If you’re looking to simplify your life, the kitchen is a logical place to start. It’s the hub of your home, and you spend time there at least a few times a day. Whether you’re just starting out or have accumulated years of holiday gifts for your kitchen, reducing clutter often equates to finding a few key tools that fit your kitchen.
The biggest space suck in your kitchen is often the pile of spoons, spatulas, turners and graters, plus the unique dishes it takes to serve up a perfect meal. Each one has a specific purpose, and that’s the problem. If you want to open up your storage and find what you need quickly, you need cooking and serving tools that tackle more than one job. Here are three types of kitchenware that solve such issues, plus some of the clutter you can let go of and donate to a local charity.
Multifunctional Cooking Tools: The Swiss Army Knives of Cooking
The easiest way to cut clutter in your kitchen drawers? Find single tools that take on many jobs. A seven-in-one tool, for example, can replace your can opener, bottle opener, garlic press and more. Imagine the room you can save when you clean out tools you use only occasionally and replace them with one tool you grab every day.
Sometimes, the tools you use transcend a phase in the mealtime process. Take condiment holders, for instance. Sure, you can use them to hold fixins at your barbecue, but they handle so much more than that. Before you even start grilling, use each compartment to separate the dry rubs, sauces and a small container of water for rinsing your basting brushes. This way, you have to just grab one caddy that’s safe to use on the go and head out to the grill instead of trying to balance a half dozen bowls and bottles. Clean them out and reuse them to serve up sides or extra sauce at the table.
Hybrid Serving Options: Take Back Your Cabinets and Drawers
Once you finish cooking, a minimalist approach to serving brings even more peace to your daily life. For example, an innovative pair of salad tongs turns into a spoon with a squeeze, so you need dirty only one dish to serve up all your veggies at dinner. Combine them with salad bowls that use ice to keep crisp greens cool or warm water to hold cooked vegetables at temperature, and you have an easy answer for bringing dinner to your plate every evening.
Likewise, a multi-tool for pasta is stainless steel instead of plastic. You can measure, stir and serve pasta and even grate fresh cheese using the back of the spoon. Toss your old spaghetti spoon, but hang onto that cheese grater if you can. It has several purposes, too. Use it to plane lemon and lime zest, shred your own bread into crumbs or grate fresh butter into baked goods to skip the wait for butter to soften.
Combo-Purpose Dishes: Leave Room for Dessert
You might’ve used one mug for everything from cereal to evening tea when you were younger, but you’re growing up now. That doesn’t mean you have to accrue a ton of specialty dishes, however. Rethink common kitchenware to get more mileage out of fewer items all the way through dessert. Take advantage of your favorite infused pitcher, for example, to create refreshing pitchers full of the flavors of fruits and herbs. Then, freeze the water in ice-cube trays and have delicious treats to add to after-dinner iced teas for a unique twist on a summer evening favorite.
Dipping bowls are also surprisingly useful as dessert servers, either as perfect-size bowls for a scoop of ice cream or as a handy toppings setup for family sundae night. They’re easy to clean and let you get rid of the quaint-but-crowded dessert cups and malt glasses that take up room in your cabinets.
With a little creative thinking, you can cut down the clutter and find your zen in the kitchen. Enjoy yourself and the extra space you save when everything in your kitchen works as hard as you do.