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Simple Living Challenge Week 1

Image: by ohn Kasawa FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ready for another month of simple living habit creation?  Have you been following along for the last few months?

If you are new to the blog feel free to join in today or take a look at what we have been up to.  

The basic idea is to create simple living habits, each week of the month we do a different challenge.  Each of the 4 weeks is something that needs to be continually happening in simple living so if you do them each once a month you will be set.  …but back to this week.

Week 1 is the big cleaning out week!

… and the challenge for this month could end up being a big one..

Ready?

Simple Living Challenge Week 1 – De-Clutter… trash and donate

For this challenge you are going to need dark chocolate and a cup of tea (… or if you have another food vice you can get it).  In case you don’t have a stash like me I have included links…. I have the tea sitting beside me helping me type and I am dreaming of chocolate.

… but back to the challenge.

While you are in the kitchen hunting through the cupboards what else do you see?

The challenge for this week is to go through all the food in your kitchen (or house if it applies to you).  

  • How long has it been there?
  • Do you have plans to eat it?
  • Do you know how to eat it?
  • Are bugs in it?  …sorry… but it’s possible.. and it happens with food that sits there forever.
  • Is it expired?
  • Is it past it’s useful life (spices)?
  • Is it healthy… but you hate it… so you just have it in the cupboard to make you feel better?

It is sad, but most of the extra food in your kitchen probably needs to go into the trash.  It is okay to throw perfectly good food in the trash if the alternative is letting it sit in your cupboards until it is crawling with bugs or expired.

Throw it out now and save space.

If there are things in your cupboard that aren’t open but you either don’t like, don’t want to cook, or purchased to much in bulk that can be donated, get it to your local food bank before it is past it’s useful life.

For the Future

While you are at it, set a limit for how long you want to keep food in your kitchen.  2 weeks (fresh things)?  3 months (most things)? 6 months (spice.. things)?

It is good to have a few days (or up to 2 weeks) of food in your house in case of an emergency but that could be in rice or potatoes.  For the most part I think it is best to purchase food for 1-2 weeks at a time – eat it- and then shop for some more.

Not only is this best for food – flavor and nutrition,  it is much better for planning, organization, and kitchen space.  

Maybe you can even find some extra space in your kitchen you could use for other things?

We are in limbo now moving to China, but in our apartment we used very little space for food… there just wasn’t that many cabinets and we needed what we had for dishes.  It really helped me practice this idea.

Make a Plan

If you have extra food that you do want to eat up make sure to set it somewhere in the kitchen that will remind you to eat it or shop for things you need to cook with it.  Eat up what you have and then worry about doing big shopping trips.  (this could do your monthly food budget wonders depending on your kitchen)

Good luck!

Before you get started, do you know of someone who would benefit from these challenges?  The beginning of the month is always a good time to start (something just seems fresh about it).  Send them the link or use one of the social media buttons on the side to let them know about it.

Also, if you haven’t signed up for the RSS (and gotten the free book) make sure to do that.  Then you won’t miss any of the challenges!

8 Comments

  1. Gem Gem

    I love the question, “Do you know how to eat it?” 🙂 It sounds so funny but sometimes I have problems with that. I do about 1/2 of my shopping at Vitamin Cottage which is a health food store that carries things like oats and nuts in bulk* so I can get them a lot cheaper than other places. However, they also carry all sorts of other weird and wonderful things. Every so often I fall to temptation and get something because it looks fun. However, I’ve been working on not getting it the first time I see it and then seeing if I can find a recipe to use it in before I actually buy it.

    *They don’t sell them in huge quantities, they just have bought it in bulk and then repackaged it for significantly less than even the generic brand at the general grocery store.

    • Haha, I liked that one too (do you know how to eat it?). I buy tofu all the time and it just sits in my fridge because(I have every intention to learn how to make it taste good)I always forget its in there!

  2. Nancy Nancy

    How true. I have lots of things that need to be used up, cooked up, or thrown out. Some I forgot that I bought. Have you got any idea how to organize recipes? I’ve got piles of cookbooks, recipes on Scraps of paper, recipes on recipe cards……..etc. I want to try them all, but half the time when I go looking I can’t find the one I want.

  3. Wow, I think you read my mind! I put the food in my kitchen on my list of things to go through earlier today. I am pretty good about keeping a very minimal house, de-cluttering fairly regularly, but I think food is one of the things people (including myself) kind of forget about. I love this challenge! I have recently found the same thing out that you recommend; I only purchase food for about two weeks at a time too. We live in a very small house built in 1926 and have very little cupboard space. One benefit I have found by shopping every couple of weeks is that I tend to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables – things that we will eat right away – rather than buying things to store for long periods.
    Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

    MarieG LifeSimplyBalanced.com

  4. Valerie Valerie

    I only got to think about food storage this week and not actually declutter in the kitchen. (a friend asked us to host a wedding shower so I had to focus my decluttering on the living room.) I also only have 1 cupboard for food (our house was built in 1920). I like to stock up on regular items when they are on sale so maybe by decluttering another area I can make some room for bulk storage and take those extra cans and bags out of our main cupboard. Hmmmm.

    I have been on this particular simplifying journey since January first and am really seeing a difference in our home. My husband hasn’t been involved in the process much except for my requests to move furniture now and then. This week he decided to join me. Yeah!

  5. Jackie Jackie

    Every once in a while I have what I call My Poor Man month. You know how it is when you open the cupboard to put groceries away and wonder what to put here or there because “the pot is already full”. So why, you ask did I buy more if the cupboard was full. Many of the items are ones that get shuffled around becaue for one reason or another I don’t want to use them. They are the left behinds. I am one of those women who has a hard time tossing what I spent money on so poor man month works well for me. When I do this we only buy what is absolutely necessary. Milk, bread, toilet paper etc. You can also do this with shampoos, body creams, cleaning supplies. You know things you bought that didn’t excite you like the ad showed. :+) You would be surprised just how quickly the cans and boxes dwindle down in one month. It is happening less and less as I find I am becoming more conscious when buying. That feels good and I am happy.

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  6. That’s such a cool little challenge! And very timely, as I have to clean my kitchen thoroughly for Passover anyway. Last week I already sorted through my grain products (http://greedyminimalist.blogspot.com/2013/03/chametz-anyone.html) and today I cleaned out the cabinet where I store my herbs and spices. Now I just need to go through the pantry (which is getting pretty empty already) and then I’ll be all done.

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