The Single Best Thing You Can Do for Your Small Kitchen

updated May 1, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Craig Kellmann)

Have you heard of a one-butt kitchen? That’s what my mom calls teeny-tiny kitchens, because there’s only enough room for one person to maneuver in there at a time. I’ve had my share of small kitchens, and there’s one thing I’ve learned to do over the years to keep them under control: edit.

If you don’t have room for more than one tushie, you certainly don’t have room for stuff you no longer use! In order to edit your kitchen, which is the single most important thing you can do for a small kitchen, you have to first know these two things.

(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

2 Things to Know Before You Edit Your Kitchen Stuff

1. Your design style

Just because you don’t have a ton of space doesn’t mean you can’t have a style. Maybe your ideal style is all-white minimalism with totally clear countertops. Or maybe you like the kitchen to feel warm and eclectic and crammed full of quirky gadgets that remind you of meals you’ve made (or aspire to make). Or you’re all about handmade pieces with provenance, or vintage pieces you’ve collected over the years.

Make an effort to figure out your aesthetic, then try to look through that lens when you’re shopping or editing your kitchenware. And by the way, your style is allowed to evolve over time. I remember thinking a coworker of mine was nuts when she told me she had all-white dinnerware; flash forward 10 years and I’ve swapped all those colors out for simple white ceramic. (In between I had a brief cottage-cute phase, too.) All those old dishes have moved on to new homes.

2. Your cooking style

If you only eat takeout during the week but love to bake on weekends, pare down your pots and pans to make space for muffin tins and cake pans. If you’re the only one in your apartment and you wash everything by hand, you might not need to stock a few dozen glasses in your cabinets. If all you drink is wine, don’t bother with a cocktail shaker and all those other mixology accessories.

Again, it’s OK to evolve — just make sure to fill your kitchen with things that work with how you live now, not how you used to live (bye bye, shot glasses!) or how you wished you lived (I’m looking at you, stand mixer).

(Image credit: Ana Kamin)

The Best Piece of Advice When It Comes to Editing Your Kitchen Stuff

Be ruthless. Be honest with yourself and donate the things you don’t use. For some people, that means bringing in a friend to ask the tough questions — and force you into an honest response. Sometimes, you’ll have to pass along something you’re attached to because it’s chipped or just doesn’t work anymore. In that case, maybe it’s time to channel your inner Marie Kondo and cradle it, say thank you, and put it into the Goodwill box.

More on Decluttering Your Kitchen

Have a small kitchen? When was the last time you gave it an edit?