Today’s global economy makes access to “things” so incredibly easy that if you’re not careful, you might find yourself surrounded by stuff you don’t even want (or like). Just like in the 1970s, the Minimalist movement is again taking America by storm. From the emergence of “Tiny Homes” to the ever-popular “Konmari” method, people are starting to see the benefit of getting rid of clutter.

It’s important to note, however, that minimalism is more than just clearing off your countertops: it’s a mentality and way of life. If you truly want to live as a minimalist, you need to be ruthless as you cut the excess out of your life and thoughtful as you introduce new things back into your house. You can embrace the Depression Era adage, “Use it up, wear it out; make it do, or do without,” as you analyze each object’s worth.

If you have found yourself wanting to pare down, the kitchen is an excellent place to start because it tends to accumulate the most clutter.

Cabinets

How you use your cabinets can make all the difference in how effectively you live the minimalist lifestyle. Cabinets keep your food and tools safe and accessible, while keeping them out of sight and out of mind. As you design your kitchen cabinets, look for neutral greys, whites, navy, charcoal, and browns. Keep the faces of your cabinets flat and streamlined, and look for door and drawer pulls that are simple and functional.

A lot of minimalist kitchens are forgoing upper cabinets and replacing them with open shelving. Not only does going this open up more space and make the kitchen seem larger, but it can also help you stick to the clutter-free mentality and display some of the dishes you love. If you’re worried about having sufficient space for your pots and pans, you can always hang them from a pot rack above your bar or stovetop.

Countertops

Minimalist kitchens give off the aura of calmness, so you want to steer clear of any loud or flashy patterns or colors. Try to stick to solids or small patterns in a single, contrasting color against your cabinetry. Quartz and marble make excellent countertops because of their durability and functionality, and they can tie all of the different colors and elements together when used as a backsplash. Concrete countertops are also highly durable and versatile, and they can be produced with few or no seams. In a minimalist kitchen, the fewer seams, the better!

Lighting

The lighting in your kitchen should be as natural as possible because that is one of the hallmarks of minimalist living. If you don’t have very many windows in your kitchen, look for unique and bold light fixtures. Don’t be afraid to install a chunky, unique, or colorful chandelier to brighten up the space and add interest. Your lighting solutions can emphasize natural beauty or create a very dramatic space depending on which style, material, and color you choose.

Décor

It might feel a little counterproductive to have décor in a minimalist kitchen, but just because you don’t have extra things laying around, doesn’t mean that you have to be boring. You just have to be purposeful in how you decorate. Try to stick to either a monochromatic look or a few colors within the same color scheme. Don’t be afraid to add a pop of contrasting color through a bowl of fresh fruit, bright upholstery, tasteful artwork, or charming tools and appliances.

Appliances and Tools

Which brings us to our last point: appliances and tools. The main thing to consider when picking out which appliances and tools to keep or toss is each tool’s ability to meet multiple needs. You shouldn’t even consider keeping that mango pitter or egg slicer – just get rid of them! A single, well-made paring knife would do the trick to pit your mangoes, slice your eggs, peel your potatoes, and on and on.

As you go through your kitchen tools, ask yourself when you last used each thing. If it was more than six months ago, you probably don’t need to keep it around. That goes for rice cookers (you can use a saucepan), egg cookers (again, a saucepan), popcorn popper (sauce pan or paper bag works great for popping popcorn), and bread maker (would love to say I use mine regularly, but…)

You should also probably get rid of duplicates because nobody needs three sets of measuring cups, two cheese graters, and 12 coffee mugs. One thing that allows successful minimalists to be efficient is that they live by the idea of mise en place, which is a French term for everything in its place. You don’t necessarily need 45 spatulas if you wash the one or two you have right after you use them and then put them away.

Whether you are making the change for financial reasons or just because you need a change, going the minimalist way can bring you a lot of joy and satisfaction. If you’ve ever asked a person who went minimalist what they think about it, they most likely told you that they don’t miss all the “things” because what they have left, they love.