BuildDirect Blog: Life at Home

8 Things You DON’T Need In Your Kitchen

small kitchen uncluttered counters 8 Things You DONT Need In Your Kitchen

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.



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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.

  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.

  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.

  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!

  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?


  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.

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