My next few blog posts will be dedicated to small kitchens. The needed appliances, the amount of counter space, and the type/size of storage are a few questions that were buzzing around in my head. These needs and wants are different for each person, so what works for me, might not work for you. It honestly was a deep thinking exercise of what I actually use, what I haven’t touched in years, and what I can afford in a kitchen on a low budget. It took a week of internal debate to answer these questions. I would say the biggest influence on these decisions were from the semester I lived in Rome, Italy. We had a tiny kitchen in our apartment to service eight people. We didn’t have a dishwasher, had a dorm sized refrigerator (for eight people!), and a small, sketchy four burner stove. So here is what I’m rolling with for my appliance choices.
Small Dorm Refrigerator
After years of communal living, I realized that no single person really needs a full sized fridge. I buy groceries usually on a meal-to-meal basis so I never really used up my whole fridge “shelf” when I lived with roommates. I also already own a pretty nice mini fridge, meaning I can just keep that bad boy and not buy a new one. Win.
Forget the Range
I was going to go with the European style cooking range like I had in Italy, but what I’ve learned is even when you go smaller with appliances, the cost doesn’t really go down and can sometimes be more expensive. I also thought about how much I’ve actually used my parent’s range since I’ve moved home in May. I’ve used the stovetop a handful of times, and I’ve used the oven once. Knowing that I think counter space is more important, creating a flexible kitchen, I am choosing to go with small, separate appliances.
A two unit, electric stovetop burner is what I’m picking for a hot surface since I can’t think of a single time I’ve used more than two burners. I also am buying a small conventional oven, purposely too small to fit frozen pizzas, but large enough to roast veggies and small baking recipes. These two appliances cost about $80 all together. The range I was looking at would cost $495. This money saved can go towards nicer windows, or paying for better insulation.
Loss of Dishwasher
This was something I had to let go. I’m on a tight budget and I’ve been washing my dishes by hand for over the last year. It has not killed me and it will reduce the amount of water I use in my house, which is important to me. Living little has some disadvantages and this is probably one, but on the plus side, I get to use that space to house the dishwasher for kitchen storage.
Obviously I’m putting in a sink and microwave. I usually only cook once or twice a week to meal prep, meaning I reheat a lot of food. I’m getting just a standard microwave to cover this need.
It wasn’t easy, but I did get to a final decision of what I really need/can afford. At the end the series of kitchen posts, I will be posting my final kitchen design. Till then, I’m practicing what cooking in a small space will be like, and what kind of storage I’m truly going to need.