Four essential items for a small kitchen
Four must-have products for a tiny kitchen
You could say that I'm a small kitchen specialist. This is because for many years, I worked in interior design and during that time, kitchen planning was my specialty. I designed some beauties too - many of them huge. During my time as a kitchen designer, I always had tiny kitchens myself and longed for a vast one.
Then, one day, I did become the owner of a large kitchen. It was very pretty, too. But it was hard to work in - even though I planned the storage of items to be just where I needed them, there was just too much space.
Now, I have a tiny kitchen again and I love it. We work from home so the kitchen is used several times a day and there are four products that are essential for cooking in a tiny space.
A chopping board of exactly the right size
I think you might imagine that a chopping board would be quite low on the list of essentials but it's important.
This board doesn't only protect my counter top, it fits exactly above the small drawer next to the stove.
Because the working area is so small, this means that I have a handy place to put ingredients while I'm cooking or, importantly, a hot pan.
See the photographs below.
This is suspended over the sink. Although it's officially a drainer, and does that job well, it can also hold ingredients and utensils when you are cooking.
I use it a lot for preparing and rinsing vegetables.
An over-sink drainer
Actually, I'm not sure if this shouldn't have been in first place because I don't know how I'd manage without it.
I have no dishwasher and no drainer but this is is great in my tiny kitchen and adds extra storage and workspace when I'm cooking.
It's easy to store too although I have to confess that mine sits permanently on the sink.
If I just have to rinse a glass or a teacup,the drainer is right there to hold it. I find air drying more hygienic than using dishtowels ... and it's certainly a lot easier.
The one on the right is actually the superior version to my own - but now it's on my wish list.
See the pics.
Counter top corners are wasted space. So put this as far into the corner as possible, and it holds ingredients and other items I'll be using when cooking.
Then I can just swing it round and everything is to hand.
A lazy susan
I have yet to find out who Susan was and why she was lazy but I'm happy to have her in my kitchen.
Sitting in a corner, it holds ingredients and utensils and I can spin it round to access everything perfectly.
It stores vertically too so takes up almost no space.
As a bonus, you can also use it in the dining room and other places in the house.I have one on my worktable holding office items.
This folds and has a fabric hook so when it's not in use I hang it on the side of the fridge using a magnetic hook.
A drying mat
You know, it would be hard to manage without this.
When my over-sink drainer is in use, this mat is spread onto my ceramic stove top. It's the perfect way to dry the dishes - effortlessly.
Because I have no dishwasher, I prefer the dishes to air-dry.
I'm always a little suspicious of dish towels unless they are just out of the laundry.
And this is so much easier.
As before, see the images below.
See these four essential items in use in my own tiny kitchenClick thumbnail to view full-size
Working in a small kitchen
In the UK, I worked for many years as an interior designer specialising in kitchens. Here are some tips.
If you have a small kitchen, and long for a large one, then I'm happy to tell you that small kitchens truly are better. They are actually easier to work in. There are two ways of looking at it.
If you have a large family,or if you entertain friends casually, then a large kitchen is wonderful if you have several people working at the same time. I have fond memories of about eight of us working in a large kitchen, each with our own chores and we had a splendid time.
But when I worked designing kitchens, most of the time I was called in to make the most of small spaces.
Determine your needs
I devised a questionnaire that I used with my clients and the constant complaint most people had was that they didn't have enough storage space.
Another frequent request was for a dishwasher. In most cases, it was possible to find the space for one due to careful design - the smallest model available at that time (this was in the UK) was 450mm wide. In my own kitchen though, I decided NOT to use precious space.
I decided that the storage space was more important. Especially because we're in Florida, where we are prone to bad weather, I like to keep plenty of food in the house. Although most people hate doing the dishes, especially when space is limited, it's quick and easy.
Many of us these days have downsized to smaller homes for a variety of reasons. This usually means that we now have a smaller kitchen than we are accustomed to.
But living in a small space is fabulous. Most people who have downsized are very positive indeed about the move and wish they'd done it earlier. I've been involved in small space solutions for many years.
You can see my tiny home and get small space living tips here.
These are also useful if you're cooking in an RV or on a boat.
- Plan your kitchen well
- Be conscious of what you need. If you need extra workspace, consider the board-over-drawer idea above
- Avoid clutter, especially on work surfaces
- Keep cupboards (and the fridge) tidy
- Clean as you go
- Store items you don't use regularly elsewhere
- Keep 'stuff' to a minimum. If there are two of you, why have eight dinner plates in your kitchen?
- Remember that your sink is also a 'work surface'
- So is your stovetop - use a good quality cutting board
If you have more tips, please let me know in the comments section below.
Enjoy your small space!
© 2013 Jackie Jackson