Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Small Kitchen Organization

Sumiko recently wrote about kitchen an ideal kitchen.  But what about those of us whose kitchens aren't exactly ideal?  There is still a way to have an organized, albeit, not necessarily completely practical, kitchen.  While I try to make some sort of sense over where I put things in my kitchen, it all really boils down to where things fit, not necessarily where it makes the most sense to put things.  Click on the pictures for a larger image.

As you can see in the above picture, I don't have much storage space in my kitchen, so I have to make use of every space, including my oven and the warming drawer underneath it.  I store my cast iron skillet in my oven and simply put it on the counter when I need to use my oven.  The warming drawer under my oven is perfect for large, flat objects like my cookie sheets and cooling racks.

Yes, the top of my refrigerator also serves as storage space.  I keep my crock pot, my bread maker, and cereal boxes (which are too tall to fit in my cupboards or make-shift pantry) up there.

The cabinet where I keep my spices is one of the things that makes the most sense in my kitchen.  It's right next to my range, so that I can easily grab them to add to food while I'm cooking.  It's also near my food prep area, which is there to the right of the range.

I have a few sets of measuring spoons and cups, which would take up a whole drawer (I only have three small drawers in my kitchen) or cabinet space, of which there isn't much.  My solution is to hang them with hooks from a bar I purchased at Ikea.  We actually bought this bar when we lived in our old house, which had a kitchen much smaller than this one, believe it or not.  When you have little space, you have to get more creative!

My kitchen doesn't have a pantry, so I use these drawers and cabinets, which we keep in the dining area.  I like the fact that the cabinets have doors, although doors definitely aren't necessary.  At our old place, we just used a bookshelf with no doors.  It's really hard to keep a pantry looking need and clean, so the doors do a great job of hiding everything!

And just to show you that even in a tiny kitchen, some form of organization is possible, here's my old kitchen.  These pictures actually make the kitchen look a lot bigger than it actually was.  Picture a kitchen table and chairs to the right of the counter and a refrigerator next to the range (small fact: I couldn't open the refrigerator door all the way, because it hit the counter on the other side of the kitchen).  The table was in the corner, but the kitchen's so small, that one of the chairs was pretty much right up against the counter.  And, yes, that's all the counter space I had.  My dinner plates were bigger than my sink, so there was typically a plastic tub which I used to wash my dishes to the left of the sink and the drying rack on the right of the sink, meaning there really was NO counter space.  Basically my table became my prep and serving area.

Here's the "pantry" at our old place.  Having it open made the room feel a little cluttered.  Also, you can see some racks we hung in the kitchen.  I stored my pans and bake ware up there.  If you look closely, you can see my knives were kept on the kitchen table, which actually worked out well, since that was my prep area.  Our utensils were also kept on the table in a utensil caddy, since there were only two tiny drawers in the kitchen.

This is all to say that it is possible to have a somewhat organized kitchen regardless of its size.  It's also possible to make homemade meals in small kitchens.  While a nice, big gourmet kitchen would me nice, it's definitely not necessary to cook at home!

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