Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 5: How Many Knives Do We Really Need?


The Task: Pare down out kitchen knives to three.

The Why: I could never find a knife.  We would use a knife and put it in the dishwasher (I know, dishwashers are bad for knives...what can I say?  These things happen....) and when we needed a knife there wasn't one even though we had 4 (yes, 4!) different chefs knives, 3 paring knives, and 2 serrated knives!  I don`t even remember where we got all of them!

So for weeks now we've had three knives.  One chefs knife (for slicing and dicing), one paring knife (for peeling and paring), and one serrated knife (great for cutting bread and slicing tomatoes).  And when we use one, we wash it by hand, dry it, and put it away immediately.  There is always a clean knife in the drawer when we need it.  Less really is more.

What about table knives?  We have 4 steak knives.  We once had 16 because we were given a mega set of them, but I realized a long time ago that if we're having 16 people of knife wielding age over for a meal, I am going to be serving something cheap like spaghetti, or casserole, or stew....NOT large cuts of meat!
We do have alot of butter knives, but we use them regularly for entertaining, so we've deemed those worth keeping to avoid the use of disposable cutlery. 

The  Verdict:  I actually love having less stuff in our drawers and cupboards.  The more I get rid of the more I want to get rid of!  Having less stuff really is good for us.  And washing something and putting it away immediately after you use it is strangely good for the spirit.

I'm also realizing how much false security I was getting from my stuff.  This project is really about so much more than kitchen utensils and clothing and throw pillows.  It's about a heart that is so broken and confused that it thinks it wants more stuff, when what it needs is to be more like Christ.  It's about our God given need for safety and rest and how we can so easily get consumed trying to find those things in our homes and our favourite housewares store instead of at the center of God's will.

All this to say that I am loving this process and am both excited and anxious about the three hundred and sixty days to come!  Thanks so much for following along!

We are doing one small thing every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!

28 comments:

  1. oooh -- I like "The Verdict" at the end. I'm a saver by nature and to get rid of stuff is hard. And now you've challenged me to figure out why that is. Oof.

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  2. I don't think I can do this one. I inherited most of my cutlery from the kitchens (and filet stations) of my parents and grandparents. I garden, fish and process too much game to part with my collection of blades. (False security? Yes, more than likely!)

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  3. Love this blog. It's fun to look at one area or item each day. I especially love the focus of a Christ-centered reason for doing this. The more we have the more time it takes to maintain it = less time for truly important people and projects. Last year I took time to purge my home of magazines. I took a picture of over 400 in the truck of my car before I took them to the recycling center. So freeing!!! Thanks for sharing, Jeanne

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  4. Good for you! I have just started to minimalize our home about 4 months ago. It is such a freeing feeling of having less. I am enjoying your posts very much. Keep up the great work. Hugs, Bobbi Jo-AZ

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  5. Whoa whoa whoa- I thought this was just about knives!!

    No warning before you start mentioning conviction?

    I kid, I kid.

    Thank you for the reminder.

    Not sure if I can give up my knives though- our set was a wedding present and we just celebrated 2 years!

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  6. ::whistles innocently:: Yeeaaahhhh... I have two SETS of knives, plus extras. I have contemplated paring it down, but I can't decide what I want to keep! Sigh... I must ponder this...

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  7. I love this series and especially this post. I HATE having my knife block out. I have very limited counter space, not to mention what an eyesore it is. Considering it only holds 3 big knives and 4 steak knives I think I can probably find a different home for them. The plan is to put a mag strip on the cabinet door next to my prep area. That way they are at hand but, better yet, out of sight :0)

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  8. "It's about a heart that is so broken and confused that it thinks it wants more stuff, when what it needs is to be more like Christ." yes!!!

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  9. I am so enjoying following this series! I too am excited to see the next 360 days. I have already been so inspired to start paring down the stuff in our home.

    Regarding the knife situation, I currently have two knife blocks on my kitchen counter as well as way too many knives in my utensil drawer. I am definitely going to see about getting rid of one of the blocks - I just don't know what to do with it. I feel strange putting a knife block in a box to Goodwill.

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    1. Maybe try posting an ad on kikoi or Craigslist to get rid of it? I have friends that post their yard sale contents on their Facebook profiles to aid in finding a new home for items! :)

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  10. For the past five days (coincidence? I think not!), I have been feeling moved to get to work organizing and culling all of our stuff. My husband has even joined in, and we are now setting 1 small goal each for each evening. My goal for tonight is to go through the silverware drawer.

    I'm really looking forward to the next 360 days of your project!

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  11. Stumbled across this site by accident-I love it! As one family that is being overrun by our stuff, it seemed too huge a task to conquer! We(me) would start a room/closet etc and would never quite get it finished. I have decided to follow along with the days and do one thing at a time. Some of these tasks I have never even thought of! My moment of clarity--it took us over 10 years and 2 children to accumulate all this stuff, if it takes one year to easily and (hopfully)painlessly get things back under control, it is sooo worth it! Thank You!!

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  12. Just found you via another blog (shower of roses) and I am really looking forward to doing this along with you. Our family is undergoing a lot of changes around the house (better foods, fewer chemicals), and I look forward to adding this to the makeover. I am not at all a pack rat, but your paper towel idea inspired me to do more. And if it makes you feel better about having naked sofas, I have always thought throw pillows to be tacky and a waste of couch space. :-)

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  13. love your site! Its refreshing to see a Christ centered approach to the american culture. Thank you!

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  14. Eek! I don't think I can do 3 knives. We have 9 and I could probably go down to 5. (2 chef, 2 parring and 1 serrated) DH and I often cook together and prep together so we both end up using a chef and a parring knife at the 'same' time. Even though we could probably wash and let the other use, I suspect that would be nightmarish in our kitchen. But something to think about for sure.

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  15. homeofthecs.blogspot.comJuly 26, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    what about when you want several kiddos to help in the kitchen and need to peel apples or peaches or pears for canning? You would only have 1 knife for the job and 1 helper. Just saying. Love your ideas by the way.

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  16. Great idea! I will be keeping more than 3, but this makes so much sense. I find myself favoring the knives in my block over the ones loose in my drawer, so why not get the ones I don't use out of the way?? I love my knife block & keep it on top of the fridge to keep them away from the munchkins so I don't have to worry about counter space.

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  17. This one I can't do :) 1 chef's, 1 santoku that's perfectly sized for cutting fruit, 1 paring knife, 1 small serrated for tomatoes and other things, 1 bread knife (home baked large loaves), 1 Asian chef's knife that you can use as a cleaver to break bones, and which is also awesome for cutting pizza-- we don't have a pizza slicer. But since each of my knives is used at least once a week, I think I'm okay. My parents, on the other hand, could get rid of 2/3 of their knives.

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  18. I love this idea! I think it's more about getting rid of what you don't "really" need than getting it down to exactly three knives. I have three older kids (15, 13, 10) who love to help me cook in the kitchen. I just pulled all of my knives out, and I'm getting rid of over half of them, but still keeping 5 because I do use two chef knives and two pairing knives at the same time when they help me cook. I LOVE "It's about a heart that is so broken and confused that it thinks it wants more stuff, when what it needs is to be more like Christ." Your heart knows when it hears truth - and that's the truth, for sure! I'm planning to follow along all year! Thank you for sharing this Year of less. As a military family, this was just what I needed to be doing this year before we move next summer. :)(By the way, I got rid of 7 of 9 throw pillows. Kept the two we actually use. But I love the clean look so much, that I'm thinking I might get rid of the other two now as well. :)

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    1. Yes, the idea is to get rid of what you don't really need. The number is going to be different for every family, and that goes for every task we try over the next year. The idea is to evaluate what you need instead of owning for the sake of owning, ya know? Thanks so much for following along!

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  19. I have one knive block that I use ONE knife out of, when I need to de-seed bell peppers. I've thought about removing the block, but what would hold up my two cutting boards then? :) My other knives are stored elsewhere.
    I might just try putting the block away for a week or so just to see how it feels.
    I am definitely shopping or window shopping to soothe my soul. Something to think about.
    Ieva

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  20. Done and done. I'll keep the other knives hidden away somewhere for a couple weeks (in case my husband throws a fit...) Also, sharpened my remaining knives. I also kept a pizza cutter and a peeler.

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  21. Lovely job.

    Not sure if you need the knife/utensil or not? Put it in a box for 2 weeks, 30 days - whatever time line you decide - if at that time you haven't used it, likely you won't and it will already be boxed up for Goodwill!

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  22. My plan for today is to go through my kitchen utensil drawer - we dont have too many knives, but we have an abundance of utensils - 2 potato mashers/half a dozen big spoons etc - and we cant ever find anything as the drawer is choca-block!

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  23. Thank you for the verdict section. It really hits at the heart of why we do what we do.

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  24. LOL! Good point about steak knives and company ;) Love your last paragraph!

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  25. WOW...you totally read my mail with 'The Verdict'. I don't know whether to thank you or stop following your blog! LOL But seriously, it truely did strike a nerve, like you wrote this one for me, and me alone. I started to de-clutter a few months ago (2 huge 30-gallon bags of trash and 4 huge 30-gallon bags of jackets that I gave away..ALL from the hall closet!) but have gotten side tracked. You've inspired me to continue what I started, which was basically going through my house and having less! And you've inspired me to do the other thing you talked about in the Verdict.... you know, finding the center of HIS will. I've been putting that off for a long time. Thank you.

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