No matter how simple you strive to make your life, you’ll still always have to eat food. And while you could in theory eat out for every meal, it’s healthier, less expensive, and brings your closer to your food to cook at home.

I keep a minimalist approach to all the rooms in my home, and the kitchen is no exception. The kitchen is the epicenter for your nutritional needs, and in most houses, it’s also a common gathering place for family and friends.

Keeping your kitchen “simple” is easier than you might think. With some basic principles of organization, along with some good evaluation what you need to eat, you’ll be able to make your kitchen a more simple and effective place.

Simple Kitchen Principles

First, let’s knock out some principles of making your kitchen more simple.

80/20 Everything  – I’ve written in the past about the “law of the vital few“. Applied to your kitchen, 20% of the items in your kitchen are used 80% of the time. That means that a small portion of your cookware and tableware does most of the work. It also means that most of the stuff in your kitchen sits idle.

Eating Simple Helps – I follow a pretty simple diet; which is cook things that grow in the ground, or ate what grew in the ground. Eating a simple diet means that I need less fancy items in my kitchen to cook over-refined or produced food products.

Your Needs are Unique – Recognize that each person has a unique diet and nutritional outlook that works for them. Just because I don’t eat bread, and don’t require a toaster in my kitchen, doesn’t mean that is the same for you. On the flip-side, don’t think you need an item just because everybody else has one.

My Cookware

At the heart of my kitchen is one main piece of cookware – the cast iron pan. It’s one of the most versatile pieces of cookware I have. I use it cook meats, vegetables, and starches almost every meal. Beyond that, the rest of my cookware are essentially accessories that I use during the prep and cooking process.

  • Cast Iron Pan(s)
  • Cutting Board
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Stainless Steel Pots
  • Cooking Utensils (spoon, spatula, tongs)

You’ll notice that I don’t have an Instapot™, an egg cooker, or a specialized quesadilla maker. I fully realize that additional cookware can be used in niche food prep, I’m willing to make the extra effort for the occasional occurrence where I cook a specific food.

My Appliances

When it comes to appliances, a refrigerator/freezer and a stove are really all you need.

Keeping your food fresh and safe to eat is critical to any kitchen. For good reason, over 97% of homes in the United States have a working refrigerator. That doesn’t mean you need the most fancy one, just opt to purchase one that works.

For a stove and oven, you really can’t beat a good gas setup. Cooking with natural gas makes it easy to control the temperature of the range, and more consistently cook your meals.

Other appliances? We have a dishwasher, microwave, and a 4 cup coffee brewer.

My Tableware

I still remember the confusion that came over me when my wife and I sat down to make our wedding registry. I had no idea that there were so many necessary items to have in a kitchen and dining room setup.

Speciality forks for this occasion. Specialty plates for this dish. These types of beer glasses, those types of wine glasses. All must haves for any adult home…

Plates, bowls, silverware and drinking glasses. That’s all your really need. Unless you have a favorite dish you make often that necessitates specialty tableware items, you’re cabinet space will thank you if you keep your tableware simple.

A Simple Kitchen

By keeping our kitchen setup simple, we have plenty of counter and cabinet space. It helps keep the room feeling open, as well as allows for plenty of room for food preparation.

Because a diet is such a personal thing, how you use your kitchen is going to be unique to you. But if you keep your cookware, appliances and tableware to only what you need for frequent cooking, it should be easy for you to maintain a simple kitchen.


  1. laura ann
    June 8, 2018

    Gotto agree, kitchen can really be a clutter trap. I say purge every so often things not being used or items replaced by something else. I got rid of extra mugs, cookware not used, etc. recently. We eat simple foods mainly plant based, small meat portions, I don’t make desserts.

    • James
      June 10, 2018

      That’s a good point about purging every once and a while. It’s easy to accumulate random mugs and glassware!

  2. Slackerjo
    June 9, 2018

    My kitchen is minuscule. The prep area of the counter is a whopping 15 inches wide. I made a kitchen island out of a dresser so I can have some vertical storage. I also hang stuff on the lone wall and have only a few dishes. I live in a tiny apartment so I’m not really set up for entertaining but that’s okay because I am surrounded by dozens of restaurants.


Leave a Reply