So, I did something drastic the other day. I now own exactly three forks, and no more; one for each person in this household.
I have been decluttering and cleaning, giving away and packing up to sell, nearly half of my worldly goods. Funny, that; I seem to have spent the years up to forty in accumulating stuff desperately, and now I can’t wait to simplify my life. Anyhow, I was heartily sick – have been for a while – of the mess in my kitchen…mostly dirty dishes always filling up the sink. Without incriminating anyone, I’ll just say that I’ve tried a number of different strategies to avoid the pile-up, but somehow it’s always just not getting done.
Why don’t I just wash them, you say? Well, for one, I can’t do it any more. My hands won’t take the stress of scrubbing and rotating and gripping the brush (fibro and rheumatoid pain) for more than a few plates at a time. And what with the shopping and the putting away and the cooking of the food, at the end of the day…it’s just easier to grab a fresh plate from the cupboard. And – guilty secret – for a while there we were going through an awful lot of paper plates, too. Just. Too. Tired.
I got fed up. Once every dish in the house was clean, I went through and chose out three dinner plates, three lunch plates, three bowls, three forks, three knives, three teaspoons, and three tablespoons. Our plates were mostly brown melamine, very durable, but I also keep a number of microwave-safe ceramics – those got pared down to three matching plates and bowls as well. I cheated a bit on the coffee spoons (which are patina’ed wood, and which my daughter and I love to eat with because the mouth-feel is so much nicer than metal); I kept one mugful of them. No serving spoons, salad servers, serving dishes – ok, one large melamine platter – decorative plates, salvers, teacups, etcetera… all in the ‘to sell/to give’ pile. I kept my knife rack, with the cleaver, parer, bread knife, and assorted chopping knives, but took my pots and pans down to one of each. One large saucepan, one small. Ditto with the frying pans. One big bowl for making bread and sauces and the like, one small for mixing or serving.
You use a plate, you wash a plate – the new dictum was declared, and my husband and daughter ready to cooperate.
So far it’s been a blissful couple of weeks and a clean sink. And a really peaceful feeling of freedom.
What do you think? Could you live with one plate per person, or are there other ways you could simplify and ‘clean up’ your life?