The 10 Commandments for Coping with a Small Kitchen

by: Carly Jacobs

Small kitchens can often be seen as a drawback for potential buyers and renters but they can actually be a blessing in disguise.

In a small kitchen, everything is within arm’s reach, you’re forced to work with a streamlined and minimalist set of cooking utensils and they take half as much time to clean as a larger kitchen. Benefits aside though, if you’re going to live in harmony with a small kitchen there are a few commandments you need to commit to.

1. Thou shalt not buy single use appliances

Single use appliances constitute those gadgety kitchen items that can only perform one set task. For example popcorn makers, cupcake makers, rice cookers, waffle irons and ice cream makers. Unless you’re committed to using a single use appliance daily, they shouldn’t be taking up valuable space in your small kitchen. Things like slow cookers, blenders and food processors are acceptable because they can be used to make multiple dishes. If you’re looking to cut down on kitchen space you need to ditch the cake/popcorn maker and novelty hotdog creation kit.

2. Thou shalt not keep items one does not use

This commandment follows on from the first. If you have items in your kitchen like an enormous novelty punch bowl from a Mexican party you threw four years ago and haven’t used since, you need to ditch it. Anything you use regularly can stay but things that never get used like corporate branded mugs and unattractive plate sets that no one remembers buying should be donated to charity as soon as possible.

3. Thou shalt be creative with storage solutions

Small kitchens are usually lacking in cupboard space so you need to get creative if you want a functional kitchen. Storage shops have excellent damage-free solutions for renters like cupboard shelving and suction cup container storage that you can stick to the insides of cupboards. Drawer dividers and open boxes are excellent for keeping your kitchen implements sorted and you can even use drawers dividers in your pantry to keep your boxed food neat and tidy.

4. Honour thy walls and thy vertical space

Never underestimate the power of going vertical. For renters, you can use stand-alone shelving and drawers to add extra space. Home owners can use any of the fantastic wall mounted options available. There’s no reason why you can’t have floor to ceiling shelving in your kitchen, with every day items stored at convenient heights and lesser used items stored on the higher shelves. Tip: If you simply must have your mini-pancake maker, store it up high and out of the way of every day items.

5. Thou shalt clean as one goes

Small kitchens can get messy very quickly so make sure you stay on top of cleanliness. Most small kitchens will require at least one load of dishwashing per day, depending on how many people live in the house. Be prompt with emptying your dishwasher and clean up after every meal and preparation session.

6. Thou shalt consider a kitchen island

One of the major drawbacks of a small kitchen is lack of bench space. It seems counterintuitive to purchase a kitchen island for an already small space but if your kitchen island is on wheels you can move it around to several different locations and push it out of the way when you’re not using it. Kitchen islands are great for extra storage too as most of them have shelving underneath the bench top.

7. Honour thy decorative essentials

If you have a gorgeous set of serving bowls or fancy salad tongs you love, you can put them on display. Hang them on the walls, place wooden spoons in a vase like a beautiful bunch of flowers or stack gorgeous bowls in haphazard piles on your shelves. By displaying attractive kitchen items you free up space in your drawers for essentials that you don’t necessarily want people to see.

8. Thou shalt think thin

Choose shelving, drawers and other furniture in the thinnest width available. CD shelving is fantastic for small kitchens because you can squeeze it into tight spaces and thin shelving is a great way to add extra storage without taking up too much floor space.

9. Thou shalt hang thy basket

Hanging baskets and containers can be an enormous space saver in small areas. You can hang baskets on the inside of your cupboard doors, you can hang them from the ceiling or from underneath your cabinets. You can even attach them to the wall behind the sink to store your dishcloth and kitchen plug to keep your counter tops clear and neat.

10. Thou shalt not give up

It can be easy to resign yourself to a life of chaos if you have a small kitchen but it’s important to remain positive. It might take a while to find the perfect formula but keep trying and experimenting with different storage and furniture arrangements until you find a method that works for you.

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