What’s in a Minimalist Kitchen?

So what’s in a minimalist kitchen? Or more importantly, what’s not!? Today, I’ll share with you the guiding principle I used to simplify our kitchen (and keep it that way!)

My hope is that you can declutter and simplify your kitchen quickly and start enjoying the benefits right away.

minimalist kitchen, blue and white

Or watch this video on YouTube here!

Why a Minimalist Kitchen?

That’s a good question! Why simplify? Here are the benefits I have found since simplifying our kitchen:

  • It’s easier to keep clean (less stuff to clutter it up!)
  • It’s a more peaceful place to be, so I cook more
  • We waste less food because we have a better idea of what we have
  • The rest of my family members help more because it isn’t so overwhelming

Tom has often said, “When the kitchen is clean it feels like life is under control.” And now that we’ve been living this way for over 5 years, I think I agree with him!

minimalist pots and pans

My Mantra for Simplifying the Kitchen: “One or None!”

When we first start simplifying our kitchen it can be a little overwhelming. This is because we have A LOT of decisions to make: Should I keep this? Should I get rid of that? Would I use this in the future? Do I need this for that one holiday?

We can quickly be burdened with decision fatigue if we don’t have a clear plan. For me, that plan came in the form of a mantra: one or none.
Could I get by with one of an item? Or none at all?

The question I had to stop asking was could I possibly use this in the future? and change it to could I get by without it? or could I get by with just one?

minimalist kitchen utensil drawer
Items that we’ve simplified to one:

  • rubber spatula
  • flat spatula
  • tongs
  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cups
  • cutting board
  • strainer
  • chef’s knife
  • place setting per person
  • frying pan
  • sauce pan
  • pot

Items we’ve simplified to none:

  • gadgets that are hard to clean!
  • most small appliances

But don’t you have to do dishes ALL the time?

So if we’ve simplified our dishes down to one place setting per person, don’t we have to wash dishes really often?

That’s a great question. Yes, yes we do! But that’s a GOOD thing!
You see, in the past we had too many dishes, which meant huge stacks next to the sink when they got dirty. And no one wanted to do the dishes when they got to that point. It was too overwhelming.

Now, if someone uses the frying pan to make eggs in the morning and someone else wants to make something for lunch, they have to wash the pan!

No more stacks of dirty pots and pans on the stove.

Now that the dishes are “self limiting,” it’s almost physically impossible for the kitchen to get out of control because there just isn’t that much stuff.

And I love that everything can fit into the dishwasher at the end of the day.

minimalist kitchen pantry

Are you extra busy?

And if you’re in a season of life where you are extra busy, I think it’s EVEN MORE important to simplify your kitchen. I would propose that you need a “high efficiency” kitchen.

What does this mean? You need a kitchen that runs smoothly and is stocked with just the basics. If you’re extra busy, you’re not doing fancy baking or cooking, so pare it down to just the essentials.

This will keep it easy to clean and make quick meals. It will also make it easier to recruit the help of family members because you’re not inviting them into a disaster zone!

Rather, there is a reasonable amount of work to be done in a peaceful environment….you may even find that you enjoy cooking again in this setting!

minimalist kitchen towels

But what if I spent (a lot) of money on these things??

Unfortunately, kitchen items can be expensive and it can be hard to part with something that you’ve invested in.

A few questions to ask yourself:

  • Could I sell it on marketplace and recoup some of the cost?
  • Does it cause me guilt when I see it? Would my kitchen feel nicer if I removed the things that cause guilt?
  • Will keeping it put any money back in my pocket?
  • What could I use the extra cabinet space for?
  • Could I pack it away for a little while to see if I actually miss it?

Using a quarantine bin can be a great way to test out a simplified kitchen. Simply find a box or tote and put everything in it that you are unsure about discarding. Place the items in it and set it aside.

It’s also helpful to put a date on it with a note that says, “Donate after [this date].” This way you’re giving your future self permission to part with it when the time comes!

My sister Diana created a quarantine bin about 9 months ago. As we were decluttering her kitchen, there were several items she wasn’t ready to part with. There were also things she wasn’t sure if her husband would miss or not.

So we pulled out a bin and put the stuff in it. It was mostly extra cooking utensils and gadgets. I asked her the other day if she had pulled anything back out of her quarantine bin and she said:

“Oh my goodness, I totally forgot it was there!” (I guess that’s a no!?!)

Often we just need to create some separation between us and the items we’re wanting to declutter to regain perspective. A quarantine bin is a great way to do that!

Get started now!

Ok, so now its time for you to take control of your kitchen. For me, the one or none question helped. Head to your utensil drawer or caddy…do you have duplicates? Could you get by with one?

Next look at your mixing bowls, pots and pans and baking dishes. Do you really use all of them?

minimalist kitchen, blue and white

Next, clear off your counters

For almost everyone, our kitchen feels more peaceful when the counters are cleared off. It also makes it much easier to clean up at the end of the day.

For many, this feels strange and even bare…but give yourself a few days or week to get used to it, and you’ll probably find that you LOVE it…we hear that really often!

Try to tuck everything into cabinets, even things you use regularly. For us this meant putting the toaster, blender, stand mixer and Instant Pot into cabinets.

Yes, we had to clear some stuff out of the cabinets to make room– but that was necessary decluttering– I wasn’t using the stuff in those cabinets anyway!

The only exception we’ve made to have our kitchen counters completely cleared off is our coffee maker. We use that multiple times per day, so for me, it deserves a spot on the counter! ;)

minimalist kitchen decor

You deserve it.

It takes some work, but you’ll be SO glad that you simplified your kitchen. I think you’ll also find that it is a more enjoyable place to be, and your family will love it, too.

All our best as you simplify and declutter!

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Here are some things we LOVE in our kitchen:

For more on simplifying your kitchen, check out these links!

Kitchen Re-Organization + Favorite Kitchen Declutter Tips
Guided KITCHEN DECLUTTER: Use these principles to simplify your kitchen quickly & easily
Minimalist Kitchen Tour // Achieve this QUICKLY!!
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what's in a minimalist kitchen