How to Downsize the Kitchen: An Achievable List of Necessities to Keep

Because I’m substantially downsizing, I decided to come up with what the basic “necessities” might be for each of my living areas; this week, we’re focusing on the kitchen.

Instead of focusing on what to declutter, I’ve been thinking in terms of what I absolutely “need” to keep.  I donated the rest.  

I’m putting “necessities” and “need” in quotes here.  I suppose that’s because I’m perpetually aware of my place of privilege in a world where so many don’t have their actual basic needs met.  Lucky I am to have clean food and water, clothing, and shelter from heat and cold.  Still, as a 21st-century citizen of the USA, I’ve been influenced in all the same ways as many to feel like I “need” so much.  Anyway, so much for the philosophy (and the quotation marks)…….

Following is a list of what I’ll stock my small kitchen with. 

I have similar lists for what I’ll need in my small living room, bedroom, office area, bathroom, and closet/utility/storage area.  (I’ll share those in upcoming posts.)

I’ll be in a 544 sq ft studio apartment (plus a very cool little enclosed front porch).  The kitchen will include a full-sized sink and sink base cabinet, a dishwasher, an upper and lower corner cabinet, one 30” base cabinet, and one upper / one lower 15” cabinet.  I’ll have a table with four chairs. 

Everything I mention below will fit into these spaces as I don’t really have other storage space for kitchen items. 

I’ll have a microwave and an apartment-sized fridge.  No range/oven.  The list doesn’t include consumables (food, paper products, dish soap, etc.).  

Food Prep and Storage:

  • Cutting boards – one for meat – one for everything else
  • Knives – chef, bread, utility, paring, steak
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Kitchen shears
  • Grater
  • Citrus juicer
  • Mixer – manual, mine is the OXO Good Grips Egg Beater. It takes up so much less space than an electric mixer and does what I need it to do.
  • Bowls – 2 glass. These will double as serving bowls – glass instead of metal because they’re more versatile (microwavable and oven-safe)
  • Rubber/silicone spatula 
  • Can/bottle opener
  • Corkscrew
  • Water filter pitcher – I use the Britta Elite, and some like others. A “gold standard” filter is Berkey or reverse osmosis. The need will vary based on the safety of your water supply.
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Food storage containers – 4 glass with lids and 4 silicone (I use Stasher Bags, there are other brands)
  • Colander
  • Ice cube trays
  • Blender (or food processor)


  • Combo toaster oven/air fryer – mine is the Our Place Wonder Oven – it’s compact and multifunctional 
  • Countertop 2-burner plugin cooktop
  • Crock Pot 
  • Skillets – one cast iron – one stainless steel with lid
  • Saucepans with lids – 1 qt and 3 qt
  • Soup pot/dutch oven/stock pot with lid – mine is 5 qt and enough for my needs.
  • Metal spatula/turner
  • Tongs
  • Wooden / bamboo stirring spoon
  • Coffee pot
  • Tea kettle
  • Oven/baking – pie pan and shield – loaf pan – 9×13 pan – Pyrex casserole dish and lid
  • Ovenmit/pot holder

Table Service:

  • Plates – 4 dinner and 4 lunch. I like Corelle as they take up less room and aren’t as breakable as others
  • Bowls – 4 soup/salad, also Corelle 
  • Glasses – 4 short, 4 taller and 2 silicone (non-breakable)
  • Napkins – 8 (I use cloth)
  • Placemats – 4
  • Spoons/Forks/Knives – 8 of each
  • Salt & pepper mills
  • Vinegar and oil cruets
  • Travel coffee flask/thermos
  • Travel water bottle

Cleaning etc

  • Trash can
  • Recycling can
  • Compost can
  • Dish drainer or mat
  • Dish cloths and towels
  • Cleaning cloths (I use instead of paper towels) – about 10

Some of these items are individualized to me.  Obviously, if you don’t drink coffee, you don’t need a coffee pot, and if you use paper napkins, you don’t need cloth ones. 

But you can look through the list and come up with your own essentials, so you know exactly what you can pare down to. And if you need an action plan for coming up with your own personalized list – here’s an article outlining the action plan.

✅ Let me know in the comments what your minimal kitchen necessities are!

I’m substantially downsizing, so I created a list for myself of all my basic necessities so I know exactly what I need to keep for my kitchen

About Rebecca Plasters

Hi - Rebecca Plasters here. I'm recently semi-retired having worked as a family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, school nurse, and public health administrator for decades. Yes, nurses have so many options! Minimalism has been calling my name for several years and I'm enjoying the progress I've made. I downsized from about 3000 sq ft and lived in a travel trailer in my barn while I built a 1200 sq ft house on a 27 acre farm. I have now sold the house / farm, moved cross country, and live in a 350 sq ft studio apartment. What an adventure! I've learned so much, found my own minimal style and am loving this simpler life.


  1. Cindy on 05/01/2024 at 12:37 pm

    That’s a wonderful list to see as I get ready to part with so many unnecessary kitchen items. In fact, I was just pondering earlier today how I’d like to get rid of my dishwasher. It’s been broken for over 5 years, and I don’t miss it at all. My dishes feel cleaner when washed by hand, and I could put shelves where the dishwasher is taking up wasted space.

  2. Jon Lawrence on 05/03/2024 at 6:33 am

    Thank you for your list.
    I’m in a 402 square foot studio.
    That I filled up right away so now I need to declatter so the kitchen will become. Practical thank you for your Way of starting. Reminding us what we truly need We are blessed living here in the u. Yes. A. Compared to many other people

  3. Chris Warren on 05/03/2024 at 8:44 am

    Instant pot!

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