When you're imagining your dream kitchen, what do you see? Chances are, your ideal culinary space includes plenty of countertops, endless cabinets, and a fully stocked pantry — but you might be surprised to learn that the best kitchens are actually small kitchens.
It's true that small kitchens come with their own set of unique problems; there's virtually no countertop space, hardly enough cabinets to hold your food let alone your appliances, and barely enough floor space to accommodate more than one cook.
But despite their shortcomings, small kitchens are actually better than big ones, and have more benefits than you've ever realized — seriously.
Why Small Kitchens Are Actually Better than Big Ones
When you have a tiny kitchen, you understand just how important every square inch of your small space is. You're constantly thinking about how to best utilize cabinets, maximize counter space, and effectively move around as you prepare a meal. The challenges small kitchens present, and the habits they create, actually make for smarter, more organized, and more effective cooking spaces, and even better cooks.
Here are four reasons why small kitchens are actually the best.
1. Less food gets wasted in a small kitchen.
Small kitchens don't have a lot of food storage space, which means what does make its way into the cabinets and refrigerator quickly finds its way out again. Unlike large kitchens with pantries and big fridges, food doesn't often get forgotten about or misplaced to spoil and go bad. Every ingredient a small kitchen owner buys is carefully thought about: Where can I fit this? What will I use it for? How long will it take up space? That means nothing is wasted, forgotten, or unused.
Smaller kitchens have more refined pantries, fresher refrigerators, and overall less wasteful cooks.
2. Every tool, gadget, and appliance in a small kitchen has a purpose.
Counter space is very limited, and sometimes entirely nonexistent, in small kitchens, and cabinet space is tight at best. There isn't a lot of room to store food and dishes, let alone appliances, so what does stay really has to earn a spot. Slow cookers, food processors, and other appliance staples are still a must, but useless kitchen gadgets like avocado slicers and garlic peelers get the boot, or never make it into the kitchen at all.
Living in a small kitchen means editing your kitchen appliances often, and only keeping the most useful tools. It also means cleaner, less cluttered, more purposefully curated kitchens that aren't wasteful.
3. Smaller kitchens = cleaner kitchens.
When your kitchen space is small, you can't afford to let it get messy or unorganized. Your countertop is precious, and cluttering it with mail, dirty dishes, or personal items just isn't an option if you want to be able to actually cook in your kitchen.
The available cabinets are also limited and carefully organized to fit dishes, food, and appliances just so, which means lazily shoving groceries or cookware away wherever isn't a choice. The size limitations of a small kitchen and the logistical challenges it creates actually forces those who have them to keep a cleaner, more organized space.
What's more, when it's time to deep clean the kitchen during flu season or after a dinner party, the physical space is smaller, so it takes less time to bring back to a spotless state.
4. There's no room for "too many cooks" in a small kitchen.
Every cook appreciates when family or friends offer to help prepare a meal, but there is a reason "too many cooks in the kitchen" is such a popular expression. In small kitchens, space is limited and often can't accommodate more than one or two people, which makes that space easier to control and take charge of during meal preparation.
That means that when your well-intentioned but overbearing relatives are in town for Thanksgiving and insist on helping you baste the turkey properly, you can just be honest and let them know there isn't enough room. It also means small kitchens can really be your domain and your domain only when they need to be.
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Do we dream of all the pantry space we can fill, and islands as long as a small boat? Of course. But let's get real, fellow cooks — small kitchens are dreamy for the real lives we lead.
Agree? Disagree? Weigh in!