About a year ago I downsized my kitchen, which is a room that people often mention as overwhelming.
Kitchen cabinets and drawers have a tendency to get chaotic, so I have written down, how I went about it and small steps on how you can do it.
I hope it can help you downsize your kitchen:)
Define your reason to downsize your kitchen
There are different motives for wanting to downsize your kitchen, I recommend clearly defining your reason before starting. Put It in writing somewhere, it helps to visualize it.
If you have a clearly defined reason for downsizing, it will motivate you and keep you focused on the task, when it gets challenging. Maybe most importantly, I find that it’s easier for me to stick with a change in the long run when I know why I’m doing it.
My reason for downsizing my kitchen:
I have a dream of one day living in a camper while traveling the world. As a natural consequence, I have been thinking a lot about what I can live without.
Obviously, I can’t bring all of my kitchen stuff in a small camper. I have a lot, and a lot I never use, as I don’t cook a gourmet meal every day :)
Set it up as an experiment
The nice thing about experiments, is that they can’t really fail:) They can go one of two ways (maybe more), but they can’t fail.. this made me a bit calmer, and let me enjoy the process more.
And as a bonus; if anyone questions what you are doing, and are being critical (like your mom), it helps to tell that it is an experiment:)
Set a goal
A goal can be anything you want it to be; For some, it may be setting a specific item number. Some are doing it as part of the 100 thing challenge, so they have to get to a very low number.
If you set a specific number, it may be helpful to start out by doing a complete list of everything in your kitchen. It will give you an idea of how much you have to get rid of.
Another goal could be to have more space in your kitchen drawers and cabinets. Maybe everything jumps out at you every time you open the cabinet doors:) Get it de-cluttered, so you can easily grab what you need.
As I mentioned, my reason for downsizing my kitchen, was to be able to live in a camper. So my goal was all about space.
I wanted to see if I could take my 4 drawers full of stuff, pick out what I really need, and then hopefully be able to fit it in 1 drawer!
Here is a sample of what was in my 4 drawers:
7 oven dishes
3 dishes for pie-making (I never make pies?)
4 serving bowls
3 mixing bowls
4 mixers, 1 electric mixer, and 3 manual ones
…We even had a machine that can boil eggs.
Soo much stuff, and a lot of it I hardly ever used.
Storage for 2 months
When you downsize your kitchen you can’t expect to get it right the first time. Some of the things you thought you could do without, you might miss. And something you kept you might find after a while, you don’t need anyway.
To work around this I decided not to throw anything out right away. I put everything in a box for 2 months. This was very helpful, it made the decision-making process less serious.
It makes it easier to switch it out with something I opt out the first time around. That is just part of the experiment.
Don’t expect to get it 100% right the first time.
I chose to keep one manual mixer, because I thought I didn’t use the electric one that often, so I just kept the manual one. That test didn’t last long, after 2 weeks I pulled it out of the box. I am so glad I didn’t get rid of it.
For the next 6 weeks, I continually changed small things out, adjusting my drawer to my actual needs, not what I thought my needs were.
When the 2 months were up, I put some of it in storage under the bed, a few valuable items I didn’t want to keep I sold, and the rest I gave to a Goodwill store that my father in law works at.
To downsize your kitchen is an interesting exercise in finding out what you really need. It has made me stop and think “Do I really need this?” before buying anything for the kitchen again. So mission accomplished:)
It was so much fun and I highly recommend it.
Use an Over-The-Sink cutting board to get extra counter space
More counter space is always welcome -, especially in a tiny kitchen!
This over-the-sink board is a good solution See it at Amazon.
It’s perfect for getting a little extra space while cooking.
Place shelves inside your kitchen cabinets
From $13 including free shipping.
This is a good way to optimize the space inside your cabinets.
A lot of shelving units give very poor possibilities to utilize the space, so shelves like these can help you fit in all your stuff.
Remove electric heating panels and replace with a heat pump
If you have electric heat in the kitchen, you can create more space by taking the old, energy-inefficient radiators down. Sometimes you can do without, but in colder areas, you will need another solution.
You can consider a heat pump. Most of us know them from hotel rooms, but they can be very stylish, like the one in the picture above.
A pump like this will most likely save you both space and money. It will free up space on the wall, and utilize the space below the ceiling. A great idea, especially if you have high ceilings.
4. Use containers that fill out space in your drawers
Another good way to avoid empty space in your drawers – It’s especially good for using the vertical space. You can find all sizes of containers at e.g. Ikea.
Use chalkboard paint inside the cabinet doors
A good way to use the inside of your kitchen cabinet doors is to mount stuff inside the cabinet doors.
You can use chalkboard paint to help organize, it’s a good place to write shopping lists, family notes, calendar stuff etc.
Stackable measuring cups
These are great, and they will really save you space in the kitchen! You can get over at Amazon.
Another pretty cool design is this collapsible funnel, which you can sneak in everywhere in your cabins:
We came across it on the Danish interior design shop TrendyLiving.dk.
A small kitchen does not mean you cannot cook a nice dinner.
You need space to cook, and there’s a lot of good ideas that can make that happen, even in a tiny kitchen space.
You need to utilize the space you have to your best ability.
It’s not just about finding space for all your stuff and utensils, they also have to be accessible, so it can be a fun and good experience to cook.
If the kitchen is poorly arranged, it will become frustrating to prepare food. You want to be able to get to your stuff easily.
Use the wall area creatively
There’s often plenty of space for storage on the walls, even in a small room.
You can mount drawers and shelves all the way to the ceiling, and use a step ladder to get to the top drawers.
(Just don’t put stuff up there you need every day!)
Use open shelves to store utensils you often use, so they are easy to get to.
But before you go all out with open shelves and storage, consider your ability to keep it tidy and orderly. If you’re no good at keeping things nice, you might want to go with cabinets you can close off.
Choose the prettiest items, and hang them on the wall.
It can end up really decorative. A lot of kitchen stuff is really well designed with beautiful colors.
Stack things up in the drawers
Kitchen cabinets have a tendency to get cluttered really quick because pots and pans often stack up – because you want to finish off quickly after cooking or dishwashing.
We often have unused vertical space inside the cabinets, and small shelves like these can help:
Check out these shelves from $13 including free shipping.
These expandable kitchen shelves can really help make that extra room, and it’s easier to keep it nice and clean.
They will help you get a good overview of what’s in the cabinet, and you can get them in lots of different sizes and shapes.
Utilize the sink area
What’s around your sink area?
This space is often wasted because you need it when you are washing the dishes.
Here are a couple of ideas you can use:
Mount small containers above the sink, and use them for detergent and dishwashing brushes.
All of a suddenly it doesn’t look that cluttered.
I never thought about that extra space around the sink area, but it’s definitely possible.
You can also invest in a multi-functional stand to store soap, brushes etc. and you might even find a model with space for herbs.
If you live in an apartment space with a very small kitchen, you probably need more kitchen counter space to work with.
A stand for the dishwashing stuff might take up too much of the precious space, and it’s a good opportunity to hang it above the sink, or get one that can be folded out and fit on top of the sink.
Get more counter space in the small kitchen
Talking about counter space, you can get more out of your space with a few simple tips.
If you own the apartment space you live in, you have the option to change the interior a bit.
If you are up for that, it’s a good idea to get a built-in retractable kitchen counter.
These counters can be rolled out from the top of the cabinet, and when you need that extra space to cook you just pull it out.
If you are re-decorating your kitchen, you can go for a solution like the ones above.
This compact piece of furniture can store many of the basic things you need in the kitchen.
When you need space for a table in your kitchen, start by looking at all the options in the room.
Do you have a wide windowsill that could potentially double-function as a place for eating? Can you make it broader or extend it with a fold-down table?
When living in a small space, having things that take up very little space is key.
These designs from Deglon meets all the criteria for small space living, and look amazing. It is 4 separate knives nested into one when you don’t use them. These nested knives will take up considerably less space than any other knives on the market. The design is clean and simple, and when packed up, they are made to fit inside a steel or wooden frame.
The knives themselves are high-quality stainless steel, they are laser cut and heat treated.
The nested knives are made by Deglon, a well known French family company. They have been specializing in high-quality manufacturing of knives since 1921.
Now go check out these great space saving dining tables.
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Maria is the founder of GoDownsize. While studying architecture in Denmark she became fascinated with designing living spaces for boats, tiny houses, RVs, and other small spaces.
She mainly writes about space optimization, interior design, and downsizing. She’s also in charge of our YouTube channel. Read more about Maria here.