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Today, let’s talk about what makes up a minimalist kitchen and how you can create one of your own.
I’m sure we’ve all seen it – the Pinterest or Instagram photo of an all-white, perfectly clean, modern kitchen without one speck of clutter. Maybe that photo makes you roll your eyes (how do you keep all of those white surfaces free from spaghetti sauce splatters and Nutella finger prints??). Maybe that photo makes you feel jealous (I wish my kitchen looked like that!), or maybe that photo makes you feel inferior (as I look around my own kitchen with a countertop cluttered with yesterday’s mail, two crock pots, and a drying rack stacked to the hilt with clean dishes).
Here’s something you should know about that photo. Even though this perfect kitchen might be what you picture when I say the words “minimalist kitchen”, you don’t have to have a new and modern home to have a minimalist kitchen! You can enjoy the benefits of minimalism in your kitchen right now without having to renovate or make any major changes.
Minimalism is a tool, not a style.
When I heard this idea for the first time from home decor guru Myquillyn Smith of The Nester, it kind of blew my mind! I had spent several years trying to be a minimalist, and for me, that didn’t just mean owning less stuff, it also meant achieving a style in my home that was sleek, modern, and all-white. Well, I live in a one-hundred-year-old home with messy kids and a basset hound that tends to drool on everything, so sleek, modern, and all-white just wasn’t going to cut it. Plus, I never met a piece of antique furniture that I didn’t like, so modern just wasn’t for me.
I felt defeated because without that style of decor in my home, I thought I could never be a minimalist. How wrong I was!
That’s because minimalism isn’t about the color and style of your living room couch. Minimalism is about filling our homes with only the items that are useful to us or bring us joy. Have you ever heard this quote by William Morris?
“Keep nothing in your home that you do not find useful or know to be beautiful.”
That’s minimalism in a nutshell. It’s a tool that we can use no matter what style of decor we have in our homes to keep what we love and get rid of everything else that is cluttering up our homes.
A Minimalist Kitchen
The Kitchen is the PERFECT place to start your minimalism journey because the kitchen is the heart of the home, and when a room is as hard-working as the kitchen, it tends to become a clutter magnet. Not to mention how many fun and interesting kitchen gadgets are out there just begging for us to buy them and bring them home to clutter up our kitchen counters!
Here’s why you need to try a minimalist kitchen – having a kitchen that has less clutter and only the things you need will make cooking a joy! Reaching into a drawer for the vegetable peeler and finding it right away instead of sifting through drawer after drawer of kitchen tools you never use will make cooking dinner easy and stress-free.
Let’s walk through four different areas in your kitchen – the counters, the drawers, the cabinets, and the pantry – to learn how to apply minimalism to each area.
Here’s how to create a minimalist kitchen.
#1 Minimalist Kitchen Counters
My kitchen counters can do a magic trick. I clean them off, walk out of the room, and when I walk back in, they are covered in clutter again. It must be some form of dark magic! In a minimalist kitchen, we want our counters to be completely clear. One of the reasons we all love looking at those Pinterest photos of minimalist kitchens is the counters in the photos are completely free of clutter. The result is a clean and calm space. Here are some ways to achieve this look.
Store all appliances out of sight.
Sometimes, we keep all of our appliances out on the countertop, so they are ready for us to use them, but we want our counters completely clear. Let’s put the toaster oven, bread machine, electric tea kettle, and blender on a pantry or closet shelf.
Have a plan for daily clutter.
Like I said before, my kitchen counters are clutter magnets! This means I have to devise a plan for all of the daily stuff that wants to get placed on the counter tops. I’m talking about mail, kid’s school forms, library books, and that birthday gift that you are taking to a dinner party later this week. The tendency is to place these things on the counters and walk away, but instead, let’s find better homes for them. Maybe create a filing system for your mail and throw away junk mail immediately. Maybe keep the kid’s school forms stuck to the refrigerator with a magnet.
Put it away instead of putting it down.
I would take the used k-cup out of my coffee maker and place it one the counter to “throw away later” until one day I realized that instead of making a little pile of used k-cups that I had to deal with later, I could just throw it in the trash can immediately. If you’re like me and set stuff down to deal with later, let’s work on this together. When I use my cheese grater, instead of just leaving it on the counter when I’m done using it, I’m going to take two minutes to wash it and put it away.
#2 Minimalist Kitchen Drawers
Kitchen drawers are where we are going to keep all of our necessary kitchen tools for cooking and eating. We want kitchen tools that are well made, sturdy, and most importantly, we want them to work.
The Kitchen Tools We Don’t Want
Because we are keeping our kitchen tools to a minimum, we want to make sure that we have the best tools for our kitchen. Single-use tools aren’t going to work in our minimalist kitchen. Do you have a specialty avocado slicer, a specialty egg slicer, and a specialty apple slicer? Let’s replace all of these single-use tools for a multi-use one like a good chef’s knife.
Do you have duplicates of some kitchen tools? Honestly, I only use one hand when stirring a pot of soup or sauteing veggies in a pan, and I can only hold one wooden cooking spoon in my hand at a time. Why then do I have seven wooden cooking spoons? I only need one. Let’s sort through our kitchen drawers and make sure that we have one of everything we need instead of five or six. For example, we need only one can opener, one spatula, one colander. It will free up so much space in your kitchen!
The Kitchen Tools We Do Want
We want to find multi-use tools that can do lots of kitchen jobs but take up less space. My favorite multi-use tool is the Instant Pot. Oh, how I love my Instant Pot! It works as a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, a rice maker, a yogurt maker, and a frying pan. All of that for a kitchen gadget that takes up a relatively small amount of kitchen space.
Let’s have a chat about quality. On this blog, we always keep the budget in mind, and we never want to tell you to buy expensive items because we believe that budget-friendly items can do the job just as well. However, when it comes to kitchen tools, sometimes spending a few more dollars on a chef’s knife or cheese grater means that it will last you a lot longer than the cheaper items. Always do what is best for your budget.
#3 Minimalist Kitchen Cabinets
Our kitchen cabinets are where we are going to store all of our cooking ware and serving ware. We’re talking pots, pans, plates, cups, and bowls. It can be really easy to buy and keep too many items in this area. Let’s talk about what we need in this area.
Here’s what we need to cook our meals in: something to cook liquid in, something to saute and fry in, something to bake in, and something to roast in.
- A large stock pot: Instead of having several pots in different sizes, one large stock pot will do the job of them all. You can boil pasta in it, simmer a sauce or soup in it, heat up hot chocolate in it, and more.
- A cast iron skillet: Cast iron is the best because not only does it cook food perfectly on the stove, but it can also be put in the oven. Double duty!
- A dutch oven: This can function as a pot on the stove and also a roasting or braising dish for the oven. I use mine all of the time.
- A 9×13 casserole pan: Use this not just for casseroles and lasagna. Use it in place of a baking sheet and bake cookies in it.
It can be really easy to have too many plates, bowls, and cups. This can clutter up your kitchen and lead to a lot more time wasted washing dishes. Here’s what you need for serving meals.
- 4-6 plates and bowls
- 4-6 drinking glasses
- 4-6 mugs
- 4-6 sets of silverware (fork, spoon, and knife)
- One large serving platter
- One set of nesting mixing bowls – they do double duty as mixing bowls for cooking and serving bowls for meal time.
#4 Minimalist Kitchen Pantry
A minimalist kitchen pantry is going to save you so much time and stress! Having only what you need to cook meals inside your pantry will make cooking meals a breeze. Organizing your pantry in a way that makes things easy to find will eliminate food waste. I wrote a post on how to organize your kitchen pantry on a budget using only Dollar Tree items. Check it out to turn your pantry into an organized and minimalist happy place.
Minimalism can be achieved by anyone, no matter what your home’s style. A minimalist kitchen turns a normally chaotic and stressful space into an organized and functional one. Give it a try!
Share your tips for creating minimalist kitchen with us on our Facebook group!