Is there ever a word or phrase or concept that keeps coming to you? You go different places and that word keeps appearing. You may be reading a book on a topic then tune in to a podcast where, unbeknownst to you, the same subject is being covered. Meet a friend for coffee and she brings up the same idea. I used to think those moments were coincidences but now I believe it is the Holy Spirit trying to get our attention. For the last several months, my word has been “simplicity”. My life is really anything but simple. Four children under the age of 9, a husband who travels frequently and the myriad of commitments like every other suburban mom in America. But lately, simplicity has shown up again and again. First our church, Grace Church, started a sermon series on Essentialism based on the book by Gregory McKeown. Then I tuned into one of my favorite podcasts and Chalene Johnson was interviewing Gregory on her show. Strange?? Then my women’s group started a study on the book “Abundant Simplicity” by Jan Johnson. A good friend gave me the book “Power of Half” to read. The concept of “simplicity” was everywhere I turned.
Most of the time my house and mind look like this:
(the dreaded junk drawer)
Simplicity is a dream of mine. In theory, I would love to be a minimalist. Having only what you need and nothing more. But deciding what I need stands between and my clutter free home. What gets to stay and what goes? What if I need just that “thing” that I donated last month? What if….? What if….? What if…?
After reading an especially hard hitting passage in Jan’s book I decided to follow my own advice and start with one small step. Simplify one area of my house where I spent the most time and could employ my minimalist power. Like most stay at home moms, I spend the majority of my day in the kitchen! Not so much barefoot and pregnant, but cooking, planning, organizing, socializing, feeding, eating, cleaning, folding, sorting. The kitchen is the epicenter of my home and where the above pictured junk drawer lives. So I started in one cabinet and worked my through. Do I need this? Do I use this on a regular basis? Is this something I’m holding on to for one day of the year (aka heart shaped muffin molds for Valentine’s day)? Do I need multiples of this (aka pyrex pans)? I amassed a pile of stuff. As that pile grew larger, my need to pare down what got to stay was growing. So I went through again…it was freedom. No longer did I need to take shelter when opening a cabinet for fear of falling kitchen utensils. My kitchen became a space I could breathe. While simplifying my kitchen, I came across several kitchen gadgets that I wanted to share. Gadgets that make my life easier, gadgets that are essential to my meal prepping, gadgets that are worth paying for one day shipping on Amazon!
My Top 5 Kitchen Essentials
I LOVE this set. I use it as my go-to storage for my meal prep days. Lid match and stack perfectly. There are several different size containers so fruit, veggies, grains, sauces, leftovers all have a spot. My only regret is I bought both of my sets in plastic. When I am ready to upgrade I will change to the glass containers so they can be microwaved to reheat!
2. Kitchen Aid Mixer
It makes me so sad to think of all the years I let this beauty sit and collected dust in a dark cabinet. She was given to me as a wedding gift a decade ago. I would occasionally get it out to mix a large batch of cookies but it just seemed to clunky to use on a regular basis. Nowadays, the girl has earned herself a rightful spot on the counter. I never knew how much you could do with a Kitchen Aid. If you have one, get it out, learn to use it and fall in love!
3. Apple corer
I would often times see these apple sandwiches, apple chips, baked stuffed apples on Pinterest. I always wondered how did those women cut out the core of an apple so perfectly? I had a gadget to core and slice the apple but it didn’t work for any of those kid friendly snacks I was looking to make. Then I found this bad boy on Amazon. Perfect!!! It’s super easy, super cheap, and cores those apples in a second.
4. George Foreman with removable plates
I love a good grilled chicken breast or burger but the ease of this George Foreman can’t be beat. For weeknight meals when we need dinner on the table and don’t have time (or energy!) to grill outdoor, this guy comes in handy. I will also grill up some chicken breasts during my meal prep day to have throughout the week. Just be sure to use a meat thermometer to determine when the meat is done as it can get dried out easily on the Foreman. The plates can be removed and stuck in the dishwasher!!
Who doesn’t love a Vegetti???? This gadget was #1 on my Christmas list this year and I cannot rave about it enough. Zoodles, spiralized zucchini, have become all the rage. This gizmo does the trick! I’m now on a search for recipes that spiralize other veggies! Pass along any recipes you may come across.
And here’s the junk drawer now…
My collection of gently used kitchenwares were donated to a local organization that provides housewares to families in need.
My steps in simplicity are still slow. I spend more time thinking of which room I will attack next but that first step has been taken. I warn my kids…the playroom is top on my list! Is there a word or concept that appears in your life often? Is there a place in your home where simplicity needs to take over? What are your top 5 kitchen essentials??