Since moving to Squamish, I’ve intentionally chosen to live without a few things and get comfortable in my space before buying anything for it. To give you a visual, this originally meant living without a couch for the first two-and-a-half months and having only a chair to sit on. (I finally bought a couch in June!) I also moved without a coffee table and a desk, both of which I am still on the hunt for.
It’s hard to believe I have already been here for four months. While I haven’t put all the pieces of the puzzle together yet, it does feel like home now – my home – and I think a huge part of that is because of how much time I spend in my kitchen.
I was hesitant to ever share pictures of this condo I’m renting for many reasons. On top of wanting to maintain a little bit of privacy, I also didn’t want to contribute to the ideas we are shown about how minimalism should look. But it was a good friend who helped me see I could open the cupboard doors and share stories about what’s inside my kitchen, instead. This is the same friend who suggested I show how I travel light.
In the coming months, I’m going to be sharing a lot more conversations about how minimalism looks different for everyone. Today, I’ll show you how it looks in my small and simple kitchen. As you’ll see, it doesn’t all match but it works – and that is a gift. <3
What’s Inside My Small and Simple Kitchen
First, I know the word “small” is relative. In this case, I actually have more cupboards and storage here than we do in our family home in Victoria (and you’ll see that much of it goes unused). I also know it’s at least double the size of what most apartments have in places like NYC. So, I’m comparing the size of my current kitchen to most of the ones we see on TV shows, in magazines and on Pinterest. The kitchens we’re told to dream about.
I also consider it small because I cook and bake a lot, and find I only ever use the tiny bit of counter space between the stove and the sink. (Note to my future self: If you ever have the luxury of being able to design a kitchen, add lots of counter space between those two things! That’s where you need it most!)
If you’ve seen tours of some other minimalist kitchens, the first thing you might notice about mine is that I leave things on the counter. I stand by my statement: a home is meant to be lived in, not looked at. For the purpose of these pictures, I didn’t move anything around. My wallet and keys stayed on the counter because that’s where they live. And a few pictures down, you’ll also see my phone charger because that’s where my phone spends most of its time, too. Aside from wiping the counters clean, this is how my kitchen looks every day.
What you’re seeing here is the space in which I do most of my drink prep. I make coffee, tea and a smoothie almost every day, so I leave the things I use on the counter at all times. As a tip, putting things in places where you’ll actually use them is the best way to make it a habit. If you’re trying to save money by buying less takeout coffee, or less takeout food or beverages in general, leave the things you need in places where you can easily gravitate towards them. The same is true if you’re simply trying to eat or drink better. Don’t hide the healthy stuff. Leave it on the counter or at least keep it in a place you look at often.
Something I hadn’t thought of until looking at this picture is how much of what I use was gifted or handed down to me. My parents gifted me most of my pots and pans when I moved out on my own in my early twenties, after getting out of a bad relationship. They also gave me the teapot and the crockpot (slow cooker) for Christmas one year. And in realizing she wasn’t using it often, my aunt gave me her Nutribullet. It’s not fancy and it doesn’t all match, at this point – but it works. My family helped me create a working kitchen, and for that, I will always be grateful. (Oh and yes, that’s my “pantry”. Pretty empty, eh? More on food in a future post!)
I also bought everything you see here. And again, I keep the things I use most often out and ready. In this picture, that includes cooking utensils, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil.
One thing to note here is there’s a huge cupboard in the corner – both top and bottom – that I simply never use. Not only do I not own anything that would fit in there, they are also extremely annoying to open and close because of how small the doors are. I find new designs fascinating because even with everything we know about maximizing space, we still waste so much of it. (I also have a “den” that’s no bigger than a standard closet. Maybe that’s a side rant?) I also don’t use the space above the microwave, but that has more to do with the fact that my ceilings are deceptively high (at least 9 feet) and I can’t reach the top shelves!
For fun, I thought I’d give you a peek inside my cupboards and drawers. The one cupboard I do use in this picture is next to the microwave and it’s mostly filled with spices.
I only use three of the four drawers in my kitchen.
And I spend the majority of my time in this half of the kitchen.
Like I said in the beginning, I use the tiny bit of counter space between the stove and the sink to do most of my food prep. It’s also nice to do food prep near the compost bin because that’s where most of my waste goes! And despite having a dishwasher, I find it’s easier to do dishes by hand when you live alone. I’ll run the dishwasher once a week, usually after doing a bunch of meal prep. But on a day-to-day basis, it’s easier to wash the few dishes I use by hand and let them dry on the mat. (I didn’t feel the need to put these away either. You all do dishes. You know what they look like!)
Something I’ve learned about myself is that I will use the same glass for water multiple days in a row, but I use at least two mugs each day (sometimes more) for coffee and tea. So I could actually do with fewer glasses! But on the days I run my dishwasher, it’s not uncommon for all of these mugs to be in there.
Finally, everything you see in this cupboard was a gift. I’ve been using the same set of Corelle dishes since I was eighteen years old. They weren’t made for Pinterest pictures, but they work (and they never break). And my old roommate in Toronto gave me the mixing bowls. I use these so much, they should almost live on the counter.
So, that’s it! The contents of my kitchen. It’s not exactly small, although the amount of space I use in it is. And if you noticed everything (including what’s on the front of my fridge) was lined up, I should mention it’s always like that – because I have always been like that. Ever since I was a kid, I have kept things lined up, often in orders of colour or size, and perfectly organized. I don’t know how or why, that’s just the way my brain works. When I worked at the deli in a grocery store, I used to think I’d enjoy stocking shelves more because I naturally want everything to be facing the same direction. Can’t explain it – but I won’t complain about it!
If you’re reading this post and wondering what exactly goes into a small/simple/minimalist kitchen, here is a detailed list of what’s in mine:
The Kitchen Appliances I Use
- coffee grinder
- electric kettle
- French press
- NutriBullet (small blender for smoothies)
- crockpot (aka slow cooker)
- electric whisk
The Kitchen Utensils I Use
- 8 x glass cups* / 8 x mugs
- 8 x bowls / 8 x small plates / 8 x large plates
- set of eating utensils
- 1 x santoku knife (currently the only sharp knife I own)
- 1 x can opener, scissors, hand grater, veg peeler, garlic press, ice cream scoop, melon baller
- 3 x cutting boards
- 1 x wok / 3 x pans / 4 x pots
- 1 x turner / 2 x wooden spoons / 2 x rubber spatulas / 1 x whisk
- 1 x strainer
- set of plastic food storage containers
- set of glass measuring cups
- set of plastic measuring cups and spoons
- set of plastic mixing bowls
- set of baking sheets (not pictured – they live in the drawer below the oven!)
- spiralizer (yes, I use this often!)
- 1 x travel mug
- 2 x water bottles (different sizes)
- 3 x plastic cups for my friends’ kids when they visit :)
- 2 x dish cloths
- 4 x dish towels
- mini oven mitts
- indoor compost bin!
*my mason jars double as glass storage containers :)
Things I Live Without
- a knife block (I currently only own one sharp knife)
- a toaster (I don’t buy much bread, and don’t need to toast it if I do)
Things I’m Considering Buying
- a ladle (still need to replace my last one)
- a paring knife
- a fine-mesh strainer
- a large glass food storage container (for things I bake like muffins)
- a food processor (or a bigger/proper blender)
As part of the slow food experiment, I thought I would also share more about the food I buy, and show you what’s inside my cupboards and fridge. Look out for that post on Wednesday!
For now, I’d love to know what your favourite item in your kitchen is and why. I’m torn between my French press and my Nutribullet. Let’s go with my Nutribullet because it makes an amazing smoothie!
- 16 Things Your Kitchen Can Do Without – Becoming Minimalist (Guest Post)
- A No-Frills Kitchen Still Cooks – The New York Times
- How to Setup a Minimalist Kitchen: Part 1 + Part 2 – The Stone Soup
- Things I Don’t Own – Sarah Wilson