Before moving into my current abode which is a 750-square foot condo with a rather small kitchen I lived in an old California Bungalow which was just swimming in kitchen space. I had to make some serious adjustments to my little kitchen. There is really no reason why a small kitchen can’t rise to the occasion and deliver great meals. The trick is finding the right organization of your tools within your limited space.
1. Remove Clutter
Don’t get caught up in all the cute gadgets out there because you only need the basics to cook up great meals. Stay away from single-use items unless you use that single-use item often enough to make it worth the space it takes up on a countertop or in the cabinet. I have an electric skillet as part of my cookware must-haves, I don’t use it much, maybe I feel the need to have one cause Mom would often use her electric skillet instead of the stove-top. I have a small 8-inch skillet which is the perfect size for my husband and me. When it’s sweltering weather, I can fry up some burgers or make a grilled cheese on the balcony!!
For a more in-depth discussion on decluttering please read my post on decluttering your kitchen and how much cookware is enough
2. Organize Storage Space
Make use of wall space. If you have ever seen any Julia Child cooking shows it’s hard to forget her amazing pegboard wall filled with hanging pots, pans, skillets and other utensils. Also pay attention the space you have in your pantry, the goal is to have enough on hand to serve your needs for a certian period of time, for me I like my pantry stocked with enough non-perishables to last for a month. I also make sure I have at least one weeks of no-cook meal ingredients on hand for emergencies.
3. Food Prep Space
My counter space is limited, when I preparing a more complicated meal, I make use of a large cutting board that is put over my stove for additional prep area. After I’ve finished my prep work, I discreetly store away in the space between the wall and refrigerator, which is perfect for storing large cutting boards. If I still need extra space I have a folding table cutting board (homemade), it folds up to just a couple inches wide.
4. Tidy Up
The best way to keep your kitchen uncluttered is to tidy up as you go. I keep an old plastic bag next to my prep area and toss the scraps into the bag as I go. Empty containers are rinsed and go straight into the recycle box. I have an old wine crate lined with a plastic drawer liner that I use as a recycle bin. Two paper grocery bags fit perfectly inside the wine crate.
5. Embrace One Pot Cooking
I frequently cook a frugal gourmet meal in my Le Creuset Oval Dutch Oven or my Crock Pot. A small roasting pan will cook up a roast and veggies with little fuss or mess. There are an endless amount of great one pot Soups, Stews, and Roasts recipes to be found just by doing a quick google search. Another plus of One Pot cooking is the leftovers, just let the pot cool down and store in the fridge.