As I mentioned in my post Big Obsession with a Tiny Life, I’m working on downsizing our small apartment so we can live comfortably in 356 sq. ft. once we save up and get our house built. The kitchen is by far the room with the most stuff in it–I love to cook and have acquired a lot of kitchen items over the years, not to mention that cooking by nature requires a lot of things (bowls, plates, utensils to eat or stir with, knives, cups, pans, etc). I was looking around the kitchen trying to decide what was essential and what I could live without and realized that one of the biggest space-consumers was the microwave! Ours especially, since it’s gigantic at 18″ deep and almost 22″ wide. The glass carousel inside is a whopping 15″ in diameter! Just think about a minute, that’s over a foot of space inside the microwave.
It’s not that our microwave is huge because it’s old, it’s actually relatively new and in great condition. I’m grateful to my mom for giving it to me when I moved out on my own and didn’t have the money to buy a lot of stuff. But considering our new found goal for downsizing to a simpler life, I’ve challenged myself to go a whole month without using the microwave at all. The hardest part will be that it’s still sitting in the kitchen (my boyfriend isn’t really up to the challenge and likes to quickly reheat leftovers, coffee, and Ramen noodles).
So far it’s been a few days and I’ve managed pretty well. Thankfully I have a nice toaster oven (also from mom) that reheats leftovers on the Bake function, and my grandmother had given me a set of dishes/bakeware that’s oven-proof so I can heat food up right in the bowl or on the plate if I want. I also pulled out the smallest pot I have to reheat individual portions of soup or heat up my coffee. That little stainless steel pot has gotten more use this past week than it has in a year.
I actually enjoy not using the microwave. It forces me to slow down and take a little more time in the kitchen. I find that I have to plan out my meals to make sure everything is thawed in advance, and it deters me from late night eating since I can’t just stick something in the microwave for a few minutes, I actually have to get pots and pans out and cook/reheat it the old-fashioned way. I believe over time I’ll develop a closer relationship to my food as well by spending the time to cut and chop and cook it the long way.
My biggest challenge will be figuring out how to heat up a heating pad. It’s super cold here and I love to have a heating pad on my lap or feet while I’m at my desk. I’ve read that you can heat up rice, buckwheat, or beans in the oven and then put them in a pillowcase or old tube sock as a heating pad. Or if the cover is 100% cotton you can stick the whole thing in the oven, but you have to watch it so it doesn’t catch fire. The problem there is that it can take up to an hour to get your grains or beans nice and toasty, whereas a microwave takes only a few minutes. I suppose I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.
Some people I’ve read about gave up their microwaves for health reasons, stating that the food tastes funny from a microwave or that the radiation affects their health. I’m not sure about any of that, but surely it can’t be a bad thing to avoid such things.