Focusing on What Brings Joy, part 1: The Process

It’s been a month since I first mentioned my intentions of following the KonMari method to remove clutter from my coffee bar. Having finally finished Marie Kondo‘s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and with a little extra free time last week, I was finally ready to dive in and identify which elements of our coffee bar spark joy.

Next week I’ll present my new, thoroughly tidied coffee and tea setup, but today I’m letting you peek in on the process itself. What did it look like, putting all my coffee gear out in one place?

That’s not everything. I couldn’t actually fit all my coffee-related gear in one spot, the floor being out of the question since our 10-month-old is all over the house, so I broke it into stages. First I focused on brewing devices and tools, then on cupping and espresso supplies, followed by a counter full of coffee mugs. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have caught these messy photos already:

And that’s still not everything! This doesn’t include my collection of coffee books and dvds, my coffee journals, stacks of magazines, several cold brew growlers, Toddy brewers (both home and commercial size), cleaners, teapots, Hario kettle, and of course the V60, glass server, and to-go mugs I used that day.

This is even after selling my big espresso machine late last year, and pulling out our kegerator just this week since we’re no longer kegging our cold brew. I obviously have too much stuff, too much gear for a simple home-brewing bar, so how did the Konmari method help me decide what to keep?

Items that Spark Joy vs. Items with a Specific Function

There is a reason that Ms. Kondo recommends following a specific order when tidying your home. Clothing is first, and since all clothing serves the same basic function, it’s easy to discard anything that doesn’t spark joy. But how do you handle tools with a specific purpose?

My process started slowly, maybe because I haven’t followed her program from the start and thus haven’t developed my ability to discern what brings joy in the most mundane of items. I stood looking at my coffee gear, fighting with my brain which was busy pointing out what each brewing device was designed for, and which had some sentimental value (my first V60, for example), so it took several minutes to really get to work.

There was a noticeable difference in items that brought immediate joy and others with very specific uses. I had to admit that there are brew methods that I just don’t enjoy using. For example, no matter how beautiful the Aeropress looks during an inverted brew, it does not bring me joy and I was only holding onto it because it had a specific design.

While I let go of many such items, with others I am still unsure. I have two sizes of the Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Pot, and I’ve used them on vacation as well as for the occasional last-minute “we need fresh cold brew tomorrow morning” panic. It’s easy to rationalize keeping something when it has such a unique purpose. I put both in the keep pile, but I have a nagging feeling that when I held them in my hands, I knew they were ready to go.

Just some of the gear I let go…

Identifying Goals

This exercise, especially looking at the pile of quality gear that I’m dumping, helped me to evaluate my goals, both with the coffee bar itself and in the big picture.

Why did I have cupping supplies for an entire crew when I only ever cupped alone?

How much of this stuff did I buy in hopes of finding something to blog about?

It comes back to the lingering question: what is The Coffee Minimalist?

By reviewing every piece of coffee gear I’ve collected and narrowing my coffee bar to just that which sparks joy, I’m getting closer to an answer. Check back next week to see the results of this exercise, and perhaps then I’ll have some clear direction on where this blog is heading.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *