Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Dec 17, 2006 09:12 PM

my teeny-tiny kitchen, and my teeny tiny cupboards

i have quite a small kitchen, with barely any storage space, and a large supply of spices, specialty oils, vinegars,food products of every kind, dishes, and utensils.
so First, i would like some suggestions on paring down and what is really essential in a kitchen.
and second, any ideas on maximizing storage so i don't have to get rid of my 15 bottles of oil..

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I won't try to address the "what's really essential" list, since that surely depends on how you cook. You can always try putting some things in boxes in another room, and see how often you go looking for them vs what you forget about.

    Do you happen to have linen closet room? You might be able to store extra sheets/towels in bins under a bed and turn (part of) the linen closet into auxiliary pantry space. Probably not a great idea if the linen closet is IN the bathroom (humidity and all)...

    1. You may find this helpful -

      I also have a pretty small kitchen in NYC and am amazed at what I can stuff into it. One thing that I do is put spices that I use pretty much exclusively for one cuisine - Indian, Middle Eastern - in a tin and stash away somewhere other than the kitchen. My bathtub is also full of extra cookware!

      8 Replies
      1. re: MMRuth

        hmm, thats a good idea, putting all the related spices in one tin.. my spice shelf is a nightmare trying to find stuff... as for the other, i use my bathtub too much for that lol

        1. re: RiJaAr

          We're lucky to have a shower and the tub ... we just use the shower.

          1. re: MMRuth

            thinking of adding a second bathroom next year in the basement with a huge walk in shower and tub... maybe i can do it then ;)

            1. re: RiJaAr

              Ha, I thought you were going to write "..with a huge walk in refrigerator"

          2. re: RiJaAr

            one thing i do is put my spices in tiny ziplocks and squeeze the air out of them. i don't like spice jars because while they are pretty on the rack, they waste space and i feel like the air in the jar oxidizes the spices faster and they go stale. I keep my spices in the freezer. they take up little room in the ziplocks.

            --oh yeah and i like the jewelry ziplock bags (1"x2") sold at craft stores for this purpose or if i'm lazy i just keep it in the plastic bag I bought it in and squeeze out the air.

          3. re: MMRuth

            That's genius! I hate spice racks, but this would work perfectly for me. Kudos to you!

            1. re: MMRuth

              That's hilarious. I live in NYC too, and most of my friends use their kitchen cupboards and ovens as extra storage space for bath and beauty products... :)

              1. re: merrymc

                That is funny! I also put a shower curtain rod up over the middle of the tub to hang clothes there - above said cookware! It's all then hidden by a shower curtain.

            2. I do a few things - I put my spices in small labeled plastic bags and put them in a small canister. I stay to a regular and good olive oil and use other oils in small amounts so I buy the smallest bottles - economy of scale is for those with lots of square feet. I also decant the oils in to mason jars to help with space concerns (they are easily stackable).

              1 Reply
              1. re: swarttav

                And buying spices in small amounts is much better for the flavor of said spices. They lose their flavor too quickly to be kept for *years* in a spice rack!

              2. As far as I'm concerned, if you're using those 15 bottles of oil (though you should check for rancidity if you've got large quantities and they've been around for awhile), then they are necessary. I'm being self-serving, of course, when I say that the pantry items that we stock (to over-flow, at times) are useful and, most important, will get eaten. It's not a collection that needs dusting or inclusion in a will.

                Certain pots, pans and gadgets can and should get the critical eye at times if you haven't the space to store them. If you don't already have a hanging pot rack, consider installing one. The pots and pans you use most will migrate to the hanging position, and you can weed out the others that remain in the deep, dark recesses of the cabinet. Not that I have done this, of course :). Hopefully *next* year. Still, my pot rack does inform me of my real needs.

                With limited storage space, I think a menu plan, or at least an idea of a menu plan, comes in handy. That way you are turning over your pantry stock and perishables on a regular basis. We've all found that can or box of something-or-other in the back of a cupboard, that thing we bought on a whim and never used. I love impulse at the market, but I find it's best to resist to maximize storage. You can always make a list of things to try in the future.

                1. Refrigerator magnet spice rack! I macguyvered my own with canisters, magnets, and a hot glue gun, but nice stainless sets are available. I love having all my spices out where i can see them.