Minimalist kitchen? Not for

The Minimalist Kitchen – Can Minimalism Sacrifice Function?

There was a post on FB a few weeks ago where Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist showed us his minimalist kitchen. I’d post a link, but you know me, way too lazy to do that. Plus it wouldn’t work unless you follow him. Evidently the photo was very exciting for some. For me, quite the opposite.

Let me start by saying I’ve got nothing against Mr. Becker. He’s a best-selling author of many minimalist-related books, speaks about his minimalist lifestyle quite often, and lives his own version of a minimalist lifestyle – so in my books he’s doing something good.

That being said…

The panning photo shared by Joshua let us see his minimalist kitchen starting with a desk with granite countertop – very nice. Then it panned over to the stove, then the kitchen island, and in the background was more counter and cabinets, and finishing with the fridge.

Throughout the kitchen, not a single item was visible on said counters, save a soap dispenser. Nothing. No coffee maker. No toaster. No knife set. Probably close to 20 linear feet of counter, completely bare. It looked move-in ready.

Facebook comments ensued. Some people seemed to gush with enthusiasm over this minimalist kitchen look. Others took the alternate route – some saying it lacked life, personality, and character. I fell into the latter group with this thinking.

One person’s comment asked “how do you make toast”, which resulted in Joshua replying “With the toaster…”. Hey, ask a stupid question! But the ensuing replies revealed that after every use the Becker’s apparently put everything away.

Nope. I’m not buying into that.

Our toaster (oven) stayed on our counter because we used it every day – or close to it. Our coffee maker stayed on the counter because we used it every day. Some kitchen knives stayed on the counter because we used them every day. Putting them away would have taken time, then digging them out again would take even more time. It seems like a waste of time to do this every day. Additionally, we didn’t have as many cabinets, so we would have had to get quite creative!

As house sitters we’ve seen a lot of different homes. I mean A LOT of different homes! And every single house sit we’ve enjoyed thus far has had stuff on the counter. Granted, there is some stuff that doesn’t get use regularly, so if we see an item or gadget we won’t use while house sitting (or that we’ll seldom use), then yes, absolutely we put that stuff away until needed.

But why sacrifice function for a minimalist kitchen?

I’m sure there will be people come down on me for daring attack someone’s way of living and their idea of a minimalist kitchen. I’m not judging him, I’m just not buying this whole “put everything away” methodology. House sitting aside, all the homes I’ve ever been in had stuff right there on the counter. Every. Single. House.

Why do people do this?

Because having stuff on your counter that you use every day is functional.

Now about that empty counter; where are the laptop cables at the desk? Or the coffee mug full of pens stolen from previous corporate jobs? Or the post-it notepads full of million-dollar inventions, notes to family members, or blog ideas? And come on, no poster of a cat hanging from a clothesline which reads “Hang in there”?

Where’s the notepad for making a grocery list? Oh wait, we used to keep our grocery list in a drawer.

There is absolutely nothing on the fridge! You have kids – show off their artwork, or their grades, or their soccer schedule. Maybe you don’t want to play sides, I get it, but can’t you put up a calendar noting when to change the Brita Filter. Or a tacky gift shop fridge-magnet given to you by a whacky Aunt? Something!

And where’s the cookie jar? Come on man, do you want your kids to risk growing up never understanding the meaning of having their hands “caught in the cookie jar”. Someone’s going to say that phrase to them and they’re going to tilt their heads like a confused dog because they don’t have a cookie jar!

Maybe this next one just wasn’t visible, but when you wash your hands, where’s the towel, or any dish towel? Do you have one of those amazing Dyson hand-dryers under the sink? Or do you just wipe your hands on your pants? Hey, confession; when I used to wear socks I’d wipe my hands on them while sitting at the table – usually if I was eating wings or pizza and I got sauce on my fingers. Only in winter though, summer = no socks. So okay, you don’t need a towel, you wear socks.

But no coffee maker? Okay, maybe you don’t drink coffee? If not, dude, I’m starting to think you’re some sort of cyborg that re-energizes itself with empty spaces.

Putting stuff away makes sense when you’re not going to use it very often. Taking time to put stuff away that you use every day seems borderline OCD. Or full-on OCD. I don’t know, I don’t have OCD, I have CDO because I like things in order.

So, is this a trend he’s trying to start? Is this minimalist kitchen even minimalism at all, or is it just putting stuff away?

Well, here’s the deal. I’ve said it before, when it comes to minimalism there are no rules, try as some people might to implement some. Our motto is do more stuff with less stuff. Maybe Joshua Becker’s motto is “put all your stuff away”.

Myself, I prefer function. I don’t buy into this minimalist kitchen with zero small appliances, dishes, cookie jars, notes, or troll dolls visible anywhere, but if this is how the Beckers choose to keep their kitchen, hey, go for it.  You have a following larger than the population of Iceland so it must work. But if this is something you think your followers should all try, I’m going to have go all Iceland on you and leave you out in the cold on this one! 

Now go sell put all your stuff away and tell us how it feels!



8 thoughts on “The Minimalist Kitchen – Can Minimalism Sacrifice Function?”

  1. Thank you for this post! I felt that the comments by many of the fans were too aggressive, but I wondered, where was the minimalism? For me, it is simpler to keep our toaster oven, dish rack, cutting knives, salt and butter bowl, compost bowl and produce out on the counter because it makes our lives simpler. And creates space for what’s important. But, hey, that is just my form of minimalism. To each their own.

    1. Thanks for commenting Courtney. Some were aggressively negative, others were a little aggressively positive. I just didn’t understand his concept, still don’t. But it’s not for me to understand his ‘why’.

      Totally agree about making lives simpler by leaving stuff on the counter. Funny enough, the current house sit we’re on we put the 2-slice toaster away…but if it was a toaster oven – not a chance – that thing would stay out 24/7 🙂

  2. I’d rather spend time with family than waste time constantly putting things that I use every single day away. I mean I’m Asian and have a very personal relationship with my rice cooker. But again, to each his own. My motto is good for them, not for me.

    1. YES! Well, we don’t have kids as we are just two big kids ourselves, but YES! In the back of my head I had to question whether this is how they really live, putting stuff away like that. And we love your motto Darlene!

  3. Our place is really small and packing space is at a premium, but even if this wasn’t the case we’d still have stuff out. It’s just more practical and saves time and hassle. I mean, I’m a crazy OCD neat freak and even I couldn’t cope in JB’s kitchen! Also, we love our blender too much to stuff it away in a cupboard. 🙂

    1. Yeah, maybe when you have as many cabinets they do it’s okay to put stuff away? I dunno. He urges everyone to try it, but we know we wouldn’t like it, so there’s no need for us to try it. We prefer function. To each their own I suppose!

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