Life, Curated: Week Two (The Kitchen)

life-curatedweek-2-the-kitchenTo catch you up: Life, Curated is a program that is designed to help you (and me) find time for writing by getting the rest of our lives under control. Starting with a major home overhaul. For the first eight weeks, we’ll be doing major decluttering.

This is not a program designed to give you a Pinterest-ready home. It sprung from my observation (and life experience) that creative people also tend to be super right-brained and right-brained people tend to struggle with organization. This is about digging yourself out, if you’re so buried that you can’t take time for your art without feeling guilt.

You can join us on Facebook to share progress, get support, and see my after pictures.

Okay, onward!

This week we’re working on our kitchens.

I know this is a big one! Even a small kitchen can be stuffed with . . . stuff.

FRESH EYES

First things first, do the Fresh Eyes exercise on your kitchen. Take a good, honest look at the space and ask yourself these questions:

  • What needs to be cleaned?
  • What needs to be decluttered?
  • What needs to be repaired or refinished?
  • What do you need to buy for this section of your house?

Look at your kitchen the way a realtor might–someone totally dispassionate and unconnected. Someone who won’t have to actually do the work.

Keep your exercise in a Life, Curated notebook and hang on to your answers to those questions. You’ll need them over the next six months. I made a Fresh Eyes printable for you. If you’d like to download it and sign up to get weekly Life, Curated posts delivered to your inbox.

DECLUTTERING

A major part of curating is decluttering–brutally. Get rid of anything in your kitchen that you don’t A) love and B) use regularly.

Here’s an example:

You might know that I have a thing for vintage . . . things. I love thrift stores and I have a hard time leaving behind cool mid-century stuff. As a result, I have a big collection of vintage Pyrex. And I LOVE it. But, I have some that I’ve bought, I store, but I’ve never once used.

So, I need to ask myself some questions. Is storing a bunch of Pyrex casserole dishes that I don’t ever, ever use stealing my resources? Do I have to spend time digging through it to find the thing I do need? Am I paying for storage? Am I spending energy cleaning stuff that I don’t ever use? Would getting rid of some of it free up time, money, or energy for writing?

This isn’t about minimalism. I can keep my Pyrex casserole dishes. Maybe there’s something I’ve been using that I don’t like as well. Maybe I can find a place to store my collection that will make it easier for me to use it.

But, the honest truth is that a less cluttered kitchen takes less time and energy to use efficiently and to keep clean. Those are minutes I can spend creating stories.

So, this week’s job is to go through every single cupboard and declutter as much as you can.

Last week I said that you should just get rid of what you don’t keep–donate it. I’ve had a slight change of heart. If you trust yourself to actually do the work of selling it, consider using your discarded stuff to fund your writing career. Use the money to hire an editor or cover designer, or to pay for a class or some craft books.

BEFORE

Okay — here’s the part that’s always a little hard. My before pictures. It’s pretty obvious, even before I do the Fresh Eyes exercise that I have a small kitchen with too much stuff. Every flat surface is COVERED. Especially behind the sink and my poor fridge.

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LAST WEEK

Last week I worked on my entry and hallway.

I ended up donating a huge black trash bag full of stuff, plus filled a box with things I think I can sell. I have the space in my garage to store the sell stuff for a while, but I’m not going to let myself hold on to it forever. When these eight weeks are over, the stuff is either sold or donated. Period.

(I’d just like to note that that filthy floor, caused by muddy conditions outside, has been cleaned!)

Before:

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After:

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Before:

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After:

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And my donations:

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And my sell pile:

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