BuildDirect Blog: Life at Home

8 Things You DON’T Need In Your Kitchen

small kitchen uncluttered counters

If you have a small kitchen, every square inch of counter space counts. Chances are you have a collection of items on your kitchen counters that you don’t use regularly, only have a single use, or both of those . Maybe space is so tight that you been thinking that you need to get a more minimalist vibe before you drown in clutter.

To cut clutter and liberate your cooking area and counter space, consider ditching the following 8 items.

1. Toaster

Let’s start radically by challenging tradition, shall we? While a toaster might seem like a can’t-live-without item, it’s really an unnecessary kitchen tool when you really look at it. The pop-up toaster was only developed in the way we recognize it by 1913. Before that into the late 1800s,  a broiler or a skillet was used for making toast. You can do that too!

To use the broiler for toast, put bread on a baking sheet and slide it onto the top rack of the oven. If you prefer to use a skillet, set it over medium-high heat and flip the bread from side to side until it turns that golden shade of brown. No problem!

2. Microwave

Ack! Are you insane???

Well, it might seem even more radical to suggest that a microwave should be anything less than totally central to your kitchen. But, one thing to consider is the relationship that you have with your kitchen as far as what you actually do while you’re in it. For instance, how central is your microwave, really, to the daily meals you’re preparing in your kitchen? Ask yourself this question, and then decide whether or not the counterspace or cabinet space your microwave takes up is really justified.

Also, think about where your microwave  might serve you better outside of the kitchen. If you use your  microwave to make popcorn, warm up hot chocolate, or to heat up other snacks while you’re spending time in front of the TV, or on board game night, or kids craft time, then maybe the microwave should be more central to those activities in family rooms, or living rooms.

You could do worse than to match up the function of your microwave with the kinds of activities it  supports. And it’s your house, so you get to decide where everything goes, even if tradition says otherwise.

3. Sandwich maker

In your quest for a minimalist kitchen, small appliances that have only one function (like your toaster!) are prime candidates for demotion on  your countertops. Sandwich makers have a certain appeal. But, unless your really expanding on ways to use it, or are maybe writing an eBook about the versatility of the sandwich in modern cuisine, it might be time to give your sandwich maker its walking papers when it comes to taking up countertop space.

And again, is there a better place for your sandwich maker? Basement family rooms, bar areas in recreation areas, and even in outdoor dining spaces might be a better choice for single-function appliances like this.

4. Extra dishes

You know that hideous floral dinnerware that your well-meaning neighbor gave you? Drop it off at the nearest secondhand store. You might keep stuff like that around in your cupboards and cabinetry, just in  case you ever have more guests than your regular set of dinnerware can handle. But if that happens, renting plates from catering companies or borrowing them from friends and family are always viable options. Your well-meaning neighbor won’t even notice.

5. Deep fryer

While your doctor probably wouldn’t argue with you if you gave up completely on those treats from the fryer, getting rid of your deep fryer doesn’t mean you have to go without the goodies. A sturdy saucepan and a thermometer will get the job done, and you’ll have one less bulky item hogging your counter or cupboard space.

6. Rice Cooker

Here’s the thing. You don’t really need a rice cooker. All you need is a saucepan with a lid. Cooking rice on the stove top is almost as easy as using a rice cooker.

My method? It’s one-part rice, two parts water, cover and set to boil, turn off the heat completely when boiling is achieved. Then, let it sit with the lid on for about 15 mins. Easy peasy.

7. Popcorn maker

You got rid of the microwave in the kitchen, and now the popcorn maker is on the chopping block, so what are you going to eat on movie night? Once again, making popcorn on the stove top is a solution. Granted, making popcorn on the stove isn’t as easy as throwing a bag of popcorn in the microwave or using the popcorn maker, but you still end up with a delicious treat—and a new skill to add to your growing list of culinary feats.

And like you did with your microwave, maybe this is just  a matter of re-location rather than changing your approach to making a buttery treat. Move that popcorn maker into the family room where you play your boardgames, or watch movies. Redefine where your appliances are according to your needs. This is your space. You get to decide where things go. Simple.

8. Extra knives

That big wooden block sitting on your counter probably only has a few slots that see frequent action. A chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife are all essential, but that’s really all you need. Keep them sharp, keep them clean, and say farewell to all the knives that you kept around for reasons that may now escape you.

The same goes for that drawer (you know the one, everyone has one …) with the jumble of mysterious implements with uses that remain to be a mystery. Clear that out and be brutal about how often you use each item in there. You’ll thank yourself later.

Efficiency that suits you

An efficient kitchen can make cooking easier, and it spares you the trouble of finding homes for all those extra items. It also leads to less physical clutter, and thereby gets rid of a lot of mental clutter, too.

And remember, you get to decide where these kinds of items serve you best, even if that means putting them in another room.  When it comes to organizing where things go in your home, the only rules to follow are the ones you decide on yourself.

Take a leap and challenge tradition by getting rid of all the non-essentials, and resolve to keep your kitchen a clutter-free zone.

Your kitchen counter space

What challenges have you had in freeing up counter space in your kitchen?

Are there common appliances you’ve removed or relocated that have done the trick?

Which items are not featured on the above list that should be?

Tell us all about it in the comments section of this post.



Rob Jones

Rob serves as Publications Manager at BuildDirect, and is your humble Editor-In-Chief of BuildDirect Blog: Life At Home. Rob is also a writer, father, and music fan.


  1. Mt ex insisted we get a microwave. 12 months later there was a Pre-Maligned Tumor in my breast. 12 months a second Pre-Maligned Tumor. Then I would turn it on and run from my kitchen, 14 months later was another Pre-Maligned Tumor in mu breast!
    I got rid of the Microwave _ None have come since!

    • cindy, i’m so sorry you got sick, but i really don’t think it was from the microwave. you get a lot more radiation from your cell phone. people always try to blame their illness on something, but sometimes it happens for no known reason.

      • Yes, get well soon. I pray that God will soon reveal solutions for your condition, as He has already for so many formerly untreatable problems.

        Science and Religion need not be incompatible.

        But your cancers have nothing, nothing to do with the microwave. Recent research is tending towards genetics, which is not surprising. If your parents had Heart Disease, Obesity, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, etc, it’s likely you will, too.

        BTW, I don’t know you at all, so I’m not accusing you of this – you may even agree with me. BUT – why is it that that same folks that mock Creationists, and demand we believe in Man-Made Global Warming, are often the exact same people that will tell you Vaccinations cause Autism, Preservatives cause Cancer, etc, all of which have been scientifically dis-proven beyond reasonable doubt.

        • Actually, the “genetics as cause” theory has already left the building. In its place to assume the throne is epigenetics, the science of how environmental factors affect characteristics of organisms, ie pesticides and radiation vs nutrition on offspring outcome.
          And regarding vaccinations vs autism: As long as there is a financial interest involved in the outcome, I would not trust the gov’t/pharmaceutical industry nor their public faces such as Paul Offit, a millionaire thanks to vaccines.
          Just because you don’t believe in a certain cause and effect, does not necessarily mean it isn’t there. Think about your faith, as an example.

    • Your tumors are Malignant the microwave you blame is being Maligned. Rather than running from your microwave, run from refined sugar which cancer feeds on. Check out the Mayo Clinic for more info. Remember that cancer is a word…not a sentence. Good luck.

    • People get sick for various reasons. My son is extremely sensitive to aluminum and we threw out all our aluminum pans and quit using aluminum foil. It took a homeopathic doctor to discover the exact cause of his illness after seeing several specialists when his hair started falling out at college. With specialized vitamins and supplements we got him feeling better.

      Well it could be the microwave or maybe it was the dishes or whatever items you were zapping. Some dishes are not microwave safe like gold rimmed teacups or coffee cups. If you can live without a microwave then that is great. It does not seem to bother me. However, I don’t drink coffee or tea much. We often use the microwave just to heat up pizza or frozen meat.

    • Peggy Brittain Reply to Peggy

      Find, I feel your pain and need to find a reason. I have had five pre cancerous tumors removed . 3 in left 2 in right. I am only one in family and we all use microwaves. So it probably wasn’t the cause.

  2. A microwave in the living room? Are you people nuts or just tacky? And when I was a kid, we did toast in the broiler. Thank you very much for the suggestion, but I much prefer my toaster. I will agree on the others.

  3. basically i agree………..however………microwave and toaster can easily be put on a shelf under an island or ??.

    larger – seldom used – stuff belong in the basement/garage/pantry or other convenient spot.

    + though they look good in a picture, the plants would be my first choice to GO.

  4. I’ve thought about getting rid of my small appliances in my little kitchen,but I use them daily. I’ll have to pair down some other way. Besides,when I visit my in laws house, it’s so sparse that it has an uncomfortable vibe. I guess it’s a fine line between cozy and lived in and minimalist chic. Not easy to find a happy medium.

  5. Bought 2 large rectangular removable metal covers for my 4 electric stove burners for $20.
    They serve the dual purpose of covering messy burners and giving temporary extra space with good lighting from the stove ventilation light.

    • I line my stove burners (the pan under them), and also the oven with foil for a quick and easy clean-up. A damp dishcloth wipes the rest of it nice and clean. Just my fetish, I guess. I want an like for my stove to have a clean face.

  6. Donna Miller Reply to Donna

    I agree with all the list with one exception – the microwave. You must be insane to include this on your list. We use ours at least once a day and to use the oven or range top would require a lot more time than the microwave.

  7. i don’t know about the rest of you, but i use my toaster oven every single day, and not just for toast…baking, broiling, toasted sandwiches, etc. it stays on the end of my counter next to my coffeemaker, and it’s not in the way at all. it saves so much energy in not having to heat up a big oven for each little thing! same with my microwave…i use it every day to make oatmeal and heat up leftovers. saves so much heat and water in the sink and dishwasher! i think these little hints are crazy!

  8. Dish drainer. I do not by choice have a dishwasher, so my dish drainer sits on the counter. It’s staying. Where the dishwasher used to be, is a custom made( by my hubby) mixer cabinet with pull up shelf and pull out drawer kitchenaid mixer( which is used almost daily) will go there. That frees space in the cabinet for the grain grinder( I bake my own bread).

    • Sorry about that W y’all. I read Mr. Jones article when it first came out and I thought “WHAT”??? lol But I started looking around at my kitchen counter tops and believe me, I don’t have that much. Anyway, I said it’s time that I started to do something about this. They weren’t junky or anything. I just didn’t like them anymore and now I had a good reason to do something about it. The first thing I did was start looking around in my cabinets to see what all I don’t use anymore. So I got a box and started putting some plastic plates, cups, bowls, glasses, and then went to my bedroom and found some king size sheets that I haven’t been able to use for 6 or 7 years so they were still almost new, and put those in the box, then put some glasses and some vases that I didn’t want anymore in the box. Then I went to my closet and got some clothes that are too big for me and put those into another box. All of that went to the National Kidney Foundation. Then I went back into my Kitchen and put my toaster into my cabinet. I put my Microwave on the top of my butcher block cabinet. I threw my wooden knife holder away and put the knives in the drawer with the rest of my big things. I also had 2 candles that I kept out, but put those up in the cabinets, too. Now, the only things I have on my countertops are 2 coffeepots, my Hubby and I drink 2 entirely different kinds of coffee, 1 ceramic elephant cookie jar that my daughter bought me last year for my birthday that’s painted very articulately in different colors, and 1 coffee container that my daughter bought me for Christmas. So I went from having 8 items to 4 items and it really does make a huge difference. My Hubby even noticed the difference. The only things that I got rid of were the things that we hadn’t used for a good while. I’m not about to part with my toaster, microwave or coffee pot. No, I don’t think so. But this is one more way to do it if you have things that you don’t use anymore and you’ll be helping other people, too.

      • Great story, Sandy. Thanks for sharing it!

        PS- “Mr. Jones”. Hee hee!:-)

      • I have also done the Sandy cleaning. Moved into a studio apartment and had to give away a lot. Kitchen- coffee maker/tea pot/microwave got replaced with a Rival Cordless Kettle and good old fashioned cooking. Cheese grader and slicer are gone. A lot of dishes, a juicer, canning jars, cups, glasses, and lots of gadgets… all gone. And that was just the beginning of the house cleansing. Moving again. Rented a 10 ft u-haul truck and I might fill up half of it. I don’t miss anything and life is so much simpler.

  9. I can agree with most of this but having 3 roommates and 2 kids (2 & 4) our microwave gets used multiple times a day, also we have a toaster oven/toaster so its 2 small appliances in 1 and that gets used a lot around here. Its just better for us to have both of them on the counter but I also have to admit we don’t have a small kitchen either. I have cabinets that are sitting empty. Now I do keep a microwave hidden away in my entertainment center with the snacks that are made inside of the microwave.This is more convent for us and we had 2 microwaves when my husband and I moved in together and this was the best solution!

    • Ben KARLIN Reply to Ben

      Our cabinets and pantry are disorganized and overcrowded. Partly the result of having a four-adult family; no one is sure where the others put things away.

      Can I just send you some things to put in your empty cabinets until we need them? That’d be right neighborly of you.

      Many thanks in advance.

  10. I’m going to have to disagree with the vast majority of these ‘recommendations.’

    A lot of this depends on how much you use them for their designed purpose. If you don’t eat a lot of toast, you can get by with out one. Applies to all the appliances mentioned. If you eat a lot of rice, it is far better to use a rice cooker than to do it ‘manually.’

    However, most of these are far more efficient than using the alternative. Which is better – using energy for a short time period to heat up a few dozen square inches to make toast, or waste a ton of energy in your oven for just a couple slices of bread – which you have to keep an eagle eye on to prevent burning? Rubbish!

    As for putting the appliances in locations where they are more ‘applicable,’ utter nonsense. You prepare the food where you keep your food. Do you keep your bar or family room stocked with all of your sandwich ingredients?


    • My thoughts exactly! I can’t imagine wasting the energy on my ovens broiler to toast half a bagel! Neither can I justify having little children toast their bread in a skillet. Toasters are practical, and energy efficient. As far as having a microwave in the family room? Good LORD! What next. should I put the coffee maker in the bathroom, so as to have fresh coffee when I get out of the shower? If you LIVE in your home, then LIVE in it with a kitchen stocked with the items YOU want and use, not blindly follow the advice of someone who shows a pic of a kitchen with foul germ holding tile countertops and then recommends you ditch your toaster…….

      • Hmm, fresh coffee out of the shower doesn’t sound bad to me!! We keep our coffee maker on the vanity in our master bedroom, just next to the bath… growing up, we had a microwave in the basement for popcorn because that’s where we watched family movies.. I don’t think it’s that weird of a concept! If you LIVE in your home, organize it in the way that makes the most sense for the way YOU live!

        • I kept my coffee pot on my nightstand for a while. It is the kind that you can set a timer for and it grinds the beans (no measuring required – it does that, too!). The sound of the grinding helped wake me up, but unlike my alarms, there was the promise of coffee to offset the irritation. I was able to have coffee in bed before I did anything else. It was lovely. The reason I gave up on it was that it was too annoying to carry the mug, coffee pot, and filter parts back and forth between the kitchen to clean. If my room had been next to the kitchen or if I’d had a sink one could reasonably wash dishes in nearby, I would have kept it in the bedroom.

    • Far better to cook a large batch of rice on the stove, then spread it out on a cookie sheet (stirring occasionally) until it stops steaming. Package it up into serving-sized portions and freeze. I cook rice once a month this way and think it is better than storing a clunky rice cooker.

      • Totally agree. It really depends on your life style. For Asians who eat rice almost everyday, rice cooker is a must. And if it is not for resell value of the house, we would probably go without the conventional oven.

  11. I got rid of some of my kitchen counter items to make room for a convection counter-top oven. Since there’s only me in my home, it’s a waste to use the big oven to cook. I put that on one counter beside my blender which gets used now and then, and moved my toaster to another counter. To allow room for the toaster and other small appliances on the counter, I had to put my grill/griddle in the pantry, but it is stored so that I open the pantry door and pull it out. I love using it to make pancakes and cook bacon. I do have a brand new rice cooker that I bought when I bought my home 3 years ago. I thought I’d use it for steaming vegetables and cooking rice (NOT!!). I haven’t used it once, but keep telling myself that I will. I won’t get rid of my toaster because I like toaster strudels. I do cook my toast in the oven or in the skillet. I also have a stand mixer on my counter that I use on occasion, but don’t have any cabinet space to store it. I have a coffee maker that I use frequently, especially on the weekends. I have a blender that gets used occasionally. My microwave is stored above my range. Call me lazy, but I don’t want to store those less frequently used items in the cabinet because I don’t want to bend, lift, and stoop to get them out when I use them (I am on the other side of 49 and have minor back problems.). Everything that I need is on the counter within easy reach. I did have a butcher block knife set and I got rid of it and kept only a few knives. I don’t have steak knives, but then again, I don’t cook steak at home.

  12. I’ll do you one better; I’ll move the microwave out on to the front porch – it’ll fit right in with the old sofa, fridge, and washing machine we’ve got out there already. (I mean, really. Apparently the author of this article doesn’t spend much time in the kitchen.)

  13. PS: Like I’m really gonna light the oven (and in the process waste all that electricity AND heat up the house in already too hot Florida) to make a piece of toast. That’s like using a Howitzer to kill a fly.

    • Exactly what I was thinking! So funny, your comments made me laugh. We make toast almost every day and it saves time and energy to use the toaster or toaster/oven. And the microwave is used every day too for a quick reheat of leftovers, etc. Also, save lots of time.

  14. Aunt Bert Reply to Aunt

    Well, I have the space to put my toaster oven on top of my microwave & the power outlet is behind these (which goes into an outlet on the wall outside of cabinet; I know, I know – had contractors who weren’t thinking most of the time when my kitchen was done! Never be a first time buyer in a hurricane area (3 roofs, 3 trees on roof, 3 different laminates, one birber carpet flooded by hurricane, water heater flooded 3 days after signing for the house, etc etc) – basically, I would tell a single woman who has never owned a home & knows zip about house construction, repairing any and all things. Basically, love having tips that is now paid for but the heartache it has caused me hasn’t really been worth it. Wish my son had bought a house here and I rented from him. So, I haven’t had the joy of home ownership I thought I would. Buying at 57 with all these drawbacks was a bad idea since I knew so little. My home will be willed to my son so even the equity is a bonus for him! I spent a lot that goes to him as a free gift! Not that I mind, other than the stock market killed me in ’08 so I got out of that. Medicare, military ID card, small retirement has been a God send! So, if you are going to buy a house; think a long time before doing so if you getting up in age (I am 71 now). I wish I had enjoyed it more vs the endless headaches. No, I have NO desire to remarry for a handyman hubby but wish I could barter for handyman help for my cooking (which is good!). “That’s my story and I am sticking with it!!”

    PS I did enjoy all the posts from folks – some great ideas!!

  15. I fluctuate so much about what stays on my counter top. I bought a wafflemaker a couple of years ago when we were going to a family reunion. Ken
    made waffles every AM. It was a huge hit with everyone so we came home and put it on the counter thinking we’d use it . Well, we get it out of the pantry whenever any of the kids and grandkids are coming. It’s become a tradition. I just got a cuisinart blender, one of the bigger ones. Now I absolutely need to get IT off my counter. I only use it maybe 4 times a year. I have a very small kitchen but am saving up for some floor to ceiling cabinets to be installed on an extended empty wall. I’m with the woman who said she is uncomfortable with too stream-lined of a kitchen. I’ll keep my toaster up but my I’ll take my serving and cooking spoons and pancake turners down. I’ll cull through some of my extra dishes. I got rid of 4 ramekins a couple of years ago and regretted it ever since so I just replaced them.
    I like how this has made me think about how I can make my kitchen more efficient and effective. Thanks.

  16. You will not take my toaster or microwave (it’s installed over the stove). We use both multiple times a day (3 sons 24,22 and 20). Everyone’s needs are different let me just say the toaster saves on burnt bread!!!

  17. I definitely got rid of my toaster. I don’t even buy bread anymore because I am diabetic. Instead I chop up a lot of vegetables to cook with my steak. You could get one of those microwaves that mount under your cabinet above the counter. It really all depends how much space you have and what you use the most. My grandma kept the toaster on a little portable shelf thing next to the kitchen table so they could put the toast in the toaster while sitting at the table. If you have fewer people in the house maybe get rid of the kitchen table and put cabinets or a morning bar that you can sit at.

  18. I have never owned a microwave. I do think a rice cooker is terrific. To each his/her own small appliance.

  19. Joanne Morris Reply to Joanne

    I agree and I put most of my appliances out of sight (not gotten rid of). But you can’t really do popcorn on a glass cooktop. You can’t shake the pan around or it will scratch.

  20. First 0f all does the author of this article really cook prepare meals 24/7. Or is this some guys idea of going back to post ww2. I make no excuses for all my extras. I use them for ease (arthritis esp hands and lower back.) My stove died got rid of it. Only 2 of us. By the way did he hear of hang over heat. Out here in west Texas I have no shade trees and live in a mobile home.. metal. So hang over heat is real and a very large problem
    has anyone heard of herd mentality. All of this sounds just like that.
    if you like minimalism fine. I do not
    pick looks cold and institutional. To each his own. whatever floats your boat.

    As far as cancer. So many factors there. Can’t be proven now but if that is someones belief who is anyone to point the finger.

    This is all very interesting but I don’t want anyone telling me what I should or shouldn’t do. I am perfectly capable of doing that. My sign off:- I am old. I am faded. I am jaded. And I am damn sure opinionated. Cajun witch







  21. First off, I agree with the premise of this article…minimize by removing items where another appliance can suffice…and I applaud you starting the conversation. However, I’m Chinese-Scottish which are two cultures known for their frugality and even I would contend some items are good to have even if it is redundant of another.

    Seems a bit of overkill to turn on a whole oven for 2 pieces of bread…I’d rather sacrifice a little more counter space than higher energy bills (and I dare use that whole save-the-planet thing). As for the microwave, I prefer to reheat and other things on the stove, but as a mother with very active children it is much easier to nuke something on one dish than dirty up a whole bunch…not to mention saving time while you are also trying to moderate a dispute over a toy among other household duties.

    And coming from an Asian household in a primarily Asian state, your kitchen is not complete without at least an 8-cup rice cooker because cooking enough rice for a large family is near ridiculous on a stove that can be used to cook other dishes. I understand not every household eats as much rice, but keeping a watchful eye on a pot of rice is tedious when I can hit a button and forget about it…much like that slow cooker that was not mentioned in your list.

    Another item not mentioned, the dishwasher…wastes a lot of water and energy when you have good ol’ arm grease and a sink. Why stop there? We could go absolutely crazy with mixers (use spoon & bowl) and the Keurig or espresso machine (a touchy subject in the mornings) and the dryer (nature’s sun). Again, I understand the premise and it’s good to get people to think of what they can remove to minimize…but let’s be more realistic on some items and the argument made to remove it from our lives. Convenience is not always just a luxury.

    • ZoomZoom Diva Reply to ZoomZoom

      To be fair, dishwashers generally use less water and energy than hand washing.

      • In order for dish washer to be water and energy efficient, it needs to be a full load, which means you must have a large amount of dishes in the kitchen while waiting for it to be filled with dirty dishes.

        While I use my dish washer only may be twice a year, I will not get rid of it just because it is important when it comes to selling your house.

  22. This article really inspired me! Here’s the complete list of what was on my counter, and how I cleared it all out for a beautiful, clean look.

    1. Kitchen sink – Takes up even more space than the toaster. Do your hand wash dishes/pots/pans and produce rinsing in the bath tub!

    2. Paper towel AND napkin holders – Get rid of 2 space hogs! Come on, that’s what sleeves are for anyway, right?

    3. Mixer – You’re telling me you don’t already have an electric drill just steps away in the garage or the shed? Rinse that flat head bit off in the tub and you’re all set to get started on that cake batter.

    4. Utensil crock – Well we just replaced most of the contents used for stirring in #3, so that really just leaves a spatula. Don’t need a whole crock for a spatula, do I? Jeez, this just keeps getting easier once I realize what a spoiled princess I’ve been!

    5. Fruit bowl – This one stumped me for a bit, until I started thinking about the original article suggestion of moving things to another room. So if I’m rinsing my fruit in the tub now, it makes sense to keep fruit in there all the time, and the plastic mesh basket that holds the kids’ bath toys has all that extra space in it. Problem solved!

    6. Canister set – Honestly…I got nothing. I really need help on this one. I’m so close to being clutter free!

    • Wow! It’s like I’ve discovered a sarcasm mine!

      I have to say, and without any sarcasm, thank you. This was hilarious.

    • Hey Benny cat love your reply. It’s great.

    • In truth, Bennycat, in the early 1970s when I had just gotten out of the Army, I lived briefly, with two other people, in a fourth floor walkup in San Francisco’s Mission District. We shared a bathroom with the renters in two or three other rooms. We cooked on a hot plate and washed up the pots and pans in the bathtub. SImpler times …

      Later, when I took a job that required a secret clearance, it should have been easy to get since I had one in the Army. But it was complicated by the fact that the building I had lived in had earlier been rented by the Symbionese Liberation Army (Patty Hearst’s kidnappers).

  23. I think the point here is to keep the items you use most in a convenient place and move the ones you don’t use often out of the way. The items will be different for every family. If you use your toaster every day, keep it on the counter. If you never use it, give it away. Make your kitchen work for you.

  24. Fun list, and beautiful picture of a clutter-free kitchen!
    The toaster? My husband would not want to give that up, so it stays, but with our (soon) new cabinets, I hope to find a place to put it out of sight, yet easy to get to.

    You can add drain rack. Yes, most of us have dishwashers, yet we still hand wash a good bit. I have found a drain rack that fits over/in one side of the double sink is perfect. And, smaller, it is easier to put away completely out of sight after use, if preferred. Or simply use a towel (or one of the drain mats) and remove it when you put the dishes away.

    Towels – Unless you have ONE neatly on the counter, I like them better hung on a rod, or even under the cabinet. Ditto for dish cloths and sponges. And dishwashing liquid, etc. OR at least have a nice little tray to *display* them in.

    Bread and/or breadbox – Would those little under-cabinet containers in your picture hold a loaf of bread? If so, perfect! Otherwise, attach one or fine a spot in the pantry or on a shelf.

    Paper towel rolls. See breadbox above. :-)

    Keep the ideas coming. Our narrow, not-large kitchen needs to stay de-cluttered in order to be inviting to work in, as well as to look at.
    Being decluttered FEELS good, as well as helps me function better. I’ll get there!

  25. Great ideas, some of which I have already implemented. I have shelves in my basement for items I don’t use very often i.e. baking supplies, countertop grill, soup pot, etc. Also when you clean that drawer with kitchen gadgets, put it in a bag, date the bag, store someplace out of the way. If you need any of these items they will be available. After a year donate what is left in the bag to charity.


  27. Rob, I’m sure your goals are noble but most of these recommendations are misguided.

    Although I don’t have a toaster, I can’t imagine using a full-sized oven to warm up / crisp up a slice of bread. It would take twice as long, use five times the electricity and, in the summertime, unnecessarily heat up the kitchen and make the a/c work harder. I do like to do grilled cheese on a skillet or griddle but to do toast like that would turn it into something else – not something bad, just not toast.

    And are you really suggesting that a microwave oven might belong in the living room??!! I suppose it could make sense in the “rec room”, especially if there’s a bar there, but the living room??!!

    I understand (and share) your disdain for single-purpose small appliances but there is a class of exceptions – if there’s nothing else that fulfills the need and the results are important to you, you have to violate the rule. Nothing makes waffles but a waffle iron, even if you make waffles only twice a year and can’t think of another use for it. I think a panini maker is a similar thing. I suppose a grill pan might work and could be used for steaks, chops, fish, chicken, … in addition to sandwiches but the convenience and consistent outcome of a panini maker is hard to challenge.

    I think the deep fryer, the rice cooker (I don’t have either of those but understand how someone might) and the popcorn maker (in my case a pan with a crank rather than a plug-in device) are also convenience items that consistently give better results with less involvement by “the kitchen staff” (that’s me). As you point out, a pan with a lid can heat frying oil, steam rice and pop corn. But using the same argument, you can wash dishes in the sink (or you can carry them down to the brook) and you can heat pans on the gas grill in the back yard, so why not get rid of the dishwasher and the cooktop? Wait … did I say “gas grill”? Why not a pile of logs and branches on the ground?

    If my kitchen were to the point where it no longer worked for me, I think it’d be time to remodel or move. I’d rather suffer one BIG expense/inconvenience and be done with it rather than to have to return to the nineteenth century or earlier.

    — JRE

    (Hey … wait a minute … … is a remodel what Jones was promoting all along. Pretty subtle/subliminal, Rob.)

    • Hi JRE,

      Thanks for your input!

      If I’m promoting anything at this point it’s discussion, which seems to be going well. There’s a lot of strong opinions on this thread, which I think is pretty great, actually. This article (or really any article) is meant to be the beginning of a conversation, and not an end to one. So, thanks again for your input!

  28. Keeping my home organized and clutter-free is a work in progress. Just when I decide that I don’t need something anymore, another interest develops or hard-won knowledge dictates adjusting habits. For example: Fermented foods. My home is small and space is already at a premium. My fermenting crocks have no other place but on the kitchen counter. We learned the hard way that out of sight crocks leads to rotten food.

  29. I have never been a fan of one use appliances so a sandwich maker, popcorn maker and rice cooker were never in the house. I ditched the toaster when we went low carb and I also swapped for a very small microwave and splurged on a nice toaster oven we use more than the range. Otherwise, appliances I keep on the counter are used often – coffee pot, Vitamix and the Kitchaide. I’ve always been minimalistic in my kitchen.

  30. I hate the industrial looking kitchen. If your kitchen employs that much hostility, eat out, eat in the garage for maximum comfort, eat at a farmers mart, or try avoiding food altogether. My kitchen is a warm and slightly cluttered (but very clean) place.

  31. Lost me at toaster. Seriously, you think heating up your OVEN to broil every morning and/or lunch time is a reasonable substitute for a toaster’s small footprint ? Ridiculous, can’t take any of this article seriously after that.

  32. I have an appliance garage, perfect for toaster or can opener, or anything you don’t want on the counter, but accessible to those you needon a daily basis.

  33. Perhaps a better title would have been ‘8 Things You Might Not Absolutely Positively REQUIRE To Have Sitting On Your Kitchen Counter 365 Days A Year’

  34. Grew up with broiler toast, nice for open face grilled cheese, but NOT for toast.

    Most people want their toast toasted both sides and a toaster may simply be placed underneath the sink or in a cabinet, but not done away with.

    Almost everything else, except the microwave, I can’t believe that most people have and if they do, they are probably stored away.

    A fluff of an article full of sound and fury signifying nothing new under the SUN.

    oh yes, and as a 20 year survivor of Cancer 2xs…The microwave had nothing to do with it.

  35. I’ve changed my ways…..i started with FlyLady about 12 years ago…so my home stays pretty neat…but everyonce in a while i get to much going on in my kitchen, on the counters….and you reminded me to clean up my act…ty…it kind of creeps up on me….i keep the appliances of the counters…..but junk still…ty for the reminder

  36. I like the radical approach. I want a more compact and energy efficient toasting machine. I have not had a dishwasher for fifteen years. The drainer take up too much space. I can use a cloth.
    I have a small kitchen. Lots of cupboards, though. We are minimalizing the dishes and pots. I feel I could do without a soup ladle. And I do dishes each day. I do not need a set of stainless flatware. I need two of each eating utensil. Also, I have noticed that my kitchen looks a lot better without all the junk. I do cook a lot, though, and use the cooking utensils crock all the time.
    My office is the kitchen cutting board. I hate coffeemakers! Have you ever smelled inside one? Kuerigs are OK, but I do not need it.

  37. Sandra Brown Reply to Sandra

    Firstly, I have been highly entertained by everyone’s comments! I have moved around the world,big,medium and small kitchens, currently large. I keep the same things whichever! Now..microwave I keep although with a gas hob I can do well in a power cut,same with the toaster. Popcorn thing, never had one, knives stay out, I use them.I lived in Asia and the rice cooker was on24/7! I don’t have one now.I have very few gadgets,blender, mini chopper,coffee maker,and an electric kettle, not tht common in the US but I am a Brit! I do have a hand mixer Ina cupboard . So I think well organized and not cluttered…BUT…can you advise on the 11 frying pans that My husband and I cannot seem to downsize, they at least are all different!

  38. Jamie Miller Reply to Jamie

    The toaster idea doesn’t fly with me. How much electricity are you wasting heating an oven???? And it’s not the same in a skillet, and again, time and energy waste.

  39. One of our kitchen walls backs up to our garage, so my husband cut through the wall and put the microwave in so it is flush with the wall. In the garage, it is supported by shelving. Definitely saved us some space!

  40. Joyce Garrison Reply to Joyce

    My kitchen has pull out shelves so I have our toaster on one with a cord that reaches an outlet just above it – I also have a lazy susan in one corner behind the refridgeration where it can’t be seen coming into the kitchen for things I use everyday and doesn’t take up much space – also have lazy susans on almost every shelf inside my cupboards – all helps but somehow I still manage to collect things on the counters!! Go figure!

  41. I can’t understand why so many people go off on the “whole oven for a slice of toast” angle – two choices were presented, each appropriate for a different volume of toast preparation. Obviously, under this scenario, one or two slices of toast would be done in a skillet, and a family size batch in the broiler. (personally, my eventual plan is for a fold-able wire camp toaster, kept in a drawer and used on the stove top)

    At this time, we MUST have a 4-slice electric toaster, because my MIL eats one slice of toast each morning – obviously, we need a 4-slice toaster on the counter 24/7.
    The microwave died last week. I do not miss it. MIL, (who lives with us, along with her collection of nearly forty primarily unused appliances), is going batty about not being able to warm her coffee… because she really must brew a whole pot each time for energy efficiency, and it gets stale sitting out if she uses the warmer on the coffee maker, and the thermos carafe only keeps it warm for a day…
    As a tea drinker, who needs only a small kettle on the burner, I’m finding it rather amusing.

    I’m not a fan of the empty-room kitchen, but I very much look forward to a day when there is room to breathe in here!

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