Any suggestions for managing the world's smallest kitchen? I have virtually no storage areas, and less than 2 square feet of counter (thus, trivets on the bedside table occasionally).

  • Posted by: mklug
  • November 15, 2010
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  • 18 Comments

18 Comments

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Martin69
Martin69 November 15, 2010

If it's your place, i.e. you own it, then build shelves on your wall. If you are renting you can build shelves and hang them on the walls. This would be between any cabnets and counter tops that you do have. Also there are small cabnets you can buy and put in the kitchen. Not much help, but been there done that.

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pierino
pierino November 15, 2010

I love this question. This is like cooking on a boat or a bus. Be brave. If you are living in say a studio apartment think of your living area as an extension of your kitchen. If you have a table in there, use that too. Move furniture aside and go to work. Think about a work surface that's mobile and on wheels so you can move it around where you need it.

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jwolfsthal
jwolfsthal November 15, 2010

magnet strips and metal siding on the walls. it allows you to stick anything - from spices, to pots and pan and utelsins on the walls.

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JessieLK
JessieLK November 15, 2010

I basically have the same issue, I've sort of solved it by using bookcases as shelves and I bought a rolling butcher block cart with storage underneith. I still need more space, but it works a lot better.

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mklug
mklug November 15, 2010

Pierino--it is exactly like cooking on a boat (but not moving)! I like your suggestion to see this as an adventure!

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RavensFeast
RavensFeast November 15, 2010

How much wall space do you have? I lived with a tiny kitchen in NYC...no cabinet space, but one decent-sized spare wall. I installed a peg board and kept nearly everything on it, from pots and pans to strainers and utensils. A hardware supply store will have everything you need. Domino Mag used to have a great tutorial online (RIP), these days I found an okay one from Apartment Therapy Kitchn:
http://www.thekitchn.com...

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RavensFeast
RavensFeast November 15, 2010

Well here's an even better tutorial for installing a pegboard:

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/chicago/how-to/how-to-install-a-pegboard-105114

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mrslarkin
mrslarkin November 15, 2010

Wow, you've just described my kitchen! It's always a challenge, but something you learn to live with. Small kitchens are underrated, I think. Much more organized, and it trains you to buy less stuff.

I find my hanging pot rack saves a ton of space.

My flat-top range is like another counter top.

I really should do a big pantry/equipment purge someday soon, and get rid of the stuff I haven't used in over a year - that will open up more room I'm sure.

Also, if you don't mind looking at big ugly plastic storage bins in your dining room, they are very helpful for keeping dry goods stashed away.

My favorite space-saving trick is stackable cooling racks. Got them from Pampered Chef a few years ago. I stack them 4-high.

Love the shelving and peg rack idea if you've got a wall. Very Julia Child-esque! Wish I had a spare wall.

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mklug
mklug November 15, 2010

Love the peg-board--it looks so organized and serene. (And I miss Domino, too!)

I think it's funny that it appears that most of you folks who do the most and most exciting cooking also have small kitchens--I'm thinking that those glam, giant kitchens might lead to apathy? Or never get used?

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Sadassa_Ulna
Sadassa_Ulna November 15, 2010

I am thinking of tools and equipment that are multi-use: a large pyrex mixing bowl can also be a serving bowl can also go in the oven as a round baking dish (thrift stores sometimes have great pyrex). I love my salad spinner even though it is large, but the clear plastic bowl of it could be a salad server if needed. A large cast iron skillet can be turned upside down for cooking pizzas, maybe cookies if you use parchment paper, and it is perfect for anything that starts on the stove and ends in the oven (frittatas, etc.) Also, there are all sorts of "fold-up" tools, I've seen fold up colanders, cutting boards, etc. Maybe bowls and cups that stack or nest to maximize cabinet space. Last, what can you hang form the ceiling? Those wire basket thingies are good for lighter items, fruit, etc. but you can also install hooks (find the joists or look for bolts that are intended for ceiling mount) so you can hang pots, colanders, etc . . . Definitely make it an adventure!

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campagnes
campagnes November 15, 2010

When I nannied regularly, it used to KILL me that the people with the most well-stocked, luxurious kitchens were the people who never used them. Inwardly I was screaming "Whyyyyy?!!?!?" haha. I was going to suggest the pegboard and magnetic strips, too.. they saved my sanity in my previous tiny kitchen. And I have about eight of those stackable cooling racks.. they are AWESOME.

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drbabs
drbabs November 15, 2010

I used to have a book called "Cooking in a Small Kitchen" by Arthur Schwatrz. Unfortunately it's not in print, but you can usually find used copies on Amazon or half.com. It had lots of suggestions for tools, recommendations for the minimum you need, and vintage 1970's recipes that are easy to manage in a small kitchen (and would be fun to update if only I hadn't given away my copy ages ago...)

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Verdigris
Verdigris November 15, 2010

I have done some of my most interesting cooking in a boat kitchen with a small four burner hob with oven, a 4 cubic foot refrigerator, sink and 30 inches of counter space. It meant shopping more frequently and tight menu planning but it's doable. Sharp knives are a must. A good cutting surface is essential. The comments about multi purpose tools is important as well.

Our house has the largest kitchen we have had in the 39 years we have been married. And there is still not enough storage space or counter space! After cooking in the previously mentioned small galley while narrowboating in the UK, I am working on purging little used equipment and making sure my stock of staples is used before buying more.

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Soozll
Soozll November 15, 2010

In one small kitchen I had, I'd open a drawer and center a large cutting board over it and close the drawer to hold the board firm. It at least gave me a little more surface space to work on.

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vvvanessa
vvvanessa November 15, 2010

i lived in an apartment with a kitchen that had no counterspace at all and no drawers at all. i bought a butcher block and used my small dining table, and sometimes i would leave things to cool on the air conditioner (not because it was cold but because it was, simply, a surface).

and then i learned about ironing boards, and they changed my life. not only are they very portable and can they fold down flat, but they are designed to withstand heat, so they worked brilliantly for all those cookie sheets putted right out of the oven. they aren't stable enough to do prep like cutting (or mine wasn't, anyway), but i could lay out my ingredients on them. i covered mine with dishtowels to help keep them clean.

they also make for good buffet tables (pushed against a wall for stability) or low coffee tables with a tablecloth thrown over them.

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mrslarkin
mrslarkin November 15, 2010

Soozll's open drawer trick and vvvanessa's ironing board technique are genious!! I'm gonna have to steal those. Thanks for the great tips!! :)

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vvvanessa
vvvanessa November 15, 2010

i meant "pulled" from the oven, not "putted." sorry if that was confusing!

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innoabrd
innoabrd November 16, 2010

be organized. very, very organized. everything you have needs to have a place, and it needs to be in that place except when you're not using it. You MUST clean as you go. A good habit anyway, but you have to do or you'll end up with spills and tears. One pot meals are good, things like stews and soups (once did a Vietnamese hotpot in my 11' x 15' NYC walk-up). So are dishes that can be prepared ahead of time and served warm, but not piping hot. Indian food is great for that!

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