Small Kitchen? 3 Simple Steps to Make It Work


Often, one of the challenges of living in a small apartment is having a small kitchen. Our little galley kitchen is no exception, so when we recently set out to reorganize and unclutter the space, we wanted to make it as efficient as possible. The changes were simple, but the results were amazing.

If you are ready to make your kitchen more functional, here are some tips for getting it done. (You might even feel like you have more space when you are through!)

Don’t Let George Foreman Lie to You

The kitchen is one place where many things that seemed like a good purchase at the time go to hide. When you find them, they are really good at one of two things:

1. Reminding you of the good times you used to have together, even if this was in the distant past.

2. Promising that they will bring you health, happiness and culinary prowess.

You might use that gadget. But have you? When? Remember, we define ourselves by what we do – not what we own.

A useful thing that is not being used is wasted. Add it to the Goodwill pile and give it the opportunity to make someone else’s culinary dreams come true.

Think In Stations

In his book Unstuff Your Life!, Andrew Mellen talks about organizing your kitchen into stations  – specific areas for specific tasks – as done in restaurant kitchens.

Start emptying your cupboards and drawers and grouping items together based on tasks/stations. Don’t start putting them away yet.

Now that you have everything sorted, start putting things away with or near their teammates. (Now is a good time to add things to the donation pile).

Here are a few that we came up with for our kitchen:

Food Prep & Seasoning: where food is chopped or otherwise taken from one form to another before cooking.
Tools: Cutting boards, knives, graters, peelers, ramekins, can opener, salad tongs, thermometer, etc.
Ingredients: spices, vinegars, oils, sauces, canned veggies, pasta, etc.

Baking: sugar, spice and the creation of yumminess.
Tools:  mixing bowls, whisks, measuring cups & spoons, parchment paper, beaters for electric hand mixer
Ingredients: sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, etc.
**Note: I used to keep flour in this space, but learned that it keeps best in the fridge. So that’s where it lives now.

Cooking: Stirring, flipping, movement of food over heat.
Tools: tongs, spatulas, etc.
**We purchased a utensil crock that sits near the stove. Now everything is easy to reach when we need it.

Food Storage: Putting it all away.
Tools: glass & plastic containers, plastic wrap, tin foil, Ziploc bags.

Beverages: Warm drinks, often with caffeine.
Tools: French press, tea pot, mugs
Ingredients: Tea, honey, sugar, agave syrup, hot chocolate. (Coffee lives in the freezer for freshness)

Respect the Countertop

One of the main complaints of people who have small kitchens is a lack of prep space.

If you want to make the most of your kitchen, you need to respect the countertop.

By this, I mean: Keep It Clear.

Don’t let paper clutter or other random items take up residence.

Consider putting small appliances (toaster, blender, etc.) in a cupboard and taking them out only when you use them.

A nice clean and empty countertop is a beautiful thing – whether you are using it to prep food or just walking into the kitchen to get a glass of water.

How can you make the most of your small kitchen?

(photo via Brick+Mortar)

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