How To Create A Minimalist Kitchen In 7 Steps

How much stuff do you really need in your kitchen? I think it depends on how much cooking and baking you do. I cook simple meals that don’t require much. That’s why I’ve been making my kitchen into a minimalist kitchen.

Minimalist kitchen: photo of clean counter, tea kettle on the stove and tea cup.
Photo by Dan Erickson

Nearly half of my kitchen cupboards and drawers are empty. Why? Because I don’t keep stuff that I don’t use or need in my kitchen. It’s amazing how many small appliances people buy and never use. I’ve still got a couple of things that will soon be on the way out, like a popcorn popper and a garlic press. I just don’t use them.  

I don’t have the perfect minimalist kitchen, but it’s a constant work in progress. Here’s a checklist that I use to simplify my kitchen.

My 7 steps to creating a minimalist kitchen:

1. Select Small Appliances Carefully

I only have one small appliance: a toaster oven.  It’s been very handy for heating up quick meals. My grandmother used to have a toaster oven, too. I don’t own a microwave, mixer, blender, juicer, bread maker, or any other small appliances. Oh, except that popcorn popper in the back of a half-empty cupboard.

Limit your small appliances to absolute necessities for a true minimalist kitchen. Less is more.

2. Limit Pots And Pans

I bought a set of 6 or 7 high-quality pots and pans about 8 years ago. Most of them get used a couple times in any given week. I have a tea kettle for daily tea. I could probably get rid of a couple of the bigger pots, but I like the matching set. My slow cooker gets used regularly while I’m at work.

My daughter likes to bake, so I have a few cake pans and cookie sheets. But I keep it simple. Don’t keep more pots and pans than you need in your kitchen.

3. Consider Kitchen Gadgets And Utensils

I learned the hard way on this point. Ten years ago, I thought I needed more kitchen gadgets for cooking. So I bought all sorts of things on a buy-two-get-one-free deal. After a few months, I realized that about 75% of these gadgets and utensils were going unused.

All you really need is a spatula, a couple of mixing and serving spoons, an ice-cream scoop, a mixing whip, and a couple of knives. And you could probably get away with less.

Minimalist kitchen: photo of dishes in cupboard.
Photo by Dan Erickson

4. Only Keep One Set Of Dishes

The less dishes you have, the cleaner your kitchen will stay. I wash my dishes after every meal. But I couldn’t go more than a couple of meals without doing dishes even if I wanted to. Why? Because I only have a small place setting, enough for four people. Sure, I have a few extras, but I don’t keep a fancy set of dishes for special occasions. My mom had fancy dishes. We never used them. What’s the point?

If you want a minimalist kitchen, don’t own too many dishes. Keep enough for your immediate family and maybe a couple extras for guests.

5. Stock Food, But Don’t Overstock

This is the one area where I’ll make an exception. To limit full grocery-shopping trips, you can stock up on dry goods and frozen goods. Then you’ll only need to make quick stops at the store for fresh items.

Still, don’t buy more than you can eat within a month. Otherwise, the food might become old, stale, or past date, and will have to be thrown away. Plus, cupboards jammed full won’t help you create a minimalist kitchen.   

6. Always Keep Your Counters Clear

This is the key to a minimalist appearance. I keep very few things on my counters, stovetops, or refrigerator. Once your counters get messy, you lose the battle. Spend five minutes a day clearing your counters and you’ll be on your way to keeping a minimalist kitchen.

I have the added challenge of keeping my cupboards looking spacious. My house came with glass doors on the upper kitchen cabinets. That means you can see everything in those cupboards. This has actually helped me learn more about my next point.

7. Make Space Between Things

Don’t jam your drawers and cupboards full. Leave them sparse. Allow space between items. This extra space creates breathing room. It offers a minimalist look to your kitchen. 

The same applies to any kind of kitchen decor you might use. A few well-placed items add charm to your kitchen. Too many items creates a cluttered mess. Leave space between things.

How To Get Started On Your Minimalist Kitchen

If you have a kitchen overflowing with things you don’t need, don’t try to clean it up in a day. Spend a week downsizing. Start with appliances and go through the 7 steps I’ve given you today. If you spend an hour a day for one week, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish.

Once you’ve chosen what to let go, follow through. Take the stuff to charity. Give unneeded items to people who might use them. Sell it on Craigslist. But don’t hold onto that stuff. Let it go.

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