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How to organize a minimalist kitchen that’s kid + cook friendly

I’m not usually one to keep anything I don’t really need—or at least I thought that’s how I was. But while packing up my kitchen during our last big move to another state, I realized that I was keeping much more than I really needed.

There was so much mismatched Tupperware, utensils I didn’t even use, four cake stands, miscellaneous plastic cups, sippy cups with missing lids… The list goes on and on.

I thought to myself, “Why am I keeping this stuff?” Does it serve a purpose or have some sort of significant meaning to me? The answer was NO and I finally decided to do something about it.

When minimizing my kitchen, I broke it down into specific areas to help me actually get rid of things instead of just moving things around. I made a goal to keep the kitchen area—cabinets, refrigerator, pantry and eating area—clean and free of clutter.

Things tend to pile up pretty quickly around my house and the kitchen seems to be a catch-all for just about anything you can imagine. It also is probably the most well-used room in the house as well, so keeping it inviting was essential.

Here are some simple steps I followed to keep my newly minimalist kitchen clean and organized.

Developing a keep-or-donate system

This was a big one for me. I went through each and every nook of my kitchen and I highly recommend that you do the same—even that little junk drawer needs a good cleaning!

Out were the things that were missing a piece, chipped, mismatched or that I simply didn’t use anymore. I had so many mixing bowl sets that I managed to collect over the years that I rarely ever used. There wasn’t a need of multiples in my kitchen since I found myself continuously going back to the same things.

I kept things of importance—my Pyrex collection that was passed down to me, cookbooks that I always pulled from and things I used everyday.

Dealing with small appliances

Small appliances can be a tricky one because I do use them quite often, but they needed some minimizing as well. I didn’t need two blenders and I didn’t need a deep-fryer anymore. (Sigh.) If you can part with some of your appliances, I recommend that you do. They tend to take up a lot of cabinet space and serve very little purpose compared to other things around your kitchen.

Decluttering the counters

The clutter in my kitchen tends to always be on the countertops. They accumulate things rather quickly and in order to keep my kitchen clean and tidy, I needed to figure out a solution to that.

The answer: I only kept the items I used very frequently on them. That meant the toaster, mixer and bottle/sippy cup Boon drying rack stayed—and the rest was put away. I also kept out a butcher-block cutting board that I purchased from Ikea a few years ago that is a game-changer! (I use it multiple times a day.) Finally, the fresh flowers were allowed to stay—I always love to have fresh flowers on hand.

Cleaning out the fridge + pantry

When I first started cleaning out my fridge and pantry, the number of outdated food goods I found was almost embarrassing. Now I make an effort to sort through the things in the fridge and pantry weekly—usually the night before trash day!

I also found that there were so many opened things in my pantry with poor seals. I decided to make use of my mason jar collection that I almost tossed by organizing the odds and ends that way. I found that this gave it a nice, clean look and kept it fresh!

Bye-bye to unused baby goods

This is where things get a little messy in my kitchen: Between the cups, plates, bottles, lids and utensils, the baby goods tend to take over. Did I really need all of this stuff for two little ones?

I tend to continually grab the same sippy cups and plates, so was there a need for the rest? NO. NO. NO.

I kept what I needed out, bought organizers to keep the utensils and lids in place and designated a cabinet for “kid/baby stuff.” I also keep a kid stool in the kitchen for my almost 5 year old—he’s pretty steady with using it—and have the highchair tucked into our eating area. (It’s also a small, simple table height chair that can be pulled up to the table.)

Now that my kitchen is generally decluttered, I found I’m much more inspired to also keep it nice and clear with a daily wipe-down. I even try to never go to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes—it may sound strange, but I swear waking up to them makes me feel blah.

Besides, who doesn’t prefer making coffee in a tidy kitchen in the morning? ☕️

Emily is a mama to two boys, a writer, designer and homemaker who currently lives in the heart of the South.

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