Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from John and Dana Shultz. John and Dana share simple, delicious recipes on their website Minimalist Baker. All of their recipes require just 10 ingredients or less, one bowl, or less than 30 minutes to prepare. And they own far less tools in their kitchen than most.
Practicing simplicity in the kitchen doesn’t require sacrificing your ability to make incredible meals. In fact, having less clutter in the kitchen actually makes it easier to get in there and cook up something wonderful.
Simplifying the kitchen always starts with removing the utensils and appliances you aren’t using and don’t need. This means your kitchen can be decluttered very inexpensively with only a little time and thoughtful consideration.
Below is a list of 16 kitchen utensils we don’t own (and we run a cooking blog!). The list is partially inspired by A No-Frills Kitchen Still Cooks, a New York Times article packed with tips and suggestions for keeping a simple kitchen.
This list is neither exclusive nor conclusive. Rather, it’s merely a starting point to hopefully inspire you to reevaluate how much you keep in your kitchen. Be honest with your situation and only keep the tools you are using.
16 Kitchen Tools We Do Not Own
1. Kitchen Aid Mixer. Not owning this guy is pure heresy in the food blog world, but we survive just fine. Replacement: A $13 handheld mixer.
2. Crock Pot. It’s big, it’s bulky, and you probably only use it once a year. Replacement: Varies by dish, but usually a large pot will suffice. If you really need one, borrow it from a friend.
3. Knife Block. These can be more bulky than necessary. Replacement: Keep our knives in the silverware drawer.
4. Excessive Pots and Pans. We simplified down to 3 pots and 3 pans. Replacement: Clean cabinets.
5. More than 8 plates, glasses, and bowls. We love to host. Rarely do we have more than 8 guests, but even when we do, we still have options. Replacement: Use specialty disposable plateware.
6. Extra coffee/tea mugs. Again, we decided we rarely ever need more than 8, and we don’t even have that many. Plus, these can double as glasses if you have more than 8 guests!
7. Bread Maker. Bulky and likely eating up cabinet space. Replacement: Bread recipes that don’t require a maker such as our 7-ingredient Muesli Bread!
8. Toaster oven. If you don’t regularly use this, then it’s just eating up space. Replacement: Regular toaster or a traditional oven.
9. A wok. Although a fun device, it’s rarely used. Replacement: The largest pan you own.
10. A Juicer. Big, bulky, and hard to clean. Replacement: If you love to juice, you can juice without a juicer.
11. Espresso machine. First, you probably don’t use this as much as you thought you would. Second, to get a really good espresso you usually need very high quality equipment and the time to adjust your grind/machinery to get that perfect shot. This simply isn’t practical for the average coffee lover. Replacement: Sell the espresso machine and go to a coffee shop when you want good espresso.
12. Grilled cheese maker. You don’t need this. Replacement: Almost any pan.
13. Rice maker. Only keep this if you regularly make a lot of rice. Replacement: Prepare rice in a traditional pot.
14. Doughnut pan. When is the last time you made doughnuts? Exactly. Replacement: Go buy doughnuts when you want them, or try a pan-free version.
15. Quesadilla maker/ Panini press. Ah! Replacement: You can get the same effect by using a skillet, tin foil, and pressing down on a pan on top.
16. Egg scrambler/milk frother/other trinkets. Be honest, you don’t really use these things. And they are only taking up space. Replacement: Just a little creativity.
+1. Fine china / heirloom dishes. This was intentionally saved for last, because it’s likely the emotional attachment is greater than the pragmatic realization that you are not using them. This quote has helped us in this area: “The truth is, neither our love for the person, nor their love for us, nor our memories, are in the possession.”
I want to finish by admitting we keep things that others might consider superfluous, but we use them every day and continue to enjoy them. Ultimately, we feel that should always be our guiding principle and hopefully one that empowers you to question the same.
What else can you/have you removed from your kitchen?
You can find more of John and Dana’s fabulously wonderful recipes on their website, The Minimalist Baker.