Hello fellow apartment dwellers, miniscule cottage renters, and three star home-cooks working out of a no-star home-kitchen! After about a decade of cooking up cuisine in the smallest (sometimes barely functioning) kitchens imaginable, I feel like I know a thing or two about the tiny kitchen life. While I’m not cooking 5 course gourmet meals, I do prepare pretty much all my meals from home. So, here are my tiny tips and tricks…
Hang stuff on the walls. If you’re low on cabinet and storage space, maximize any wall real estate that’s available. Pots and pans, utensils, coffee mugs…all conveniently designed for hanging. If you have an open space behind your stove or sink, I love this DIY pot rack. Similarly, if you don’t have a drawer to dedicate to silverware, I would go for one of these silverware trees and pop it on your counter or even as a centerpiece on your table. We had these when I lived in Ireland but I’ve never really seen them utilized in America. Proving ONCE AGAIN that other countries are way more legit at space saving. ; )
Invest in mason jars. Versatility is key in the tiny kitchen and mason jars are useful for a million things. They can be used to store dry goods, pack away leftovers, keep a pretty flower, sip bourbon out of, and make overnight oats. The biggest thing I’ve found is I don’t need dedicated drinking glasses because I keep so many mason jars on hand. Plus, they’re hella cute. I’ve even sprayed a few tops with chalkboard paint for easy labeling!
Limit your small appliances. Learn to live without. I’ve gone without a microwave for a year and a half without ever really missing it. Most of the time, if I’m eating leftovers, it’s for lunch at work…and my work has a microwave. Any other reheating I need to do can be done in my oven or on a skillet. That’s what works for me! Although not a small appliance, I also don’t have a kitchen trashcan. I don’t have the floor space for one in my kitchen so I would have to keep it in one of my cabinets, a total waste of space in my opinion. I just use old bags to round up my trash and you’d be amazed how much easier it is to commit to recycling and composting when you utilize this method. Find what you can eliminate and adapt. Look out for “double” items. Do you have an electric tea kettle as well as one on your stove? What about a toaster AND toaster oven. Don’t double up! And finally, be on the look out for multi-purpose appliances that don’t take up much space. I’m lookin’ at you Magic Bullet.
Create your own counter space. If possible, don’t clutter valuable work space with a bunch of kitchen crap! Check out garage sales or Habitat ReStore for cheap rolling carts to store your coffee-making necessities (or toaster or blender or alcoholic beverage bottles…you get the idea). This one, from Ikea, is only thirty bucks. If counter space is REALLY limited, I would invest in an over-sized cutting board that fits over your sink. It will take up minimal space when not in use and you can whip it out when you need to chop some veggies or prepare a sandwich. This Kitchen Tour, from YouTube channel LightByCoco, models this tactic nicely.
Use what you have. One no-brainer thing that can clutter up a kitchen pretty quickly that we sometimes forget? Food! Designate at least a meal or two each week to use up stuff you have on hand and/or things that are about to go bad. Especially if you’re a household of just one or two, food waste can get out of hand. Shop your fridge and food cupboards before you shop the grocery. And if you have boxes of tea from a Christmas present that you know you’ll never drink or a bag of chia seeds from that cleanse recipe you thought looked neat that you know you’ll never eat…pass them along. Give them to a co-worker or friend who will use them. Don’t leave them sitting in your cabinet for the next year thinking SOME. DAY. Clear out some space!
Oh, and do your dishes!