Erika Salloux Living Harmony LLC
We often hear “You are what you eat.” I’m going to take you a lot further today, and say that not only is this very true, but we are also how we eat and where we eat. So when we order our kitchen and regularly engage in certain food practices we order ourselves and consequently generate more harmony in our lives. Here are the top eight tips that my clients find most helpful when I work with them to reorganize their kitchens to create physically and spiritually nourishing spaces:
What you’ll learn will include:
- the four simple steps to creating a kitchen where everything
flows and feels nourishing to all your senses.
- the four most powerful questions to ask yourself about all your kitchen tools.
- the one key mantra that will keep your kitchen organized for good.
- the one transformative product that can create instant simplicity and get rid of heaps of clutter in your kitchen.
- what to eliminate from your kitchen to foster serenity and joy in the space.
Take the Four Steps to Simple
Certain techniques of living, certain environments, certain modes of life, certain rules of conduct, breed serenity. Simplicity is one of these. It fosters inner harmony and serenity. And the less we have, the simpler our lives are — for everything we own owns us. So follow these steps to end up with a clutter-free kitchen. That means a kitchen that only contains the tools and food you use and eat.
Do this by being a visitor in your own kitchen. Many of us take our homes for granted. Step into your kitchen pretending you are a seeing it for the first time with the eyes of a visitor. What do you notice that you don’t like? Now make a plan to change those things.
Empty out all of the cabinets, decide what you really use and put like items together. This will keep you honest with yourself. “Oh, wow, I have 12 wooden spoons and five tea sets.”
Get rid of items that you don’t use, own too many of, or are so worn out they need replacing. Use these three tests. Would you feel good about handing that over to a guest to use if they were in your kitchen? Would you replace the item if your house burnt to the ground? Have you used it in the past year? If the answer is “no” to any of these, toss or donate it. If your kitchen is suffering from cookbook clutter use the sticky-note test. For the next six months, every time you make a recipe from a certain cookbook, mark the page with a sticky note. At the end of the trial, donate all the books without sticky notes in them. Nowadays, you can find heaps of recipes online. Do you really need to take up space with all those cookbooks?
Ask yourself if you are holding on to any kitchen items that you are not using for any of these reasons.
- Companionship: That cracked bowl reminds you of your grandmother. Take a picture of it, and toss it.
- Unfulfilled goals: You want to keep that juicer because you really want to juice every week. But you don’t.
- Someone else’s view of who you should be: Your mother was a major baker and believes you should be too. But you’d rather spend your spare time biking.
- Old belief system or obsolete need: You used to cook rice regularly. But now you don’t eat as many carbs, so you don’t need that rice steamer anymore.
If any of these reasons ring true for anything in your kitchen, maybe now that you can identify the cause, you can let go of it.
Do as Lao Tzu instructs us:
“In the world of knowledge, as
Every day something new
is added. In pursuit of the Tao, every
day something is let go.”
If you buy a new can opener, get rid of the old one.
Locate like items together. Use containers. Put the items and food you use the most often in places that are easier to reach. Station items near to where you use them. I was working recently with a client who had their toaster in the kitchen closet. When I inquired how often they used it, she informed me that it was “every morning” and proceeded to tell me that they took it out of the closet every day, plugged it in, used it, and then returned it to the closet.
Does anyone smell a big time suck?
Go crazy with your label maker. Once you have designated specific places in your kitchen for certain items, labeling them will speed up the process of putting items away as well as finding them when you need them. After all that decluttering you did by sorting, purging, and containerizing, you don’t want your spaces to revert to their former state of chaos, do you? Labels are your best friends for maintaining organized spaces. And everyone in the home can help maintain your new order when they know where things belong.
Acquire Some Effective Solutions
Free up heaps of drawer space, which can be limited in many a city dwelling, by installing a pot rack on your ceiling. Have a kitchen like Julia Child’s, and hang all those massive pots and pans that are hogging up all your prime kitchen real estate. The right rack can add some genuine charm and character to the space you use for cooking.
Declutter your entranceway and/or kitchen cabinets of all those plastic and paper bags and go green. Invest in a set of small shopping bags that role up to fit in any purse.
Make “Do It Now” Your Mantra
For example, when you’re done reading the day’s paper, don’t leave it on the kitchen table or counter. Think, “Do it now!” and immediately bring it to the recycling bin. If you only handle something once you are saving time and reducing clutter. That goes for dirty dishes too. Build time into your nightly routine to wash the dishes. Wash up as you cook. Waking up to a clean kitchen is refreshing.
Employ a Grocery List
To keep your kitchen running smoothly, always have what you need to make the meals you want, and avoid having too much of any item, create a grocery list by store of the items you buy regularly. Print it out weekly, and post it on the refrigerator. Let everyone know that if they use up an item they are to draw a check in the box in front of the item. And add any extra items to the list when you plan out your weekly meals. Then when you shop, you’ll zip around the store, shopping with more confidence. Engaging everyone in the process also leads to more involvement from others in meal planning and frees you up to do other things.
It’s the people and the process that count, and it’s about the sharing of meals, not the appliances and tools in your kitchen. I once heard on the radio that many Japanese kitchens have one knife. And even the 12-year-old boy knows how to wield it in so many different ways. That’s why only one is needed. Bring less stuff, and more people, into your kitchen.
Tomorrow start practicing one of these tips you aren’t doing now or take on one of the tasks I mention and you’ll be on your way to a kitchen that will feed your body AND soul.
© Copyright 2016. All rights reserved. Living Harmony, LLC
Employing her holistic and coach-centered approach to organizing, Erika conducts transformative speaking programs. Her signature EmpoweredTime™ process leads those looking for a more calm, grounded, and focused reality to increased health, serenity, and productivity. Participants learn how to banish paper clutter for good using her PaperPower™ system. And her JetPac© method transforms packing and traveling from stress to simplicity for all kinds of vacationers, trekkers, and business travelers.
Erika regularly contributes to Boston-area and national media outlets. Her appearances include NPR, NECN, CBS, FOX, WUMB, Martha Stewart Living Radio, and The Boston Globe. She has acted as an organizing consultant for Real Simple.
Erika is an active member of NAPO.