My Essential Kitchen Tools (Plus What I Got Rid Of)

Want to create a minimalist kitchen? Here’s a list of our essential kitchen tools that we use daily, plus a few decluttering tips!

essential cooking tools including whisk can opener bench scraper kitchen scissors cast iron skillet measuring cups wooden spoons spatula citrus reamer vegetable brush

A big part of this blog is sharing our minimalism journey — how and what we declutter, things have have made our lives simpler, and tricks or habits we’ve picked up along the way.

I recently decluttered our kitchen drawers (and cleaned all of the crumbs and splatters — hallelujah) and thought I’d share my favorite essential kitchen tools, and what we ended up getting rid of!

We are fortunate to have a generous amount of storage space in our kitchen. But the downside is that we have more room for kitchen clutter to collect. I also do a fair amount of recipe development, food photography and editorial content for various clients and have accumulated extra pans and props because of my work — #foodbloggerproblems for reals.

As I went through each drawer, I made a list of our absolute must-have tools.

Side note: Anything linked is to the exact product or brand we have and love. Some links may be referral links which help support this little blog at no expense to you, so thank you!

essential cooking tools including whisk can opener bench scraper kitchen scissors cast iron skillet measuring cups wooden spoons spatula citrus reamer vegetable brush

Our Essential Kitchen Tools

A few fringe items I could live without but still use a fair amount are my ginger grater (I guess I could use my microplane though?) and an immersion blender for when I don’t need a super smooth puree and don’t feel like pulling out my beast of a blender.

kitchen equipment including garlic press citrus reamer wooden spoon and chain link scrubber on dark background

What I Got Rid Of

Most of what we got rid of were duplicates, things I rarely use, mysterious parts I couldn’t place, and gadgets that just seemed ridiculous. I’m looking at you avocado slicer!

  • Extra whisk
  • Handheld grater — I nearly lost a knuckle using this thing so I’m happy to see it go
  • Extra oven mitts — You guys. I had TEN. Last time I checked my husband and I had four hands between the two of us. We now have six (two have personal meaning but are on the thin side) and even that feels excessive!
  • Avocado slicer
  • Extra cutting boards
  • Old dying slow cooker — the Instant Pot does it all!
  • Mesh tea strainer — we now use our French press
  • Stainless steel Rubaway
  • Cut gloves
  • Extra can opener
  • Extra peeler
  • Rubber mason jar top for drinking
  • Extra measuring cups
  • Rice paddles

While decluttering our kitchen drawers, I moved lesser used tools to drawers a bit farther away from the ones I’m in-and-out of several times a day. Even a small bit of extra space in these drawers makes a big difference in helping keep them organized and tidy.

And while I was at it, I wiped down the inside of all of the drawers as I went through them. Let me tell you, it feels so good not having to look at crumbs and splatters every time I go to grab something.

kitchen equipment including whisk steamer wooden spoon bench scraper and cast iron skillet on dark background

Tips for Decluttering Kitchen Tools

I still have a couple of drawers to go through but starting with our most used drawers has made a huge difference. Here are some tips to help you declutter your kitchen tools

Start with one or two of your most frequently used drawer(s).

All you need is 10-15 minutes. Tackle the others as you have time.

Toss or donate:

  • Things you don’t use or love
  • Multiples of anything
  • Broken tools
  • Miscellaneous parts and pieces you can’t place
  • Single-purpose gadgets that another tool can do the

Group your most frequently used tools into one or two easily accessible drawers, and move lesser used items out of the way.

Wipe down the insides of the drawers as you shuffle things around.

For those fringe items —because I know we all have them— ask yourself these three questions to help you decide:

  • Is there another tool that can do the same job?
  • Does it save a lot of time or make cooking a lot easier?
  • Is it used often enough to justify keeping it? Or is it something you can borrow from a friend or neighbor?

Have 10-15 minutes to spare this weekend? Declutter one or two of your most used drawers.

It’s amazing what taking out a few unused or unnecessary items will do, and I guarantee those drawers will spark joy the next time (or next several times!) you open them.

If you’re on Instagram, we wanna see your most coveted kitchen tools, and what you’re unloading! Tag us @modernminimalism and hashtag #modernminimalism.

See ya there!


Author: Elle Penner M.P.H., R.D.

I'm Elle, Registered Dietitian and minimalism-obsessed mama with a thing for simplifying, particularly when it comes to clutter, calendars, and family meals. Favorite things include carbs, cooking, kid-free workouts, and high-waisted yoga pants.

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