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Minimizing my Kitchen - Page 2

post #21 of 40

Why not just keep the sugar with the bigger container of sugar?? I use agave nectar, and I keep it in the cabinet with the coffee supplies.

post #22 of 40

Because my containers of sugar, flour, baking supplies, etc., are in another cabinet on the other side of the kitchen. I figured its easier to keep the little sugar bowl in the cab with the coffee mugs directly above the coffee pot.thumb.gif

post #23 of 40
Thread Starter 



One of the things I was most concerned about was entertaining. We have people over fairly often and I didn't want to be scrambling for serving bowls and stuff. Well I had 16 friends over yesterday and everything went great. I served in 2 glass mixing bowls, one pie pan, one plate and 2 of the serving platters I had kept. We used paper plates (I had some left over from a huge party.) and my glasses (I pulled them from the above-the-refrig cabinet) along with some disposable glasses. When we have bigger parties I'll probably end up using aluminum trays but I did that a lot before anyway.


I used the money I made selling items so far to buy a large bamboo cutting board that can also be a small tray. I'm planning to get new pot holders and towels and a ice cube tray but I haven't found them yet!

post #24 of 40

remember, too, that you can rent what you need from many party stores. I think the place where i used to rent from was something like $5 per place setting, and serving dishes (with utensils) were something likse $2. better for the environment than disposables, usually nice quality, and you just take them back when you are done (washed, of course).

post #25 of 40

Renting from a party store is a great idea! We don't entertain much. With friends we usually go out to eat. But when we do have someone over its children, stepchildren and grandchildren. So it can be anywhere from 7 to 12 or 13 people/kids. Obviously its very relaxed. I have some serving dishes for casual parties but I like the glass mixing bowl idea, too. The more people we have the more I'm apt to use paper plates and cups to make it easier on myself. I know its not environmentally friendly but the few times we have everyone over at the same time works for me because I'd rather spend the time with everyone rather than cleaning even if I have help. I can be a bit picky about my kitchen and I'd prefer cleaning it myself the way I want it cleaned. Sheepish.gif

post #26 of 40
Thread Starter 

Hmm that's a good idea, but $5 a head is pretty steep for us. We love to have people over but right now just buying the food is a big enough expense! 

post #27 of 40

Just go real hippy and ask friends to bring their own dish and spoon. Works awesome.

post #28 of 40

that's what we normally do. we just ask people to bring their own dishes. It's very funny, but it's cool. 


we actually did a thanksgiving last year where we asked everyone to bring a place setting for themselves, in lieu of bringing any food or anything. it's worked really well.


i'm just against using paper plates and stuff. i'll avoid it at all costs.

post #29 of 40

Nice work! Huge improvement!


One cabinet has my tea on the top shelf, then jars of oils/different vinegars/molasses/etc, and bottom shelf is spices.

Another cabinets has glassware (1 square corningware dish, 9x13/8x8/loaf baking dishes, plus 2 pyrex containers).

Next cabinet is filled with various sized mason jars and a clementine box that holds all the lids. I use them for everything - canning, freezing, storing, drinking glasses...

Last cabinet is for plates, bowls and mugs. Enough for each person, plus one extra.


One drawer has rolls of parchment paper, wax paper, foil and its also where I store bags that I wash and reuse.

Another drawer holds a few kitchen gadgets, organized by a utensil seperater - turkey baster, garlic squisher, tongs, can strainer, measuring cups and spoons, small egg beater, etc. I could get more minimalistic here, but I actually use everything in there and it is easily maintained, so I have no reason to get rid of anything.

The other drawers hold cloth (rags, washcloths, dish towels).


There is another cabinet, and that has my two cast iron skillets (small, large) and 3 stainless steel pots.

The last cabinet has my veggie/dip serving plate (that I put out every day for the kids to graze from), a large serving bowl (used for popcorn, watermelon, etc.), and two colanders (one large for things like pasta/potatoes, one small for rinsing berries or beans, and stuff).


I have a cast iron griddle, cookie sheets and muffin tins in the drawer under the oven.


I keep a utensil holder on the counter next to the stove (wooden spoons, pasta server, spatula, etc.) and a smaller metal one next to the sink with silverware in it. Oh, and my olive oil container is out on the counter as well.


My small appliances are kept on shelves along the wall in the basement way - I have a vitamix, hand mixer, toaster and ice cream maker that I use and will keep. (Looking to get rid of my clay rice cooker/crock pot and bread maker.) There is also a large thermos and travel coffee mugs kept there.


I would like some nesting mixing bowls, either glass or stainless...

post #30 of 40
Wow! Awesome before and after! I wanted to mention about cast iron to be careful about which brand you use. I bought the Emeril (sp?) ones, an dit turns out that the pre-seasoned cast iron made in China is covered with a painted coating that chips off in your food. Lodge seems to be a good brand, though.
After using cast iron for a while, I finally read on here that the trick with eggs is to get the skillet really hot before the eggs hit the skillet. That prevents most of the sticking. That one trick has made a huge difference. Also, i ignore the no soap rule. My great-grandmother ignored this rule and she never had a problem either. I just cook something with a lot of oil or heat up some canola oil slowly on the stove top, and this keeps my skillets working great.
post #31 of 40

looks GREAT! wtg!

post #32 of 40

Looks awesome! I got rid of a ton of excess dishes about a year ago, but we're having similar problems with too many dishes again. I actually came to this forum for advice on what to do with the extra cups that we DO use, but VERY rarely. This past week or two in the kitchen has been dominated by our excessive use of glasses/mugs. I want to just get rid of all of the extra cups and mugs, but I can't because, once in a blue moon(like, literally, 2-3 times per year) we have people over for tea, and I'd rather not keep disposables in the house. BUT, seeing your improvements made me think, when WAS the last time I used the cabinet above the fridge? Honestly, I couldn't even tell you what we've got in there, I'll have to look.  


ETA: I love my Lodge cast iron. I have a big Wok and use it for fried rice and any kind of salen(including the wet part of biryani), and I also have a round griddle that is great for flatbreads/chapati, fried eggs, and toast. I would really like to add some cast iron bakeware to my collection in the future. 


The other cookware that I use most often is a heavy steel pot(they don't burn food like the thinner pots do), one that is great for daily use for the three of us, I make chai, rice, pasta, boiled corn in it and a larger pressure cooker that I use more often without the lid than with. I've got a huge heavy steel pot for when I cook for a ton of people, and a smaller, super thin, pain in the behind pot that I prefer to only use for boiling water in because it gets burned so quickly. 

Edited by Amatullah0 - 9/13/11 at 3:19pm
post #33 of 40

Inspiring. Really love the idea of cutting down on dishes ready to box mine up now.

post #34 of 40
Thread Starter 
Yes! It's been awesome having so many fewer plates and cups and bowls loitering around my sink! Though I do have people over pretty frequently-- may e once a week. I advise to plan ahead if possible. Last weekend I was climbing up on a step stool to reach coffee mugs with DS dangling in the Ergo smile.gif
post #35 of 40

Looks great! My problem with minimizing my kitchen is that I use almost everything in there.  I cook for a crowd everyday and like good tools. Although I store the entertaining/holiday stuff and pantry food in the cellar.

post #36 of 40

I am deeply impressed with your photos. Your kitchen is really small, and you've done an amazing job of making it work.


I've been internally whining to myself that my current kitchen is too small to really be organized because it's smaller than our last kitchen. But it's bigger than yours. A lot bigger. You've got me to stop my whining and get seriousl about making it a more user friendly space for myself.


Thank you.

post #37 of 40

I'd like to get rid of our dish drying rack, and we have a dishwasher. BUT, I worry that the dishes will smell weird or not dry right in the dish washer. Do you have that problem? Maybe our bigger issue is DS playing in the dishwasher. We'd have to keep it closed to let the dishes dry. 


Maybe I'll put the dish rack away and try it out for a day or so. Our counters are about the size of yours, and I'd really like some space!

post #38 of 40
Thread Starter 

Yes I do leave it open a lot for drying. Also I put a towel at the bottom when it's open so water doesn't collect in the door. I did notice a musty smell a few times, so I think I'm going to put some baking soda in. Also if you are worried about your son getting utensils like knives, you could put a cup or tray and keep them at the top rack. 

post #39 of 40

SO inspiring!  Wow!!!  We have a small kitchen, too, and I have to work really hard to keep enough counter space to work on.  I'm inspired to start paring down on dishes to see how that helps with space -- we have a LOT of dishes, we inherited about 20 place settings from DH's grandmother, plus he has gazillions of mugs and glasses. 


Here are some things I have done to help make my tiny kitchens manageable over the years:

  • install very narrow shelving along a bare wall and store dry goods, small appliances, dishes, etc. on it.  In one apartment, this shelving was simply 10-inch-wide boards stacked with cinderblocks.  Simple and effective!  I put beans/grains in glass jars (bought big ones at the thrift store, re-used pickle and peanut butter jars, etc) to store more easily, and smaller items were stored in pretty baskets on the shelves.  This would not work with a toddler, of course!
  • I refuse to keep single-use electric appliances, with the exception of the coffee pot.  Coffee grinders, toasters, rice cookers, smoothie makers, electric hot-sandwich makers, etc., etc. you name it, I've received and gotten rid of it. 
  • We managed to get a bit more use out of our lower cabinets by installing a narrow shelf half-way up in the back -- the sort of shelf that can hold pot lids, for example, when the rest of the cabinet holds pots. Less cluttered, easier to find stuff.  All of our small appliances -- blender, food processor and hand mixer -- fit on one of these shelves in one cabinet.
  • Hanging wire baskets are the way to go!  It is an amazing way to keep things out in easy reach but off your counters.  I've used them to store bread, fruit, onions/garlic, cloth napkins, etc.  This might be an interesting choice for the sugar bowl -- you'd just need to keep sugar in a jar with a screw-on lid, then toss the jar, a spoon and a coffee scoop into the wire basket.


One other cool idea: Ikea makes a storage system that goes under your cabinets for more storage.  There's a great blog post here that describes the system.


Re:cast iron: one more vote in its favor.  MUCH better than nonstick.  I'm gonna try that trick with the eggs, I've always struggled to cook eggs in cast iron too. Rather than buying cast-iron new, why not get one at an antique mall or flea market?  That's where we found ours, for a sweet $16 or so.  They need less seasoning when they're old, plus there's less worry about flaky paint, etc.  There's always tons of them at the antique stores we frequent. 


We can't keep our dishwasher open during the day because DD climbs into it (and she can get at the knives even when we store them away on top...), but if we have stuff drying in there, we just open it before we go to bed.  That way everything can dry well overnight!  If we prefer to dry something on the counter, rather than keeping a bulky drying rack out there, we just spread a dishtowel on the counter, put the dishes on it to dry, and when we're done with it we put it away.  This keeps the counter space much more useable, IME. 


post #40 of 40

We had a ton of dishes that DH's parents left behind when they moved back overseas. Most of them were way too heavy for daily use, so we never used them. I freecycled most of it. We also had a ton of stuff that we weren't ever going to use from when we got married and I got rid of that too. We're down to a couple of each size dish, and a three drinking cups/three tea cups. AND, only 2 of each pice of silverware in each size(2 kid size spoons, 2 large sized spoons, 2 long handle spoons, 2 kid size forks, 2 large size forks, and 2 butter knives) I'm running into problems with out knifes. We have a knife block thing, and even though there is really only one size knife I use, it is the steak knife, and there are 8 of them. Currently, 5 are sitting in the sink waiting to get washed. But, otherwise it's been good! The longest it will take to wash the dishes is 20 min. It's a big difference from when I was pregnant with DS/he was a newborn because there was a time when we had a full sink, counter piled with dishes, stove piled with dishes, and in order to wash the dishes in the sink, we had to put some of them on the floor(no counter space at all)


I really want to get rid of the dish drying rack, mostly because it is disgusting, and wont come clean, despite the fact that it's only a year or two old. 


I like the towel idea, and I DO need to buy/make kitchen hand towels anyway, so maybe I'll convince DH that we should get some. I've been on a sewing binge lately, and I'm running out of things to sew, so yeah, maybe I'll do that. 


We'll have to get a lock for the dishwasher though if we're to dry in there. DS spends way too much time climbing in it anyway.

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