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Experimenting with a minimalist kitchen

In our household, one of the biggest points of contention is division of household labor. The chore that spurs the most debate? Washing the dishes. I don’t know what it is that makes doing dishes so awful, but both of us hate it. So—to my delight—we’ve started an experiment to see if we can make cleaning the kitchen easier on ourselves. We’ve minimized our dishes.

Well, kind of. We’ve stored most of them in the closet, more accurately. We won’t be getting rid of any dishes, at least for now, but we own 12 plates, salad plates, bowls, and glasses, plus seven little Pyrex prep bowls, three mugs, and eight place settings of flatware…for a two-person household. It’s super easy to let dishes pile up all over the sink and counters when there’s basically an endless supply of dishes in the cupboards.

So, we decided to reduce what we’re using. If we only have a few dishes, we theorized, we can’t get away with letting them sit around, dirty. So I washed every dish we owned and packed up all but four of everything. Four plates and salad plates; two pasta bowls and two cereal bowls; four glasses and prep bowls; four sets of flatware. The rest is around should we need it, but I doubt we will.

Today is day 2 of our little experiment, and so far, so good. I handwashed all the dishes, calmly and methodically, to the tune of The 100 on Netflix. It didn’t take more than a few minutes longer than any other day of doing dishes, and I used much less water than the dishwasher would have. The kitchen is sparkling clean, and I feel accomplished. I’ll keep you updated on the project—if all goes well, it’ll be one more step toward a minimal, tidy home.

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