If you are trying to merge into a minimalist lifestyle, you may feel the itch to par down items in your kitchen. If you are downsizing, it may be very necessary to reduce items so that they will fit in your new space. I’m going to give you a list of what I have in my new tiny kitchen. But, this list is just a jumping off point to help inspire you. Everyone’s list should look a little different. Don’t know how to boil water? You probably don’t need that bundt pan your well-meaning aunt gifted you. You have six kids? Okay, you are obviously gonna need a little more. Think about the kinds of things you cook every week. Do you eat breakfast? Do you pack a lunch for the office everyday? I love pretty serving dishes. But, I never host dinner parties. Do you love the idea of making four course dinners for your family? But, you are more of a frozen pizza mom? Be realistic about what you actually use on a weekly basis. This is the time to sort out “just in case” items.
If you are having a hard time deciding what to keep and what to let go of, consider getting a Rubbermaid container (or four) and packing up your kitchen. For the next 2 weeks, only take items out of the bin that you need to make your meals. Then, whatever is still in your bin at the end of the trial period gets donated. For small appliances, put a sticky note on them all. If you use the item, remove the sticky note and keep it. Still has a sticky note after 2 weeks? Sell it on marketplace.
You don’t need a gadget for every little thing. A paring knife works fine if you let go of your apple corer and slicer. You don’t need a slow cooker if your quick pot has a function for that. I got rid of my giant food processor when I realized I only ever used it for making coleslaw. Now, I just buy a bag of preshredded cabbage from the produce section. If you have a gadget you use all the time, by all means- keep it! But, get rid of duplicates. You don’t need 5 bottle openers. One is sufficient.
Embarrassingly, I had at least six 9×13 casserole dishes when we decided to downsize. We don’t even eat casseroles.
So, when I think of our eating habits, this is what comes to mind:
Our typical week includes pizza, tacos, turkey sausage and peppers, chicken, salmon, a slow roasted meat, and another seafood. We like to have a big breakfast on weekends. We have smoothies several times a week. I don’t bake much anymore. Dinner guests are usually one or two people. There are four in my family. We snack on fruit and popcorn usually. We eat leftovers for lunch. I can’t live without my hot tea and coffee. In the colder months, we eat a lot of soups and chili. In the warmer months, we grill a lot outside. We usually eat all our meals at home or have picnics on hikes. We also like to have campfires in the evening.
So, this is my list:
2 plates, bowls, cups, mugs, travel cups, and water bottles for each person in my family. Flatware, including steak knives, for eight people.
1 insulated wine tumbler
assorted storage containers for leftovers and picnics
2 serving/mixing bowls
8 small bowls (for taco bar toppings, sides, fruit, etc.)
salt and pepper shakers
1 Dutch Oven
1 baking sheet
1 small muffin tin
1 round casserole/pie plate
1 square 9×9 casserole/cake pan
1 large nonstick frying pan
1 medium iron skillet
1 small nonstick frying pan
1 extra small nonstick pan
1 medium saucepan
1 small saucepan
4 paring knives
2 chef knives
2 fillet knives
1 microwave steamer basket
wine bottle opener and reusable cork
measuring cups and spoons
ice cream scoop
spatulas, slotted spoon, ladle, cooking spoons
2 cutting boards
Pit Boss flattop grill
1 accessory kit that includes spatulas, a cleaning utensil, squirt bottles for oil and water, etc. in a zip-up pouch
telescopic reusable fire roasting sticks
a reusable wipeable table cloth
1 oven mitt
brush and reusable scrubber for dishes
Before we downsized, we had a friend of a friend that lost all her belongings in a fire. I decided to go through my kitchen and make a box of items to get her started in her new place. In less than an hour, I had a complete kitchen set up minus appliances. Everything she needed to make meals- cookware, utensils, dishes- everything. I had that many duplicates. It was nice to help someone. But, it was also kind of embarrassing. Why did I have all this stuff? Where did it all come from? I decided to take a hard look at what I actually needed and then I donated the rest. I had a massive collection of glassware- I don’t even drink that often. I had 4 sets of dishes. I don’t know why. I guess they were a good price and they were pretty so, I bought them. Yikes- all that stuff used to be money.
But, my kitchen is now very organized. It stays organized. There’s a place for everything. I no longer rummage through drawers and cabinets to find what I need. It feels calm and I don’t mind cooking. The dishes need to stay done so that I have everything I need for the next meal. It’s an efficient system. It makes me happy.