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The kitchen… it’s the heart of any home. You and your family probably spend more time in this epicenter than any other room in your house. It’s where good food and memories are made. It’s a place to be cherished and enjoyed. It’s also a place that seems to like to collect things. From pots and pans to mismatched dishes and small appliances. Your kitchen probably has a lot stuffed in it. But, it isn’t always necessary. Here are 5 ways to simplify your kitchen and make it the beautiful place you dream of.
Before we moved to our current home, we lived in a very large, beautiful house. With the smallest galley kitchen in the history of small kitchens. Space abounded in that house in every single room but the kitchen. I called it my “one butt” kitchen. Because there was no way you were fitting more than one person in there comfortably.
We’ve since moved and our kitchen now affords me plenty of space and storage to make things and store things. But, I’ve tried to keep my habits from my old, tiny kitchen with me in this house. Sure, I love all of the gadgets. Beautiful dishes, cookware, and all the latest gadgets to make my time in the kitchen easier and more aesthetically pleasing are great. But, they’re impractical wastes of space and money as well.
I love the old-world charm of mismatched, faded linens and dishes. The tarnished flatware that has seen more table settings than I’ll ever hope to. I use my plain Jane stainless pots and cast iron pans (that have also seen their share of history) daily. I love storing my dried goods, sugars, and spices in beautiful crocks.
I also enjoy the convenience of blenders, toaster ovens, mixers, spiralizers, pasta makers, and the million and one other kitchen gadgets that technology and modern life afford. But, I don’t use them. They’re impractical, they take up space and collect dust. Unlike my linens, flatware, dishes, pots, and pans… they’re rarely (if ever) pulled out of the cabinet and used.
We are in the process of renovating our home. While it isn’t old (it was built in 2003), it screams builder grade oak and cheap linoleum. No one went above and beyond when it came to fixtures and decor in our home. And I’m okay with that because we most likely won’t ever move again and we can turn this house into our home.
While we wait (and plan) for our upgrades one of the things I’ve been considering is having open shelving instead of upper cabinetry in our kitchen. If we do that, I can display all the beautiful dishes I care to… but I don’t want a toaster oven hanging out for all to see, either.
So, I take my old kitchen habits and my dreams for our beautiful farmhouse kitchen into consideration when I think about simplifying the kitchen. These are my 5 tips to keep your kitchen simple, clean, and functional while also adding your own touch.
5 Ways to Simplify Your Kitchen
Purge Things that Aren’t Worthwhile
Like I said, while modern life affords us all kinds of kitchen gadgets to help us do nearly anything we want, they’re impractical and often go unused. So, if you’re going through your kitchen gadgets think about it….
- Have you used this in the past 3 months, how about the past 6?
- Can you do the job this gadget does without it?
- Is the space it takes up worth keeping it?
- Do you love it?
If it isn’t something you use or love it probably isn’t worth keeping around. If it is something you only use once or twice a year, is it really necessary? If it isn’t, donate it. If you just can’t do whatever it is the gadget does without it, then consider the space it takes up. If it is worth the real estate, keep it around… for a while.
Minimize What You Do Have
I love old mismatched dishes and kitchen linens. There’s just something about them. Instead of having some fine, matched, beautiful dishes, I’d rather have a mismatched set any day. I’d rather have 5 different colors of napkins that evoke joy than the same exact, matching set. Call me eclectic, I just like to be different.
However, whether you like mismatched kitchen gear or not… you probably have far too much. Honestly, you do not need 50 coffee mugs. Probably even on your best day with your largest party, you’re not going to utilize all of those mugs at once. Plus, who wants to wash 50 coffee mugs to begin with?
So, ditch the extra wine glasses you never use. Don’t keep so many soup bowls they won’t fit in the cabinet. Keep enough to be practical. You need enough of things to feed your family and perhaps a few guests. That’s it. I know it’s difficult, sometimes, to let go of the extras (especially if they hold sentimental value), but they’re taking up precious space and cluttering your kitchen (and mind).
Use Meal Planning to Your Advantage
Meal planning is essential in my opinion. Not only does it save you money, it helps you stay organized. I meal plan for 1-2 weeks at a time most of the time. This helps me keep a grocery list and know what I need to purchase to make my family meals. It means I’m not buying extra stuff I do not need and I’m cooking wholesome, home cooked food instead of spending extra on take away.
Speaking of a grocery list and knowing what you need to purchase….
Place Dried Goods in Clear Containers
I love mason jars and other glass storage. Not only do I find them beautiful, they make it so much easier to see what I need. Am I running low on bread crumbs? Check the jar and see!
Instead of having to open the box or container it came in, I can just glance in the cupboard and see how low the volume is. If it’s low, I know I need to grab more.
I also keep a running grocery list. If I’m using a spice and it’s getting low, it gets written down on my grocery list that sits on my counter top. Plus, those containers add some beauty to your kitchen, which brings me to my last point.
Make It Beautiful
I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy something near as much if I don’t enjoy the space. If I don’t find it beautiful, or have my own personal touch to it, it’s just a space. I said we have builder grade oak everywhere in our home. That’s okay, it serves its purpose and I’m so grateful to have a home of our own, whether it’s full of builder grade cabinetry or not. But… that doesn’t mean I can’t make the space my own.
Put a fresh coat of paint on the walls (I was surprised how much of a difference this makes) in a color of your choosing. Add crocks on the counters to store your flour and sugar that you like. Use beautiful baskets to store linens or fruit. Just add your own, personal touch.
I think you’ll find if you do that, you’ll enjoy the space more and purging and minimizing will become less work. Keep what you love and need, make it a space you love. Make memories in it, utilize the space as much as you can. It’s not about what we have in our kitchens, it’s about the memories we make within those walls. Make the most of it.