I have actually enjoyed many wonderful meals made by people who have created the feasts in tiny kitchens. These kitchens are so small that it is possible to lean over and stir a sauce while kicking a drawer closed with a leg extended in a small but impressive Ninja-like move.
Here are some tips for making the most of your space:
You have to think economically about your space. Storage is key. Adding floating shelves, a magnetic knife bar, a wine rack and pot racks are just a few ideas. Utilizing the space on top of your shelves and refrigerator can help a great deal for larger items and things you don’t use daily. Wire risers for your shelves can often double your shelf space. Storage organizers can help you maximize your drawer and shelf space.
Hanging things can free up a lot of space. Adding little hooks to the walls, the sides of cabinets and inside cabinet doors can help you free up counter space. You can hang pot lids or pot holders on the inside of a cabinet door. Hanging items you use frequently like measuring cups can free up drawer space for other items you don’t use as frequently.
You can add a magnetic strip to the bottom of a cabinet for spice storage. It will also be a lot easier to see which spice you need, rather than rummaging through a cabinet or a drawer. A spice rack on a wall is another alternative, if you have the wall space. Mugs or small tools can be hung underneath a cabinet with small hooks. It is also a good space for a wine rack.
Over-the-counter cutting boards can help when you have limited counter space and help prepping and chopping to be done more efficiently by being closer to a faucet. A slide-out prep station can also increase the counter space needed for prepping and chopping. A hollowed-out prep station or utility cart increases counter space while adding more storage. They provide work-top space for chopping, prepping or cooling and often have wheels so they can be moved out of the way if you don’t need the workspace.
Multiuse items are very important. You want to select a pan that can do several jobs catering to what you cook most frequently. It is tempting to get single-use items like an omelet pan. If you don’t eat omelets every day, there is certainly a pan you can get that can handle a few more tasks as well as the occasional omelet.
Double boilers are wonderful. If you have a smaller pan that fits in another pan or a bowl, you can create a double boiler without buying one for that specific purpose.
If you don’t have room for a professional kitchen-grade mixer, a stick blender can accomplish so much and will take up a lot less of your valuable kitchen real estate. Stick blenders have attachments to increase the jobs they can do and will still take up less space.
A universal top that fits several pans is another huge space saver.
If a Crock-Pot is not something you will use every day, it might be one of those things that take up space and collect dust. It might be better to have a larger pot that has many more useful applications. A fine mesh strainer can strain rice, strain pasta, rinse vegetables, sift flour or dust baked goods with powdered sugar or cocoa.
You may feel a garlic press is necessary for your kitchen. I personally enjoy smashing garlic. I find it therapeutic and satisfyingly productive. I use the flat bottom of a Pusser’s cup and a very basic chef’s knife. My mother does not see the need for a whisk when she can use an old fork that has served her very well for many years.
It is really up to you to decide what is mandatory in your kitchen. Your kitchen, your rules — you are the emperor of all you survey. It just takes a bit of thought, time and a very small amount of money to make your kitchen function more efficiently.
Having an organized kitchen will make it much easier to create wonderful meals and will make that process much more enjoyable even in the smallest of kitchens.
Nancy Simmons Starrs is the founder and president of Apartment Detectives, a D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia apartment-search service.