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Group Chat is In The Know’s advice column, where our editors respond to your questions about dating, friendships, family, social media, wellness, shopping, beauty and beyond. Have a question for the chat? Submit it here and we’ll do our best to reply.
Hi Group Chat,
Sincerely, Compact Cooking
Dillon Thompson, whose kitchen is so small he can’t open his fridge all the way, says: Unlike tiny homes, tiny bedrooms or tiny tech gadgets, tiny kitchens are decidedly not cute. I say this as a grown man who once spent five full hours baking cookies, three at a time, inside a micro-sized toaster oven. If you don’t want adulthood to feel like using your childhood Easy-Bake oven set, then I’d recommend doing everything you can to capitalize on your space. First of all, think vertically!
All that space in and around your sink? Why not take advantage of it with an over-the-sink cutting board. Don’t have a dishwasher? Don’t worry; we can fix that too. My personal favorite solution is this mega-cheap, mega-reliable drying rack. This is thin and compact, but it has enough height to dry almost anything you can throw at it.
Also, remember that having a small kitchen doesn’t mean giving up the things you love. You just have to be willing to downsize. Donate that bulky Keirug you were probably using in college, and instead, replace it with this personal-sized, five-cup coffee maker. This thing is cheap, takes up minimal space and still brews enough coffee to fill the biggest thermos you’ve got. — Dillon Thompson, Trending Content Editor
Sagler Wooden Dish Rack, $11.99
Over the Sink Cutting Board, $34.99
Moriba Cummings, who believes multi-use is the way of the future, says: Congratulations on moving into your first apartment — that’s a major accomplishment that you should be proud of. Having a small kitchen, especially if you live in a metropolitan city, is, unfortunately, more common than you may think. So, it’s key to find ways to make the space at least feel larger than it actually is. I recommend snagging the Always Pan by Our Place. You’ve likely seen the ads on Instagram since it’s literally the Internet’s most sold-out pan and, in my opinion, it lives up to the hype. It can do so much — it boils, sears, fries and it’s genuinely non-stick. I use mine just about every day. So, if you have a small stove or kitchen space, this is definitely a must-have that I’ve found consolidates like no other. — Moriba Cummings, Commerce Editor
Always Pan, $145
Alan, who loves kitchen organizers and caddies but hates large appliances, says: Small kitchens can be a nightmare for cooking. Whether you’re lacking counter space or you just have a tiny fridge, these kinds of roadblocks can derail even the most strict meal prep regimen. When it comes to organizing my kitchen, I like to start small. These measuring cups and funnels are solutions for products that always seem to find a way to become clutter or get lost. It’s an easy upgrade to something you use every day if you’re cooking as much as you ought to be! — Alan Lewin, Commerce Video Producer
KongNai Silicone Collapsible Funnel Set of 4, $6.98 (Orig. $14.98)
Ellie, who relies on a step stool to reach her top kitchen cabinets, says: Oh hey there, fellow tiny kitchen friend! I feel your pain. To help create more space in my wee kitchen, I’ve had to be creative. Firstly, I got a large chef’s block to cover my stovetop to create more counter space, which has been a real game changer. (Etsy makes a lot of cute stove covers, too.) I also sized down some of my appliances. I live alone and don’t need an 8-quart Instant Pot or a huge blender taking up space. I highly recommend the NutriBullet Pro (so many fun colors to choose from!) for all your personal blending needs. To store it and other random small appliances, I put them in a nice basket on top of the fridge. This hides them away but also keeps them from sitting in the top cabinet where I can’t reach without my trusty step stool. When it comes to food storage containers, they take up more space than you realize. Try collapsible bowls by Stojo instead. You can store them flat, sideways — however you like. A small kitchen can sometimes be a pain, but it’s doable, I promise. — Ellie Conley, Commerce Editor
NutriBullet Pro, $99.99
Stojo 36 oz Bowl, $20
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