For folks who cook at home, the kitchen needs to be a well-oiled machine that is both easy to use for food preparation but also a pleasant place to spend time. Most people don’t have to grapple with canyons of extra space in their kitchens, though, so it’s important to make sure everything that makes it into our pantries, shelves, drawers, cabinets, and, most exclusive of all, our countertops, is there for a reason.
Even if you are so blessed that you have to make decisions about a huge amount of kitchen real estate, it’s safe to assume your design intent doesn’t include mountains of unnecessary clutter.
Here are the common items taking up precious space that most of us can get rid of, guilt-free:
The apple corer you’ve only used once
Getting rid of items that no longer serve a purpose in our kitchens is hard. To make it easier, start simply by eliminating the single-use kitchen tools you know you don’t use, says Rachel Jones, the Joyful Space specialist and founder of NourishingMinimalism.com. This applies to the apple corer, melon baller, avocado slicer or any other gadget you haven’t used in months.
Remember that a high-quality chef’s knife makes many of the chopping tools you might be storing obsolete. Pick one up and eliminate the tomato slicer, onion chopper, and mandolin you don’t use.
The exception to this uni-tasker tool rule is, of course, if you reach for that apple corer every week when you make apple sauce every Sunday (but I’ve hardly heard of anyone using their melon baller that often).
The dishes you never reach for
Most of us will host a dinner party, or two if we’re lucky, outside the holiday season (and we know that you’re dying to know what your dinner party host secretly thinks about you!) But we keep dozens of plates, wine glasses and bowls inside our cabinets. Realistically, we use the same few plates over and over again. Jones only stocks enough dishware (coffee cups, stemless wine glasses, dinner plates, salad plates, soup bowls, and water glasses) for her family — plus, two extra. That’s it. Limiting the number of dishes helps her maintain a clean kitchen. “I would wait until all the dishes are used up before I washed the dishes. Now, I am limited so I have to wash the dishes regularly.”
Jones keeps a set of her grandmother’s Corelle plates for holiday parties with her extended family. “There are 30 plates, which don’t take up much space. I keep them in the cupboard that isn’t accessed often,” she said.
The measuring spoons that always fall off the ring
If there’s a kitchen essential that you absolutely hate using for any reason, it’s OK to upgrade. For me, it’s my plastic measuring spoon set that I’ve had since college. The spoons always end up falling off the ring in the middle of cooking and measuring, or while soaking in the sink. Replace with a professional-quality, stainless-steel set and toss the plastic. Some mistakes are avoidable, however — like ones made with these everyday kitchen items that you’ve been using wrong this whole time.