I recently saw a post claiming to be the “Essential Minimalist Kitchen Guide.” The only items a minimalist should ever need in the kitchen. Apart from the fact that we happily don’t own half the items on the list, it did not take into account that some families (like us) regularly need more than six dinner plates. Or that there are certain items like a pound cake pan that we find value in owning as part of my southern heritage regardless of whether we use it weekly.
That specific article aside, I enjoy reading about items people have decided to live without and what they use instead, particularly in the kitchen. I thought I would share some of the items we have given up to make our kitchen function more smoothly in the space we have.
- Drying rack. When we switched apartments almost a year ago, our new kitchen did not have a discreet place to put the drying rack so we decided to forgo having one. On a daily basis, we dry and put away dishes as soon as they’re washed, which means everything is ready to use again immediately and our counters are free of clutter.
- Children’s dishes. We do not own special cups, plates, or silverware for our toddlers. Each of the girls has a water bottle that they can carry around the apartment, and all their other drinks are in regular cups at the kitchen counter. We had smaller silverware for Emma when she was learning to eat, but she never had a sippy cup or separate plate. They have only broken 4 dishes in the last two years since we made this change.
- Kitchen rug. We do not have a rug in our kitchen. We have two toddlers who love to help us cook, and the stress of trying to keep one clean is not worth the tradeoff of a little extra comfort.
- Blender. We broke the nice one we got at our wedding the second time we used it by loading it with too much ice. It was never an item we used frequently so it was an easy decision not to replace it. If we need something blended we make do with our hand mixer.
- China and crystal. We registered for a lovely set of china and crystal when we got married and happily in hindsight didn’t receive a single setting. We had received enough gift cards that we could have purchased it, but we decided to wait since we were living in an apartment. By the time our space changed, we realized it was not something we needed. We host almost all of our family holidays, and our one set of simple, white daily dishes works beautifully and makes for a much easier clean up.
- Stand mixer. When we got married seven years ago, no registry was complete without one, so we dutifully registered and received a cheerful, bright red Kitchenaid from generous friends. We enjoyed the times we were able to use it, but the space it took up was not worth the trade off. We were able to gift it to my master chef brother and sister in law, and we now use a small hand mixer instead.
- Teapot. We are coffee drinkers so while a wonderful espresso maker adds joy to our daily routine, we rarely used our teapot. Whenever we serve tea, we heat the water in a small pot or run it through the coffee maker until it is clean.
- Coffee grinder. I love freshly ground espresso, but the extra step of grinding it myself often prevented me from drinking it at all. We found that our local grocery store offers whole bean coffee you can grind in store, and I buy it in small enough quantities that it stays fresh until we need it again.
- Egg slicer. I used to be the master of finding multiple uses for single use items to justify having them around. I would scour Pinterest to find kitchen hacks like using an egg slicer to slice strawberries. Even though we eat strawberries regularly, I now happily cut them with a regular knife.
- Rice cooker. I am not a big fan of rice, but Jeff is. When we got married, the intimidating thought of cooking a dish neither of us knew made the supposed ease of doing it with the push of a button too tempting to resist. We’ve since learned the ease of cooking it on the stove and don’t miss our single-use pot one bit.
Looking through minimalist kitchen articles, one of the most common items listed to live without is a crepe maker. It is also one of the items we won’t give up. We eat crepes at least once every two weeks. Besides being one of the most delicious meals we make, crepes remind us of our travels to France, where we ate them daily. A dinner doesn’t go by without reminiscing on our time there while we prepare and eat.
What kitchen items are must-haves for your family? What have you decided to live without?