Living Small: In the Kitchen

We’ve always been the type of family who has lots of various kitchen appliances, such as the 4 slice-toaster, the flip waffle machine (yes, like the ones in the hotels), a food processor, a mixer, a blender, a crockpot. Not to mention pots and pans, and the various spoons and utensils that make life easier more often than not.

My husband loves to cook, and I love to bake. So, we are bound to have at least somewhat of a kitchen collection going at any one time.

It wasn’t until we had to get rid of so much of our stuff, that I realized just how much we had accumulated in our kitchen.

I remember having a particularly difficult time parting with a few of the gadgets that we got, in hopes of them becoming the next utilized staple in our kitchen. But, usually…that was not ever the case. So many things sat unused, or hardly ever used.

We really had to think deep and hard about what we had that we would actually end up needing, because when we first began our full-time traveling, we started out in an old pop-up camper trailer. We couldn’t take more than a small plastic tub full of utensils and kitchen supplies, because we only had one (very tiny!) drawer in the pop up camper.

Had we known we’d soon be in a bit of a larger camper, we might have just decided to bring a few additional things with us. But overall, it’s good that we got rid of all that we absolutely didn’t need, because then we were left with the basics, had enough room in the [pop-up] camper for everything that we brought to have its very own place, and less to contend with (the time to do dishes was cut at least in half).

When you are working on paring down to bare essentials, you ponder deeply about what you think and imagine life will be like once you’re living in smaller spaces. You almost have to imagine life, in your new tiny space. Imagine that new space, and how much (or in our case, how little) room you have to store all of your kitchen utensils. Next, imagine cooking and/or baking, and what basic tools and utensils you might need to cook, function, and make your meals – all while keeping in mind that you have to leave some things behind.

Base those thoughts on what you’re going to do, what you can live with, and what you can live without.

When it came time for us to pare down to bare basics, like I mentioned before, it was a challenge, because when you have so much, it can be hard to part with things you think you will need. But in actuality, they are really only things that you *think* you will need. Not things that you must have to function in the kitchen.

Here are the things we decided we should bring along with us:

A cup, plate, and bowl for each person in the family. (Update: We have since gotten more, so each person has 2 of each thing, since we no longer have a dishwasher, and sometimes keeping up with dishes before the following meal, is a challenge)

2 sets of silverware for each person

(and sometimes we buy plastic silverware if we are going to be especially busy)

1 large and 1 medium mixing bowl for cooking

1 large and 1 small spatula

1 can opener

1 mixing spoon

1 flat-style cheese grater

2 small cutting boards

1 baking pan (that is versatile and can be used to cook over a campfire)

A set of measuring cups, and measuring spoons

1 pizza slicer wheel

1 vegetable peeler

1 Convection Toaster Oven – that can bake, broil, and toast things

1 small frying pan

1 large sauce pan

1 small cooking pot

1 chain-scrubber (for cast iron and regular skillets)

Of course each of us have a water bottle, and then we also have our large water storage holder, because we do boondock, which means that we don’t have running water, and usually we are boondocking long enough that our water tank gets completely used up. So, we need to have that, out of necessity, to have enough water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and to use for flushing the toilet (if our tank empties).

Our RV has a fridge/freezer combo, which can be run off of electricity, or gas (which makes it handy for boondocking).

It also has a microwave, which we can use whenever we pay for an electric site, or when we run our generator.

Now that we have been living multiple months in an 8’x20′ camper space, with a kitchen that is merely 3’x4′ at most, we realize how crucial paring down and only having the basic necessary supplies is. Sure, there are…and have been times where we wished we could have a utensil, or appliance that we just don’t have. One of those is an oven! But not having all of the tools that we once had only makes us use our brains a little more, and get creative with how we do things. We can still get the job done. Sometimes we just have to take a couple of extra steps, and change up the way we have always done things, in order to get the same results, with less.

Whether you are reading this because you are interested to see how full-time travelers pare down to bare essentials and live with less, or whether you are reading this because YOU want to pare down (whether you want to live in a ‘tiny’ home of some sort, or just simply simplify your life and live with less around you) paring down your stuff is definitely doable.

No matter where you stand on the spectrum of simplifying, and minimizing, there is something that we recommend that people do, to try out the ‘simple’ life.

If you are at all wanting to pare down…in any way, shape, or form, we would like to challenge you to pare down.

Wait! Now that I really have your attention, and before you click out of here…hold on!

We don’t necessarily mean that we are challenging you to go and get rid of everything that isn’t a bare essential necessity in your kitchen. What we are challenging is that you get a plastic tub, or a box (and multiple, if you are anything like we were before traveling full-time in our RV), go through your kitchen and put everything that you think is NOT a necessary kitchen tool, utensil, or appliance that you would NEED to use in your kitchen…that you could get by without, into the tub(s) and/or box(es). Then, set those aside in another room, or the attic, where you can’t easily access them.

Keep them taped up, and packed away for at LEAST a month, to challenge yourself to live with only the things that you feel essential, and neccessary. Try it! Try to live with less. Try to see how creative you can get, with only having the very bare essentials to cook and bake with in your kitchen.

After the month has ended, see if there is anything that you didn’t really miss. Then, you can feel free to donate or sell those things that you found you really truly didn’t need, or use.

That is a really good way to start with paring down, and only having and owning things that you truly need, use, and treasure.

If you take on this challenge, please come back and let us know how it went for you. Did you end up learning that you could live with less than you did before you did the challenge? Did you miss anything that you packed away? Did you keep it all in the end, or give away everything? We want to know your experiences with paring down!

Stay tuned for future blog posts about paring down in different areas of the home!

Also – follow us on our journey on Social media, with the following social media outlets:


@ourtravelinghearts (our travel adventures and journey)

@deepermeaningtravelLLC (my husbands really awesome travel agency business)


Deeper Meaning Travel’s: Our Family’s Adventures

Deeper Meaning Travel (husbands travel business)

Email: (for our family’s travel journey) (for my husbands travel business)

Blog/Website: (our family travel blog) (husbands travel website)

This post was written for inclusion in the November 2018 collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series. And if there is a topic you’d like to see us write about, let us know!

Small Family Home — “Tiny House Kitchen Pare Down” : How getting rid of a third of our flatware made our kitchen a more pleasant space.
Little Bungalow — “Drawers Open: Kitchen Edition” : There’s no time like your eighth month of pregnancy to show off your spice cupboard! Moving clockwise around our (weirdly sizeable) kitchen and taking a look in all our drawers and cabinets plus some tips for paring down to kitchen essentials.
Deeper Meaning Travels — “Living Small: In the Kitchen” : Ever wonder how families living in a small space, manage their homes? Living in a small space requires less “stuff.” See how our family of 4 lives ‘small’, in the kitchen.
Fourth & West– “Our Essentials: The Kitchen” : A look at our not quite minimalist kitchen inventory
Tiny Ass Camper– “Bare Necessities: Kitchen” : A peek into our cabin kitchen & what we did differently in our Casita kitchen when we hit the road again this last spring.

Published by Annie

Wife - Mother - Daughter - Sister - Traveler - Photographer - Videographer - Dreamer - Goal Setter - Go Getter - Educator - Blogger - Mental Health Advocate - Adventure Seeker

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