This weekend (between throwing up and feeling pants thanks to some kind of virus) I started sorting through our kitchen cupboards and drawer *yep you heard that right we have a single drawer in our kitchen which really annoys me* and I quickly came to realise that we have way too much stuff! Admittedly a lot of the random stuff we owned was given to us as wedding presents five years ago; despite us having a gift list we received quite a lot of random ‘things’ and household pieces, yep even two toasters, but a lot of it wasn’t to our taste or anything that we would actually use. I always felt guilty about getting rid of items that were given to us as gifts but actually it was really freeing to start to de-clutter the kitchen.
Our kitchen is pretty small but we still ended up with three large cardboard boxes and a black sack of things to donate to charity or chuck in the rubbish if it was broken or useless. Of course I donated as much as we could – i’m a firm believer in that age old saying of ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ and don’t like to waste where possible.
Even after the de-clutter we seem to have a LOT of kitchen stuff and gadgets and it got me to thinking – what is it that you actually need in a kitchen? What are the bare essentials for a working family kitchen?
Of course it depends on the family and the kind of things you like to cook but I decided to put together a list of the essentials for us – I’m sure it would come in handy for anyone who wants a checklist of items that they might need for their first home or even anyone who just wants to pare back and embrace a more minimalist, simpler lifestyle.
These are the bare minimum essentials for our own family kitchen although we do also have a Breville Blend Active blender for smoothies or soups and our Brita Fill and Go Water bottles (oh and a large thermos for taking coffee and soup out in the colder months!). Here are a few tips for helping you to get the most of your kitchen essentials:
- When it comes to chopping boards I like to have a plastic one for chopping raw meat and use a wooden one only for fruit and vegetables
- If you get a deeper frying pan with a lid it can also be used as a second saucepan or wok
- When picking utensils that will touch your cookware make sure you choose wooden or rubber ones so that they don’t scratch the non-stick or enamel surfaces
- A slow cooker that has a ovenproof inner dish will mean it can double up for cooking roast meats, slow cookers can also be used to cook soups and stews so you don’t need an additional large saucepan
- Using an electric steamer to cook your vegetables means that you can do several varieties using little space and effort
- A pretty mixing bowl can double up as a serving or salad bowl – the same goes for the roasting dishes
- Opt for the best quality knives that you can afford
- ‘Pasta Bowls’ are an alternative to having several different varieties of tableware – they are deep enough to use as bowls for soups, cereals etc, but are also shallow enough to use as an alternative to a full sized plate
- Unless you are a regular wine drinker stick to simple tumblers – they can be used for any type of beverage. I added tulip glasses as they can be used for beer *i’m a craft beer drinker* although i’m sure they could go as wine glasses at a push!
I asked some of my favourite bloggers which items were their ‘kitchen essentials’ and which they never ever used – here is what they said!
Rosie from Life Through Rosie’s Lens can’t live without her Ikea Potato Ricer as she can’t stand lumpy mash | Hello Deborah loves her blender for making homemade soup but thinks her spiraliser was a complete waste of money | Lots of bloggers including Jaymee, Samantha, and Kate can’t live without their coffee machines – I feel you ladies! | Clare and Hayley swear by their actifry machines but one thinks potato ricers are the most useless gadget and the other can’t understand why there’s such a thing as an avocado knife *I’m with you there Hayley* | Hannah from The Amphletts says ” I couldn’t live without my kettle – tea & coffee is the only way to survive the day as a mama, (until it’s time for gin) even if it’s always cold! 😝As for the worst item, there’s a long list as my Dad tends to bring us the latest handy tool from Lakeland – you know the place with the things you didn’t know you needed until you looked in the catalogue & thought ‘how have I survived without one of those, genius idea, I must buy!’? So we’ve got egg poachers, those funny bags to put a toasted sandwich in the toaster (but we’ve also got a sandwich toaster we’ve never used) & these...http://www.lakeland.co.uk/71081/Small-Poppy-Lid – work the same as cling film if I’m honest!” *I used to love looking through the Lakeland catalogue at all of the things you suddenly think you need ha* | Lauren from Dilan & Me says “The best thing I’ve ever bought in my life is an apple cutter thing. It cuts it into wedges and removes the core in one movement – genius!!!!”| And Jemma from Mayflower Blogs is a girl after my own heart as she said “My slow cooker! I literally do EVERYTHING in it! I can hide veggies in the kids dinners, go out leaving dinner on and I don’t have to stand over the oven stirring stuff!”
What would be an essential in your kitchen and what gadget or gizmo could you definitely live without?