Kids leaving home requires a huge psychological adjustment. When my oldest moved to a dorm, I cried off and on for several weeks.
While my youngest is only eight years old, the next few years may find me with only two of my six home on a regular basis. I’m already starting to think about how this will affect my cooking routines.
Today’s post is targeted toward parents whose children have grown up and left home. I hope the ideas will be helpful for those just starting out.
- Living alone doesn’t mean being lonely. Eating is a social activity. If you live alone, try to share meals with others on a regular basis.
- Put care into your meals. Once you are used to cooking for a crowd, you may tell yourself it’s “not worth” cooking. You are worth it! Meals don’t have to be fancy, but they should include healthy ingredients and fresh vegetables. And avoid the temptation to eat in front of the TV.
- Learn to shop wisely. Stores tempt you to buy in bulk by offering bargains. Sometimes you can repackage and store the items in the quantities you need, or share with a neighbor, but sometimes it’s not worth the trouble or costs you more in the long run.
- Reevaluate your equipment. How many large pots do you still need for guests or bulk cooking? Give away what you can’t use, and move the rest out of your prime kitchen space. Trade down to smaller pots, saving space and energy dollars. And look out for containers that hold one or two servings.
- Consider investing in smaller, more efficient cooking appliances like a microwave, small slow cooker, or toaster oven.
- Experiment! Now is your chance to cook what you like, without having to worry about picky eaters (unless it’s you or your partner). Try out new cookbooks and cuisines.
- Redo your decor. You’re probably eating at a smaller table, so brighten things up with a new tablecloth or table service. I’m looking forward to using the set of four placemats I got as a gift—one day!
- Rethink your menus. Do you prefer to cook fresh each night? Or to cook larger quantities and freeze? Some singles like to cook one large meal and eat it over the next several days. That’s fine, but it’s probably not a good idea to take this too far.
Have you had to downsize your kitchen? Please share your experience in the comments.
image: Robert S. Donovan