I have a small galley kitchen. It’s about 100 square feet if you took all the cabinets and appliances out. With everything in, there is 20 square feet of linoleum for me to maneuver in. Every inch is used properly. There are top and bottom cabinets and a decent layout for the appliances, including a dishwasher (thank goodness!), but there is only so much you can do in 100 square feet. My only sadness is that I wish I had drawers instead of cabinets on the bottom. My back isn’t the best (especially when pregnant). Squatting and digging around for what I need is downright painful.
All in all, I make our small kitchen work. It isn’t perfect and is more cluttered than I’d like, but I’ve worked with less and am thankful for more than 2 square feet of counter space like in my first apartment.
How to Use Your Space:
No Kid Zone. I keep baby gates on both entries into the kitchen, and unless Drake is helping me cook something, kids are not allowed. It is just too small to have kids running under my feet while I’m trying to chop vegetables or put something in the oven. We also don’t have to childproof it as much, and everyone stays safe. Luckily, the layout of our apartment allows for me to be in the kitchen and still able to see and hear the kids playing in the living room.
Clear the counter top as much as possible. I try to do this every night. It doesn’t always happen, but having a nice space clear makes me feel less squished in my kitchen. Before cooking something that requires a lot of space, I always make sure I have a nice working space. Sometimes this means putting the clutter on the kitchen table or stacked on the stove temporarily.
Put a cutting board over your sink. I don’t use the cutting board to chop on because it is unstable, but a large cutting board over the sink gives me a place to set things down.
Keep awkward equipment in baskets. I have a dollar store basket with my electric knife, pastry cutter, mixer, and immersion blender stored on a top shelf. It keeps all those cords and odd bits confined. When I need something, I just pull the whole basket down and dig it out. I also keep my spices in a big basket to contain the mayhem. (Spices are always full of mayhem.)
Use overhead space. I put bulky, never opened items on the top of my cabinets. It doesn’t look nice but using the space on top of my cabinets helps keep the countertop clear of bags of chips, packages of hamburger buns, and other food items I can’t find a place for. Unopened is important because I don’t want to deal with a mess up there.
How To Save Your Space:
No gadgets. Okay, some gadgets are useful, but be picky about what you buy for your kitchen. Always consider where you will put a gadget before you buy it and pick out space saving models. You don’t need a donut maker, cotton candy maker, and a breakfast sandwich maker unless you have a place to put them. I’d argue that even if you have a place, you probably don’t need them, but to each their own.
Minimal equipment. Two saute pans. One flat frying pan. One grill pan. Two sauce pans. One pasta pot. One pyrex casserole dish. Three roasting pans or cookie sheets. Nesting mixing bowls plus one spare. These plastic cutting boards. That is about all I use! I love these pots with the strainer lids because I hate washing strainers.
Minimal dinnerware. I keep enough dishes for six simple place settings. If we have company and need more than that (rare for us), I buy paper plates.
Kids dinnerware. Don’t buy anything that doesn’t nest! I love the Ikea KALAS plates and bowls because they stack. All those plates with the little compartments are great, but keeping them neat in the cupboard is impossible! I’ve pared down to the Ikea plates, Ikea bowls, a couple of plates with compartments, Munchkin cups, and a few specialty cups with straws or sports tops. I’m not buying anything more until those wear out!
Use other spaces for storage. I store a lot of the kitchen stuff I don’t use regularly in a hall closet or a in a nook by our bedroom where we put a shelf. I keep things like my stock pot, crock pot, extra peanut butter, juice, and spaghetti sauce there. It’s a mini stockpile!
Don’t over buy food. I only stock up when I get a good deal on something and the savings is significant or when it is an item we will use within three weeks.
Go through the cupboards. Go through your cupboards once a month. Donate what you know you will not use, throw away anything opened and stale, and reorganize. The process of organizing will remind you of what you have to use and clear some space.
Keep your cookbooks some place else. Plain and simple. They don’t need to be in the kitchen unless you’re using them. (Which is how often really?) This will keep them from getting dirty as well. (I like to type up my favorite and keep them in my recipe binder. If I spill food on them, no big deal!)
Having a small kitchen isn’t easy when you’re cooking for a family of four (soon to be five), but don’t lose heart! There’s one big advantage to a small kitchen I remind myself of daily… It’s less to clean!
Welcome to the family!
We are a laid back, fun, family of four living on a dime in 700 square feet. Life might not be perfect, but every moment of every day, it is beautiful.