Things to Get Rid of for a Minimalist Kitchen – According to Chefs and Home Organizers

A minimalist kitchen is all about simplicity, functionality, and purpose. By getting rid of the clutter and non-essentials, you can transform your kitchen into a clean, organized, and calming space. Many professional chefs and home organizers recommend decluttering your kitchen and keeping only the items you use regularly. Here are some of the top things they suggest you get rid of for a minimalist kitchen.

Outdated or Unused Appliances

Kitchen appliances tend to accumulate over the years. Make sure each appliance has a purpose and gets used regularly. Consider getting rid of:

  • Old blenders, food processors, or mixers that you don’t use anymore.
  • “Unitasker” appliances like panini presses, waffle makers, or egg cookers. Unless you use them weekly, donate them.
  • Duplicate appliances (do you really need two toasters?).
  • Large stand mixers if you mainly bake occasionally. A hand mixer takes up less space.
  • Appliances that are broken beyond repair or unsafe to use.

Decluttering the small appliances you rarely use frees up cabinet and counter space for items you actually need.

Mismatched Dishware

Mismatched plates, bowls, cups, and utensils are common in many kitchens. While eclectic dishware has charm, it can create visual clutter in a minimalist kitchen.

Consider getting rid of:

  • Odd plates, bowls, or cups that are chipped, stained, or part of sets you no longer have.
  • Excessive dishware when you regularly only serve 1-4 people. You likely don’t need 12 full place settings.
  • Plastic plates or cups unless you need them for outdoor use. Choose a set of simple ceramic or glass dishes instead.
  • Mugs, glasses, or flatware that you never reach for. Keep only your favorites.

Aim for a unified, cohesive look with dishware and utensils that suit your style and needs. Aim for quality over quantity.

Food Storage Containers

Plastic food containers in all shapes and sizes can quickly clutter cabinets. Assess what you have and purge containers that are:

  • Stained or cracked.
  • Missing matching lids.
  • Not microwave and dishwasher safe.
  • Not reusable or made with BPA-free plastic.
  • Never used because they are an odd shape or size.

Keep only as many food containers as you realistically need for leftovers or meal prep. Uniform clear glass or plastic containers take up less visual space.

Rarely Used Baking Pans and Dishes

Baking pans, casserole dishes, cake stands, and other specialty cookware tend to collect dust in a minimalist kitchen. Remove less versatile items like:

  • Bundt pans, tart pans, or springform pans if you don’t bake desserts often.
  • Large casserole dishes if you rarely make big one-pot meals.
  • Mismatched baking sheets and muffin tins. Keep only as many as you use at once.
  • Big roasting pans if you mostly roast chicken or meat for 2-4 servings. A smaller pan takes up less room.
  • Cake stands, tiered platters, or decorative dishes used only on special occasions.

Keep the pans and dishes you regularly pull out for meals and donations. Having too many rarely used items creates clutter.

Duplicate Utensils and Tools

It’s easy to amass multiples of kitchen tools over time. Do you actually need 4 vegetable peelers, 3 whisks, and 5 spatulas?

Go through each type of utensil and tool and purge duplicates, including:

  • Spatulas, tongs, ladles, and serving spoons. Keep 1-2 of your most used types and sizes.
  • Whisks, spatulas, and mixing spoons. Choose your 1-2 favorites and donate the rest.
  • Can openers, corkscrews, and cheese graters. Keep only the best functioning option.
  • Vegetable peelers or kitchen shears. Keep the sharpest and easiest to use.
  • Measuring cups and spoons. Keep just one set.

Having fewer utensils and tools makes them easier to organize and find later.

Random Single-Use Tools and Gadgets

Single-use kitchen gadgets like an egg slicer, a pineapple corer, or an avocado cuber can take up precious drawer space. These specialty gadgets often go unused. Remove and avoid space-hogging one-trick tools like:

  • Apple corers, herb strippers, corn cob holders and other gadgets with very limited uses.
  • Pasta measurers, quesadilla makers, and other products advertising helping you with one specific food. You likely already have the tools on hand.
  • “As seen on TV” kitchen gadgets that often get used a few times then forgotten.
  • Fruit and vegetable scrub brushes if you normally wash produce well with your hands or a dish sponge.
  • Kitchen scissors for cutting herbs if you have a decent chef’s knife.

Multipurpose, versatile tools have more value in a minimalist kitchen than obscure single-use products. Don’t be tempted in by infomercial kitchen gadgets!

Extra or Mismatched Pots and Pans

The average kitchen has a surplus of pots, pans, and lids that don’t match and stack inefficiently. Weed out excess cookware like:

  • Duplicate pots or pans in the same size. Keep only your everyday favorites.
  • Poor quality pots with scratched or flaking nonstick surfaces. These can release unhealthy particles when overheated. Consider replacing them with durable stainless steel or ceramic cookware.
  • Mismatched pans purchased separately. Buy coordinating pots and pans together for easy stacking and uniformity.
  • Excessive large stockpots, roasting pans, grill pans or other specialty pans you rarely use.
  • Old or warped pans that don’t conduct heat properly anymore.
  • Lids without a matching pan.

A minimalist kitchen needs just 1-2 saucepans, frying pans, sheet pans, stockpots and lids in versatile sizes. Uniform pots and pans organized neatly by size look more appealing than a chaotic mishmash.

Extra Serving Platters, Bowls and Dishes

Serving platters and bowls usually only come out for special dinners and parties. Limit your stash of serving dishes to pieces you actually use. Remove:

  • Random platters or bowls purchased for a specific occasion or party theme.
  • Mismatched or chipped platters. Coordinate your collection.
  • Serving bowls, platters, or trays in very large sizes suitable for buffets or big gatherings. Keep more appropriately sized dishes for everyday use.
  • Items like tiered cake stands or nut bowls that serve very limited purposes.
  • Decorative or ornamental dishes not suitable for serving food.

For a minimalist look, choose neutral colored serving dishes in versatile shapes and standard sizes that go with your existing dinnerware.

Extra Cutting Boards

Cutting boards made from wood, plastic, silicone, and other materials easily accumulate in kitchens. Keep a few you love and use regularly like:

  • At least one good wood cutting board for proteins, fruits, vegetables, and breads. Wood has natural antimicrobial properties.
  • A plastic cutting board or two for cutting meat to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Optionally, a thin flexible cutting board for tasks like chopping herbs.

Remove any cutting boards that are:

  • Badly scratched, cracked or warped. This makes them impossible to fully sanitize.
  • Too small or large for your typical food prep tasks.
  • Made of inferior materials like thin plastic or flimsy composite wood.
  • Duplicates of styles you already have. Pick your favorites.

Having more than 3-4 cutting boards creates clutter. Choose your best ones suited for different tasks.

Extra Towels, Potholders and Hot Pads

Kitchen linens like towels, potholders, oven mitts and hot pads build up quickly. Limit yourself to only the essentials:

  • 2-3 good quality, lint-free tea towels for drying dishes, hands and utensils.
  • 1-2 potholders or oven mitts for removing hot dishes from the oven. Silicone mitts are space-saving.
  • A few hot pads or trivets for placing down hot pans.

Remove any:

  • Torn or too stained kitchen towels. Replace them.
  • Mismatched or novelty hot pads and potholders. Stick to 1-2 designs and colors.
  • Extra oven mitts. You only need one on each hand at a time.

Uniform, minimalist kitchen linens have a tidier appearance.

Surplus Food Jars, Bottles and Storage Bags

Partially used ingredients and leftovers can quickly accumulate plastic and glass food storage containers. Critique your stash and remove:

  • Old food jars, bottles or tins with food stains or rust. Recycle them.
  • Cans and jars with expired, unused contents. Donate any unexpired non-perishables.
  • Mismatched jars or containers without secure lids. Purchase matching sets.
  • Random small condiment jars when you mainly buysqueeze bottles or larger sizes.
  • Reusable plastic bags unless they are lightweight and you use them frequently. Better to use glass containers.
  • Zipper plastic bags except a small package for freezing meats or produce. Reusable containers work for most storage.

Avoid keeping too many random, rarely used bottles and food containers. Uniform glass jars work for most dry goods.

Surplus Dishtowels, Cloths and Sponges

It’s easy for dishtowels, cleaning cloths and scrubs to proliferate wildly in the kitchen. Keep only your essential cleaning textiles:

  • 2-4 good quality, absorbent and lint-free dishtowels for drying dishes, hands and kitchen surfaces.
  • A package of microfiber cloths or reusable paper towels for cleaning and wiping up spills. Consider ditching single-use paper towels.
  • 2-3 scrub sponges or brushes for washing dishes. Sponges harbor bacteria so replace them frequently.

Toss any cleaning textiles that are:

  • Stained, torn or falling apart. Throw away dish scrubbers that are slimy.
  • Unused unique designs like holiday prints. Stick to solid colors.
  • Extra random washcloths or microfiber cloths you don’t need.
  • Multiple packages of paper towels if minimizing waste.

Uniform, minimalist cleaning textiles organized neatly look tidier and help you eliminate waste.

Baskets, Canisters and Storage Containers

The kitchen often ends up with a mishmash of different storage containers like canisters, jars and bins. Avoid clutter by:

  • Keeping only 1-2 matching canisters for staples like flour, sugar or coffee. Transfer other dry goods to clear glass containers.
  • Using clear, stackable containers to corral snacks, baking supplies or utensils. Uniform containers look neater.
  • Removing random baskets or decorative containers you don’t actually utilize for kitchen storage.
  • Getting rid of plastic bins and storage items that are broken or stained. Opt for durable glass, ceramic or stainless containers instead.
  • Donating excess empty canisters, jars and containers. Keep just enough to organize your kitchen efficiently.

Uniform, functional, matching storage containers suit a minimalist aesthetic best.

Extra Small Appliances

Counter space in kitchens often becomes cluttered with small appliances like the toaster, coffeemaker, and knife block. Evaluate each small appliance and consider removing any that you don’t use regularly such as:

  • Toaster ovens or convection ovens unless you use them daily. Your regular oven can handle most tasks.
  • Pod coffee machines or instant hot water dispensers you rarely use. French press or pourover coffee has less waste.
  • Fancy juicers or blenders if you mainly make smoothies in a standard blender.
  • Stand mixers if you are short on space and a hand mixer suffices. Store it elsewhere until needed for large baking tasks.
  • Appliance garages that just hide clutter. Better to store little used appliances in cabinets.
  • Decorative knife blocks if you have a slim magnetic strip. Remove rarely used knives.
  • Large appliances like a microwave or Instant Pot if you have limited space. Only keep out essentials.

Your kitchen will feel more open and minimalist with just your most utilized small appliances left out on the counters.

Extra Cookbooks and Kitchen Décor

Cookbooks, kitchen signs, coffee mugs and other décor easily clutter cabinets and countertops. Ask yourself if each item sparks joy then remove unused décor like:

  • Cookbooks you never reference or read. Donate them so others can enjoy. Replace with digital cookbooks instead.
  • Kitschy wall signs, canvas prints or decorative plates. A minimalist kitchen is free of cluttered décor.
  • Novelty kitchen towels or potholders. Opt for simple solids instead of cutesy prints.
  • Utensil crocks and decorative containers unless you use them daily. Hidden storage is better.
  • Extra vases, candles, knickknacks or artwork that don’t suit the minimalist aesthetic. Less is more with accessories.

A streamlined kitchen has only beautiful, useful accessories that complement the space. Remove décor that no longer suits your style.

Organize Your Minimalist Kitchen

Once you’ve pared down your kitchen tools, appliances, dishware and linens focus on keeping your new minimalist kitchen tidy:

  • Give everything a home. Use drawers, cabinets, shelves, and clear containers to store items out of sight.
  • Group like items together – utensils in one drawer, pans in a lower cabinet etc.
  • Store items you use most regularly in easier to access areas.
  • Only display decorative items you love and use like fruit bowls or vases.
  • Clean as you go and put items back in their designated spots after using.
  • Set up weekly or monthly times to tidy, wipe down surfaces and clean appliances.

An organized, decluttered kitchen helps you maintain a calmer, cleaner minimalist space you’ll love using and showing off. Enjoy the breathing room!

Frequently Asked Questions About Decluttering Your Kitchen

How extensive does my kitchen purge need to be to feel minimalist?

The extent depends on your personal style and cooking needs. In general, remove duplicate, little used, and decorative-only items. Keep only essential cookware, appliances, tools and dishware suited to your meal habits. You want enough useful items, but not so much that cabinets and drawers feel cluttered. Edit ruthlessly and you’ll see you need less than you think.

Should I buy new matching dishware and pans for a minimalist kitchen?

Not necessarily! Mixing up materials and styles is fine if it’s still simple and streamlined. Focus first on removing chipped, stained or unneeded dishware. Then pare down to the basics you’ll actually use. Having fewer quality dishes in neutral colors can look minimalist even if they’re not all matching. Same for versatile pans in good condition – they don’t have to match if you keep necessities like 1-2 saucepans, skillets, and baking sheets.

What are smart ways to organize a minimalist kitchen?

Take advantage of vertical storage space with wall-mounted rails, shelving and racks for utensils, pans and dishes. Install pull-out drawers and shelves in existing cabinets too. Keep counters and islands clear except for appliances you use daily. Use lid racks inside cabinets and drawer dividers to neatly organize tools and supplies out of sight. Hang mugs or utensils from under cabinets. Decant dry goods into matching clear containers.

How often should I reassess and purge the clutter from my kitchen?

A good rule of thumb is to fully take stock of your kitchen belongings and get rid of excess items at least twice a year. For example, do a big purge when switching over from summer to winter and vice versa. Regularly decluttering prevents buildup of unused or unneeded items over time. You can also periodically check for expired food items and containers to toss or donate more frequently.

What’s the best way to avoid accumulating too much “stuff” again after purging?

Before buying any new kitchen items, ask yourself if you really need it or just want it temporarily. Be selective and avoid impulse purchases. When adding anything new, consider if you should get rid of a duplicate or lesser-used item already in your kitchen. Set limits like having no more than three spatulas and only one set of measuring cups. And repeat periodic decluttering to keep your kitchen minimalist long term.


Transitioning your kitchen to a minimalist aesthetic means removing unused, mismatched, and excessive items. Stick to keeping only the appliances, cookware, tools, dishes and linens that suit your routine cooking needs and style. Decluttering your kitchen and learning to buy only essential additions will help you maintain a calming, organized, and purposeful space long term. Use these tips from chefs and organizers to get started transforming your own kitchen into a peaceful minimalist haven.