My Minimalism

5 Comments

I often read or hear people asking quantitative questions with regard to minimalism.  These generally revolve around how many of something you need.  Examples include, “How many pairs of shoes do you have?” or “How many sets of clothes do I need for a 2 year old?”

Additionally, there are numerous blogs and articles out there which exhort you to get rid of appliances or say that one set of crockery per person is all you need.

Conversely, I maintain that minimalism should not be prescriptive and that each person has different circumstances and will make their own choices.

The thing that defines minimalism to me is that whatever you own is mindfully curated and limits are set.

In particular, I have been reminded recently of variations in kitchen requirements.  We grow some of our own food and naturally we end up with a glut of certain produce from time to time.  I do my best not to waste it.  Processing a large quantity of produce is generally when appliances come into their own.

I can happily squeeze 2 or 3 oranges using this vintage glass juicer.

2017-09-09 01

But when it comes to juicing the 160 grapefruit that we have picked in the last 2 weeks I have neither the time or energy to do them by hand.  My trusty food processor with the citrus juicer attachment comes into its own.

2017-09-09 02

This was one batch of about 60 grapefruit that I juiced last weekend.  In the space of 30 minutes I had several bottles of juice for GMan plus containers of juice to freeze for future use.

2017-09-09 03

Citrus are not the only produce that I deal with in bulk amounts.

Some time ago I bought a 20kg bag of onions.  Once again, I routinely dice one or two onions using a sharp knife but the food processor with the cutting blade is invaluable for processing larger quantities of onions.

2017-09-09 04

I chopped 3kg of onions and then used another appliance – my dehydrator – to dry them.

2017-09-09 05

24 hours later  – back to the food processor, but this time with the spice grinder attachment.

2017-09-09 06

The end result was dried onion flakes and onion powder which cost me $3 and a little time as compared to nearly $13 to buy the same quantity from the supermarket.  As an added bonus there is no packaging either.

I have used the deydrator to make garlic powder, tomato powder and vegetable stock powder using the same general method.

2017-09-09 07

Then there is the Kitchen Aid mixer which I regularly use to make spreadable butter, pizza bases, combine various flours for my gluten-free flour mix, the occasional cake and GMan uses it when making sourdough bread.  It also has a pasta attachment which I use occasionally.

2012-01-31 03

The high-speed blender is also used regularly to make smoothies, mango sorbet and peanut paste to name but a few.

2015-12-09 02

So, my minimalist kitchen is probably a joke in some people’s eyes but it works for me.

However, I do not have single-purpose appliances such as a waffle maker, ice-cream maker, hot dog maker and so on.

You see, minimalism really is what is right for the individual and their circumstances.

 

 

 

 

 

The Useful Drawer

2 Comments

Many people have what they refer to as ‘the junk drawer’, however, if you embrace the concept of minimalism in any way or have simply decluttered, there is really no reason to have a drawer full of junk.

Therefore, I actually have a carefully curated drawer of useful things.

2017-08-05 01

Some of the things are probably a bit difficult to identify so I will list them below.

Top of photo from left to right:

2 boxes of extra-long matches
Set of mini screwdrivers
Candle
Screwdriver with multiple heads
Heavy-duty ziplock bags for reuse
Bread bags for reuse (under ziplock bags)
Small bags for reuse
Brown paper
Teatowel and muslin cloth

Bottom of photo from left to right:

Cut down milk bottle containing twist ties
Cut down milk bottle containing boxes of matches, compass, mini steel measuring tape, rubber bands, tiny ziplock bags, reusable plastic tags cut from an ice-cream container
String tin
Gas gun
Baking paper
Case containing torch and charger
Bag containing pieces of plastic from cereal box liners for reusing to separate food in the freezer
Ziplock bags for reuse

The contents are very useful as evidenced by the fact that my useful drawer is opened multiple times every day.

2017-08-05 02

Do you still have a junk drawer that looks like the one above?  It is a great place to start decluttering.  Why don’t you try it and see?

Easter

Leave a comment

2017-04-18 01

The celebration that was Easter has been and gone since my last post.  The lead-up here was pretty low-key.  In fact, it was Wednesday before I really even gave much thought to the family lunch on Sunday.

Our menu ended up as follows:

Hummus with rice crackers and vegetable crudites

Cold Chicken Curry
Brown rice tossed with french dressing
Tossed green salad
Baby spinach, roast pumpkin and feta salad

Mango sorbet

Whilst we are far from self-sufficient I do like to include some of our own produce and this time I was able to make use of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocadoes, pumpkin, mangoes and eggs.

The Cold Chicken Curry is a family favourite and usually makes an appearance at most family get-togethers.  Unfortunately, I did not take a photo but I will add the recipe to the recipe files later in the week.

We had a quiet and peaceful weekend spent with various family members visiting and staying overnight.  It was relaxing and enjoyable and I hope your Easter break was, too.

Yesterday we managed to spend some time in the vegetable garden and I will show you the results of our efforts later in the week.

B.T. – Before Tissues

6 Comments

Once upon a time ladies carried a lace handkerchief and gentleman had a fancy one tucked in their breast pocket.  Over time handkerchiefs evolved into a simple cotton square which everyone carried.  When I was a child you did not leave home without a clean hanky tucked in the pocket of your dress or trousers.  Handkerchiefs were as much a part of your wardrobe as your underwear and were usually stored in the top drawer along with the rest of your underwear.

When tissues became the norm there was no longer a need to store them.  It was a simple matter of having a box in a convenient location.  Quite often, it could be several locations – a box in the bedroom as well as the bathroom and living room as well as the car.

There is a renewed awareness of the environmental cost of disposable items and this is seeing more people return to using reuseable products and this includes the use of handkerchiefs.  This has led to the inevitable question of, “How and where do you store you handkerchiefs?”

2017-04-10 01

I keep my handkerchiefs in the small drawer on the left-hand side of my dressing table.

2017-04-10 02

Here they are stacked in 2 small piles.  I have about 15 handkerchiefs.

Although I do not use it, I have a fabric handkerchief bag which belonged to my grandmother and is close to 100 years old.  This is essentially an envelope and was used to ensure that the handkerchiefs stayed together and were easy to locate.

2017-04-10 03

The bag is made from fine cotton fabric and measures approximately 22cm x 22cm.  It features white on white embroidery and the photo below shows a close-up.

2017-04-10 04

The final view shows the bag with the flap opened.

2017-04-10-05.jpg

I find it interesting that there are people who have grown up in a world of tissues (and other disposable products) who have no previous experience of how to store the reuseable version.

Perhaps there is a whole new market for handkerchief bags awaiting an enterprising individual.

Do you use handkerchiefs?  How do you store them?

Bulk Storage

Leave a comment

I am very fortunate to have plenty of storage in our home – wardrobes in each bedroom, walk-in corner pantry, several large drawers in the kitchen as well as underbench cupboards plus a tall cupboard in the laundry.

As if that was not enough, I seized the opportunity to have another cupboard near the foot of the internal staircase.  This space had housed the hot water system but became vacant when we installed a solar hot water service not long after we bought the house.  Fast forward a few years and we were having renovations done to the bathroom and kitchen so I asked the cabinetmaker to create a built-in storage cupboard in the empty alcove opposite the foot of the stairs.

Today I was reminded of just how useful this space has proved to be over the years.  I took everything out and cleaned it thoroughly before sorting and re-arranging the contents.  The majority of the space houses the buckets which I use to store the bulk quantities of dry goods.  They are certainly not all full but it is great to have the opportunity to store the excess.

2017-04-09 01

When it was built the shelves were intentionally spaced to allow 2 buckets to be stacked on top of each other.  The lowest shelf is high enough to allow the camping refrigerator to be stored on the floor.

A couple of simple doors keep this all of out sight.

2017-04-09 02

It does not take a lot of space to create some really useful storage.

A New Life

1 Comment

In the 6 years that I have been writing this blog there have been numerous posts about mending and repairing clothes to extend their life.

Tonight I want to show you a couple of projects I completed on the weekend.

This was a long-sleeved shirt which was worn at the cuffs.  The traditional repair of this problem is ‘turn’ the cuffs, that is, to remove the cuff and replace it with the worn outside to the inside, thus doubling the life of the shirt.  Unfortunately, this had worn right on the edge and was visible from both the right and wrong sides.  So, I decided on a different course of action as it is a much-loved shirt.

Using an existing short-sleeved shirt as pattern, I re-fashioned it to a short-sleeved shirt.

2017-03-13 01

The excess that was cut off did not go completely to waste, either.  I removed the buttons and added them to my stash because, to quote my late father, “you never know when it might come in handy”.  I think that growing up in the Great Depression drove much of his thinking in that respect.  I do not hoard stuff but I do recognise that some things are likely to have a potential future use.  It is all a matter of balance.  I also managed to cut 6 x 5″ squares for future patchwork projects.

2017-03-13 02

My next project is a perfect example of when those salvaged bits do actually come in handy.  A elastic in a pair of GMan’s shorts had stretched to the point where even the associated drawstring was not sufficient to comfortably keep them up.

I unpicked the stitching and removed the elastic and salvaged the drawstring.  I just needed some suitable elastic and I would be able to reconstruct the shorts.  I found some that I had kept from some underpants that had worn out!  Of course, the fabric from the underpants had ended up in the rag bag.

Here are the shorts with the elastic removed and the drawstring and ‘new’ elastic ready to be re-assembled.

2017-03-13 03

So, thanks to my stash of salvaged elastic the shorts have been repaired and are as good as new at zero cost.

2017-03-13 04