Simplifying the Kitchen

While viewing a wedding registry awhile back, I was overwhelmed by the list of so titled “kitchen gadgets” that this couple had on their registry. It was six pages of gadgets! How many gadgets do you really need? The materialistic nature of our society is pulling us in the direction that we need every new and latest invention for every little task. Begin simplifying your kitchen by weeding out the excess gadgets, and not only will your kitchen be cleaner and more organized, you will have less items to manage, maintain and replace!

Today we continue our simplifying series with a few steps towards simplifying and consolidating in the kitchen as the first room of your house, especially since this is where we ladies spend most of our time!

1. Consolidate appliances

In our pursuit of simple living, we have made it our goal to purchase the smallest amount of kitchen appliances and accessories to get the job done, especially trying to wisely purchase items that complete more than one task!

One way we have consolidated was in purchasing a quality Bosch mixer with an attached blender. This appliance provides me with three significant features – general mixing, kneading dough (for all my bread making needs), and a very nice blender! So instead of having a stand alone mixer, bread machine, and blender as I had previously, I sold those items (or gave them away). I love it! Several less things to store.

My SIL has a Kitchen Aid mixer, and in her effort to simplify found an ice cream attachment for her machine, instead of buying a separate ice cream maker. Smart thinking! The overall goal is to evaluate quality and if it can multi-task!

We also sold our coffeepot and down sized to a small french press. Works great and one less thing on the counter!

2. Keep one Cookbook!

If you are anything like me you have an overload of wonderful cookbooks. I love having so many choices at my fingertips…but I had to ask myself, when was the last time I used this cookbook or even looked in it for that matter? As a result, I started clearing out the barely used cookbooks and simplifying my cupboards. Take all of the recipes that you have collected from newspapers, magazines, websites, and all those cookbooks on your shelves and place them in a ring binder with plastic coated pages. This will be a consolidate all your favorites in one place!

3. Clear out the Spices

Did you know spices really should not be stored on your counter in those nice display containers? The light makes them go rancid more quickly. It has helped me to really evaluate which spices I would use and stick with them. If I haven’t used it in six months, it needs to go…it is most likely rancid anyway. Buy spices in small quantities for the best flavor and freshness. I purchase mine from frontiers in the nutrition center of my local Fred Meyers. Buy them in the bulk section for the best price. You pay a pretty penny for the spice jars at the store! Organize them alphabetically on the bottom shelf of a cupboard. Label the top for easy access! Now if I can stay on top of keeping them somewhat organized…that’s the question.

4. Organize the Pantry

Go through your pantry and collect all the canned goods you have never used! Give them away and note not to buy that again. ;) Label your pantry shelves if desires to maintain a little more order. Canned fruits on one shelf, canned vegi’s on the next, and so on. I personally don’t buy enough canned products for this to be useful, but it very well might help you.

5. Eliminate Duplicate Gadgets

While simplifying my kitchen, I have noticed there were several items in my kitchen that hadn’t been put to use since I have been married (over two years ago!). I found I had too many strainers, platters, and casserole pans. Get ride of duplicates, they are just taking up space. Why not pass them on to someone who could use them? The extra strainer went to a bride-to-be and the platters (which look brand new!) will do the same. I always keep this principle in mind: if I haven’t used it in a six months to a year, it needs to find a better home!

6. Kitchen Storage

Simplify your kitchen storage by using glass jars! This has made my cupboards much more organized as they are all the same size jars and they attractively present my food.

7. Keep a good pair of kitchen scissors

This has been a time saver time and time again!

8. Counter Space

Only keep those items you use daily on your counter, and keep the counters as clear as possible!

9. De-clutter windowsill or shelves

This is the first place that multiple items get placed when you are cleaning off the counters it seems. Keep this space only for nice jars to display your food and/or a few simple decorations.

10. Clean as you go!

As you cook each meal, pull all the items out for your recipe in advance and put them away as soon as you are done using them! This helps your work quicker and keeps down the kitchen clean up at the end.

Any other simplifying tips for the kitchen?

Works for me!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

35 Responses to Simplifying the Kitchen

  1. September 30, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

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  2. Sharon November 11, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    Just read over this post as I’m attempting to simplify my kitchen pantry. One thing that I’ve noticed is I tend to accumulate a bunch of bulk bin items in plastic baggies. Do you transfer all of your bulk bin purchases into glass jars, as well as all of your spices? Sometimes I purchase a small amount of a particular grain or spice that I want to try or use in a specific recipe–these are what tend to pile up. Thanks for your investment in all of our lives as we seek to better nourish our families. You are a tremendous resource and so faithful to take the time to respond to us all. Blessings! Sharon

    • Lindsay November 11, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

      Yes, I transfer all plastic baggies to glass jars in my kitchen. I hate keeping plastic bags as they clutter the shelves and oftentimes get forgotten as to their contents (at least when I buy spices in bulk).

      • Sharon November 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm #

        I had a feeling you were going to say that! :o ) I guess there is no taking the lazy way out. It just seems like a lot of effort for 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice, 1 cup of rye flour, etc.., but I agree with you the baggies are so unkempt looking. Fortunately, I don’t have a huge spice collection as I tend to use the same items over and over again–my good friend frequently comments, “you’re such a minimalist.” :) To which I respond, “less is more!” Thanks for getting back to me. Sharon

  3. Leanne July 11, 2009 at 7:07 pm #

    Just another tip for getting good fresh spices in bulk — your favorite herb store (Mountain Rose Herbs) has a good selection of fresh (and often organic!) herbs AND spices for a very reasonable price. :-)

    I enjoy your blog! Thanks for all the good ideas! :-)

  4. Sarah July 12, 2008 at 7:20 pm #

    Lindsay, congrats on Baby#2! I really enjoyed this post about simplifying your kitchen. My SIL is in the process of baking/cooking all of her duplicate recipes to find out which she likes the best and only keeping that one recipe (which is the best banana bread? granola? etc.). Anyway, I have a tip for spice organizing – I use the little plastic tubs from baby food I have accumulated. Maybe you were better at cooking for Karis than I was for my first (hopefully I will do better with the second) but I have a lot of them. They are very easy to stack and also very easy to measure out of. I really like this system.

  5. Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet July 11, 2008 at 2:44 pm #

    I also keep my recipes in binders. Though, by the time I got married, I had several notebooks full of recipes….LOL. Now, most of my recipes are on my blog. (I feel slightly stupid going to my own blog to do a recipe search to find a recipe I made up! But it does keep things simple. :-) )

  6. Marian July 10, 2008 at 1:41 pm #

    How timely! I actually have to start on my wedding registry soon! Without having cooked day in and day out, running a kitchen before (my mom’s not much of a cook), I’m not quite sure which things are most helpful and which can hinder; I understand basic pots and pans, but this article helped me start to think about what I need vs. what I’ve seen in kitchens. Thank you!

  7. Colleen Wachob July 10, 2008 at 11:17 am #

    I love checking your website while my daughters nap and being encouraged by another mom on this journey of God-honoring living… I have been thinking, too, that part of this simplification process is also contentment and being settled in our hearts about the material blessings God has given us as individuals. Even if it means a seemingly less simple means… I was given a Kitchen-Aid mixer as a wedding gift and use a grain mill attachment for making bread etc. It’s not a great tool. It takes forever to grind my grains – but it works. It’s easy for me to have a little bit of appliance envy over that Bosch mixer and think I need to go out and replace my kitchen tools with simpler, better versions. But what I have been blessed with works. So I need to be content with what I have and make good use of those things! I am learning this in several areas… To be content in all things! Thanks again for the tips. I, too, love the recipe book idea.

    • Lindsay July 10, 2008 at 12:30 pm #

      Excellent reminder Colleen! It is true that contentment is so key to having a God-honoring heart in this simplifying pursuit. I am learning that always in many different areas…

  8. Robin July 10, 2008 at 11:03 am #

    You are absolutely right about the cookbooks in my kitchen. But I am such a cookbook maven! I am making myself a promise to go through them and thin them out.

  9. Carla July 9, 2008 at 8:57 pm #

    I love your blog and I love the encouragement of your “simplicity of life”, your words that we think we “need” everything new and improved is so true…I fall into that catagory but thanks so much for the encouragement not to give in. I also use kitchen scissors, with children they are a must!! Who knew I would ever cut a steak into peices….with scissors. I will put to use your Jar idea, however I will wait till I can budget those in. Thanks for your encouraging words.

    Carla in Colorado

    • Lindsay July 10, 2008 at 7:07 am #

      Thanks for your sweet encouragement Carla. Just so you know. I found all my canning glass jars at garage sales, and goodwill. Those I use or storing food, leftovers, etc. I bought the ones on display on my shelf at IKEA for around $2-3 each. Very good price.

  10. sew56 July 9, 2008 at 8:11 pm #

    Such great ideas!!!

  11. Rebekah July 9, 2008 at 2:26 pm #

    I keep all my spices on turn tables in my cabinets. I have my spices for baking on one shelf and my spices for cooking on another shelf. I am able to find them really well this way. I also put the spices in the center of the turn table that I don’t use very much.

  12. Slacker Mom July 9, 2008 at 10:40 am #

    I have a journal that I keep in the kitchen where I transpose my favorite recipes to. It makes it so much easier to find something that we’ve enjoyed when it’s all together.
    Great suggestions!

  13. The Apron Queen July 9, 2008 at 9:06 am #

    These are all wonderful ideas. The kitchen can get so cluttered. I especially like the cookbook idea. Thanks! :D

    Stop by for some finger-licking good, messy, sticky, but SUPER easy BBQ ribs at my place:

  14. Joelle July 9, 2008 at 9:01 am #

    Good tips.
    I miss the Bosch machine that my mom had when I was a kid growing up. But I got a ton of different appliances for my wedding. I have a blender (I didn’t have it on my registry), a bread maker (I didn’t have that on my registry either), etc. I don’t know what to do. I use both of them very frequently. (Except my bread maker has been driving me nuts recently. I can’t get 100% whole wheat bread to turn out correctly.) In addition, I have a soymilk maker, a crock pot, and a food processor on my counter. I’m not sure what to do. I’ve realized it WOULD be easier to have an almost-all-in-one appliance. Anyway, I’m trying to decide what to do. I definitely prefer my counters to be almost all cleared off (no appliances) but my kitchen is so small that I hardly have any free cupboard space.

    • JC July 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm #

      I have trouble with whole wheat bread in mine too. It’s frustrating! That’s another reason why I am thinking about getting rid of mine.

    • Lindsay July 9, 2008 at 3:30 pm #

      That’s funny, because I had the same problem with my bread machine. It worked great for awhile, then the whole wheat bread just stopped working properly. I sold it and invested in the Bosch.

      Joelle, the Bosch actually has a separate food processor attachment as well, allowing it to cover much of your needs. My crockpot stays in the cupboard as I only use 2-3 times a week. Soymilk maker? I unfortunately have not heard good things about soy…but that sounds like an interesting machine. It’s amazing what you can find out there!

    • Leslie July 10, 2008 at 1:50 pm #

      Joelle- 100% whole wheat bread wasn’t turning out in my bread machine either, so I started using the dough cycle and turning out the dough, shaping it and baking it. It turns out beautifully. Not as hands off as it is intended to be, but it is delicious!

  15. JC July 9, 2008 at 8:24 am #

    Where would I find a mixer like yours? And about how much does it cost? I have all three things that you mentioned which I use quite frequently and it does take up a lot of space. However, we don’t really have any money to put into this right now, so I didn’t know how much money it would cost, even if we sold our other appliances. Thanks.

    • Lindsay July 9, 2008 at 3:46 pm #

      You can purchase Bosch mixers through Urban Homemakers or Pleasant Hill Grain. I paid $320 for mine, but that was 2 years ago. It looks like Urban Homemaker sells it for $389 for the same version I have. I figure when you calculate the cost of each of the items individually that this machine accomplishes in one, it is worth it and cheaper as well.

      I am not sure if you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer, but it looks like they have many accessories/attachments for this that might serve your needs (although no blender!). I have not heard good reviews about the dough kneader or the grain grinder though. Overall, the Kitchen Aid does not seem to be as high of quality as the Bosch mixer from my research, and is still around the same price.

      I would recommend you try and see what price you could get for your current items, and see if it might just add up. But please don’t feel like my suggestion will work for everyone. It is a good machine and worth saving up for in my book, or asking for as a Christmas or birthday gift. I was able to purchase mine after teaching a class.

      Anyway, that is my two cents. Hope it helps. ;)

    • Kendra July 9, 2008 at 9:43 pm #

      I recently purchased a Bosch mixer; after much comparison to Kitchenaids. I found very reasonable prices on I purchased the small 400W mixer that came with the blender, continuous food shredder, and utensil storage. The total, including shipping, was less than $150.

    • Lindsay July 10, 2008 at 7:08 am #

      Wow! That is an awesome price Kendra. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Tracy July 9, 2008 at 7:32 am #

    My husband chuckles at me because I alphabetize our spices. Like you, I am striving to have a home that glorifies God…one aspect of that is efficiency. I love the idea about the glass jars. Thank you for the post! :)

  17. Heather July 9, 2008 at 7:29 am #

    From experience I know that ‘clean as you go’ is a real lifesaver! I’ve gone down to just the essential appliances – toaster, slowcooker, etc. – on the counter top. The rest go up in the attic for occasional use; stuff like the fondue set and ice cream maker. I used to be a bit obsessed with cookbooks, but it really can take over the space. Now I just use my Taste of Home online account to save my favorite recipes. Thanks so much for all the great tips ~ I loved them!

    • shalom April 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

      Anyone storing their recipes online might want to make a backup copy. Sometimes sites get discontinued and you might loose everything. My sp discontinued the personal webpage offered to its customers. Instead of listing my homeschool material for sale in ou local newsletter, I listed them on my webpage and listed the link in the newsletter, so I didn’t really lose anything. Also, Geocities as well as homestead closed down. If your site goes down, you don’t want to lose your favorite recipes.

  18. Playful Professional July 9, 2008 at 7:26 am #

    I put all of my spices in my cabinets, and my husband built little shelves out of small cardboard boxes to give them levels. It helps me see them better and keep them organized in a smaller space.

  19. Pam July 9, 2008 at 6:49 am #

    This is a tough area for me! I love to cook and have a lot of “stuff” to help me. However, I am in the process of weeding through and getting rid of excess. I agree with your ideas of a few better quality items versus multiple cheap ones. Also, I love your glass storage – it looks so attractive. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for inexpensive jars and follow suit!

  20. Carol July 9, 2008 at 6:41 am #

    Some excellent tips here. I love your recipe book!

  21. Heather July 9, 2008 at 3:57 am #

    Good tip for keeping all those loose recipes. If you’re going to type them up anyway, you can go to and make your own recipe box. Just click “add private recipe” and you can store all of them there, in addition to ones that you found on the website. It also gives you the ability to make folders and organize them however you want. Thanks for the tips!

    • Lindsay July 9, 2008 at 6:56 am #

      Thanks Heather for the idea! I have heard of this before, but it is nice to know that you can add your own recipes. My binder is full of miscellaneous recipes, as I typed it all out several years ago, so there have been many additions since. I have been wanting to re-do it here soon…the sticky tabs on the side have been very helpful for keeping them organized.

  22. Janet July 8, 2008 at 10:48 pm #

    I do enjoy reading your blog. I organized my spices summer before last. I cleared a drawer near my stove and bought a fairly small diameter dowel rod (round stick). I cut two lenghths of the dowel rod to fit inside the drawer. After weeding out my spices, I sorted the spices by the height of the containers and then placed the dowel rods in my drawer in positions that would slightly elevate each row of spices enough so that the row behind could fit snugly under the elevated row in front. By grouping according to size, the rows were more uniform in the drawer and all my spices could fit into one drawer. The spices that were too small still went into the drawer but not on the dowel rods.

    I searched for quite some time for a spice organizer for my drawer, but all that I found were quite expensive and were not exactly what I wanted. This solution has worked great for me for two years and the cost was 47 cents (tax included) for the dowel rod!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom!

  23. Amy July 8, 2008 at 9:36 pm #

    One of my to-do-list projects this week is go through all my recipes (I have a TON!) and combine into one cookbook. It’s such an overwhelming thing but I’m doing one book at a time and only putting in the recipes I’ve tried and loved. Thanks for this post with other helpful hints!