I’m excited to share a few of my favorite ideas that make our tiny kitchen work for our family. These ideas are brought to you by Sears Home Appliances and Services.
For many of us, the holidays mean quality time in the kitchen. And even though we live in a small space, we’re cooking and baking and prepping for holiday meals at the barn, too.
Our entire apartment (at 320 square feet) is less than the size of some of those beautiful magazine kitchens. But our kitchen allows us to do everything we need – even though the space may be smaller than most are used to.
I get a lot of questions about how we like living in such a small space, and I’ve covered some of our thoughts here and here. But I’ve never talked specifically about the heart of most homes (including ours) – the kitchen.
Here are a few tricks and tips for making the most of a small kitchen – our own tiny kitchen and appliance hacks, if you will. (And most of these tips are great for any size kitchen, too.)
1. Find a place for everything.
This is more of a tip and less of a hack, but when you don’t have a lot of space, everything MUST have a home. If there’s lots of space, you don’t have to worry about it. But in a tiny kitchen, every spoon, plate and small appliance must have a place to be stored.
After you choose the best appliances and layout the space, there’s only so much space left.
In our case, anything new we bring into the space means something has to go away. The only thing that is allowed on the countertop is our coffeemaker. (Because, priorities.) Otherwise, items are stored away when not in use.
2. Use that vertical space.
In a similar way, every inch counts in a small space. Get the most of your kitchen by using those walls.
On the side of the cabinet near our microwave, I also mounted our spice rack. This is a great way to keep these items close-at-hand, and out of the way.
3. Keep a list going.
A grocery list is important for any family and kitchen. But if you don’t start making the list until you are on the way to the store, you will miss plenty of important things you need.
Our solution is a magnetic list that we keep on the side of our fridge with a pen. The rule is that if you use the last of an item, you write it on the list. If you don’t write it, it’s not going to be purchased.
4. Keep your freezer organized.
There are other ways to use lists to stay organized. For the past three years, we’ve purchased a part of a beef cow in the fall. It means we have a freezer full of ground beef, roasts and steaks. But it can also be easy to lose track of what we have.
Our solution isn’t fancy, but I write the quantity of each cut of beef we have on the top of the freezer using a dry erase marker. When I pull out a pound of ground beef, I just erase the number and rewrite the current amount.
This is a very low-tech way to keep track of what we have and need to use.
5. Think twice about cleaning supplies.
In a kitchen, cleaning supplies can take up an entire cabinet. But when there are only a few cabinets, cutting back on cleaning supplies can be a great way to free up space.
I limit my cleaning supplies to just a few things – Clorox wipes, Swiffer floor cleaners and EnviroCloths (from Norwex). The cloths and a dusting mitt are always hanging above my sink where they are easy to grab and use.
6. Make the most of the oven.
In larger kitchens, there is plenty of storage space for larger items – like roasters and deep crocks. But in our kitchen – that’s a luxury we don’t have. Many of the one-time-use items are stored away, but some things get used more often. Almost all of our pots and pans fit in the drawer under the oven. But some things are just too large.
My solution? Storage inside the oven. (Safety note: Please be sure that anything you have inside wouldn’t cause a fire if the oven is turned on. And to avoid preheating the oven with items inside, I put a magnet next to the display to remind me to take the pot out of the oven.)
7. Use crates and baskets.
Just like organizing other rooms, the kitchen can benefit from crates and baskets. I like to corral oversized items like bags of chips in a large crate on top of the fridge. (The top of the fridge can also be a great place to store small appliances and other rarely-used items.)
8. Skip the one-use items.
I am a sucker for gimmicks. If you tell me I need a mini pie maker, I will add it to my Christmas list. But then, I will never use it. (Ask me if this actually happened.)
Because I don’t really need to make mini-pies. Sorry, mini pie-maker.
When we moved into a smaller space, all those one-trick ponies got the boot. Instead, I’ve invested in small appliances, cooking utensils, and pots and pans that really get used! That means I spend a little more on quality pots and pans or a better quality coffee-maker, because they are used almost every day.
And then I don’t have to find space to store things I’ll never use.
My three-year-old loves to be self-sufficient. And I love when I don’t have to get everything for him.
That’s why we store all of his snacks in a bottom drawer where he can reach. And that’s also why we have a bottom drawer in the fridge that’s perfect for items he eats. I also like to store cleaned and chopped fruits and vegetables in that drawer for Henry.
10. Choose appliances that make sense for your home – and your family.
It may be pretty easy to convince a tiny home dweller to purchase smaller appliances to save space.
But in our case, a full size fridge and oven were non-negotiables. Had we purchased a tiny fridge or oven, it wouldn’t have suited our family and our needs. Instead, we chose a 30 inch fridge (considered “small” to today’s standards, but still plenty large for our family). And a counter-depth fridge would also be an amazing choice for small spaces.
We eat at home every day – many days, all three meals are made at home. That means that we need the space to store and cook food. By making the most of space we do have, following a few of the above hacks, and being honest about our needs, we have a space (and appliances) that works well for our family.
11. Get expert help.
You don’t have to choose appliances on your own. While the wealth of knowledge on the Internet can be tempting, there are experts at Sears Home Appliances and Services who can help.
Your job? Live in your home and love it. Their job? Help you find the appliances that will make you love your home even more. Turn to them for expert advice about appliances, repair, parts, warranties and home improvement.
And now, I want your best tips …
What are your favorite kitchen hacks?
Thank you to Sears Home Appliances and Services for sponsoring this post. And thanks to each of you for supporting NewlyWoodwards sponsors.