Minimalist Mondays are dedicated to finding love, adventure, and joy in everyday living through the pursuit of a more simplistic lifestyle. By allowing only what is useful and meaningful into our lives and letting go of that which ties us down, we are better able to live a life of purpose, both for ourselves and for others.
Happy Minimalist Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend. By the way, I am loving the comments I am getting from you all, both here and on Facebook. I am getting some very helpful advice and insights to try in my life. Keep the discussions coming! 🙂 Also, next week is the first weekend in March so I will have a garage project update for you.
The past several weeks I have been writing about our homes as a sanctuary. So far I have written about the front room and the bedroom. As I stated last week, I think that one of the big draws to Minimalism and simplistic living is that we want our homes and living spaces to be a sanctuary from the craziness of the world. When we get rid of the layers of stuff we have accumulated we are able to find the heart of our homes and be more in touch with our true selves. Therefore, for the next several posts,I would like to inspire people to keep their homes simple while at the same time cultivating a sanctuary for their families and themselves to thrive in.
The Kitchen and dining area
When I think of the kitchen, I think of the heart of the home. A place where family and friends gather and share their lives. I imagine hours spent over cups of coffee or tea. Cookies and breads being baked with love. Refrigerators displaying children’s art work or cards from loved ones far away. The tables may be fancy or simple: candles and flowers or a basic table setting, but the meals bring everyone together to talk about their days. Yep, that is what I envision when I think about the kitchen. Now for my confession… Unlike my front room and bedroom, my kitchen is somewhat lacking in these qualities. I can blame it on a combination of being both single and very busy. While I can blame it on these things, deep down I know that is no excuse. I know what to do to remedy my kitchen situation including actually setting my table for myself and inviting people to enjoy a meal or at least cookies.By confessing via my blog to you, I hope to both inspire you to make your kitchen a sanctuary and hold myself accountable to create the living environment I want for myself. So, if you are like me and looking forward to making the kitchen the heart of your home here are some ideas to get you started.
- Add photos of friends and family to your wall or counter tops. Of course, try to avoid cluttering your surface areas but a few strategically placed photos are a nice touch. Most people expect to see the more formal school photos and family portraits in the front room but I think it is fun to see informal, casual photos of loved ones enjoying life in the kitchen area.
- Keep your table for dinning only. Make it inviting, whether you choose to display a centerpiece or keep it simple. Next to the front entry, dining tables seem to be a place that collects a ton of clutter. Unpaid bills, work from the office etc. You may need to use your table for other purposes during the day due to space constrictions but make sure that when it is time for your meals, everything else is cleared away. If you have a formal dining area use it at least once a week. You and your family and friends are the special occasion! What more of a reason do you need to pull out the best?
- If you have children get them involved in the life of the kitchen. Use dinner preparation as a time to bond with your kids while they help you make dinner. Younger children in particular love to help prepare meals and set the table. Children can also do homework or crafts at the table while you are preparing dinner.
- The couples that cook together are more likely to stay together, I say. How romantic and relaxing it is to leave your work day behind and enjoy a drink with your significant other while preparing your dinner or enjoy a cup of coffee while preparing your Saturday brunch and planning your weekend activities.
- If you are single, serve yourself as elegantly as you would serve others. You deserve a nicely set table and nourishing food in a pleasant atmosphere too! Consider having friends over from time to time specifically for dinning, coffee or tea.
- Add special touches such as flowers, candles, or music, if that is your style. I am a big believer in less is more but a simple flower or music can set the mood for relaxation.
- Keep conversations pleasant and nurturing. No one digests food well when arguing over politics or what color to paint the bathroom. Sometimes in relationships tough discussions need to take place but set aside a special time to do this rather than during meal preparation and dining.
- Turn off the TV and put away the smart phones and I pads. Whether it is family meal time or you are entertaining friends, the focus when gathering in the kitchen is on people. The people in front of you; right here, right now. If you are single it is still a good idea to keep electronics off and focus on nourishing your body and mind. Music would be the exception to this rule since music can be used to create an inviting dining or conversational atmosphere.
- Dress for others when you sit down to a meal. I love the old movies where everyone “dresses for dinner” or comes to the breakfast table in a nice robe or dressing gown. It is a lost art. We are a very casual society these days. Sometimes our casualness is a blessing . However, I think it is a very nice gesture to look nice for other people. Of course or friends and family love us and accept us just the way we are but when we sit down to share a meal or a cup of coffee with someone we are showing them we value them when we take the time to look presentable. If you are single, it still makes a difference to your mindset, even if no one else sees you. Try it, I bet it will make you will be glad that you made the effort.
- Of course, de-clutter cabinets and areas that have unused gadgets and appliances. If you have not used the crape maker you received as a wedding present in 1995 since 1996, it is time for it to go. Most people have gadgets and gizmos that they really don’t use in the kitchen. Most of us can cook our meals with just a few pots, pans and knives. Most other kitchen gadgets look like cool time-saving devices but they end up unused on shelves. Less time cleaning in the kitchen means more time for enjoying life and the people in it.
I would love to hear from you. How do you create a sanctuary for friends and family in your kitchen? Do you have any rituals to bring people together for meals? I would like to know your thoughts.
May your kitchen be the place of nourishment of both body and spirit, a sanctuary for all of those who enter.
Until next time,