Downsizing a Kitchen

In the next month–Lord willing– I will be moving into a new house (and by “new” I mean a 40-year-old cabin, albeit one blessed with running water; not a given in my community).

The layout is fine, but the storage options in my new kitchen are limited to two sets of cabinets: one below the sink’s counter, and one above.

We’ll probably add some more once we get the appliances in and see where they’d fit. But, even with the extras I estimate I’ll have about 1/3 the storage space I enjoy in my current kitchen.

I will have a dry cabin right outside the front door, so any non-daily stuff (pressure-canner!) and pantry storage won’t have to fit in the actual kitchen.

This post is to throw an open door to this sort of advice: What bare minimums would you keep in a stripped down kitchen?

Some of my first answers surprised me, for example, between my salad-spinner and my Kitchen Aid mixer, I’d pick the first.

You see, since going gluten-free most of my baked-goods have been one-batch experiments, hardly worth the effort of unpacking then washing. On the other hand, I’ve really enjoyed the simplicity of the spinner’s results, and food that needs rinsing is cheaper anyway, which makes it the kind I’m most likely to buy.

Fortunately (she says with a grit-tooth grin) my minimalistic living while our house was on the market this summer can inform these choices.

My off-the-top list (these are all things I have and use already. The goal is to keep handy only the constantly used):

  • Dishes to eat off of, and silverware.
  • All my mixing bowls
  • Two of every measuring cup (my ill-fated attempt to use just one of each really cramped me in the kitchen this summer) and all my spoons.
  • Two bread pans, three cookie sheets and four Silpats (non-stick silicone mats. *Perfect* for GF cookies) and silicone baking cups (did you know these will work on a cookie sheet? Means I can pass on the cupcake tins.)
  • Full pot rack (freebie, since it can just hang )
  • Vitamix blender
  • Knife block
  • Microwave and/or toaster oven (These last four will likely fill most of the available counter space– though we usually stack these last two.)

Aaand that’s about as far as I’ve broken it down.  I’m not entirely sure how to divide the food or remaining “filler” that currently finds its home in my kitchen.

Anybody with experience or insight will be heard with great eagerness.

4 thoughts on “Downsizing a Kitchen

  1. Brooke says:

    Oh thats tough. I love having appliances in the kitchen.

    I’m glad everything worked out with the house.

  2. tundraJEM says:

    I see you’re going “gluten-free” in your kitchen, which would mean that you are somewhat concerned with current & future nutrition & health issues. With that in mind, one of the biggest space savers would be to opt out of your microwave oven. Perhaps a little less handy to have to reheat things via stove top or oven, but in over all health value, it is a must.

    If you’re short on space, and no longer have the microwave, then all the microwave safe plastics can go… and for that matter most of your plastic-ware should be disposed of. Plastic, as they are finding, is the new lead.

    Those are the main things that I can think of to immediately downsize a kitchen. They also can fall into the categories of health & wellness, nutrition, environment, etc. The rest is really up to the chef and is dictated by what she uses on a regular basis, as well as what meals are on her master meal list that get prepared once a week or every two weeks.

    As you sift through your remnants, know that each choice to keep or get rid of is a personal choice for the chef. No one else can organize YOUR kitchen, at least not to your specifications of efficiency. One cannot expect another to know just what to downsize to. I’m sure I haven’t been very helpful but it even one tidbit of encouragement you can find from this, then my job has been done.

  3. Amy Jane says:

    Blue– that’s the advantage of sharing a bigger house!

    Thanks tundraGem for your thoughtful response.

    Yes, I’m trying to reduce the amount I use my microwave, but Jay’s nixed the cold turkey approach so I know we’re hanging on to that for now. Our health-based compromise is that we no longer use plastics in the micro.

  4. Mom Teena says:

    I’m not going to be much help here, but thinking back, I fed my whole family plus tons of guests/clients out of a VERY small kitchen, with only a few “gas boxes” for cupboards, no microwave, a tiny 3-burner oven-stovetop (I was able to bake 3 loaves of bread at a time), and one small sink. Oh, I did eventually get running hot & cold water, once the water tank was filled by carrying buckets of water – 5 gal. at a time – up the stairs to the 2nd floor living area. It was like camping inside the house, but we did just fine. Of course, I didn’t have all the fancy electric kitchen gadgets that most people have nowadays to find counter space for. Having storage space over in the cabin next door will be nice!

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