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I’m doing something brave right now. I’m showing you a picture of my very messy, very tiny kitchen, because I’m too tired to tidy up before writing this post.
That’s the whole kitchen right there, practically all original, circa 1999. I’ll give you the 3-second tour from left to right:
- The door on the left you see is our entry door.
- We have a double sink. The left side holds our dish drainer; the right side holds dirty dishes.
- The cabinets above the sink have plates, bowls, cup and storage containers.
- The cabinets below the sink hold cleaning supplies and pet food.
- We have 4 drawers, which hold utensils and other small items.
- Our counter space lies between the sink and the stove.
- We have a 3-burner cooktop with oven. But in reality, you can only use one burner at a time.
- Above it is our microwave.
- To finish the tour, we have a refrigerator. Not pictured to the right of the refrigerator is a tall, narrow pantry.
There you have it. When this motorhome was built, I don’t know what they were thinking. The original design could transport 7 people and sleep at least 4-5. I guess they thought everyone would eat out.
But we’ve made this tiny kitchen work. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with dishes when everything is made from scratch but otherwise we’ve found ways to improvise.
Tips for cooking in a tiny kitchen
- Use every available space and add more if necessary. We had a dinette in the original floor plan, but it was old, gross and rickety so we took it out. Now we have a desk that Ryan built (upcoming post). We also have two small collapsible tables that we bring out when needed. Also, if we’re not using the stove or oven, there is a cover for the burners that adds to counter space.
- Plan ahead and work in stages. I don’t drag out every single ingredient when I’m ready to start cooking. I bring out the food that I need right away, chop it or whatever I need to do to it, then put it away. Then the next food comes out. If I may need to add more spices, I put them on a folding table or the desk until I’m done with them.
- Make simpler meals. I try to use as few ingredients as possible–it’s better for my digestion anyway. I try to also make things that I can do entirely in a single pot, pan or in the Instant Pot.
- Use space-saving kitchen appliances. Of course, our Instant Pot is my favorite. But I also have a small but powerful blender, a small food processor that slices and shreds, and a vegetable spiralizer and noodler. When I was replacing old items, I measured my cabinets and bought the highest-rated appliances that would fit inside the cabinets and storage containers we already had.
- Make clean-up easier. Those days when I had to wash a greasy dish 5 times because I cooked something with oil? I don’t miss them at all. We have converted about 99% of our cooking to oil-free. Cooking with oil is something I do very rarely, and I’m in the process of trying to eliminate it completely. We have baking mats and a silicone baking pan that don’t require any oiling or greasing. We also have reusable silicone cupcake liners. Things like baking mats and reusable liners are not only healthy but also better for the environment (no tin foil, parchment paper, or paper cupcake wrappers to throw away). They also save money because you don’t have to buy all those things–or find a place to store them!
I’ve put together an Amazon store with all our favorite products called Tiny Kitchen Products. It’s separate from our RV Products Store so if you don’t care about those you don’t have to sift through them.
How do you deal with cooking in a small space? What are your favorite gadgets?