The 10 Commandments of Minimalist Kitchens

updated Jul 17, 2020
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

If you don’t keep it in check, your kitchen can (and will) collect more and more clutter every day. Kind of like fly paper, things find a way in and get stuck there. But for a kitchen to run smoothly, you can’t suffer through chock-full cabinets or overflowing drawers. You need a kitchen with room to breathe — allowing you to get what you need without having to dig, reach, or unstack.

To keep a minimalist kitchen, you have to get strict. Here are ten commandments to live by.

Thou shalt have no more dishes than you need.

If you regularly host dinner parties, you might need 12 place settings, but if your household is small and you rarely have guests for meals, pare down your collection to half that, if possible.

Thou shalt have only the kinds of dishware you’ve used in the last six months.

Of course you need plates, glasses, bowls and whatever you regularly use in your household. But when it comes to specialty salad or soup bowls or the mugs that came with your dish set that you never, ever use, it’s time to consider donation.

Credit: Minette Hand

Thou shalt keep the kitchen storage holy.

The only things that belong in the kitchen are things that you use in the kitchen. That means, say, coolers and picnic items should be stored somewhere else, in less prime real estate, if possible.

Credit: Minette Hand

Thou shalt not covet unitaskers.

Tools that can be used for only one task should be rare in your kitchen or you’ll end up with drawers full of things that are mostly useless. Example: A cherry pitter only makes sense if your family eats a lot of cherries often.

Remember to shut down the kitchen.

Part of maintaining a minimalist aesthetic is regular cleaning. A messy kitchen invites clutter because the clutter just blends into the mess. But if your kitchen is clean, anything that’s out of place sticks out. If you see it, you’ll deal with it. “Shutting down” the kitchen means having a regular habit of never going to bed without a clean kitchen.

Honor thy counters and keep them clear.

Don’t set things on top of your kitchen counters just because you can’t find another place. (And don’t let anyone else do it, either.) Find other homes for keys, papers, mail, and little toys and trinkets that you don’t feel like putting away. Clear counters are the bedrock of a minimalist kitchen.

Credit: Minette Hand

Remember thy fridge and purge it once a week.

Going through everything in your fridge not only keeps your fridge clean, but it also informs your grocery shopping so you only buy just what you need.

Thou shalt not keep duplicates.

The only duplicates you’re allowed to hang on to are those that you use at the same time, regularly. So two or maybe even more serving spoons are fine, but three salad tongs are probably not.

Credit: Cathy Pyle

Honor thy pantry and keep it current.

A minimalist kitchen includes a pantry without French onions that expired two years ago and six bottles of hot sauce shoved in the corner. Have what you need in stock at home, nothing less, nothing more.

Credit: Lana Kenney

Thou shalt not keep disposables.

The plastic kiddie cup from a Happy Meal, the paper-wrapped wooden chopsticks, and the packets of ketchup and soy sauce — none are compatible with a minimalist kitchen. When you do take out dinner, inform the restaurant when you’re ordering that you don’t need disposables.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: The 10 Commandments of Every Minimalist Kitchen