Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Plain And Simple

Oh, we all knew it was coming. Whether we choose to call it

the post-Christmas letdown
winter blues
seasonal affective disorder
or just a serious case of the January funk,

there is something about this time of year that weighs a bit heavy on the soul.

This year in particular, my case of the blahs seems to stem from massive sensory overload. Between

faraway daughters coming home for the holidays
a solid month of feasting on favorite family dinners
a house decorated to the nines and
the happy chaos of a full house,

I have been feeling particularly overstimulated and discombobulated.

So. I do what comes naturally whenever I'm stressed out.

I cleaned my kitchen

To be more precise, I stripped this baby down to bare essentials. 

White dishes and wooden tools,
Baskets and knives.
the very most tried-and-true cooking ingredients,
and one string of origami twinkle lights. 

Yes. Twinkle lights are essential. Especially in January.

I have to say, I'm feeling so much better. Not only was it therapeutic to put away all the colors and patterns and decorations and stuff that were overwhelming the space, but every time I walk into the room, I feel like I've taken another deep, restorative breath of fresh air.

I mean, just these stacks of white bowls alone drop my heart rate into the resting range. 

I tucked just a few wooden objects in among the simple dishes to break up the glaring white: this hand-carved maple bowl satisfies my weird need for circles,

and this sleek carved bird, who's been with me since the 1970s, gives me heart.

Paring my cooking supplies down to the extreme - and arranging them triangularly - is ridiculously satisfying and makes me feel so Zen. 


On the other side of the sink, I performed a radical surgery on my dish cupboards.

Six white plates. (Two are in the dishwasher)

Eight glasses.

This is enough for now.

In fact, the only extravagance I need is the grain of these new spoons and spatulas in their marble container, 

and the textures of the metal tools against the wooden cutting boards.

I hid all my colored spatulas and plastic cutting boards. Sorry, guys, but I don't want to look at you right now.

However, let's be honest. I know what will eventually happen.

As much as I am enjoying my stripped down, pale and bare kitchen, I know this mood will not last long. As the low winter sun gradually climbs higher into the sky, and the drab garden beds spring back into verdant green life, my eyeballs will be ready once more to feast on colors and patterns and decorations and stuff. Then I'll deck out my kitchen like a carnival again, and revel in the exuberant energy.

But for now, in the quiet days of winter, my plain and simple kitchen is exactly what I need.

* * * * *

Some other stories about beating the January blahs:

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