I’m Purseless!!!

Amazingly, I have been working years for this day. In the meantime I have been jealous of the men with their deep pocket pants and hands free-living.

Now, I appreciate the style and craftsmanship of a high-end fashion bag. But, I would like my life to be simple enough that when I leave home for an errand or two, I do not have to pack a suitcase.

So here is what I put in my pocket when I leave the house now:

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And here’s what it looks like unpacked:

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Some of my strategies:

1) Keyless entry at the back door of the house. There is a backup plan if the batteries give out. I actually installed this when the kids were little and kept losing their door keys. I love it.

2) After decades of being cash only, I trust myself with a credit card that I pay off each month and get cash rewards on.

3) My and kid’s insurance information is on-file at the MDs, DDS, Urgent Care and hospital that we use. A copy of the cards are in my car’s glove box in case we are travelling far away and needed to access health care.

4) I do have a small backpack that I can use for shopping purchases, overnight trips and walking trips to the library.

5) I have systematically limited clothing purchases to ones with pockets, or in the case of a few Goodwill purchases, have added them on. I currently own one dress that does not have pockets. I only wear it to work, where I can slip my wallet and key into the work briefcase.

I think, by my next count of things in June, I can let go of the wallet. Which is a good thing, as I bought a hair dryer.

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Minimalist Kitchen: Equipment

It doesn’t take a lot of fancy kitchen equipment to prepare healthy, simple meals for my family. Here is all of my kitchen equipment:

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which includes a mixing bowl, a colander, a 2 quart saucepan with lid, a stock pot with lid, a saute pan, an 8×8 baking pan and an 9×13 baking pan. Then there is a large bowl with lid that I use chiefly for transporting salads to family gatherings. There are nesting metal measuring cups and a glass one for liquids. Two cookie trays and a pizza pan. There is a baking pan with grill that came with the stove. Utensils include: vegetable masher, two turners, a large spoon, a pizza cutter, vegetable peeler, one knife (I use it for everything) scissors, corkscrew, set of measuring spoons, can opener and a spatula/scraper.

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Cutlery started as a set of 8. There are still 8 forks, 7 spoons and 6 knives. I also have 3 serving spoons. There are an excess of dishes here including 14 plates, 7 bowls, 6 mugs and 6 glasses. There are two corning ware serving/baking dishes w/ lids and 2 small flat-bottomed cups. I have served dinner for 9 people at the same meal with these various dishes.

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And last the food saver containers. No need to own more than can fit in the fridge, right?

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The Importance of Punctuation

Lately, I’ve seen a bumper sticker around town that reads:

Love people. Cook them tasty food.

Yesterday, I saw the same bumper sticker, but someone had taken a marker and added a period.

Love people. Cook them. Tasty food.

Minimalist Kitchen: Processes

The mini-fridge, midweek

The mini-fridge, two days before a shop

When I first started cooking, I always used a recipe. Which is probably a good idea for a new cook. But after I gained some experience cooking, I noticed that there are some processes than lead more often to success: when making cookies, be sure to cream the butter and sugar well before you add anything else; when baking, measure everything exactly.

For the minimalist, there are some processes I have discovered lead to success more often.

~small refrigerator. One hundred years ago, rich people had an ice box. Everybody else did without. Since the invention of the refrigerator, they have gotten bigger and bigger and people put all sorts of stuff in them that won’t really go bad. I know someone who puts her corn chips in the fridge. Refrigerators have gotten so big, that we can’t manage all we put into them. We forget the leftovers and they turn into science experiments.

~shopping once a week. Weekly, I survey the ingredients in my fridge and cupboard and make a menu and a grocery list. I don’t always stick to it exactly….but I do not buy more fresh items until I have used up what is in the house. This keeps food from spoiling.

~pantry items. I keep these limited to what I can use in the next 2-3 months. It saves space, I’m not stuck with unwanted items if our tastes change, and my pantry stock is relatively fresh.

I have a car, live is a small city and am the main cook for a household. If those things do not describe you, your processes might look much different. A friend who lives in Paris, shops every night on his way home from work. A friend who lives alone here in the states, shops once every three weeks.

Processes, by their nature evolve.

What is working well for you now?

Minimalist Kitchen: Food Beliefs

FDA's Food Pyramid Implies___

Food is such a huge part of our daily lives and cultures, that it is no surprise that we have created a lot of beliefs about our food: what it means, how it should taste and be prepared, who should prepare it, what nurtures us.

Here are a couple beliefs about food that I once held and no longer do:

~ food is the enemy, it is what makes me fat.

~ desserts are a treat for when I work hard.  (You can see there is a bit of conflict between these two.)

And here are a few that I still hold:

~ food is fuel for my body.

~ foods that are fresh and less processed are healthier.

~ food can be a celebration.

For the minimalist, it is good to know what you believe, so you do not hold onto objects or beliefs that no longer serve your life.

How about you? Got any beliefs about food that you are willing to let go?