I’m Marie from Underground Crafter. If you’re like me, you love to cook, but you don’t necessarily love your small kitchen. Some of us are great cooks or bakers in spite of, rather than because of, our kitchens.
Whether you have a kitchenette or a portion of a communal kitchen, today I’m sharing five ways to get the most out of your small kitchen space.
Start with a realistic assessment of your cooking style and preferences
While people with larger kitchens have the luxury of collecting kitchen appliances and loading up the pantry, when space is at a premium, you’ll need to focus on what you really use.
Take a moment to think honestly about what you enjoy cooking or baking, and how you typically do it. Live in the now, not in the future. You can always make changes later if your habits change, too.
Be intentional about appliances
Kitchen appliances can take up a lot of of real estate, so limit yours to those you really use.
Once you have a good idea of what you like to cook and eat, go through your existing appliance and be brutal! Anything that isn’t used regularly, or doesn’t have at least two purposes, should be donated or recycled. Do the same for tableware and cutlery, since you can save a lot of space by trimming your place settings to a more realistic number. (Alternately, if you have storage elsewhere in your home, you can put aside seasonal items like the ice cream maker you only use in the summer.)
Going forward, consider making a 30-day list, a concept borrowed from personal finance. When you see that shiny new gadget, put it on a list. If, in 30 days, you still think that appliance would be a great addition to your kitchen (and you’ve already cleared a spot for it), you have my permission to bring it home.
Keep a shopping list
If you have an apartment-sized or compact refrigerator, or limited pantry space, you can’t really “stock up” on groceries items. Disorganized shopping can lead to “doubles” clogging up your shelves.
Keep a shopping list handy so you can remember to buy what you need. My kitchenette faces the entrance to my apartment, so I keep a magnetized pad and pen on the front door. You can also place one on the refrigerator, or take notes on your cell phone.
Shop, prep, and cook thoughtfully
One way to maximize the limitations of a small kitchen is to be very deliberate about what you cook and when. As you plan your meals for the week, make smaller portions to limit leftovers, or think about how to use elements from one meal in another. For example, buy smaller portions of meat if you don’t enjoy eating the same thing over the course of the week, or shop for several recipes using the same protein so you can reinvent those roasted chicken leftovers every day.
In my kitchen, counter space is limited, so once I clear off an area for the cutting board, I prep for several meals at once. I store diced seasonings and herbs, or chopped and peeled vegetables, in the refrigerator in plastic or glass containers.
The reality is that small spaces get cluttered much faster than expansive kitchens. This post has great tips for organizing a kitchen of any size. If you’re using a communal kitchen, be sure to think about a labeling system or color coded storage, too.
What are your favorite tips for maximizing space in your kitchen?
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