If you are already a minimalist, you probably don’t have one of these, and if you have decided to strive for a minimalist life, then it’s time to think through each piece of furniture you own and its usefulness.
Being a minimalist is about being honest. Removing all the things that mask who you really are. Take a deep breath. Take one step at a time. Often times we aren’t hiding our true selves from other people, but rather, we are hiding our true selves from ourselves.
This means admitting to yourself that no amount of beautifully coordinated serving dishes are going to make you Martha Stewart. And that’s okay.
So, if you have a china cabinet and you are serious about living a minimalist lifestyle, let’s take a serious look at this piece of furniture.
First, ask yourself 2 questions:
- Do you actually use anything in your china cabinet?
- When? Thanksgiving and Christmas?
So, there is a large piece of furniture sitting in the dining room, full of things that are only used for 2 meals a year? So out of 1095 meals you eat, you use some of what’s in this large piece of furniture for 2 of these meals? And if you have more meals, let’s say, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Easter. Oh, four?
I want you to think about that. Really, pause and think about that for a minute.
Okay, are 60 seconds up?
Are you starting to see how useful useless the china cabinet is?
Let’s take a detailed look at what is inside this cabinet:
Good China. Let’s look at what goes into using good china: First, it all has to be washed because it’s been a year since it was used last and everything is dusty. Then, people are afraid the children will break them or chip them, so they may not be used when the children are little, and people are often picky about who washes the dishes, for the same reason and end up leaving more work for the hostess. Oh, and they can’t be put in the dishwasher. And if you save them for when the kids are grown, guess what? Grandkids! Well, that didn’t quite work out, did it? What are your options? Well, if you love your china, what about getting rid of your “everyday” china and just using the “good china”? If you don’t love it and it makes for more stress (hand washing, fear of breaking) then, let it go.
And while we’re on the topic of good china… do you have more than one set? Why? Do you have a set just for Christmas? What about from different parents or grandparents? Do you really think they would want you to be burdened with 4 different sets of dishes that never get used? No. They wouldn’t. Let it go.
Serving bowls. Serving bowls really don’t have a place in a minimalist home. Exception: if they double as mixing bowls or fruit bowls and you actually use them as such. Serving bowls only create more dishes and take up space. Think about it: You wash them because, like the good china, it’s dusty since it hasn’t been used for a while, then you remove the food from a pot or mixing bowl and pour it into the serving bowl and now you have 2 things to wash, dry and put away. Keep life simple- let the serving bowls go.
Platters. If you do entertain, I recommend keeping 1 platter. One that works with setting cookies on, piling veggies for a veggie tray or turkey for your holiday meal, and it should be dishwasher safe. Pick a pattern that works for all seasons. Get rid of the one with the turkey and the ones with snowflakes, just keep the plain one. Do think carefully before you keep it, if you haven’t used it in the last year, let it go. And no, you don’t need to keep the china cabinet for just for one platter.
Teapots and tea cups. If you use it several times a week, keep the teapot. Let the teacups go. Use your coffee cups, there is no need to keep 2 things that accomplish the same purpose.
Dessert dishes. Just use the regular plates. Or use paper plates when you have a crowd over. Let the dessert plates go.
Soup Tureens. Who wants more dishes? Just put the pot of soup on the table! It keeps the soup warmer anyway. Let it go.
Soups bowls. To match the tureen? Let them go along with the tureen. Use your regular bowls instead.
Gravy boats. A bowl and a spoon or ladle work just as well. You can even use a pyrex measuring cup!
Seasonal Salt & Pepper shakers. Don’t justify it. Let them go. You only need one set. One.
Vases. If you want one, keep one. Or just use a mason jar.
Bread baskets. Use a bowl or a plate instead.
Candle holders. If they are seasonal, let them go. If you burn candles regularly, keep a set that works for all times of the year. If you don’t burn candles- let the candle holders go.
Candy bowls. As a real foodie, do you really have candy sitting around?
Relish dishes. Just use a regular bowl. There is no need to have a fancy crystal bowl for olives or pickles.
Chip and salsa platters. Use a large bowl and a small bowl.
Stemware. If you use it, keep it. But only keep the amount you need. If you have 4 of each type of stemware only because one day you may need to have champagne glasses, wine glasses, ice tea glasses, etc. then let them go.
Coffee mugs. I know people can have an excess. Don’t feel guilty getting rid of cute ones from secret sisters, students or co-workers. Keep the ones you enjoy and use. If that means 2 character mugs- keep them, if it means getting rid of all the mismatched mugs and getting some plain white ones- then do it! You have my permission. Only keep what you use.
Books. Has your china cabinet turned into a bookcase? Refer to here and here and let those books go.
Miscellaneous clutter. China cabinets tend to collect clutter. Simply because they sit in a high traffic area and its only purpose is to store things. It doesn’t take very long before it’s overflowing with items. Weed them out! If the item doesn’t have a home, get rid of it. If it needs to be filed, file it. If it needs to be thrown away, release it! Be brutal.
Lastly, get rid of the piece. No point in having an empty china cabinet. Donate it to a good charity thrift store. If it’s an expensive piece, you can write the donation off on your taxes. I’m all for getting rid of things quickly, so I don’t promote garage sales or online sales. Get rid of it while you have motivation to do so.
Then, take a deep breath and enjoy the nice open space!
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