If you’re like me and spend much of your time while at home in the kitchen, then it makes sense to keep the place reasonably clutter-free (this does not in any way mean perfect). When you’re busy juggling family, work, and social life, it’s easy to fall off the wagon and resign yourself to a cluttered kitchen for months making it unenticing to prepare and enjoy meals. I’ve shared some of the things that seemed to work for us, so you may wish to so give it a shot:
- Remove duplicates & broken items
- Keep your counter & floor clear
- Make your food visible
- Understand your eating and food prep habits
- Clean smart
Remove Duplicates & Broken Items
Get a box, open your cupboard, and place all the duplicates you have.
- how many set of plates, bowls, glasses, and coffee mugs do you have?
- how many of them do you really use regularly? Be honest! Don’t think about the what-ifs (what if I might need them in the future; — this is now. you are living in the present)
- are they all still serviceable?
We found that a single set of plates is enough. For years, Jeff and I were just living with a single flat round plate and a soup bowl each and we never felt we needed more. Do not freak out when you see more things in the box than in your cupboard. Take a deep breath and remember this is for the better. Trust me. I felt the same way when I cleaned our closet.
Here’s my duplicate box which we’ll be delighted to send to Goodwill. It wasn’t really hard to part with these as I didn’t purchase them. They were left by relatives and friends who stayed in our place before.
Keep Your Counter & Floor Clear
By clear, I mean clear enough so that there is actual space to prepare your food and the area isn’t an eyesore. My kitchen is far from perfect. I haven’t had the chance to spruce it up. My next project is to do a functional renovation. But I’m still pleased that it motivates me to make healthy meals regularly.
The hubby was brilliant to recycle an empty wine box and turn it into a cooking essentials box. Here we have our most used spices (basil, thyme, rosemary, pepper, salt, cinnamon, vinegar), healthy oils and seeds (olive oil, vegetable oil, chia, flax, sesame, cinnamon), and basic cookware.
Another way is storing food in the cupboard. Place similar things together.
- Canned beans, glassed veggies, and sauces can go together.
- Baking ingredients and chocolates in another.
- Coffee and tea on the same shelf
Don’t forget to keep your kitchen floor clear, too. We used to have a simple white floor mat but I realized that it didn’t really add any value. It just caught all sorts of dirt until I get it washed weeks after. I got fed up with it and just ditched it.
Make Your Food Visible
Unopened groceries left sitting on the counter or the kitchen can be an eyesore, so store them properly whether in the fridge or in the cupboard. Same thing for those aluminum or plastic wrapped leftover food that we just toss mindlessly inside the fridge. Try storing them in glass containers so that you have a clearer view of what’s inside.
Out of sight, out of mind. Food stored in plastic or aluminum containers are also unappetizing. We couldn’t recommend glass containers enough. It’s healthier, neater, and even more environmentally-friendly. In our case, it helped us save money by decreasing food spoilage and increasing our healthy food consumption.
Understand Your Eating and Food Prep Habits
At the end of the day it really boils down to knowing what kind of food you eat and how you make them that will determine how you can design a minimalist clutter-free kitchen.
- what do you normally have for breakfast? lunch? dinner?
- which are the ones you regularly make at home?
- what are the most common ingredients?
- how & when do you prepare them?
For example, I love making matcha banana spinach shake in the mornings. On Sundays, I prepare all the ingredients and place them in separate glass containers.
When I wake up I just grab the 3 ingredients from the fridge. Place the appropriate portion for each in the blender and then start blending. It really is that easy. I do not have to deal with peeling a banana and washing spinach every single morning because I already did that over the weekend.
Surely, you’ve heard of clean-as-you go. Finished eating your breakfast, then wash the plate, utensils, and pans you used. Stow them properly. Wipe the table. Store left-overs in glass containers. Don’t let them “hangout” in the kitchen. Before you going to bed double check that your kitchen sink is pristine.You will thank yourself the following morning. Luckily, the hubby is very good with this.
We’ve also transitioned to a smaller kitchen trash bin and converted the bigger one to a recycling bin. Since we do food prep on weekends, we rarely have kitchen trash the rest of the week.
Just Do It
There is no-one-size fits all minimalist kitchen. Each of us have unique needs and lifestyle. A vegetarian will have a slightly different minimalist kitchen than one with a paleo diet. Likewise a two-person household minimalist kitchen will look different than that of a family of 8. What is important is testing different things to see what works for you. Remember, better is not a one-time-thing rather it is an iterative process that requires your involvement.