Erin Rooney Doland is Editor-in-Chief of the home and office organizing blog Unclutterer.com.
I live in a mid-century modern home designed by the architect Charles M. Goodman. It is a quirky house with two perpendicular walls made of glass, and the other two walls made of concrete. My friends lovingly refer to it as “1960’s vision of the future.”
Twenty years after the house was built, the then-current homeowner decided to do away with the beautiful metal cabinetry in the kitchen and replace it with plywood and laminate cupboards. To add insult to injury, the redesign included only two drawers — and each drawer is just a measly 9 in. wide and 18 in. deep. I feel that I need to show you a picture at this point so that you don’t think I’m lying to you:
(Toaster included to provide a source of scale for the drawers. Aye, limited space indeed!)
For now, a kitchen redesign isn’t in the budget, so I have had to learn to live with a two-drawer kitchen. One of the drawers is for forks, butter knives and spoons, and the second drawer is saved for food preparation utensils. All carving and pairing knives are kept in a wood block on the top of the counter, which is the safest storage solution at this time.
With only one drawer and inches of storage space for food preparation utensils, I have come to learn what are the minimalist and bare necessity utensils for the kitchen:
- Can opener
- Rubber spatula
- Bottle top opener
- Dry ingredient measuring cups
- Liquid ingredient measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Cake/pie server
- Meat thermometer
Since there are only 11 truly necessary items, I actually have a little extra room in my drawer and have found that I also can store a handful of luxury utensils that speed up food preparation:
- Ice cream scoop (substitute: large spoon)
- Vegetable peeler (substitute: pairing knife)
- Garlic press (substitute: base of a mug)
- Pizza cutter (substitute: knife)
- Funnel (substitute: rolled up paper)
- Melon baller (substitute: spoon)
- Silicon pastry brush (substitute: wadded up paper towel)
- Meat tenderizer (substitute: your fist or a hammer)
How does your collection of food preparation utensils compare to this list? Are your drawers filled with clutter? Can you weed out the non-essential items and find room to store what you really need? Imagine you had my two-drawer kitchen — what would you keep and what would go?
I enjoy wood paneled station wagons, German food and senior citizens (I am 80 years old at heart). Nearly every weekend I am taking photos at other people's weddings and I have a blog of my own (but I don't update it often enough). I love to paint, sew and knit. Check out my DP Staff profile on Hatch.