Minimalist Kitchen

Everything in our kitchen, minus some storage containers in the fridge.

Aaron and I eat at home everyday, cooking from scratch wherever possible. You might think this requires dozens of kitchen gadgets, but we pared down our kitchenware so that it all fits inside a regular suitcase.

So what is in our kitchen?

  • 1 pot
  • 1 pan
  • 2 knives
  • 2 forks
  • 2 spoons
  • 2 pairs of chopsticks
  • 2 cups
  • 2 bowls

We don’t use these appliances:

  • Dishwasher
  • Slow cooker
  • Blender
  • Microwave
  • Toaster oven
  • Electric mixer

Fancy tools aren’t as necessary as people think.  Nobuo Murakami, a famous Japanese chef, always cooked in an ordinary kitchen before he published a new recipe. He didn’t need first-class equipment to create his French delicacies.

If a great French chef doesn’t need a fancy kitchen, perhaps an ordinary cook doesn’t need fancy appliances, either.  I believe that eating well doesn’t require a kitchen cluttered with specialized tools. Like our great-grandparents, who lacked these gadgets, we can use simpler methods to prepare delicious meals.

Kitchen minimalism inspires me to be creative about using simple tools while cooking. After I stew soup, I use the same pot to knead bread, stir-fry rice, and steam vegetables. When I’m finished baking my tuna casserole, I use the same pan for baking cookies. Our water bottle doubles as a rolling pin.  Be creative with what you have, and you’ll avoid wasting space.

It’s important to choose tools that are versatile. Soup bowls are better than dinner plates because bowls can also hold liquids. Once I learn how to use a paring knife, I can use it to peel fruits and chop vegetables. A cast iron skillet can serve both as a wok and as a baking dish. In my minimalist kitchen, I aim for a higher usefulness-to-volume ratio. Cooking with less kitchenware requires planning, but having more versatile tools means less clutter.

I now have less to organize and fewer dishes to wash. We only have one bowl, one spoon, and one fork for each person.  We wash dishes more often, but we no longer dread the chore. In the past, dishes tended to accumulate until dishwashing became a terrible headache. Now, it takes no more than 15 minutes to clean up when we cook a huge meal.

Entertaining guests is possible even with a minimalist kitchen.  When you invite friends and family over, serve finger foods instead of traditional meals.  Prepare healthy and simple snacks that can be eaten without plates and utensils. Vegetable sticks, fruits, and bite-sized sandwiches are good choices.  Sometimes, friends offer to bring their own plates and spoons.  Less equipment hasn’t hindered quality time with guests.

Most of the clutter in our kitchens are rarely used.  They take up counter space and they complicate your life. A minimalist kitchen will simplify your life and give you peace of mind.

What’s in your kitchen? Are there things you rarely use that just take up space?

11 thoughts on “Minimalist Kitchen

  1. Jessica Lin

    The amount of supplies you guys have for two people is the same amount I have for myself. haha. I might have even more. The reason is because I tend to invite guests over often and I do prefer serving full meals rather than finger foods. I think this is probably something that if not necessary, I wouldn’t skimp out on. Besides that, it is probably much neater and less of a headache in terms of dishwashing to use more versatile tools and less dishes in the kitchen.

    I don’t think anyone really uses an electric mixer, at least not a college student, and a blender is almost useless :) However, I don’t understand how you guys live without a microwave! That’s something I don’t think I’m willing to compromise on.

    1. hsinya Post author

      Hey Jebbo! We have been living without a microwave for two weeks now. At first I was tempted to plug it back in, but Aaron wouldn’t let me. ;-) Now microwave-free has become second nature. I plan to write a post sometime later. Then you can see how we do it (and the challenges on the way). :-)

      1. Just Lara

        We got rid of our microwave a couple years ago. I thought it would be hard but it was so easy! We never missed it and we’re eating so much healthier now.

        1. Hsinya Post author

          Hi Lara,

          We have been used to living without a microwave, too. I stopped mindlessly eating snacks because reheating food on a stove seemed like too much trouble. And when I walked away from the kitchen, I realized that I wasn’t even hungry.

  2. Laura M.

    Absolutely love this post! I currently use one skillet and one pot for basically everything I cook, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Will be linking to it when I write a post later this week about decluttering your kitchen. :)

    1. Hsinya Post author

      Hi Laura,

      I really enjoyed cooking with one pot and one pan. Right now we’re living with our family so we borrow their kitchen utensils, but I miss my own minimalist kitchenware! Let me know when your kitchen decluttering post is up! :-)

    1. Hsinya Post author

      Hi Tiffany,
      I love one bowl meals! My favorite dishes are vegetable stir-fried brown rice, whole wheat pasta with veggies, and lentil soup. What are your favorites? I’d love to try out new dishes!

  3. Pingback: smash your t.v. and have adventures. » Blog Archive » 7 Ways to Declutter: Your Kitchen (and Diet).

  4. bonnie

    I’ve spent the past two months culling my kitchen cabinets & pantry back. It hasn’t been reorganized since I’d moved in 20 years ago (oye!) I’ve removed 13 trash bags of “stuff” too abused or outdated to donate. I donated the microwave after much thought. I kept the toaster oven and my super good blender that serves as a food processor, and I love apple, walnut, raisin smoothies.

    What survives is exactly what I regularly use: immersion blender, hefty wooden “cornered” spoon, (no-spatula – use the spoon, & no whisk), micro plane grater, wooden cutting board, small paring knife & 8? chef’s knife, garlic press, soft-grip locking can opener (for arthritic hands), two stainless steel 3 qrt mixing bowls, small, heavy saucepan w/ lid, 10? skillet, 3 quart dutch oven w/ lid that also fits skillet; 10? pie-pan with holes I use as steamer that fits both skillet and D.O., 16? pizza pan can serve as cookie sheet or under baking pan, & 1-1/2 quart baking dish that fits toaster oven. I replaced the old, dented & chipped enamel tea kettle w/ a bright blue one to celebrate.

    The counter top holds only the toaster oven & leaves me lots of room now (without the microwave) for food prep, even with a cat sitting on the counter to supervise. I previously had to move the cat.


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