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Four essential items for a small kitchen

Updated on April 30, 2015
Four essential items every small kitchen should have
Four essential items every small kitchen should have | Source

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.


Prepworks by Progressive by Progressive Collapsible Over-The-Sink Dish Drainer
Prepworks by Progressive by Progressive Collapsible Over-The-Sink Dish Drainer

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.

.

Mountain Woods 18" Lazy Susan
Mountain Woods 18" Lazy Susan

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.

The Original™ Dish Drying Mat XL Microfiber, Absorbent, Machine Washable, Fast Drying 18X24 DUAL SURFACE (BLACK)
The Original™ Dish Drying Mat XL Microfiber, Absorbent, Machine Washable, Fast Drying 18X24 DUAL SURFACE (BLACK)

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 kitchen

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This has so many uses in my tiny kitchen.I love this mat - it's so much more hygienic than dish towels.This is a drainer for dishes, extra workspace and great for cleaning vegetablesI can't put a hot pan on the countertop but I can put it here.My tiny kitchen.
This has so many uses in my tiny kitchen.
This has so many uses in my tiny kitchen.
I love this mat - it's so much more hygienic than dish towels.
I love this mat - it's so much more hygienic than dish towels.
This is a drainer for dishes, extra workspace and great for cleaning vegetables
This is a drainer for dishes, extra workspace and great for cleaning vegetables
I can't put a hot pan on the countertop but I can put it here.
I can't put a hot pan on the countertop but I can put it here.
My tiny kitchen.
My tiny kitchen.

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.

Here's how to create more and here are tips for cooking in a tiny kitchen.

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.

Here's how.

Downsizing

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.

Kitchen tips

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

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    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 3 years ago

      I have an RV and have just started to explore items that have multiple uses.

    • ThisisMissyMiss profile image

      Mommy 3 years ago from The Fabulous Midwest

      I'm still laughing at the Lazy Susan thing.

    • Hairdresser007 profile image

      James Jordan 3 years ago from Burbank, CA

      I like this lens. It gives me some great ideas.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      I like the idea of the lazy suzanne for my kotatsu table. Space is greatly limited on a 4' X 4' table.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      A lazy Susan comes in very handy for many different uses. My favorite is on the kitchen table to hold condiments.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Elsie Hagley: It is SO very useful. Because it stores vertically, it can live in a cupboard or even down the side of the refrigerator when not in use.But I use mine at least twice a day.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Interesting, like your review.Yes I would like to know why the name lazy susan also, when I first read it, it was a mystery, but after reading your review I now know, unusual name though, looks like a good thing to have.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @sousababy: So true.What I love about tiny kitchens is that one can stand in the middle, gently rotate, and everything is right at hand. I knew someone once whose sink was in a side room (a butler's pantry) so very far from the stove and the refrigerator - craziness! There was no way that the cook could even drain a pan of simple spaghetti without endangering children and pets that were underfoot. I truly believe that small kitchens are safer.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 4 years ago

      Oh, I agree about too much space in larger kitchens - especially those with an island. I found myself dropping prepped veggies on the floor while carrying them from island to the stove. I miss having a cutting board right beside my stove. And those collapsible over-the-sink dish drainers are so much easier to store than huge round colanders.

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