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. pamela mottinger Reply to pamela

    what is better flooring for a kitchen…hardwood or bamboo

    • I really enjoyed this article about removing stuff. Helped me a lot. Now I have to do it.

      If you have anymore hints about it I can use them all.

    • Pamela, a lot of that is down to the look you’re after. Either one will serve on a practical level, although the issue of moisture should be top of mind. With either type of floor, letting spilled liquids sit is to be avoided, particularly acidic liquids like red wine and tomato sauce.

      Thanks for comments!

    • Neither.
      They will wear out and need refinishing within five years. A waste of money, hard to clean, and look horrible unless you do constant repairs. And modern thin planks can only be refinished once.

      Go for tile – ceramic or vinyl. Ceramic lasts forever but use black or dark brown grouting because light colours will stain within days and will never look clean again. Vinyl is cheaper and softer and can be replaced easily when you get sick of the style.

      If you like the wood look, there are excellent copies of wood plank in both ceramic and vinyl.

      • While ‘Tile’ flooring provides visual continuity, it is ‘tough on the legs & feet – especially if you’re on your feet during your work day.

        I’d love to hear from others out there – to see if anyone has resolved this problem while using tile for flooring. Are there underlayments of foam or other materials, to cushion the impact? Thanks, Sue .

    • I have bamboo on my kitchen floor, and I love it. It is very durable, I have 2 dogs that race around and it has held up very well. It is almost 3 years I have had it.

      I have hardwood in my other rooms, and those of course are beautiful as well.

    • They’re both beautiful. However, Bamboo is sustainable resource. An entire bamboo forest can grow back in two years. A regular forest(with Pin, Maple, Oak etc) takes 50+. Depending on your feelings on the environment….. I’d go Bamboo, less of an environmental impact and a teeny carbon footprint for you!

    • Neither – wood and water do not mix. Never wash your hardwood or bamboo with water, use a cleaner specified for hardwood. Wood is a moving product – it shrinks in the winter when the heat is on and swells in the summer with the humidity, so the joints between the boards are always moving. If you must have hardwood, better to put down raw unfinished wood with no v-groove and to sand and finish on sight. Floors with have to be “buffed and coated down the road.

      Use LVT tile, ceramic or vinyl sheet goods. LVT tile looks like ceramics or natural stone, wood looks too, can be grouted or not, grout does not have to be treated and will not crack.

      • Z Flatman Reply to Z

        I have a maple floor in my kitchen. I have had it for 15 years and raised two children (each cooks dinner one night a week), two dogs, and a rabbit who all wander through this hub. The floor is great. Yes you want to wipe up spills in a timely fashion- but would you leave a spilled puddle of food on ceramic? I wash my floor with water and liquid dish soap using a damp sponge mop. I have slate tile in my entryway for wet boots etc., but could not stand on it to cook!
        I would not trade m hardwood for anything!

  2. If you have a double sink move the dish rack off the counter and into the other half of a the sink. Saves a ton of counter space.

    • Nice one. And I’m reminded of my own kitchen where dishes are concerned; do them as soon as possible!

    • or in my old apt I had floor space- so on a little bench thing the dish strainer went. was behind my faux prep station (open bookshelf) and out of site.

      in new apt no floor space- so bought little ikea wall mounted one and above the sink it sits.

      In old apt there were two of us so we used a bit more dishes (paper? plastic? are you mad!) so needed full sized drainer. in new place there is just me and my single mug, glass, bowl, plate and utensils each day drying in the rack.

  3. We just completed a kitchen purge and a major remodel. The kitchen is quite small so we got rid of a lot of small appliances to ensure we didn’t just fill up the countertop again. We got rid of the microwave and the toaster. Everyone balked at that initially but so far it’s worked out fine.

    We did NOT get rid of the rice cooker; here’s why. Cooking rice takes time … so much time that it’s common for folks to walk away and not come back until they smell the rice burning. A rice cooker stops itself. No more burned rice because one got distracted with other things.

    We also do not get rid of extra dishes. We host dinner parties and family holidays for 16 or more people. We never have enough dishes! We put them out of the way on top shelves when not in use. No need to have more than 6 or 8 dishes within easy reach.

    • Thanks for your comment, Leslie. And I’m glad you’re happy with your new kitchen, less the microwave, toaster, and all. You’re certainly right about rice – it takes a level of vigilance when you do it in the saucepan. A rice cooker simplifies it, for sure.

      Thanks again!

      • Our extra dishes we need for large gatherings are packed away in a large rubber container and stored in the garage where they are easy to get to when we have a party.

        • Extra dishes and glasses can definitely go, though it’s easy enough to store that set for special occasions somewhere else, like the garage, basement, attic, etc. I willingly got rid of many pots and pans and only keep the ones I actually use often (they can be stored in the stove’s broiler area to take up less cabinet space).

          The Microwave, however, is used DAILY and would be one of the last things to go. Our microwave is wall-mounted and takes up ZERO counter space.

          You’ve got to be KIDDING to suggest using cookie sheets or frying pans to make toast–extremely time-consuming and leaves messy pans to be cleaned. A MUCH better solution is to wrap the toast in aluminum foil and use your iron (stored in your laundry area, often just off the kitchen) to toast the bread. It’s fast, efficient, and leaves no messy pans to be washed. An iron also works well for quick grilled cheese (sandwich wrapped in aluminum foil, of course, and flipped over to toast both sides).

          You can also use breadboxes to store things like a toaster oven, giving you storage within the box as well as on top. With a little imagination you can regain counter space using storage within/on top.

          • Sandy

            WHAT??? Take the time to get the iron out, let it get hot enough to toast the bread, turn it and toast the other side? I think not. Not when I can put a piece of aluminum foil on a flat sheet, lay the bread down and set the timer for the bread, turn it and it’s done. AND no dirty sheet. And there’s always a chance of a little tiny hole in the aluminum foil for a grilled cheese sandwich so I think I’ll keep making ours the old-fashioned way. All it takes is one little frying pan or for a bigger family one big frying pan. And if you put your toaster in your breadbox, where are you going to keep your bread? Everybody has great ideas, thank all of you for sharing them.

    • Use one use paper or plastic plates for those occasions. I was guilty of always having a lot more than I needed, and I’m trying very hard to stop that.

    • Can’t imagine giving up our convection toaster oven as we use it all the time for toasting, cooking, reheating, and baking. A rice cooker, on the other hand… Cooking rice on the stove is a piece of cake and that 20 minutes to cook it means time to prep and cook the rest of the meal, set the table, etc.

      • I completely agree – also can’t do without coffee maker visible.

        • Coffee maker is now one of the simplest to get out of the kitchen. We have our Nespresso machine on an antique buffet in the great room, with a tall hurricane bottle full of the pods next to it. There are other selfcontained ones like Jura and DeLonghi that do all the grinding and tamping etc.for those that want their own beans.

    • Sandra McKenzie Reply to Sandra

      Another vote for keeping the rice cooker here. I use our rice cooker to make perfect steel-cut oatmeal. We also use it for cooking other grains such as bulgar or quinoa, as well as rice. Efficient and versatile, the rice cooker earns its place on the countertop.

      As for knives, I mostly agree that the three essentials are enough for most people, and don’t need to take up valuable kitchen real estate. How about a magnetic strip on the wall to hold the knives safely within reach while out of the way?

      • Great suggestions, Sandra. I love the phrase “earns its place on the countertop”. I think that’s really what we’re talking about here. And that’s going to look different from kitchen to kitchen, depending on whose kitchen it is.

        Thanks for comments!

      • Pauline Schmitt Reply to Pauline

        Thanks for the suggestions, Rob, and all the comments everyone else!

        I am currently gutting and redesigning my now-one-wall-galley kitchen to a bigger U-shaped + kitchen, and am considering everything. We really use the microwave and toaster oven, so they stay.
        I use pots and pans for popcorn (packaging of micro popcorn!), rice, grains, and reheating some things. I use a timer that clips to my clothing so burnt food and over-steeped tea is infrequent. I am intrigued by the rice cooker’s features mentioned here. Hmmm. (Long-cooking rice takes up to 45 minutes.)

        I agree with Sandra about the magnetic strip on the wall, which I have installed in every residence for 30 years. What’s on it? Heavy-duty scissors, peeler/corer, and 4 knives.

    • The article stated “Turn off heat completely.” No Burnt rice.

      I use this method with rice, corn on the cob and even boiling eggs. They don’t need the ‘boil’ to cook. just the heat.

  4. Heather Pendragon Reply to Heather

    DITCH DUPLICATES! I always seem to have a “back up” in case something breaks. How many vegetable peelers can one person possibly use?
    Also “specialty items” like cheese plates and cutesy little cheese tray markers, divided snack trays, tiny coffee spoons, ice creme spoons, itty bitty cheese and spread knives…too many whisks…and that’s only one drawer…don’t get me started on muffin tins in 4 different sizes and excess cookie sheets and cake pans. I’m eating Paleo and don’t ever even bake anymore…
    Maybe YOUR dietary preferences have also changed…cull accordingly!
    Gotta go…I’ve got “stuffed to overflowing” cupboards calling.
    Thanks for the motivation!

  5. Cynthia Griffin Reply to Cynthia

    Have to say while most of us have clutter in the kitchen you need to rethink your list. We only have toast on Sunday. That being said, I can’t fathom getting rid of the toaster. My four slice toaster is quick, efficient and uses a fraction of the energy it would take to heat my range’s broiler. I keep it in a lower cabinet, on top of a large cutting board and slide platters and cookie sheets on either side of it. And keeping a microwave in the family room so my kids can heat snacks and make popcorn is LUDICROUS! They can’t keep the kitchen counter clean. For the savings in exterminator fees alone, I will sacrifice the space above the range and keep the micro/range vent I have.

  6. Toaster and microwave stay: My husband uses both for lunch 5 of 7 days a week. I don’t have the other appliances. Since I use the coffeemaker only on weekends, it’s a candidate for moving off the counter, but cupboard space is as limited as counter space. Any suggestion for where else to keep the coffeemaker?

    • When I remodeled my kitchen, I gave up 2′ of counter space to install a tall (88″ Ikea) cabinet. I put 2 drawers down low and the large door at the top. Inside the upper door area, I installed a piece of butcher block at counter height. I also had an outlet put inside the cabinet. Now I have an area to store my toaster, coffee maker, mixer, & Magic Bullet. All of them, except for the mixer can be used right there and then shut behind the door. I also have lots of room for other storage. The rest of my counter now looks neat and clean without all the clutter.

    • I have one of those ‘Cube’ bookshelves inbetween my dining room and kitchen. I have my Keurig on top on one side. And I have three bins in three of the six cubes. One holds cook books(some are lined up in another cube), one holds my Keurig pods, and other coffees and teas, and the third has mugs! We’re redoing the cabinets this summer and therefore have to paint the walls to look nice, so I’m waiting to put a couple shelves above for ‘pretty’ or more visually appealing mugs! I’d attach a photo but it doesn’t look like we have that option!

  7. i think you recommending a sauce pan for deep frying is dangerous. But all the other tips seem really good. thank you

    • Hey Rose – can you tell us why you feel it’s dangerous?

      • Unless you know what you are doing and use a good oil thermometer, deep frying in a small pan can cause some pretty bad fat flash-ups. Also, many are using imprecise heat sources and with a gas oven an open flame can just increase the danger. Think of a deep fried turkey, and now move it to your kitchen and scale it down to something smaller. Deep fryers, for those who do a lot of frying have more reliable temperature control, come back up to temperature faster, are a good bit safer, usually come with a lid designed to close and prevent dangerous spattering and, if you are using them that often, you can often store the oil in the removable fryer “tub.”

        I have one, rarely use it except for fish fries, and since I have scads of kitchen storage space I’m keeping it. Plus there is no law that says little used kitchen appliances have to be stored in the kitchen. Plonk ‘em in the guest room if you really really want to keep it.

    • I use an enamelled dutch oven, and deep fry all the time. Of course it’s dangerous. So is reaching into an oven to pull out a red-hot cake pan, or chopping onions with a razor-sharp knife. Common sense! Pot holders! You will survive!

      p.s. I strain oil through coffee filters and reuse it. Peanut oil is not cheap!

  8. I did all the small things in the kitchen and dinning room, my Mother and daughter came home for Mother Day and said something was different , its made a big improvement

  9. I strongly disagree about getting rid of the toaster. It takes less energy to make toast in a toaster than to heat up the broiler in the oven.

    And in hot summer days, who needs more heat in the house?

  10. I can’t imagine why anyone would put a popcorn maker in their living room! Everything you need to make to pop corn is in the kitchen – the popcorn itself, the butter, the seasonings, the salt, the bowl. Same goes for the microwave.

    • Hey Barb,

      Well, it probably depends on whose living room it is, and the other elements that support the idea of a popcorn maker which are there, or any other appliance. Sounds like in yours, it would be a bad idea. But, in someone else’s, maybe it would be a different story. Thanks for comments!

  11. I would say for those who worry about rice on the stovetop, don’t burn it, bake it! That and bacon do best in the oven. You use the same ratios, set the Timer (it does take a bit longer) but it comes out completely perfect. Same with bacon, just put it on your cooling racks, with foil underneath and clean up is a super easy breeze.

    But, I can’t live without the microwave, we cook so many veggies in it as well as breakfast sandwiches, and the kidlet can do his own popcorn, and stuff so it’s going to stay. But since it doubles as the range hood it washes out even in the end. And since like so many others, we are making a lot of toast in the am, so the toaster gets a free pass.

  12. I’ve been looking at kitchen arrangements and floor plans and have seen a lot of “coffee stations” either in the kitchen, dining, or a nook. Anything from a large built in to a small counter space, but a dedicated area for coffee maker, cups, etc. away from the main kitchen work area. This seems convenient and if you have a small cabinet you could store the other previously mentioned appliances that are seldom used but still needed. For me this is going to replace a desk area in the eat in kitchen.

  13. I would agree with everything but the microwave. You can get them in various sizes, I would get a toaster over as well for toasting bread. It’s not as good as a pop-up one, but it’s more multii-purpose.

    You can get 90-second rice to cook in the microwave, or cook it the old-fashioned way on the stove-top. It’s not that difficult!.

  14. I agree on the energy consumption-

    The toaster takes less energy than my big ole gas range. I can control my toaster- my range is ancient and basically has on(high) or off(low). Plus the time! it takes 5 minutes for broil to reach- then a couple of minutes- with constant eye contact on it to brown- I have a diversion to putting my face in the bottom of my oven for checking for burnt toast.

    I agree that the deep fryer doesn’t have to be in there- unless you use often (3-4 times a month) in case- keep it, but maybe if anything scaling it down to small size (single person- single portion fry-daddy jr). I used to use the stove top but then storing the oil was a mess, cleaning my pot afterwards was a mess, my gas range is just on/off so again, controlling temp is not possible.

    I like the idea of single use appliances in rec rooms/ kitchenette areas, but – you have to prepare the food somewhere- rather prepare in my kitchen than in basement.

    You say rice cooking is easy on stove? I say use my stove. You will change your mind- I invested in a quality rice cooker/steamer because my rental kitchen is a nightmare in the summer- I can set it, forget it, and come back and eat it. Again who has time to keep opening the heating source (stove pot, broiler) to see if it is done? I cook nearly everything in my rice cooker during the summer (no outdoor bbq space for me).

    My microwave is small, hidden, and rarely used- but it is still essential for reheats. Again- live in an apartment with no ventaliation/fan/exhaust, ancient gas burner with two options (high/off) and then come and tell me about your alternative methods.

  15. Hey, folks, obviously these suggestions aren’t meant for everyone in every situation. Don’t take it personally. :-) The basic thoughts bear consideration, and what’s more we can translate them to other kitchen items that we may need to consider more seriously. So you need your toaster. That’s OK, it’s your kitchen. Do you use your crock pot? What about the waffle maker or electric orange juicer that you haven’t used in five years? Think beyond the specific thoughts presented to the things maybe you do need to address – like Aunt Minnie’s hideous gravy boat that you would never, ever put on your table – ever. ;-)

    Here’s a tip – if you aren’t sure if you can get along without an appliance, gizmo, gadget, etc.; try putting it/them in a box and socking it/them away for six months. If you don’t get it out for six months, you’re probably safe in getting rid of it/them – unless it’s a very-important-holiday-item type thingy. :-) Then maybe think about moving it permanently to remote storage so that it doesn’t take up room in a small kitchen.

  16. Microwave in the living-room? I don’t think so. And mine gets used pretty regularly as a single person. As does my toaster. I hate cooking, so it’s in and out of the kitchen for me. As for the rest – totally agree. My mother has plates in her cupboards that I haven’t seen used in decades. All the specialty makers (popcorn, rice cooker) what is wrong with the regular way of making them?

  17. M Kunkel Reply to M

    What about laptops and bills? My family always dumps everything onto the kitchen counters … including electronics … bills and whatnot. I am trying to determine where a ‘bill’ collector bin would be best however the kitchen layout has no space for such. Also laptops seem to be popular in the kitchen and has suffered due to that. I am thinking a small work space next to the kitchen will be ideal – still a good article though. Kids use the microwave like they do their right hand… so I couldn’t get rid of that. We have a rice cooker but we don’t use it anymore. It took so long to make rice in that and now that I got the hang of timing on rice on stove, it’s how we make rice now and it’s so much better!

  18. These are great ideas! We have a small kitchen in a nice rental apartment. Cabinets are set too high and too deep. Luckily we have a pantry, however, it too is too deep with non-moveable shelves. Although your list is not applicable to everything in our kitchen, it has spurred us to question our present layout and rethink the how, where and why of the utensils, storage and appliances in our kitchen. Many thanks for ‘turning the lights on’!

  19. Sheri McMahon Reply to Sheri

    I have a small microwave which I use a lot. I actually went for 12 years with no kitchen stove (long story) and managed Thanksgiving dinners using electric appliances including convection oven (Quasar that sadly finally croaked, it was almost 40 years old). Not to mention 15 amp fuses! So I got used to the microwave for routine cooking. For steaming and boiling stuff (like my morning oatmeal) it makes sense because I eat out of the same bowl I use to cook in.

    I use a pottery plant pot for wooden spoons (plus 2 metal spoons, one slotted for draining) and spatulas. The things that tangle (whisk, gravy whisk, spaghetti catcher, beaters for my mixer, which is a small handheld) go in a box in a drawer which also holds dishtowels and appliance cords secured with velcro strips. The hand mixer also fits in there.

    I have exactly 2 drawers in my kitchen. One holds tableware (which mostly sits in a wire basket I drain it in when I do dishes, the basket sits on a plastic tubby lid), knives, and pancake turners. The other one the above mentioned box with tangly tools, another small box for the towels, the electric cords, and my handheld mixer.

    My roommate uses one bowl he eats everything out of, one fork, one spoon he keeps in his room. But he’s an eccentric who cooks everything he eats–mostly he just eats meat and stuff out of cans–in a mini crockpot or else the microwave.

    • Sherri, you’re a bigger woman than I, to have lived for 12 years without a range! I did it last year for a month and cooked on a hot plate and toaster oven. It did teach me a lot though and it was similar to your experience. We need far less in the kitchen than we ever imagined. When my dishwasher went out, we used 4 plates and 2 sets of silverware. We hand washed after each meal, so we needed far less dishes…hmmm that never occurred to me. Someday I will downsize to an apartment so I am much less concerned about getting rid of my stuff than I used to be. Our grandparents had a much simpler life as they didn’t have all these electronic gadgets to supposedly make life ‘easier’. I’m committed to start living more like them.

  20. I don’t agree with many of your suggestions. This is something that each person that does the food prep should decide. I have a large family and I can’t see taking precious time to make toast. Also by preparing dinners that can be used for more than one day and reheated in the microwave is also a time saver. I do agree that each person should make the decisions on what is most helpful for their family. There is no absolute on what should not be included in the kitchen. I would want a kitchen that is work friendly and not have fancy things that need special care llike granite counter tops, but this is my preference, some individuals would prefer a fancy kitchen that is beautiful and maybe quite as functional.

  21. Ken Williams Reply to Ken

    I agree with some of the suggestions; however, we still use our microwave daily, as well as our toaster. Those two remain. Not all 8 suggestions will work for everyone, so perhaps the person that does the most cooking should decide what stays and what goes. As far as appliances in a family room or game room, that may work for some families; but, not all. That part wouldn’t work in my house. I can; however, go back over the list and see where maybe something else could go, or does it need to stay? The same with utensils, pans, lids, etc. I believe the article gives ideas on what can be changed, or not changed due to family use. It’s a good starting point for looking over the kitchen and see what you can do, or what you prefer, for the space in your kitchen.

  22. If we are considering things that don’t get used, then I should get rid of the oven before the microwave or toaster-oven. That’s all I use. Even when my kids were here, we did fish, muffins, french fries etc in toaster oven–saves energy and keeps house much cooler in summer (unlike your broiler method). Rarely even use range (could replace with hot plate). I only use the oven for Thanksgiving turkey–if I don’t go out–but I bet I could do that in microwave, too. Think of all the space we could save. without an oven…or maybe a much smaller oven/range combo, like they had in 40′s (and I had in college).

  23. Practical and I think we all could eliminate most of these items. .Replacing your microwave and traditional toaster with a toaster oven – you will have more counter space and healthier cooking practices. We agree and recomm, sandwich makers, are just space eaters…do we really need all these gadgets and appliances…

  24. Garage. I have a shelf unit just inside the door to the house. All my lesser used appliances go there. Coffee pot stored in original box. Corn pot, etc. on the shelves. When I need them they are easily accessible and my kitchen stays clutter free.

  25. Wow, Rob – With all due respect, I don’t think I will ever be hiring you to organize my kitchen. :) This list was obviously made without any regard whatsoever to true efficiency, economy, or safety (e.g., fire hazard). To each his own, I guess. :) Here’s my loose change worth of commentary on your suggestions …

    DEEP FRYER, SANDWICH MAKER, POPCORN MAKER – If these items truly are seldom used, but ARE used at least SOMETIMES, perhaps they could be stored in a nearby place like a shelf in the garage or basement, a hall closet, or some other less convenient but still accessible place in order to free up valuable kitchen real estate. I do think it’s a good idea to reassess all of your kitchen gadgetry at least once a year and evaluate whether your cooking/eating habits (and thus kitchenware needs) have changed, and consider eliminating those items that no longer get used. I echo the sentiments of other commenters on the impracticality of relocating these or any items to the den or other “hanging out” areas of the house, for the obvious reasons already stated: crumbs, bugs, more mess to clean up, and the fact that all of the accompaniments to such things as popcorn, coffee, etc., are typically located in the kitchen, especially the perishable stuff. I also think relocating things like microwaves and popcorn poppers to where you hang out the most just encourages more mindless overeating, because it’s right there in your face as a constant temptation. If there’s one thing most of us don’t need, it’s a nagging reminder to eat more junk!

    EXTRA DISHES OR GADGETS – It certainly makes sense to assess a practical quantity of dishes, glassware, and utensils that will serve your purpose for everyday use and remove the excess. But as other commenters have pointed out, if you have a large number of guests even just a few times a year, you want to have a sufficient number of dishes to go around, without the added expense or hassle of renting or borrowing additional place settings. But it does make sense to find a safe place elsewhere in the house to store the excess until you actually need to use them, in order to free up valuable kitchen real estate.

    I do make an exception regarding the gadgets, though. If you regularly use a dishwasher, especially if you have roommates or multiple family members in the house, and there are certain gadgets you are likely to use every day, such as a veggie peeler, spatula, chopping board, paring knife, whisk, etc., I find it very convenient to have multiples of these, especially if it takes a day or two to fill up the dishwasher in order to justify running it. Having multiples saves the hassle of having to dig the dirty gadget out of the dishwasher and wash the dried-on crusted gunk off of it in order to use it.

    If you don’t own or use a dishwasher and are good about keeping up with the dishes as you dirty them, then, of course, it makes sense to pare your supplies down to just one of most things, but if you use the dishwasher and have the space at all, multiples of those frequently used items are a better idea. This is also more efficient and economical as well, because not only are you saving time not having to wash a dirty item before using it, but you are saving on water (and the gas/electricity to heat it) and detergent (in the dishwasher scenario), because both items just get tossed into the dishwasher that is waiting to be run.

    RICE COOKER AND TOASTER – Your suggestion about cooking rice on the stove by bringing it to a boil and turning it off is interesting, and I will try this one day soon. But I disagree with your total dismissal of the need for a rice cooker and toaster, just because you can do it on the stove. In the case of the rice cooker, I echo the comments of others who tout the benefits of knowing that your rice is going to come out perfect every single time, without the stress or hassle of having to keep track of it. I know many people who have lamented the outcome of burnt or mushy rice, which can happen very quickly.

    And in the case of both the rice cooker and the toaster, it may have made sense 50 years ago to use the stove for Every.Little.Thing when the “Little Missus” was a slave to the kitchen, and there were no other options. But we are in the New Millennium, with our days filled up with too many things to do and not enough hours in the day to do them, and many of us are multitasking almost every waking moment. We don’t have time to stand over a frying pan to cook toast, and then spend additional time (and consumables) to wash the pan afterwards. Nor do we have time to worry about burnt or mushy rice. Being able to “set it and forget,” to borrow a quote from Ron Popeil, is a much more efficient use of our time and resources. For people who eat a lot of toast and bagels, a toaster is much more efficient than a frying pan on the stove or heating up the whole kitchen by turning on the oven (for toast – what a waste!). I will even add to that list by saying that a toaster oven can expand on that even further and save heat in the kitchen during the summer months. And to add even further to the clutter, an electric tea kettle (according to my research) is also more efficient than boiling water on the stove (whether your range is gas or electric). I always boil my water in the kettle and then add it to the pot, which GREATLY reduces the heat in the kitchen, in addition to using less energy.

    MICROWAVE – Even in the tiniest of kitchens, it’s possible to find room for a microwave if you are creative and can think outside the box. If your current microwave won’t fit, maybe consider getting a smaller one. But my microwave is not going anywhere, that’s for sure! I do MAJOR cooking once or twice a month, for the entire month. The kitchen turns into a sauna for a day or two, and it also becomes a disaster zone with all the accompanying mess of the food prep as I make voluminous quantities of many different dishes that I cook in the oven, stove, and Crockpot. I then happily stuff my freezer full of over a hundred single servings of many different kinds of delicious soups, entrees, casseroles, and servings of meats so that I have quick-and-easy grab-and-go meals every day for a month. It’s wonderful and so much more economical to just pop these single-serving entrees in the microwave each day rather than heating up the entire kitchen (and my tiny kitchen heats up QUICKLY!) every time I want a hot meal, and it saves me oodles of time in terms of daily food prep and cleanup. Plus, I eat healthier, because it eliminates the excuse that I don’t feel like cooking or don’t have anything yummy on hand to eat. The microwave stays!

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. YMMV. :)

    Karen :)

    • P.S. I wanted to clarify what I meant when I referred to a fire hazard in my original post. In this age of too much multitasking, not enough sleep, and being in “always on” mode with multiple interruptions, it’s SO EASY to INSTANTLY forget that you have something on the stove. Even a timer is not a guarantee you will not forget, because you may not be close enough to hear it. Forgetting about something on the stove, such as simmering rice or “frying pan toast” or “oven toast” can, of course, result in nasty burnt food that stinks up the house and results in waste and having to do it all over again. But it can also be a fire hazard and/or produce noxious fumes or smoke if it goes too long before being discovered. So the modern convenience of rice cookers, toasters, toaster ovens and other gadgets with timers, as well as microwaves can help to minimize that those risks as well as the potential for waste. Just sayin’. :)

      It’s not necessary to keep all of these things out on the counter, especially if they’re not used daily. If there is available cabinet space, they can be kept out of sight until needed.

      • All this discussion about fire hazards brings to mind an item that no one has recommended as a necessity for the kitchen: a fire extinguisher!! We have one in plain sight, and within easy reach, on a counter across from the stove. Thankfully, we’ve never had to use it (yet), but it’s comforting to know it’s there if needed. Being married to a Chief in the FDNY (New York City Fire Department) gives you a different perspective on what’s necessary in your kitchen!

      • I liked your post. Although it was a lighthearted article, I can’t imagine waiting for the oven or broiler to warm up, toasting one side then turning to toast another, all the while heating the kitchen, so turning the vent hood on, and then standing there to wait for the toast so it doesn’t burn! And, adding the clean up to it. Ha ha, not in my house; a toaster is practically a staple. The author may be too young to remember what that was like; I remember my grandmother burning toast all the time. And don’t get me started on cooking rice in a hurry.

    • Well said, Karen. I agree with almost everything you’ve said.

  26. sue stith Reply to sue

    What is your feeling on appliance garages, seems they first started coming out in about the early 90′s…usually stuck off in a corner on the counter and had a door or roll top to conceal them. They made absolutely sense to me, but took that counter space real estste.

  27. Not going to lie, the extra dishes tip kind of hit home for me. I never knew how much cabinet space I had.

  28. Cook rice in your microwave! It comes out perfect every time, fast, doesn’t need to be watched, doesn’t heat up the kitchen. Keep the multi-use microwave, ditch the rice cooker.

  29. Tammy O. Reply to Tammy

    After recently gutting our entire kitchen, I decided that I would truly design it to our taste and what worked best for us in a medium/small kitchen space. Tore down to bare walls & ceiling, re-insulated & vaulted the ceiling. Now have large niche area with tall stylistic pieces in silvers and blues, a tall feature wall (have done distressed silver leaf with a memorable piece of poetry written over it). When designing cabinet layout made sure that entire kitchen can look decluttered without having to fill countertops with small appliances. Have one area above countertop that has been designed a “breakfast cabinet” that holds toaster, kettle, coffee grinder, tea pot, coffee, tea, filters, honey & peanut butter. The only appliance on the countertop directly beneath this cabinet is the coffee maker. Also designated the cabinet above the refrigerator for those “hardly ever use” items. For lighting we did pendants over the work areas and a drum style chandelier over the seating area. Got rid of kitchen table & had peninsula built to keep with the light and airy feeling. We also kept the beam running through the kitchen and beefed up the look of it by cladding it and staining it to match the cabinets. Also doubled the width of the doorway. We’re always amazed when new people come over and are truly surprised by the job we’ve done (they have even taken pictures to use for their own kitchen ideas)! Hope our reno’s help to inspire!

  30. Coffee Pot, Paper Towel Holder, caddy for bills, and Toaster Oven on my counters…..Microwave across room on own cabinet so it doesn’t get in the way of the actual cooking area. Toaster oven nice little tool. Makes toast, bagels, etc….but could close top and heat bread, buns, cinammon rolls etc…

    And I agree….no rice cooker needed……I keep crock pot handy in upper cupboard and pull directly down when needed.

  31. I live in an apartment and decided it was time to gather some items that were becoming an eyesore in the kitchen. Aside from the plastic containers I kept telling myself I needed “just in case”, I got rid of the generic spice rack! It was the best decision I made because, I haven’t missed it and only realized it was gone again after reading this article.

  32. Jack Taylor Reply to Jack

    I definitely need the toaster and the rice cooker. The toaster doesn’t take long to warn up like the oven. I can toast bread, warm pizza, heat up left overs (I hate micro waves), etc. very quickly. It’s small and convenient. The rice cooker is a must if you really like rice. I can set it and forget it, it automatically shuts off and stays warm if you want. Rice on the stove top has to be watched, aint nobody got time for that.

  33. With the exception of a veg peeler, I have NO single use gadgets. No bullet, rice cooker etc. since my children are grown, I’ve become a “heater”not a cook, so a lot of cooking materials are gone. I get the most use of the microwave ( I even make tea in it), and toaster oven. I cleaned out my “junk” drawer and for rid of exta utensils..if ihaven’t used them in six months, they go.
    Ques” I live at the shore (six houses from the beach) and on a slab. Can I have a Hardwood flooring?

  34. I got rid of my stove. I almost always cook with the microwave, but do have a big convection toaster oven (will hold a 9X13 sheet cake pan, or a 14″ baking stone), an electric fry pan, an electric kettle, Crock-Pot, and a griddle. What did I get rid of? Mostly sauce pans and bigger oven pans.
    The micro sits on a small metal cabinet, with a shelf above it holding the convection oven. The other things are in the cabinet. Like most cooking techniques, producing edible, delicious food with a micro requires some instruction and experience, but once you get the hang of it – it is great!
    I have a blender, food processor, and stand mixer that I keep in a closet in a different room, and get one out for the rare occasions when their use is merited. (It is a lot easier to clean a knife or spoon than a machine.) I also own a one-burner butane stove, and a saucepan, to use when the power goes out. Enough is enough.

  35. Elaine Fitzgerald Reply to Elaine


  36. Here’s another thing you DON’T need in your kitchen: stainless steel appliances!! They are cold-looking, they are a pain in the neck to keep clean (smudges are never attractive), and they cost way more to purchase!! Stick with black when it comes to appliances: they work with any color scheme, they stay clean-looking even when you haven’t spent tons of time wiping them down, and they are as inexpensive as white! I love mine and would never have anything else!

    • Alex, I have a cleaning company and couldn’t agree more about stainless. They have a new finish that is just coming out called ‘granite’ which is a dark gray and doesn’t need polishing but it’s just coming into it’s own and not widely available. Black is great and that’s what I have but the problem is appliance companies only make stainless in the upgraded appliances which is really maddening. We’re kind of stuck at the moment. I even think white is going to make a comeback!

  37. If you use a toaster ….. they have one …..I would never use a skillet or oven for toasting my daily bread for breakfast….If you use a microwave…then have one on your counter or mounted…I have arthritis, so our sets on the counter.
    Kitchens are for ones use and having immaculate/sparse counters look nice in magazines and magazines are NOT the real world.

  38. Great way to keep stainless smugproof…use a thin coat of olive oil….works
    like magic……try it and you will never do anything else.

    • Try baby oil instead. Olive oil will eventually become ‘tacky’ and ruin your appliances finish. A little goes a long way, I use a cotton baby diaper to apply and polish. Also, for some reason baby oil holds up better to smudges and the rags you use to put it on can go right into the wash as it’s water soluble. If you use the spray stainless polish, those rags should not go in the wash.

  39. My electric popcorn maker went to Goodwill. I can make popcorn in the microwave.
    You are right about knives and I have gotten rid of several. Extra glasses and dishes and quite a bit of ovenware that was simply taking up space is gone! Did I really NEED ENOUUGH WINE glasses for 50 people? There was also a surplus of coffee mugs. I agree with all of your suggestions!

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