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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.

centaur granite countertops black galaxy

Centaur label granite countertops “black galaxy” from BuildDirect.

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.

Mazama butcher block countertops appalachan collection

Mazama butcher block Countertops white oak Appalachian Collection from BuildDirect.

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.

Kaska Mosaic Tile iceland-pattern-room_1000

Kaska Mosaic Tile Fusion Blend Pattern Series “Iceland” from BuildDirect.

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.

Cabot glass mosaic iridescent series brown

Cabot glass mosaic wall tile kitchen backsplash “Brown” from the Iridescent Series.

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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Looking for materials to realize your vision for a new kitchen space? Take a look at this selection of kitchen and bath materials from BuildDirect that open up a world of possibilities for new kitchens.

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Rob Jones

Rob served as Editor-In-Chief of BuildDirect Blog: Life At Home from 2007-2016. He is a writer, Dad, content strategist, and music fan.