This post goes out to my friend Miranda, whom just moved to a tiny kitchen and asked for some advice. Here’s all the wisdom I’ve got and all the things I’ve learned with living in a 9 x8 single-walled kitchen:
Consolidate and Group.
A favorite past-time of mine. Start with the spices. You’ll be surprised how many tiny things of oregano you’ve collected. Go through and check expiration dates first. Anything that’s expired, toss it. Then go through and consolidate the spices into one of the containers. Usually, this step cuts a spice collection in half.
Take this mindset and go to the fridge. Repeat with the pantry. Soon you’ll find more room in what you thought was a full shelf. Next, take this step and do it with the rest of your kitchen things. Group pots together, cooking utensils, flatware, cups, plates, etc;. Now for step two.
This is probably the easiest part. We had a huge kitchen before moving to our little flat in the city. Of course, we filled each nook and cranny with all the things. Once we brought all of our boxes into out flat, it was clear that what once fit into six and a half cabinets and six drawers wasn’t going to fit into three and a half cabinets and one drawer. (That’s right, we have one drawer!)
So the first thing I did was to go through and get rid of duplicates. I’ve never missed my four pots, and two have been loyal since. For example, we had 12 plates, 12 bowls, 12 forks and knives and spoons and 12 glasses. Now we have four of each. The more I critically examined what I collected, the easier it was to get rid of duplicates and the unnecessaries.
Do you have a lot of mugs? Do you love each mug the same? Probably not. This next step may echo that little book about tidying up, but I’ve always felt that you should love everything you own. Don’t settle for a mediocre mug you kind of like. You deserve better. You deserve to wake up each morning, reach for the coffee pot, and pour that coffee into an amazing and wonderfully loved mug. I know this might sound a bit crazy, but in all reality, I find that we usually only use one or two mugs out of our ten or twenty we own anyways. I think it’s because subconsciously, we want to use things that we adore and that make us happy.
This step takes this truth and creates an action that gives your more space. And more space is not only valuable in a tiny space, but makes you feel a bit lighter as well. So look over your mug collection and start segregating. And please, don’t keep anything out of obligation. Your sister doesn’t care if you donate a mug she bought you three Christmas’ ago. Once you’ve decided which mugs you’ve committed to and which you haven’t, place the ones you haven’t committed to in the donate box and move onto the next consolidated pile.
Give everything a home.
Now, before you put anything away, open all your cabinets and drawers. Take in the room and decide where you’re going to put your silverware. Probably the easiest place to start because everyone knows where they want to have the silverware. Next, decide where you want your bowls and plates. Continue with each pile, putting like with like. Know that these might move around as you find the pots and pans are inconveniently placed, or the glasses and cups would be better by the fridge. Whatever, you do you boo.
Other tiny tips we do:
• We keep our glasses in the freezer. This frees up space in the cabinet and keeps the glasses chilled too. Win-win.
• We got rid of our knife block and just kept the knives in the drawer with the silverware. Ikea has a cool magnetic wall strip you can buy which looks cool but I didn’t want our knives out.
• We got a crock from Ikea and put all of the cooking utensils and the big knives in there and then put it in a cabinet. It looks cute and it means less stuff on the counter top. Let’s face it, counter top space is gold here.
• Inserted shelving things were in the cabinets when we moved in and they have been a life saver. I would suggest them for the pantry and for mugs. However, for our mugs we screwed a wine glass holder to the top of the inside of the cabinet and hung them that way.
• We got a recipe box and put our favorite recipes from our many cookbooks and then donated all the cookbooks. This worked for us really well because as we all know, books take up a lot of space. Another solution for the cookbook dilemma is to keep your cookbooks with your other books instead of in the kitchen.
• We bought baskets to put above the cabinets to house baking supplies and spices. The other three baskets house books and our projector. This was Brooks’ idea and was a huge space saver in the house. Ideally I would love for there to be nothing above the cabinets but the storage was needed.
I think that’s everything I can think of! Remember, less things means more space.
Do you have any other tiny kitchen tips? Comment below for Miranda!