The kitchen is often called the heart of the home. For good reasons many of us spend a lot of time here or maybe wish we spent more time here and less time eating out. Whether you cook a lot or a little and love it or not, a minimalist kitchen is a wonderful thing and worth the time spent to get it to the point you want it.
As a family, we mostly eat all three meals at home and try to eat healthy meals made from scratch, not just prepackaged food. Because of that, we need tools, but I have learned less tools, but better is an excellent way to go. Because everyone and every home is different, a minimalist kitchen will vary from home to home and that’s ok. I’m offering some guidelines that should be pretty transferable between all of us.
So how can you have a more minimalist kitchen?
1. Know yourself and your family. How does your family eat? How do you entertain? There are so many benefits to knowing ourselves and when it comes to simplifying, it helps us be realistic about our needs and flow of life. For example, I KNOW that I’m not naturally a “baker.” I’d much rather make savory dishes than sweet treats and when I do bake, its simple like cookies or a one layer cake. Baking doesn’t bring a lot of joy to me, at least for now. So, I have very few and simple “baking” tools. With entertaining, we are very casual. I don’t have china and even if I did, I know I wouldn’t use it. We love backyard cookouts and have dishes and tools that transfer easily outside.
2. Clear counters. These are simply a must have. The clear counter tops mean everything has a home and lives in it. You are always ready for the next meal. Its less visual clutter, meaning less stress automatically. In my home the coffee maker and paper towel holder are out, but everything else, toaster, knives, everything has a home elsewhere. I love number 5 on the “Counter is Conventient” myth, in Joshua Becker’s post about a clutter-free kitchen.
3. Organize accordingly. Stuff rarely used that you decide is worth keeping, store higher or in the back. Things used more frequently should be easily accessible. If the kitchen table gets used for homework or paying bills, or tasks, think through modules and ways of storing non-eating items in a way that works for you.
4. Eat what you have. Having an emergency stash is one thing, but in general your pantry needs to be regularly rotating items in and out. Notice the things you buy but have to throw out more than once because you just don’t use it. This is when knowing yourself and your family comes in handy. If you keep thinking you’ll make curry, but don’t get around to using coconut milk before it expires, maybe you don’t love curry as much as you think. Or if your mama always had certain items in her pantry and taught you to as well, but you find that your cooking style is different, that’s ok! Be free to recognize that and have only what you’ll use.
5. Clean as you go. Making this small change, made having a minimalist kitchen even easier. Clean up is a breeze now and the kitchen is always ready to go.
In light of those, what can you actually get rid of? Here’s some things to consider.
Multiples. This goes for almost everything. Its so easy to have multiple of all the smaller kitchen tools. We think that it doesn’t hurt to have an extra, but when everything has multiples, it quickly adds up and culling those are an easy way to minimize. Think spatulas, serving spoons, mixing bowls, kid dishes, sets of dishes, cups.
Tools that do similar jobs. In my kitchen I have several tools or gadgets that all did the same thing but with a different spin on it. For example, I had a food processor and a manual food processor that allowed for a little more control. In total honesty I used the manual food processor more than the electric, but the electric does more and so I opted to get rid of the manual food processor. In your kitchen you may consider hand mixer vs. stand mixer, coffee maker vs. french press.
Tools with a very specific use. I use to have a little tool specifically for coring strawberries and another for slicing mangoes. I actually did use that tool, but decided for the sake of simplicity, I could just as easily do it with a paring knife. Sure it was just ONE item, but when we noticed multiple tools like this, before you know if you can rid your kitchen of numerous tools. Often jobs that tools are made specifically for can be done almost or just as easiy with another multipurpose tool, like a knife. This can go for larger items like a bread maker, rice cookers and more.
Kid items. I am fully aware of how much stuff we are told we “have to have” to raise healthy kids. And I am also prone to see the cuteness in it all. But the truth is, they really need much less than we think and the sanity that came with simplifying was worth much more than cuteness. We got rid of most of the kid specific items though we do still have a few and early on we taught them to use regular spoons and forks and glasses and so far there’s only been one glass broken. So again, know your family and the needs and pare down to what works for you.
As with pretty much all of our decluttering and simplifying efforts, we found a new mindfulness that entered our kitchen that not only encouraged a joy and beauty in cooking, but also in how and what we eat and made kitchen clean up and maintenance a lot easier.
For more inspiration on your kitchen, you can follow my Pinterest kitchen board.