I’ve always kept things pretty lean in the kitchenware department.
Before moving to Hawaii I lived for nearly five years in a tiny studio apartment in the Richmond District of San Francisco. Without hyperbole, my kitchen area was not much bigger than your typical closet. I cooked with two pots and two pans (one each medium sized, one each small) on a little combo stovetop/sink. There wasn’t a conventional oven (the fridge was underneath the burners) or even a microwave. Cabinet and counter space was scant at best, and I barely had room to utilize my toaster oven and mini George Forman grill.
I ate out a lot.
But I’ve always liked to cook, and I think I’ve done well through the years within my limited tools and knowledge. So can I find a way to accomplish my food and beverage needs with even less? I’m going to try.
The studio days are behind me, and my girlfriend and I live in a nice (but old) two-bedroom apartment in Waikiki. The kitchen is on the small side, but there’s enough space for us. And now that I raided the cabinets and drawers for the Minimalism Game, we should now be able to start entertaining large groups of guests with lavish parties (just kidding, I wasn’t able to magically increase the cubic feet).
The previous occupants left quite a bit of kitchenware (some nice plates, cups, and silverware), which we’ve utilized since day one. While it was tempting to put some of that stuff in my Minimalism Game pile, I resisted. I only chose items that I either brought with me to Hawaii, purchased while here, or received as gifts.
Glassware was a major opportunity. And while I was able to successfully purge a bunch of it, I’m pretty sure what remains likely exceeds our needs (if anyone out there is able to put forth a justifiable argument on why one guy would need to own seventeen coffee cups, please share). Maybe I’ll revisit this area later, but what I kept in my kitchen was either for functional purposes or because I consider them collector’s items.
I have so many glasses and cups commemorating championships won by my sports teams, and logic says I should get rid of some of them. However logic often gets its ass kicked by nostalgia, and the only one I could part with at this time was actually a duplicate. The rest of my collection span the last fourteen years, and if I ever end up owning a house I’d love to keep them all in a cool display case. That, of course, would likely horrify any card carrying minimalist. But no matter how impractical, I know I would really get a bang out of having something like that.
In random order, here is what ended up in the box to donate.
- The four plates were the ones I primarily used for the five years I lived in that studio apartment. They served me well, but the ones remaining in the cabinet are nicer.
- Of the five coffee cups that made the list, here’s some background on three of them. (1) I received two City of Champions mugs for Christmas of 2004, and I’ve consumed hundreds of cups of coffee in them since. Even though I’m still keeping one, it actually wasn’t so easy letting the other go. (2) The California Adventure cup was from a nice trip to Disneyland with my Mom back in 2001. While it wasn’t an easy decision, I have plenty of pictures from that time to bring back all those great memories and I still have too many choices for my coffee. (3) My New England Patriots Superbowl participant coffee mug from January 1997 is one of the oldest pieces in my collection. My team lost to Green Bay, and I also got pulled over by one of Boston’s finest that night when I should not have been driving (let’s just leave it at that). Although he let me go (I was decked out head to toe in Pats gear, and I think he felt bad for me), there aren’t too many nice memories attached to that day. I’m actually not sure why I didn’t smash this in some kind of cleansing ritual years ago.
- The Sam Adams Octoberfest mug dates back to my bartending days (late 90s or early 00s). For years I kept loose change in it, but after my last move I scrubbed it out and put it back in the rotation. Even with this gone, I still have more Sam Adams glasses.
- The ginormous pilsner glass was a White Elephant gift from two years ago that I’ve used once.
- The rocks glass and beer koozie were recently acquired, but certainly not needed.
- Their origins are hazy, but the ten shot glasses were somehow received as gifts from our friends Khara and Tom. They came over to watch football one Sunday, and I think brought them because they were trying to minimize their glassware (as well as ensure we had the ability to do Jager shots after our teams scored). I still have six shot glasses left in the cupboard for the 2016 season.
- The seventeen pieces of plastic cutlery have always been superfluous, but they’ve lingered in our kitchen drawer for quite a long time. I’ve gotten better at giving back the disposable utensils when receiving take-out, but these found their way to our home. I’m going to walk these up to Diamond Head Market for reuse.
- The two plastic to-go containers are part of a large contingent of Tupperware-esque items that live in our cabinet. There’s definitely more that can go, but need to consult my girlfriend before liberating any of the others.
- And lastly we have a plastic cup that I brought back from my 2014 trip to Green Bay. I met my buddies there to see the Patriots play the Packers, and even though my team lost it was still a fun time. The people of Green Bay couldn’t have been any nicer, Lambeau could be the best venue in the NFL, and I had (out of this cup) one of the best Bloody Mary’s of my life. In a completely genius move on so many levels, it contained two of my all-time favorite things (string cheese and alcohol). God bless the good people of Wisconsin.