Organizing In A Small Kitchen

by Kelly · 8 comments

in Living Frugally

As would be expected in a small house, I have a small kitchen.

A kitchen so small that you literally couldn’t swing a cat in it. Two people in it at the same time requires a complicated do-si-doing of to-ing and fro-ing such that it’s easier just to stay put. My kitchen measures just over a meter long and just under a meter wide.

And yet even in a tiny kitchen I manage to have a dishwasher, a microwave, a large fridge and a considerable stockpile of food, although not as much as I would like.

How do I do it? I try to maximize the storage.

The stove, with its two burners, counter-top and sink are all part of one integrated unit, measuring one meter by 60 centimeters. There is a small cabinet under the sink, which I use for storing cat food, dishwasher supplies and our small stash of plastic plates, cutlery etc. The microwave sits on another cabinet, in which I keep juice, milk, cream, large jugs of water and so on. Next to the stove, along the passageway to the toilet room (yes the toilet is just off the kitchen, no it’s not very convenient) is a small wooden cabinet in which all the tupperware and mixing bowls are stored.

Next to the fridge is a bookcase on which we keep our breakfast rolls and bread, alcohol (note the French wine in a box which is, in fact, is quite good) and cookbooks. There is also room for a basket with diaper changing supplies. The dishes are stored in a china cabinet just outside the entrance to the kitchen, equidistant between the dishwasher and table.

We have a cupboard above the sink for food storage and two large plastic bins just outside our back door where I stockpile additional food. In an emergency, we have enough food for at least a week for our family of five. I also have three ten liter jugs of water, although I would like to have more.

This is also where we store our tools and camping supplies as well as hang the laundry out to dry. In the blue bin on the bottom shelf are our camping supplies, including a portable camping stove and a supply of propane bottles. You can see one of the jugs of water to the left of the blue box; the other two are stored in the cabinet under the microwave.

As with all my belongings, I constantly ask myself if I want, need, have room or use for anything that goes into my kitchen.

We walk a fine line between not having so much that there is no room for anything else and having enough so that, we are well prepared in an emergency or can stockpile things to take advantage of good deals.

I first learned about frugally and creatively organizing your kitchen and food stockpiles through The Tightwad Gazette with its advice to store things under the bed. While I have too many other things under my bed to be storing my food there, it did inspire me to think outside the box as it were for my storage and organizing needs. Doing so is what has allowed me to continue to eat frugally and well in my cozy, tiny kitchen. Although I must admit that, in our next house, we will have a kitchen large enough to dance in!

What is your kitchen like? Do you have any creative and frugal storage solutions?


1 FrugalMomLA May 31, 2008

Amazing! I’m impressed. I feel like I have a small kitchen and house but it wouldn’t feel so small if I asked myself if I need or want something. Here’s something I want to ask my husband–does he NEED 6 coffee-making appliances??? One regular drip 12 cup coffee-maker plus an espresso maker, a Turkish coffee maker, a one-cup coffee maker and two coffee grinders. OK, and I could probably get rid of one of the two shelves of my tupperware!

2 Kelly May 31, 2008

That’s a lot of coffee makers! I have a lot of tupperware too, but it’s all the ikea tupperware with lids, so they stack together very neatly.

3 Frugal Trenches May 31, 2008

Aaah I too am in the small kitchen club!
My biggest tip for small kitchens is keep them clean!!

4 Amy May 31, 2008

Nice job! I’m impressed with how organized it all is. I need to do a better job thinking through what food we’d have for an emergency.

5 Lisa June 1, 2008

Hi Kelly,
I’ve been a Tightwad Gazette fan for many, many years. I used to get the typewritten newsletter. My big American kitchen is always messy and unorganized. My small French kitchen was always tidy. Bless you for keeping it going with the kids about!

6 Kelly June 1, 2008

Whenever my small kitchen gets messy, it’s unbearable, but the best part is that it only takes a few minutes to clean!

7 Danelle Ice June 3, 2008

I once had a kitchen smaller than yours, so I feel for you! Great creativity with the storage tubs. I’ve passed on your article at Homemaker Barbi .

8 Jenny June 10, 2008

this is great. i have an insanely small kitchen and this really helps. thanks.

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