Apartment Kitchen’s 101

I thought I would take a few minutes to talk about my kitchen, I like most Chefs have a dream to one day have a beatuiful state of the art masterpiece kitchen in which to make my nightly creations…

Dream………..Luxury Apartment Kitchen

vs…

My Apartment Kitchen.

As you can see…not exactly state of the art, and its kind of cramped…but I consider it a masterpiece…and it is my favorite kitchen so far…because it is functional, it is fluid and it is all together pretty darn nice to cook in. Plus the gas stove…I love gas stoves. It was hard to get this kitchen functional, we’ve lived in our apartment since march…and I am just now getting the kitchen to where I feel it should be…heres how I got there….

 

Today’s post is a series of tips and tricks to help you my dear readers Utilize your Small Kitchen to its FULLEST Potential.

Beth and I live in a small one bedroom apartment in the heart of midtown Sacramento. Thankfully it is an actual one bedroom and not a studio, I don’t know that I could function in a studio kitchen. Anyway. Our Kitchen is small but very functional thanks to a great layout, some proper planning on my part, and some creativity on Beth’s Part.

1. Avoid putting items (Blenders, Coffee makers, Mixers, Utensils, Etc…) on the counter.
This doesn’t need to be permanent. I personally like to put as much in cabinets as I can. This is due to the fact that items have a tendency of making their own mess when i am cooking. I don’t do it i swear…stuff just multiplies all over the counter by itself…Anyway…The Items I have out on my various counters are: (Back counter) The Coffee Pot (an everday necessity as I’m sure you’ve learned if you’ve read about Beth and her coffee Addictions…), Coffee Grinder, and Sugar Jar (this is my requirement for coffee…and really its not supposed to stay on the counter…but it does during the week because I’m too lazy to put it back in the cabinet every day…lol) (Front Counter Bar) My Kitchen Aid (which stays out both for functionality and for ascetic appeal…its vintage and very pretty.), the Fruit basket and Bread Basket.

I don’t believe in putting utensils or Knife blocks on the counter because lets face it, they just get in the way when usually you only need 1 or 2 at a time. I also don’t put my toaster or microwave on the counter, this just comes from lack of space really and I don’t use either of those items on a regular basis so why waste space?
* on a side note, my mom has her microwave in the pantry, which I thought was a really clever place to put it. When my parents remodeled the kitchen and built the beautiful pantry my mother now enjoy’s she had them place an outlet in the pantry specifically for the microwave. Genius. really.

2. Make GOOD USE OF DRAWERS…they are amazing…really…
I know easier said than done right? I am of the personal opinion that all items that can go in a drawer should go in a drawer…If I had enough drawers my pots and pans would go in drawers too. but for now I have this…

Drawer 1: (to the left of the sink) Sliverware, Straws, and Lids. Also the occasional pair of chopsticks and other random “eating utensils get thrown in there as well.

Drawer 2: (below drawer 1) Utensils as you can see it is currently poorly organized…but hey there all in the same place and there is nothing sharp in there…so I’m good with it.

Drawer 3: (Under drawer 2) Plastic Bowls, Cutting Boards, (usually although not currently pictured) Liquid measuring cups, and Awkwardly shaped utensils

Drawer 4 (Under drawer 3): FOOD STORAGE!

Drawer 5 (to the right of the sink) Knives, Spices, Measuring spoons, xacto knives, corkscrew.
I like to keep ALL the sharp objects together…I figure I am less likely to impale myself this way (or maybe more likely now that I think of it…)

(Sorry for the blurriness of some of those pictures…my 55 mm lens can only do so much…even with the fish eye)

As you can see above I have 5 drawers total in my kitchen and not one of them is the dreaded kitchen “junk drawer” that seems inevitable in almost every kitchen I’ve ever been in…and I know what your about to ask…”but where do you put the batteries?!” and honestly thats a good question…when I remember where I’ve put them I’ll get back to you.

*Beth Says “I put them in the utility cabinet, which contains: Cleaning supplies, rags, extra ziplock bags, garbage bags, vacuum cleaner bags, Light bulbs and Batteries. This makes perfect sense” It also makes perfect sense why I didn’t know where they were ;p

Anyway…I hate a cluttered kitchen…everything should have a place and that place should make sense to you. If you don’t like drawers…don’t use them. I’m just suggesting that they are extremely functional for more things than just silverware and batteries. 🙂

3. Make good use of your Cabinets

Again easier said than done but it can be super helpful when you get a good system going. Again I would suggest going with what works best for you. There is no formula to solve a crowded or cluttered kitchen. I have found that taking ideas from someone else and adapting them to your own style is the best way to start.

Cabinets are great, but they are also deceiving. when I see a bunch of empty cabinets in a kitchen I am moving into I ALWAYS think Oh man, this is great I can totally fit everything in these bad boys…but then…about halfway through unpacking I realize how dysfunctional it is, and how half of the really important “cabinet items” i.e. cups, pots, pans etc…are not going to fit. I usually have to re-organize my cabinets 2 times before getting them right. Therefore I suggest THINKING before unpacking…just don’t get to excited about the “gobs of space” you feel like you have, plan your kitchen before you unpack it. This is my current system:

Cabinet 1: (left most cabinet pictured) Liquids for sauces bottom shelf (due to the fact that I am short and need to see the labels) Above that is dry goods (snacks, cereals and cookies) above that is storage (because only beth can reach this shelf)
cabinet 2: (middle cabinet) Cups cups and more cups bottom shelf, above that is more storage (little money saving tip…those bottles with the red lids cost about 3 dollars each and make great water bottles, and also fit perfect on the bottom shelf of most fridges)
Cabinet 3: Bottom Shelf: Coffee Mugs and Coffee Beans, above that is the toaster, travel coffee mugs, and Ziplocks (I know random placement but I tried putting them elsewhere and it just didn’t work…I use them just about every day…so I need them readily accessible)

Cabinet 4: (Below the knife drawer) Pots and Pans, and Baking sheets.

Cabinet 5: (Below Front Counter Bar) my “Mini Pantry” Specifically for dry and canned goods used in cooking. e.g. Beans, rice, pasta, etc…

Cabinet 6: (Above the stove) I’ll admit I forgot to take a picture of this one. But it holds my glass bakeware, bread and cake pans, extra utensils for my kitchen-aid, and my beloved Cast Iron Skillet.

On a functionality basis this works very well. The only problem with my current cabinet set up is my pots and pans cabinet happens to have only about 1 1/2 of space for the cabinet door which would be fine…except there is also a trash can there, so to get out the larger items (large saute pan or baking sheets) I have to move the trash can. Really no big deal though.

The final tip I have is this if you have the space…USE A BOOKSHELF (Specifically The Ikea Expedit bookshelf or something like that…I can’t remember the name…ask Beth)

its that big black thing on the left

This was where Beth’s Creativity came in, because I’ll admit it, I was skeptical…I thought the idea of a GIANT bookshelf in the kitchen was kind of weird and that it would look stupid…but I trusted my wife (life lesson: Your wife is smart…trust her…:p) Turns out…it is awesome…it looks a hell of a lot better than industrial looking wire kitchen shelving units. and it acts as an extra pantry (black bins at the bottom there are 4 total) a china cabinet (4 cubes with our plates and stuff) display case (My collection of tea pots and tea cups) and bookshelf (4 cubes of cookbooks)

This was probably the biggest space saver for us. Can you imagine what the kitchen would have looked like if I had to cram all this stuff into just 6 cabinets and 5 drawers. Wow! We added the bookshelf at the cost of a kitchen table…which is not that important to us..we have plenty of comfortable seating in the living room. If we didn’t have the massive red chair (which our princess puppy Scarlet is incredibly attached to) we would have room right there for a bistro sized table…but the red chair serves as a great little book nook for me, I sit there and look at my cookbooks and cooking blogs when making my weekly menu’s.

So there you have it. My tiny kitchen made Functional. I hope you find these tips helpful!

Please write me below if you have any comments or maybe addition questions about this topic or others I’ve shared before…and as always

Let your Adventurous Chef Thrive

~ Chef S.

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