you work in, to the point of taking away the joy of cooking (supposing she does enjoy being creative in the kitchen - which does require specialty tools y'all:) and are expected to function, produce and be creative in, consistently?
Every day of your life...

Clean and neat is a wonderful thing most of the time - optimizing space is essential, but not at the expense of having someone troll behind me evaluating whether I move the leftovers to another container since that is closer to a perfect fit. Just sayin').
... and yup, I tend to do that too - - so how is that different from being a committed minimalist in terms of obsession?

Sometimes I think minimalism is just as bad as those people whose cupboards are stuffed with so much Tupperware that it rains down on you when you open the cupboard door - INCOMING!:)

Anyway, to answer your question - do it Elizabethan style - each person gets one plate, one cup etc. The table is re-set for the next meal once you have finished your meal. No dishwasher allowed.
You can have a cupboard for guest only - always at the ready:)

Food requires prep and the tools to do it - end of story. If she is the one cooking she gets to say what it is she requires. Some cooks need very little, some cooks have favorite equipment and others just enjoy cooking so much, they do like their specialty tools - what is wrong with that?

Food also requires storage - buy the storage pieces that work and move on.
Not to say one shouldn't purge and re-evaluate to optimize storage and usage.
I happen to have a partner who enjoys my cooking and I have to reign him in, since he would get me any gadget I'd want (probably mostly for selfish reasons:). However, as passionate as I am about cooking, it is work and I'm not keen on having implements I don't use or have proven that they no longer fit our lifestyle.

Life is all about change or you're dead - so change what you need to, but not at the expense of someone else who may well need at least one area in the house that is not minimalized to the nth degree.
If you eat off plates there will be dishes - so clean up after dinner via handwashing or dishwasher - whatever works for your lifestyle. I grew up without a dishwasher back in the day and thought it the height of luxury and convenience to have one - only to find that, "Pffft, give me the storage space instead or just an empty space. Free space is good:)
I do prefer to do the dishes and talk with my sweetie about his day while he dries the dishes.

... yup, I agree, decent china takes up less space and is lighter and I do prefer glass storage whenever possible.

No offense intended, just my five cents from an internet stranger. 

red_pill

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 206
  • Location: Canada
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2019, 07:08:17 PM »
@Rosy and @StarBright .... I'm sorry if I gave the impression this was something I was pushing on my wife.  She actually doesn't do all the cleaning. She does almost zero percent of it.  She cooks, I clean.  Joint effort.  These kinds of improvement projects are things we do together to make it easier for both of us.  True, it is more important to me and I tend to drive them, but she's totally on board.  Plus, she wants to downsize which means we have to figure out how to live with less stuff anyway.

Life is way better with no clutter.  Itís hard work to get there but itís worth it.  Weíve done it in every other room, this is the last and we will get there too. Already there is a huge difference just be adjusting our dishwasher schedule.  It's been 2 days and I can see it already.  I suspect this will result in more of our dishes becoming unnecessary.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2019, 08:52:50 PM by red_pill »

Malkynn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1490
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2019, 04:29:04 AM »
@Rosy and @StarBright .... I'm sorry if I gave the impression this was something I was pushing on my wife.  She actually doesn't do all the cleaning. She does almost zero percent of it.  She cooks, I clean.  Joint effort.  These kinds of improvement projects are things we do together to make it easier for both of us.  True, it is more important to me and I tend to drive them, but she's totally on board.  Plus, she wants to downsize which means we have to figure out how to live with less stuff anyway.

Life is way better with no clutter.  Itís hard work to get there but itís worth it.  Weíve done it in every other room, this is the last and we will get there too. Already there is a huge difference just be adjusting our dishwasher schedule.  It's been 2 days and I can see it already.  I suspect this will result in more of our dishes becoming unnecessary.

I'm 100% with you on this.
I do a lot of the dishes at home and almost all by hand. If my DH transfered leftovers from one container to another just because he liked the fit better and left an additional dish for me to clean, I would not be happy.

For the cleaning person of the pair, there is enormous value to organization and order. It's very frustrating trying to put storage containers away in a packed and messy cupboard, and if you are doing it every day, that's an easy target for reducing your day to day irritations in life.

Because you are the cleaning person, it's very easy for you to implement systems to minimize what you need in your kitchen.

If you are really determined to stick with glass storage, then if you are cleaning it daily, you really shouldn't need much.

We bulk cook for the entire week on the weekend and pre-portion food out into containers, so we need literally dozens of containers and nesting plastic was the only way to go.
Honestly, it's really nothing to transfer food to a dish to reheat it. I would seriously consider this if you want to keep a lot of storage containers.

You could always keep just a few glass containers specifically for work lunch leftovers as well and make sure that they are washed every day after work.

There are countless ways to streamline a kitchen. Just commit to observing what works and trying alternatives. What's the worst that can happen? You go back to what you have now. It's really not a big deal.

Rosy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2129
  • Location: Florida
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #30 on: April 16, 2019, 11:15:29 AM »
@Rosy and @StarBright .... I'm sorry if I gave the impression this was something I was pushing on my wife.  She actually doesn't do all the cleaning. She does almost zero percent of it.  She cooks, I clean.  Joint effort.  These kinds of improvement projects are things we do together to make it easier for both of us.  True, it is more important to me and I tend to drive them, but she's totally on board.  Plus, she wants to downsize which means we have to figure out how to live with less stuff anyway.

Life is way better with no clutter.  Itís hard work to get there but itís worth it.  Weíve done it in every other room, this is the last and we will get there too. Already there is a huge difference just be adjusting our dishwasher schedule.  It's been 2 days and I can see it already.  I suspect this will result in more of our dishes becoming unnecessary.

In that case, more power to you both:) I was just speaking from my own perspective, but in general, like I already mentioned - optimizing and downsizing is a very good thing.
A lot depends on your lifestyle, your interests and your long term goals.

I'm not minimalist, but I do streamline and optimize and de-clutter consistently. There is always a better way to do something if you don't like your present routine - experiment.

cchrissyy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 743
  • Location: SF Bay Area
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #31 on: April 16, 2019, 05:15:00 PM »
Your style is exactly like mine.

the things that jump out to me most are

- you've got to reuse your cups! in my house, 2 of us have a glass or mug that we keep in a certain spot and refill during the day. that way you only use one per day. occasionally I rinse mine just using water and my hands and let it last into the next day or two. Probably the most common thing I do is leave mine on the kitchen window sill all day, then bring to the bedroom overnight, then quick rinse it when I come down in the morning and repeat that for days.
the other 2 of us prefer cold water and keep a bottle in the fridge. those kids have had the same one bottle for like, 8 years!  it's these exact ones 
https://faucetface.com/products/set-of-3-bottles

- the moving of leftovers from container to contrainer is just making extra stuff dirty. if your wife really cares about "right size", well OK I don't get it but what I would do is hand wash right that moment. glass that touched food for only a moment does not need to take up space in your dishwasher. it needs a very quick rub with water and dish soap and let it air dry. It's not like food is stuck to it.

- I have glass storage containers too and my dishwasher sucks on them. between the fact they take up space and the fact they don't come clean anyway, I usually hand wash.

- I bet you have lots of things that aren't really dirty enough to need a dishwasher. everybody's water glasses, for instance. plates that only held a sandwich. those things should go directly from the person eating them to being rinsed with a drop of dish soap and left to air dry for the next hungry person to pick up.

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9815
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #32 on: April 16, 2019, 05:30:18 PM »
There are glass containers that nest -- maybe a few sets of these would give you enough variety to also satisfy your wife's "right sizing" urges:

https://www.macys.com/shop/product/joseph-joseph-10-pc.-nest-storage-set

But I tend to agree with Malkynn -- transport in plastic and reheat in ceramic at work.  We don't work/commute any more, but this is what we do with leftovers at home.  And FWIW I also right-size sometimes due to space limitations in the fridge and/or needing the larger containers for the latest batch of leftovers before the previous ones have been eaten down.

Home Stretch

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 135
  • Age: 32
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #33 on: April 17, 2019, 02:58:58 PM »
Just slightly off-topic (and pretty much not Mustachian at all), but a few years ago I saw pictures of a really crazy/fancy apartment renovation posted online where a guy installed not one but TWO dishwashers immediately adjacent to each other. It was genius. He would take clean dishes out of one dishwasher, use them, then they go straight into the other one. Never any dirty dishes piling up in the sink because there was always an empty dishwasher. Just toggle everything back and forth!

It's actually not THAT un-Mustachian, since you're only ever running one dishwasher at a time, and the up-front cost could be reduced if you just bought the dishwashers used. It doesn't even really sacrifice any cabinet space since your "clean" dishwasher is basically just a storage rack of ready-to-use dishes... much like a cabinet.

TL;DR - If I was living my best life, I'd have two dishwashers next to each other.

CrustyBadger

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 832
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #34 on: April 17, 2019, 03:37:01 PM »
That's genius!   

GizmoTX

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1395
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #35 on: April 17, 2019, 05:28:01 PM »
Decades ago, I read a comedy piece by Erma Bombeck or someone similar proposing dishwashers in place of cabinets.

In 1987, we bought a house that came with 2 dishwashers in the kitchen -- I initially thought it was overkill.
By 2007, when we built our next house, we were hooked -- we put a dishwasher on each side of a super single cleanup sink. Heaven! We didn't use them as storage, but flip flopped filling them & never had dirty dishes hanging around. Storage was opposite the washers in drawers, so even DS could put the dishes away.
On to building our final house, again with 2 dishwashers flanking the cleanup sink. A dishwasher costs the same as a quality cabinet & works a lot harder.

Home Stretch

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 135
  • Age: 32
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #36 on: April 17, 2019, 07:15:21 PM »
Quote
A dishwasher costs the same as a quality cabinet & works a lot harder.

Well said! I didn't even think about deducting the cabinet cost if you're building a new house or renovating an old kitchen. Makes it even more appealing!

APowers

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1124
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Question for minimialist mustachians - dishes and kitchen problem
« Reply #37 on: April 17, 2019, 10:18:28 PM »
Quote
A dishwasher costs the same as a quality cabinet & works a lot harder.

Well said! I didn't even think about deducting the cabinet cost if you're building a new house or renovating an old kitchen. Makes it even more appealing!

This just tells me that cabinets are way overpriced, lol!