When I tell people that I don’t have a toaster, I often get head scratches, perplexed expressions and a simply “why”. I must admit it is a random and odd fact about my own personal lifestyle. It is also though one of the first steps I took in my minimalism journey. And an important one at that.
An Experiment by Chance
Now, I must admit that the removal of the toaster was not by choice… at least initially. Our four-slice toaster I received three Christmases ago had finally bit the dust. Over the course of months it had already begun it’s slow decline. First one slot didn’t work, then another until finally there was no more toast coming out of the toaster. There was no point in saving it so in the trash it went.
Shopping for a New Toaster – Fun?
At first I was excited about the prospect of a new toaster. There is something about a buying a shiny new appliance that is so appealing. I started diligently researching websites and checking out local stores looking for that perfect one.
At the same time I was searching for my perfect toaster partner, I was also starting a 12-week minimalism course. This course was hosted by one of my favorite sites, becomingminimalist.com. I call it my first “dip of the toes” into the minimalism waters. One of the challenges in the course was to experiment with less. Could this toaster situation be my opportunity?
No More Bagels?
While, as it goes, I was having terrible luck finding a toaster that fit my four “must-haves”: be a two-slotter, offer lasting durability, have a small footprint and look good. There just wasn’t anything out there that fit the bill. A crazy idea popped in my head: “What if I just lived without a toaster?”
Could this family of five survive without this common modern day convenience? How would I make a bagel… a waffle… or a slice of toast? But my family was up for the challenge and, since I couldn’t find anything I liked, living without one seemed liked the best option.
Our Toaster-Free Life Today
It has been over four months since our last toaster went out the door. Rarely do I miss it. We have learned to cook batches of waffles in the oven. I have lost weight since I am not eating as many bagels. Instead of toast for breakfast, we have oat bran (like an oatmeal). And, if I am craving an egg mcmuffin sandwich, I warm the english muffin up in the same pan as the eggs. My counters are clear and I am no longer brushing breadcrumbs off the counter (can I get an “Amen” to that).
A Lesson in What’s Essential
Beyond the added space in my kitchen, I have gained much more in the no-toaster experiment. I have learned to question those “essentials” throughout my home. What is really needed to have a functioning, happy home? For my family, we don’t need a toaster. In fact, we may even be happier without one. It has also taught me to not just assume that everything in my home serves a purpose in my life today. That social norms don’t necessarily have to be followed. That just because something has always been a certain way doesn’t mean it needs to remain like that.
Questioning Your Surroundings
I challenge you to also question that which surrounds you. As an easy way to try this out is to simply remove the item from the space and store it somewhere else. Try to live without it for a week or a month or even a year. When the time is up reflect on how your life has improved or not improved since the change.
But where do you start? Maybe with whatever breaks next!