Have you ever been looking for a specific utensil when you really needed it and couldn’t find it because the drawer was too full? Are you frustrated by a well-stocked kitchen that always has dirty dishes in the sink?
Sometimes having too much is the problem. While it’s nice to have a full kitchen to suit all your needs, it’s also possible to make great food with a lot less.
If you’re thinking about clearing out the kitchen, then you need our list of minimalist kitchen essentials. Take a look below for the full breakdown of everything you need to keep (and what you can live without).
Crafting a Minimalist Kitchen
If you already subscribe to a minimalist lifestyle, then paring down your kitchen gadgets can be an important step in getting rid of clutter. Minimalism is all about the philosophy that you shouldn’t be attached to things. The goal is to break that attachment, and that means it can be pretty fluid as far as details like the specific number of items you keep or how much it costs.
First set your vision for the kitchen, then make the decisions about each category of kitchen items to achieve a minimalist kitchen. You can find inspiration from minimalist Instagram accounts or do your own research. The point is, use your own minimalist goals as an anchor to guide you through the task.
Keep in mind as you collect your kitchen essentials that the process is ongoing. Your tastes and interests will grow and change, so your toolset may also need to adapt. Instead of thinking of it like a project that’s never done, let it inspire you to embrace change.
Knives: Minimalist Kitchen Essentials
A good knife set should be at the top of any kitchen essential checklist. You can do most of your dicing, chopping, and cutting tasks without fancy tools or extra gadgets. From there, it’s completely up to you.
This is why it’s important that you decide on your goals ahead of time, because some minimalist kitchens may have just two knives, a paring knife and a chef’s knife. Others may feel that paring down to only a knife set and getting rid of their julienne tool and their onion chopper and their apple peeler-corer-slicer is already a marked improvement.
Be sure you also include a knife sharpener in your minimalist kitchen. If you’re using your knives more than usual because of the absence of your other gadgets, you’ll need to sharpen them more often.
Not only do knives work better when they’re sharp but also they’re less dangerous. You’ll be less likely to cut yourself if you’re using a good sharp knife you don’t have to force or saw with it.
A word about cutting boards: as you begin your minimalist journey, be sure you decide what kinds of boards you want. Some prefer a nice wooden or bamboo board, and they only want one. Others think a couple flexible mats are easier to use and more versatile.
Pots and Pans and Bowls, Oh My!
Any amount of real cooking means you need a few dishes to do it in. You need probably don’t include duplicates of any basic pots and pans. Minimalism is about paring down, so unless you’re regularly cooking with two of the same pan, you can probably just plan to wash it in between uses.
Here are some suggestions for a basic list of pans (be sure to include lids!):
- Frying pan
- Cast iron pan
You can mix it up as much as you want. Some might prefer more than one size of saucepan because you cook small servings a lot. Others might add a wok or sauté pan.
For the cast iron pan, think about what you cook a lot. You might want a Dutch oven or a cast iron fry pan instead. Both can be used in the oven and on the stovetop.
Baking and Extras
You can make most things with a sheet pan, a glass 9×13 casserole dish, and a muffin tin. One set of mixing bowls in three sizes is enough, and a single set of measuring cups and spoons. A rubber spatula and a wooden spoon are all you need for stirring.
Someone who bakes a lot may add a few more items to the list, like a rolling pin and a liquid measuring cup. A mesh strainer can serve as a flour sifter and a colander.
There are a few extra items you’ll want to add to your minimalist kitchen, like a peeler, can opener, whisk, ladle, and possibly tongs.
You may want a coffee maker, but often making coffee can become a morning scramble. Simplifying your coffee routine can help eliminate extra steps or clutter, and bring some much-needed order to your morning.
What You Don’t Need
During your cleanout, take special note of the kitchen items you don’t need. You can visit Kitchen Gadget Reviews to help you determine if an item should be on your essentials list. Your individual cooking habits and preferences will dictate a large part of the process.
Yet here’s a good rule of thumb: anything that only has one use or purpose doesn’t have a place in a minimalist kitchen. Do you have an avocado or mango slicer? Those can go–use a knife instead.
Do you have a hook that you use to detach kernels when you make corn on the cob? Use a knife.
Any gadget or tool that doesn’t have multiple functions doesn’t do enough to earn its space in the kitchen.
Back to Basics
Any time you pare down and get rid of things, you’ll experience some sense of loss. Even if it doesn’t hit you right away, you’ll still likely feel some sadness a few days later. The first time you go to use a gadget you no longer have, you may second-guess yourself.
Yet a minimalist philosophy can work well if you give it a chance. Breaking your relationship to things and cutting back to minimalist kitchen essentials helps you focus on the relationships and experiences that really matter, like cooking and eating together.
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