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Among the most go-to rooms in any home is the kitchen. It doubles as a cooking spot as well as a great place to enjoy our meals. Because of this, it’s best if you embrace a great deal of simplicity when arranging utensils and general kitchen appliances.
Whether you have a spacious kitchenette or super small kitchen, it pays off to have an idea on what to incorporate in your setup. It gets stressful when you have to wade through cluttered cabinets and expired jars to prepare a simple meal.
Because of this, you’ll find yourself reaching out for the same ingredients, pans, pots and utensils time and again. Stocking a minimalist kitchen is somewhat of a cleansing experience that requires a great deal of planning.
There are three major rules for achieving a minimalist kitchen:
- Don’t waste your money on items you don’t use for everyday cooking
- Keep your focus on quality appliances and smart buys.
- As much as possible, avoid plastic items and spend your money on items you’re sure you’ll use more frequently.
Keep in mind that reserving your space for the ‘essentials’ alone is very risky. You may limit your list to only ten items, but later on, you realize you needed 40 or 50. Later in this post, we shall uncover the tools you need and those that you don’t.
For now, here are a few simple ways to stock a minimalist kitchen without breaking a sweat.
1. Stick to a Regular Meal Routine
When it comes to ‘rightsizing,’ the meal planning concept is a factor that is never (or rarely) put into consideration. It’s understandable, considering sticking to a meal routine comes across as a task to most people. However, when ignored completely, meal planning can lead to significant amounts of stress.
Once you shift to a minimalist mindset, all the planning, prepping, shopping and cooking determines the overall costs and time you’re bound to save on your kitchen. Here are a couple of minimalist approaches to meal planning you can try out today:
Steer clear from hoarding print or online recipes
Keeping a collection of recipes may drive you to buy more and more ingredients for meals you’ll probably never prepare.
In the spirit of minimalism, clear the clutter that could be in form of Pinterest boards, recipe boxes or cooking apps. Keep the remaining recipes you use more often in one place to speed up your cooking process.
Stay focused on your end game
Whenever you’re faced with a decision that may cost you either your brainpower or most importantly, your time, keep your mind focused and opt for the most straightforward route.
If you have a clear, thought-out plan of your three square meals, you won’t be swayed by less essential elements that are out to consume your time, energy and kitchen space.
Repurpose food leftovers
Not only does repurposing minimize food wastage, but it’s also one of the most convenient ways of meal planning at no cost at all. If the leftovers are enough for two or more servings, you’ve saved yourself a day of preparation.
The same way you wear similar outfits every other day, sticking to a well-planned meal routine can save you a ton of planning and extra ingredients. Unless you’re treating yourself to a meal outside the routine, just stick to putting the foods you enjoy on regular rotation.
2. Buy only the essentials
This should be your number one rule. Buying more than you can use in a given period is the number one reason food takes up so much real estate in your kitchen. Rather than having one or two boxes of cereal, you have five; instead of having two or three bags of chips, you stock up ten or even more.
Whenever there’s a discount on food or kitchen appliances, you don’t have to buy whatever catches your eye. Also, having a list of food items doesn’t mean that you should buy every little thing that appears in it. If you don’t bake or have an oven in your kitchen, keep the excess baking supplies away from your pantry.
Stocking up on dry and frozen food is a good idea. It limits full grocery-shopping trips; the only time you’ll ever need to step into a store is when you want to buy fresh produce. Overstocking, on the other hand, leads to a jammed cupboard, which is the last thing you want in your minimalist kitchen.
Stuffing your kitchen cabinets with huge boxes of applesauce, peanut butter, paper towels and other forms of clutter in the name of getting a great deal can cost you a ton of money and space.
Whether you have a family of three or a family of eight, try to be intentional with your spending and buy what you can realistically consume in seven days or so.
3. Keep the Fridge Stocked Strategically
The fridge will handle itself pretty well once you have a meal plan, well-stocked pantry, meal plan and do a minimal grocery shopping for fruits, vegetables, and other perishables. Of course, there are those items that need to be stocked more than others.
All fridges come with their fair share of imperfections. Some come in small sizes, others too deep, and very few are just right. While most people prefer large fridges, they have a significant downside: they have extra spaces that may tempt you to keep them filled all the time.
Therefore, if you have a fridge with deep shelves, consider putting the full depth into good use only when necessary.
Stock the refrigerator with edibles you can consume way before they expire. Don’t feel insecure about the spaces in the fridge. For this reason, you’re better off making the switch to a less roomy counter-depth fridge.
If you don’t have a fridge but are planning on buying one, go for a more shallow fridge with sufficient space, aside to the traditional model.
4. Dump the Microwave
Yes, ‘dump’ is a strong word, but it’s exactly what you need to do to stuff that doesn’t add value to your minimalist life. Contrary to most people’s belief, microwaves have zero health effects to your body, neither do they kill the nutrients in any food you reheat. So, why should you get rid of it then?
Well, microwaves hinder your ability to grow your cooking skills by ‘saving you the hustle’ of preparing ready-made food in exchange for pre-packaged and processed foods. For the most part, you don’t need it. Your oven or stove top can do anything and everything your microwave can.
There are two things you’re sure to love about kitchen life without a microwave: the taste of oven food and the best part, a clean, roomy counter. When you try living without it, you’ll get used to it faster than you expected.
Aside from your microwave, the following are a few other kitchen appliances you should consider whether to have them or not on your kitchen counter:
- Pastry cutter
- Cherry pitter
- Rice cooker
- Baby food maker
- Bread machine
- Yogurt maker etc.
5. Keep Your Counter Clutter-Free at all Times
There’s something life-giving and refreshing about a spotless, uncluttered counter. It’s one of the most rewarding perks of leading a minimalist lifestyle. There’s no fun in cooking in a cluttered kitchen. Being one of the most challenging places in your home to keep clutter-free, there’s a tendency to fill it up with unnecessary stuff.
Most kitchens are typically awash with this kind of clutter; there’s the presence of drawers, shelves and, cupboards full of appliances, cooking utensils, once-only purchases, and generally stuff you think you need, but you don’t.
If you find keeping your kitchen clutter-free a stressful process, try getting rid of items you no longer find useful. This is the first step to ensuring a less-congested workspace. For items/appliances used less than three times per year, store them safely in a cabinet somewhere.
For those that you use more often, don’t allow them to take up that much-needed counter space. Locate a secure area that is easily accessible. If you happen to have an appliance garage good for you. Every time you use your toaster or blender or whatever else you use on a daily basis store it there.
6. You Don’t Need all Those Knives
Like most people, you probably have a full set of clunky knives atop your kitchen counter. If you cook on an average basis, you might be skeptical at the fact that you only need three kitchen knives: a chef knife, paring knife, and a serrated bread knife.
If you look closely at how you use your knife set, you too will notice that you only use three at most. Why?
Unless you’re a culinary school student, there’s no need for filling up your counter with a set of knives that you use less often. Here are two reasons why you can benefit significantly by just stripping it down to three:
- Using only a set of three knives, you can take care of most of your cooking needs. You’ll find this particularly useful especially if you’re on a budget and you wouldn’t want to spend a lot on a set of knives.
- If you own a set of kitchen knives, you won’t have to burden yourself with honing and sharpening any of them. Three knives are more than enough to help you work your way around peeling, chopping and cutting food items.
Keeping in mind that a lot of your kitchen work can be achieved without a full set of knives is liberating. Considering that you’re putting together a minimalist kitchen, you’ll be freeing up a section of your kitchen that needs to be free at all times.
7. Keep Your Pantry Less Stocked
Operating a minimalist kitchen will require that you limit the number of foods or items you store in your pantry. This should mostly be based on you and your family’s habits and preferences. If you’re all vegetarians, there won’t be much use for the jerky or canned meat.
If you bake on the regular, you won’t mind sacrificing limited space for sugar, flour, baking soda, etc., and other necessary items. Instead of buying various brands of flour, opt for a single one that you can use to bake a host of other baked foods.
If you must eat some baked goodies often, you’re better off buying a couple of pre-made baked foods. This will save you space and keep your pantry free of clutter.
Just a bag of rice alone is enough to keep your pantry less-crowded. Choose from the different types of rice or buy brown or white rice if you only have room for one. Store it in less moisturized areas of your pantry.
They are the best source of proteins, cost-effective, and easy to store. If you have a limited storage space, beans shouldn’t be absent in your list of essential food items. They have a pretty impressive shelf-life and act as the base for a variety of dishes. Most of the time, there’s no need to soak them.
Many people tend to overstock on their spices. It’s understandable they’re easy on the pocket and don’t need much space, but have you ever noticed how short their shelf-life is?
Right after opening, most ground spices start losing their flavor and potent for less than a year or so. Salt and pepper aside, buy minimal quantities that you can use up quicker and more regularly.
Though there are numerous oil options, olive and coconut oil are better alternatives to its counterparts. Both can be used in any dish, are shelf-stable and are a general must-have for any minimalist kitchen.
Olive oil can be used as an alternative to margarine or butter on bread, and can also be an excellent salad dressing.
Other basics you need for your pantry include canned soups and vegetables, oats and cereals, dried fruit, canned tomatoes, pasta, and jerky. With a huge stock of shelf-stable foods, there’s no reason to shop ever so often.
8. Scrutinize Your Cookware
These are a couple of pots and pans you need in your minimalist kitchen. Any other cookware aside from these is just out to fill up your spaces unnecessarily. These are:
A stainless steel saucepan can be resourceful especially when it comes to cooking in a broader surface area. Cooking eggs or pancakes on different cookwares only yields different, less-impressive results.
This is the ideal and only cookware you need to cook your scrambled eggs. Though it cooks them to perfection, using the skillet more often will disintegrate the ceramic-coated non-stick surface.
Cast Iron Skillet
You don’t always have to go for the high-priced cast iron skillets. A $20 skillet also offers the same and even better results.
Any iron skillet will work just fine with a few oil coatings that bring about a natural, nonstick layer. If you’re considering getting rid of your microwave (which you should), the cast iron skillet is a great alternative.
These beautiful, durable pots serve the same function as slow cookers and stock pots. If you don’t have a particularly roomy kitchen, you can place it on top of your stovetop. This can otherwise turn out to be a natural decoration.
Often it’s hard to tell what you need in your cookware and what you don’t, especially when a store sells you a 16-plus-piece cookware set.
When you buy them in bulk, you’re convinced that these unnecessary additions will make your cooking life more comfortable. On the contrary, a cookware set of this number only makes it more difficult.
If you want to pare down on your cookware and make your kitchen more manageable, put into consideration the number of people in your family as well as the kind of meals you like to make. Efficiency is also a factor that you simply can’t ignore.
9. Do Some Remodeling Based on Your Style
If you’re intent on kick-starting your minimalist kitchen lifestyle from scratch, then you won’t mind starting from the bottom-up.
When you’ve moved into a new house, and you feel that the kitchen’s design doesn’t live up to your minimalist standards, there’s every need for you to tear down the walls and make yourself a new one.
Remodeling is a worthwhile move that creates more space and gives you a gorgeous finishing that you can feel comfortable cooking in. If you opt to hire a remodeling agency or do it yourself, ensure that the result is light, clean and pretty much simple.
For example, a common trend in almost all minimalist kitchens today is a solid color and slab cabinets. For items that are valuable to you, the multipurpose decor would be the best way to go. Fruit bowls are a modest way to add some color. For the floors, use simple yet classy materials such as concrete or wood.
The greatest rule to follow when recreating your minimalist kitchen would be to have a spot for everything in your cabinets and always maintaining a clear countertop.
10. Just One Set of Dishes is Enough
Who made it a rule that every kitchen should have a cabinet full of different sets of dishes. Furthermore, there’s a specific set that’s explicitly reserved for guests; what happens to that particular set when you don’t host guests often? The more the dishes you have lying around, the more the real estate in your cabinets they take up.
Having one or two sets of dishes promotes a cleaner, less stressful kitchen. A minimalist kitchen should be all about… well, minimizing. If you have a family of six, keep six sets of plates. When you’re expecting guests, buy a set of disposable paper plates – simple as that.
If most of your guests may not be comfortable using paper plates for one reason or another, set aside a couple of extra dishes or borrow some from your neighbors. Once you’re done with them, wash them clean and return them in one piece.
Do the same for the cups and cutlery, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make your cabinets easier to operate and arrange. Before putting your extra dishes up for charity or selling them on eBay, be sure to consult your family first.
For most people, his may come across as an excessively minimalist move, but it’s a necessary measure if you want to declutter your cabinets and stock a minimalist kitchen.
And There You Have It
The tiniest decision you make will have a knock-on effect that significantly impacts the way you entertain and prepare meals in the future.
As the rest of the world moves away from cluttering their pantries, you’re better off joining the minimalist movement by stocking your kitchen with nothing more than the essentials.
Stocking minimalist kitchen is not all about drafting a list of what to keep and what you need and what you don’t; it’s about developing a realistic approach to your money and how much you splurge on your kitchen.
The items you should have in your kitchen should be determined by the magnitude and frequency of your cooking or baking.
Cook simple meals that don’t require a lot. This is why you’ve opted to switch gears and opt for a minimalist kitchen in the first place. In essence, keep your kitchen drawers and cupboards close to empty. Also, store and maintain one or two appliances you use more often.
Minimalist style is great to improve the look and function of your home, especially in the kitchen. Begin by making gradual and minimal changes to see what you need and what you don’t.
Your minimalist kitchen doesn’t have to be perfect. The more you stick to it, the better it will get, and the more money you save. It’s might take time to give your kitchen a minimalist look, but it’s all worth the effort.