Smart ways our food editor maximized space in her tiny kitchen
Our food editor loves to cook but doesn't have much space to do it in. Here's how she reorganized things to make the most of her small kitchen.
When I renovated my small, galley-style kitchen in my New York City apartment, there were some major space issues that I really wanted to address. I had never seemed to have the time or energy to deal with them before, so I seized the opportunity -- and total upheaval -- of the reno to completely reorganize. Here were my biggest small-space concerns and how I tackled them.
Issue #1: Not enough counter space
Counter space is a precious commodity in any kitchen, but particularly in a small one. Without enough room to spread out, cooking can quickly devolve into a stressful nightmare. To free up more counter space, I installed a long, wall-mounted magnetic knife strip, thus eliminating the need for a space-hogging knife block. The magnetic strip also more easily accommodated my eclectic collection of knives (3 chef's knives, 3 paring, 2 serrated, 1 extra long slicer, 1 cleaver, 1 boning knife, and more) that would never fit in one block anyway. If you have small kids, place the knife strip high enough so it's out of their reach or storing your knives in a drawer, if you have one to spare.
Issue #2: Too many unused tools out on the counter
To pick what I stored on my counter vs. stashed in the drawer, I just had to sit down and viciously weed out tools that I don't use on a daily basis. I wanted to go from three crocks on my counter for holding cooking utensils to two. Potato masher and balloon whisk? In the drawer you go! Wooden spoons and tongs? Stay right where you are. Everybody's list of regular-use tools will be slightly different, so you have to decide for yourself which ones are your countertop essentials.
Issue #3: Limited access to pots and pans
I have so many pots and pans and I love and use them all. But my cookware hoarding meant I also had to store pots stacked in tall towers two rows deep under my kitchen sink. This made it difficult (and loud!) to access all but the ones at the tops of the front-most stacks. When I replaced all the cabinets in my kitchen, I knew I wanted to install at least a couple of deep, wide drawers to hold short stacks of my pots. Now my cookware is super easy to identify and reach. We have similar drawers at the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen and they are fantastic. For my skillets, I installed metal shelving from which we hang them in a neat little row -- now they're both part of the décor and within easy reach.
Issue #4: Using the oven as storage
Like many who live in a typical, New York City apartment, I use my oven for storage (pans, cookie sheets, etc.), but it made it such a hassle every time I wanted to, you know, actually use my oven. This meant being ruthless once more and actually getting rid of never-used/broken items, like that thermal lunchbox someone gave me 5 years ago, storage containers with no lids, and some splintered bamboo placemats. With a little purging, shifting, and rearranging, everything I really need has its space and my oven is free and clear any time I need to roast or bake.
Issue #5: Hard to get into lower cabinets
I was so excited when my deep cabinets were installed. Extra storage space, huzzah! The ones that were drawers worked beautifully, but we quickly realized that it would be impossible to access the things located in the back of the shelf-only, lower cabinets; at least not without crouching and pulling everything out. Been there, done that, and hated it. We toyed with the idea of plastic bins/baskets, but those were impractical and hard to organize. Instead, we found these great roll-out metal racks that screw into your cabinet/shelf. They come in sizes/shapes to accommodate both larger items like food processors and mixers, as well as lids. I was able to install these in less than an hour with only a drill and a little determination.
- By Sherry Rujikarn
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