Micro Kitchen Meets Big Personalities

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Lee playing his nerdy computer games pre-wifi days.

I have a terrible habit of only posting every other week, I’m sorry! Hopefully I’ll have something cooler to post next week. Work has been nuts; we’re launching a brand new, completely, 100% different website on Monday, and I’m in charge of posting all the new content to the blog (or “journal,” as we’re calling it). 40 posts and counting. Hopefully I am near the end. I’ll think I’m done and then my boss will think of something new for me to post (which literally just happened as I am typing this). It’s always in a series of 10 or so. It’s mostly copying and pasting, but it’s a lot of work. And it’s on a new platform, so we’re all learning as we go, which makes it a little stressful. But it’s kind of fun. It’s at least a little creative, because I get to play with the layout.

I’m also lacking motivation to do actual work today because more than half of the office took today as a vacation day. Seven people usually occupy the room my desk is in, and there are only three of us here today. The chicks. One of them is my closest friend in the office, so a lot of post-Thanksgiving gossiping happened this morning.

So, anyway, I’m living with a tiny, tiny kitchen. So far, it’s not  a huge problem. The worst part is just the feeling of being cramped – I’m cooking stuff on the stove and my elbow bumps the wall, or I’m trying to get something out of one cupboard and I can’t open another. It’s not a big deal, though, because all the portions I cook are pretty small since it’s just the two of us. And I make very basic meals since I’m not a great cook. Tacos, pasta dishes, salads, casseroles, nothing too fancy. No steaks or chicken and dumplings or fancy stews. Not yet, anyway.

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As you can see, I got my over-the-sink cutting board!! I LOVE it. And I felt so grown up buying it…and I feel so grown up owning it! It’s a wonderful, hefty chunk of wood. Every cutting board I’ve owned has been a flimsy piece of crap plastic slab or something. It creates a lot of counter space, just enough extra room that I can mix things, cook things on the stove, and chop things all at the same time. And what’s great is that it doesn’t quite cover the whole sink, so I can still drop ends of veggies or dirty spoons into the sink while it’s there. I really can’t recommend something like this enough. I got mine at IKEA, and get this: it was TEN BUCKS. Ten! Get yours here:

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30087148/

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One thing that Lee and I CANNOT agree on is where to hang that damn hand towel to the left of the oven. I like it there. Our oven handle doesn’t come out far enough from the oven for us to slip a towel back there, so we have to hang it on a cabinet knob (we’re too cheap to go buy, like…a command hook…and too lazy). He puts it on the handle of the cabinet above the sink, so it’s just dangling in our faces while we do dishes. It irritates me…so much…fl-flame-flames…on the sides of my face…b-burning…

But he lets me put my mugs right there, on top of the oven, since the cabinet we put our other mugs in is too high for me to reach. That’s another problem with tiny kitchens: storage space. I honestly didn’t think this would be much of a problem; it seemed like we had a lot of room. We don’t. It gets used up really, really fast. We’re making do, though. We keep minimal food in the apartment in the way of snacks, just essentials for cooking, and most of our stuff goes in the fridge, because we figure that healthy stuff is the stuff that spoils. So we utilize what we have.

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This little portal has changed since I took this photo – as you can see, Jos, we are using the french press you gave me for my birthday. Lee was NOT convinced the first time we used it (this may have been the first time, I think he was cooking me breakfast on our first Saturday at the apartment), but he won’t use anything else now. This morning, while he was driving me to a doctor’s appointment before work (such a nice guy), he was drinking some french press coffee and just said, “you know what? I’m sold on the french press. I love it.” And so do I! It’s so much easier than coffee from a coffee maker, and it tastes a thousand times better.

ANYWAY. The portal currently houses those two little cacti (his is the single one, called Diglet, and mine is the three little guys, called Dugtrio – ten points if you get the reference), the cowboy boot shot glasses Lee got at Fifthmas last December, a glass skull full of our laundry change, a little hedgehog Christmas ornament, and a ceramic reindeer that mysteriously showed up in my car when I got back from mom’s last weekend. Wonder how that got there…

So that’s my micro kitchen as of right now. We had a little set of pots hanging on a rack above the sink, but Lee’s massive swimmer arms flailed a bit too aggressively and he knocked them off the wall, so there’s a hole on one side now. He gets to fix that. Also, look at this:

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This is how Lee thinks you should hang curtains. He gets to fix that too.

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My Imminent Tiny Kitchen

Good news, y’all:

Lee and I got an apartment!

I hope I’m not jinxing it – we haven’t signed the lease yet or anything. But we have it! It’s ours!

It’s great. It’s on the beach, ocean view, top floor, all hardwoods and a really cool wood panel on one of the walls. The only problem: the kitchen is very, very small. It’s L-shaped, with the fridge at the entrance, the sink next to it, and an empty counter space. That makes the long part of the L, then at the bend there’s a second counter space, and the stove/oven is next to it. That’s it. That’s my entire kitchen.

Honestly, I’m not much of a cook, so this shouldn’t bother me much. But it bothers me quite a bit. The apartment was too cheap and too perfect to turn up, but the kitchen will take some strategizing to make it fully functional.

I’ve been looking at a lot of blog posts and little tips for making a small kitchen easier to deal with. This is what I came up with:

6 small space living ideas to create more space, bedroom ideas, foyer, kitchen design, living room ideas

I love the idea of using a mirror to make a space bigger. Obviously, this is an old technique, but it’s really smart! My kitchen has a wall facing the side with counter space/the sink with a big hole in the middle (what Lacey and I called the “portal” in our kitchen at Linfield, because it had one too). That wall would sport a mirror spectacularly. Plus, it will look cute next to the cactus display we’re going to put in the portal (we have to get cacti because I killed all the succulents Lacey and I had).

From blog hometalk.com 

Lee and I bought some pretty plates and glasses, which would look really nice on some shelves we could put on the other side of that empty wall, next to the stove. (The kitchen in this picture is actually around the same size as mine!)

From blog freckleschick.blogspot.com

Organize by pegboard, a la Julia Child.

Genius! I love peg boards. They’re so versatile, and they look great. Of course, I’d have to figure out where one would fit…

The rest of the tiny kitchen hacks: http://www.buzzfeed.com/twopoodles/lifehacks-for-your-tiny-kitchen

Use an over-the-sink cutting board to temporarily expand your counter space.

I definitely need to invest in an over the counter cutting board. We already bought an expandable and retractable drying rack (no dishwasher! Eek!), I believe this is the next step into tiny kitchen mastery.

The insides of cabinets are also great places to put hooks for rags, gloves, and pot holders.

I obviously must use every bit of space I have, with hooks, baskets, command strips and boxes, etc.

Put shelves inside of your shelves.

Shelves inside shelves? Who knew.

And lastly:

If you have the space, a kitchen cart can serve multiple purposes.

A KITCHEN CART. I might do something super tacky and move my fridge outside of the kitchen and invest in a kitchen cart for counter/storage space instead, if I can find somewhere sensible to put my fridge. We have a closet right outside the kitchen, so I’m thinking we could take the door off and put a curtain or some beads in there instead, and store the fridge in there. Might keep us from overeating at night as well! As long as it’s not too tacky, it could be very helpful!

By next Wednesday…well, I still won’t be in the apartment. Move in day is the seventh. I’ll make sure to dedicate a post to our new space the week after!