Too Much Stuff in Your Kitchen? 2 Questions to Ask Yourself

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No other room gets more action than the kitchen!

What if you could make it more enjoyable to work in your kitchen AND get your work done faster so you can spend more of your life where it matters?

Minimalism is a hot topic these days, but why would you want to minimize the items in your kitchen? Haven’t you spent years acquiring tools to help you get more work done?

Well, think about it.  Let’s say you may have the perfect little gadget for exactly the task your are about to accomplish.  You open your gadget drawer and glance around.  Not there.  Oh, it’s in the other gadget drawer.  No? Hmm… where did I put that?  Back to the first gadget drawer.  Is it in the back? Under that other thing?  No.  Back to the second gadget drawer.  Shuffle some things around.  Oh, I remember, it’s behind the silverware tray in the utensil drawer!

Yeah, I’ve been there.

Two years ago, my husband and I pulled out every single item out of our kitchen and asked ourselves if we really needed it.  After paring down our belongings, we discovered three things:

  1. It’s easier to clean fewer items
  2. It’s easier to put away fewer items neatly
  3. It’s easier to accomplish our tasks when we aren’t spending time looking for things.

The goal of this blog is to lead you into the Martha Way (click here to read more about what that means) of managing your home, with less stress and more Jesus.  In the kitchen, we are thinking “Less Suff, Less Cleaning, More Cooking.”

We are not seeking minimalism for the sake of minimalism.  It’s not a competition to see who can own the least stuff.  If your kitchen is excessively minimal, you may spend more time and effort to accomplish a task (such as whipping cream by hand when a mixer would do it so much faster and also does many other things).

These are the items I consider ESSENTIAL in my kitchen:

  • Knives–a 3-5″ paring knife and a 7″ chef’s knife, a longer slicing knife is helpful as well
  • Knife Sharpener–A MUST, a dull knife is a dangerous knife and a big time waster.  Sharp knives are safer and more productive.
  • Cutting boards–both a wooden for veggies and an acrylic (dishwasher safe) for meat
  • Spatula/Turner
  • Spatula/scraper
  • Cookie sheets (I have 4 but they take up very little space.  I really think 2-3 is ideal.)
  • Glass bowl
  • 13×9 glass pan
  • 8×8 glass pan
  • non-stick skillet
  • iron skillet
  • large pot (possibly a dutch oven, I have both)
  • a small pot
  • mesh strainer
  • a set of measuring spoons
  • a set of measuring cups
  • wooden spoons
  • whisk
  • ladle
  • tongs (two sets to prevent cross contamination)
  • can opener
  • masher
  • thermometer (I once considered this optional, but a recent incident with undercooked chicken and my husband missing a day of work has changed my attitude.)
  • muffin pan
  • slow cooker
  • vegetable peeler
  • ice cream scoop (optional)
  • pastry blender (this would be superfluous in some kitchens, but I use it frequently when making biscuits or pie crust)
  • loaf pan (possibly 2)
  • box grater
  • 9″ round cake pan, set of two
  • toaster
  • tea kettle
  • silpat or parchment paper (this is a personal preference for my baking)
  • coffee maker
  • blender
  • Serving bowl
  • serving platter
  • a cake stand.  You can’t tell me this isn’t essential.  You may question my collection which possibly boarders on hoarding, but I have a love affair with cake stands.  Everything looks more appetizing on a little pedestal! 

My list may look very different from your list.  What do you need?  What do you not need?

minimalist kitchen

When you minimize your kitchen items, ask yourself 2 questions:

Could I easily manage without this?

Would I have another item that might work just as well?  Could I accomplish the task in the same amount of time with another item?

For example, I can chop vegetables by hand faster than I can hunt out the nifty little tool that my mother gave me where you slap the top to chop, not to mention the time it takes to wash up the thing after using it.

I could maybe open a can with a knife, but that would not be efficient (or safe.  The can opener stays.

How often do I use this?

Some items we are not ready to get rid of, but we don’t need them on a regular basis.  What to do with those?  They go! Out of the kitchen, that is.

I love baking elaborate cakes for my kids’ birthdays.  I have a lot of tools to accomplish this.  I only use them a few times a year so they don’t to stay in my cabinets, taking up space.  I bought a large plastic bin for less than $5 and in they all go.  They live in the garage now. An attic or basement or storage closet would be just fine as well.

Seasonal items don’t have to go permanently, but there’s no reason to keep your Thanksgiving turkey platter in your face year round.

It really boils down to a simple idea:

If I own only what I need, I will be more productive.

As we went through our kitchen items, we occasionally came across an item or two (or twenty) that we weren’t comfortable parting with, but they didn’t fit our criteria. We could easily manage without them, but we weren’t sure if we would miss them! So we got a big cardboard box and called it the Maybe’s Box and put things in there that we weren’t sure of.

Then we closed it up and stored it for at least six months.  Over the course of those six months, if we thought of something we weren’t sure about, we made a note (mental, but physical would have been better).

We opened up the box six months later and reconsidered the items.  Almost everything in there was something we could do without.

We donated and sold it.

I can’t emphasize how much simpler cooking is when you have the proper tools in great condition and organization.

Before, when I had too many knives, if one got dull, I would just use a different one.  Do you think I could keep up with which one was sharp? Now, I have about 5.  Still too many, but there’s only one that I love and use often.  When it gets dull, I sharpen it and it’s ready to go the next time! There is space in my cabinets and space in my brain.

I think it’s time I make another round through my kitchen and purge.  How ’bout you?

If you find it difficult to let go of items, I encourage you to remember God’s promise: those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. (Psalm 34:10)

Do you find yourself searching for things in your kitchen like I do?

 

 

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