The Road To Minimalism
Wait! Doesn’t becoming a minimalist mean we have to spend less? Don’t we have to get rid of everything and live like misers? Nope. Keep reading the post today and see how spending more on these certain items was the jumpstart that worked on the road to minimalism for us.
As a reward for becoming minimalist in the area we are talking about, we gained one of these….a walk in butler’s pantry!
Ok, full disclosure time.
#1 This is not our butler’s pantry, however, we do have one and love it to pieces all day, every day. This little pantry is the workhorse of our tiny carriage house kitchen. We will share more on Wednesday so be sure to subscribe to keep following littleblackdomicile.com. Click Here
#2 No, I am not crazy. For all of you who know who Vivienne Westwood is, you will agree that she is probably the furthest gal from minimalism we can find. But man, she has given the world a quote I live by. It works for just about everything. Clothes, furnishings, cars, jewelry, and our topic of the day, food. Notice I did not include our homes in this list. This is because I’d get a thousand “tsk-tsk” emails from those that know Mr. LBD loves to buy homes. There is always a better choice on his radar. This quote has applied to my choice of husband tho.
Onto Motivational Monday!
Because We Had A Big Pantry We Used To Buy Too Much Food
In our design firm we work with clients renovating kitchens on a regular basis. Top on the wish lists are walk-in pantries. In the past, the goal was the bigger the better. You know the ones I am talking about. They are all over the web. An area to house everything we could possibly
want need to eat, drink, cook, clean, and serve.
Like this pantry. It would not be real in our house. Don’t get me wrong, I use glass containers for items we cook with to keep dry goods fresh and in site. Decanting is a great idea that works. However, spending the time and money to keep a large pantry like this mostly for food storage is not something I’d like on my to do list. I’d rather be reading all those cookbooks with a beverage of choice and planning some fantastic meals!
The Corner Walk-In Pantry Reality
This is a perfect example of a very common walk-in pantry layout. Five feet down each corner of a wall and a door on an angle to enter. Builders and architects love this design as a way to utilize corners in kitchen designs. These pantries look so appealing and accommodating when empty. In reality, this is what they look like after we “use” them. Just another area that needs constant organizing. Don’t you just love Grandma’s candy dish on the top shelf? Yep, better give that a center spot so we know where it is to pull it out twice a year. We might as well close the door and post a sign that says, “Food we buy but will never eat or junk that has no other home.” Harsh but true.
The Spare and The Share Method Of Minimalism
To be able to wrap your head around what is coming next, you first need to get real about what you consume. This was our ah-ha moment when we accepted there is a difference between things we consume on a regular basis and things we “think” we will consume.
- Coffee with milk – always. Hazelnut/vanilla/change your life chemical creamer – maybe…but not the twin pack from Costco.
- Toothpaste – yes. The latest and greatest teeth whitening paste that makes your teeth scream and you see no difference – no.
- Fresh tomatoes, lettuce, an onion for a few nights salads – of course. The six pack of romaine lettuce at the wholesale club – probably not.
- Surf and turf fixings – go for it. The 5lb bag of shrimp from you know who that won’t seal right in the freezer after it’s opened once – pass.
We, moi, you are a creature of habit for foods consumed. Getting real about what we actually use is liberating and puts us on the fast track to being a minimalist. For us, it was easy to identify these things. Look in the recycle or trash. The packaging is always there.
Having the green light to buy the things we truly consume, that would cause us to pass out if we ran out of, allowed us to be serious about what we need to store. The goal in our house is to have the item we are using, plus a spare for when it is gone. In some cases, we have a second “backup” of things that we use a lot.
Stop Using A Walk-In Food Pantry
Am I crazy?“Where will I put all my food?”
Life is so full of ironies. As we were writing this post, a blogger friend posted about how a good pal of her’s who recently asked her the same question. Lorraine Murray writes a fantastic blog about her journey into, and onto, becoming more minimalistic in her day to day life. This week she posted about how she handles food storage and it’s much the same as we do. Hop over to her blog, Minimal-Lol and take a look at how she is storing her consumables. Continue reading some of her other posts to see how she works the idea of living with less mean so much more.
Store Food Where You Use It
Both Lorraine and I have this big ‘ole box that stores most of our food just peachy. It’s called a refrigerator with a freezer. (I confess I have a beverage box in the garage too.) In addition, we have food and supplies dispersed throughout the kitchen in the areas we use them. We cook at home the majority of the time. Because I work from home, and Mr. LBD is retired, the kitchen is in use 2-3 times a day. It’s a busy place and has to function to the max. Here is what works for us for the items not in the ice box. (old!)
- Spices, canned goods, dry goods, things for meal prep are all in one cabinet close to the range.
- Baking goods up on a higher cabinet shelf because we don’t bake much. My best friend is my baker.
- Breakfast stuff in another cabinet with the dishware/glasses used in the morning.
- Fruit and veggies, oils and vinegars on counter so they get used before they expire.
- Snacks are in the pantry, but only take up a tiny closed door section. That cabinet is forever empty…no food waste going on there!
- Adult beverages and set ups in a piece of furniture that is accessible without getting in the kitchen work space.
Our cabinets may not look as “organized” as others. To guests they can be a little confused about where and why we store things the way we do, but this works for us and allows us to store all we need without a food pantry.
Paying A Delivery Fee For Groceries Is The Best Way To Save Money and Become More Minimalistic
We are not selling memberships to this amazing delivery service which has saved us money while limiting the items we need to store at home. Yes, there is an annual fee, a service charge fee and we tip our personal shopper each time they offer this valuable service. Yet we still are saving money. There is a 14 day trial to see if this can work for you. I was sold immediately, however, still wanted to use the service for a few months to see if we really saved money on top of the unbelievable convenience. Here’s what happened for us.
- In our area Publix, Petsmart, CVS and ABC Wine are the stores we can shop from online and a personal instacart shopper notifies us when they start shopping on our order. We pick a two hour window of delivery time we’d like and can revise the order right up until they start shopping. I can decide I want to place an order as little as an hour before I’d like delivery.
- If an item is out of stock, they text to see if we want a sub which they send info about. If not, it is removed from the order. It is literally like having your friend at the store for you while you are wherever working, cleaning, eating bon-bons. They text when they are on the way.
- Items are brought to our home in coolers and bags. No extra packaging. The personal shopper unloads the cold things which I can put away quickly and leaves the bags for when I am ready.
- I keep an ongoing list on my computer (can use phone/ipad too and it all syncs) and add things as I think of them or as I plan meals.
- We rack up shopper points and get money back to spend every so often. We rate each delivery and once some fresh produce was not as fresh as in a previous order. Immediately we were given a credit of the item and it was automatically applied to our next order.
I am not kidding when I say that I use this service several times a week and it is saving us money. We have what we consume, our spare and a share ever ready. Browsing recipes is so much more fun when I can have the ingredients delivered on the day when I am in the mood to cook. For me, even with the best intentions, food would get wasted because after the hassle of shopping and storing weekly, the motivation to actually cook was gone. Drumroll…the best part of paying for this service is that our monthly food cost is down about 20%. We buy only want we are going to eat. We don’t buy any “oh that looks good” items nor do we buy items with lofty plans to eat a certain way. An unexpected realization is that we are also buying more of the prepackaged veggies and single serving items that cost more individually but are easy to store and consume to the end.
So there you have it. To paraphrase Vivi, choose to buy fewer, even if you will consume more expensive food items. Then give yourself an A for being a food storage minimalist. Tada!
COMING UP WEDNESDAY…WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THE PANTRY SPACE YOU NOW HAVE!