All things considered, we do not live in a small apartment. Reg and I have a two bedroom entirely to ourselves and our living room alone is a double-wide space. We feel very fortunate to have such a large, wonderful home to ourselves, especially since we’re on rent-control and it’s much, much more affordable than most places in the area. That said, our kitchen is not exactly optimal for someone who loves to cook. There’s virtually no built-in counter space other than the tiny square next to the sink and the cabinetry feels awkward and a bit like an after-thought.
Still, I’ve lived here for over four years and am a very passionate home cook and baker, so I’ve found many ways to get creative with the awkward room. Since I know many of you city-dwellers are also dealing with tiny kitchens perhaps not optimal for their primary purpose – cooking- I thought I’d share some pictures of what I’ve done and my tips for how you can improve your own tiny kitchens.
1. Get creative with levels and think up high!
I think one of the best things you can for small apartments, including kitchens, is take advantage of the space over your head. We hung a pot wrack above our stove to hold all our pots and pans, which are so awkward and large to try and fit in shelving. Also, although it’s not in this picture, we added some additional floating Ikea shelving above the windows where we can put baskets. These hold rags, extra dog toys, and even our drill, extension cords, and other home repair supplies.
2. Stick things to your fridge
Your fridge is great for holding much more than holiday cards and photographs. We have a magnetic paper towel dispenser that is just above our primary food prep area and a magnetic basket that holds pens, take-out menus, scissors, and masking tape for labeling things that go in the fridge.
3. Add a kitchen island or a cart
If you’re short on shelving or counters but have some floor space, I definitely recommend purchasing a kitchen island or a cart. We found this kitchen island on Craiglist for $150 and it’s the main place we prepare food. Because there’s shelving right underneath, we keep silverware, random cooking tools, and other supplies that are nice to have near-at-hand when you’re cooking so it’s easy to grab.
4. Make the most of cabinet and shelf space by using organizers
I can’t recommend The Container Store enough for getting random cabinet and shelf organizers. We have the one pictured above to easily reach our cleaning supplies in a deep cabinet. We have one for holding our tupperware lids, one for holding our baking racks, one for organizing our plastic wrap and other random boxes… Plus, we even got plastic shelves to put inside our selves to fit double the dishes inside! The options are seriously endless.
5. Get everything off your counters but the items you use daily
When you’re really limited in counter space like we are, it’s important to not have that valuable real estate being taken up by items you use less than daily. For example, we leave our coffee machine, butter, and salt and pepper on the kitchen island because we use them all the time. The toaster, which we still use a couple of times a week, goes into the cabinet.
What are the best ways that you’ve found to organize a small kitchen?