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How to maximize space in a small kitchen

Kitchen space often seems to be in short supply. If you're moving into a home with a cramped cooking area, use these tips to maximize your space.

From fine knife sets to high-tech appliances, your kitchen supplies can be some of the most essential and expensive goods you'll be bringing into your new home. However, you may find yourself with a more economically sized kitchen space than what you were previously used to. While it may be worth your time to pare down some of your kitchen essentials before moving, you may be able to find a place for everything with these tips for maximizing the efficiency of your kitchen.

Prioritize Food

The guiding principle behind all of these steps is common-sense organization. One of the easiest ways to save on cabinet space is to divide your pantry items between every-day and special use items. Keep frequently used items and move the rest to another storage space outside the kitchen to make room for appliances, food and flatware. Coffee, cereal, sugar and flour are supplies you will use every day and might need within easy reach. However, items such as canned goods and spices used for specialty cuisines can be kept in another room without much hassle. It seems like an obvious step, but people often find themselves with pantries overstuffed with goods they rarely use on a daily basis. 

Make Use of the Wall Space

When most people look for kitchen storage space, they see cabinets, countertops and drawers. Yet, the walls are some of the best places to keep goods and utensils. Spice racks can be hung above counters where cooking and mixing are done. Spatulas and spoons may be positioned just above the oven. Even the sides of cabinets make a reliable surface for storing mixing bowls and other pieces of cookware. 

While this tactic may sound like clutter, it can be a beautiful and efficient form of ornamentation that helps to define your kitchen as your own. Just take a look at pictures of Julia Childs' own kitchen space. Particularly attention-grabbing is her wall of copper pots and pans. Arrange thoughtfully, and you won't need much else in terms of decoration. Just make sure to hang hooks that will support a lot of weight on wall studs. For lighter items such as utensils, drywall screws may be sturdy enough. Also, arrange your wall-hung items in places that will be within easy reach where you need them most. 

Use Drawer Organizers

Every bit counts when it comes to maximizing kitchen space. Drawer organizers keep your utensils neat and tidy, buying you a little more room.

Rethink Appliances

In this day and age, there is no shortage of high-tech appliances to aid in your cooking endeavors, from toasters to bread machines to food processors. While often helpful, these items can also take up a lot of space. You'll want to store appliances that you use less frequently outside the kitchen; but you'll also want to reconsider what gadgets best suit your needs. For example, if you're not an avid coffee drinker and you have time to spare before work or school, consider a French press over a bulky coffee machine. They're lightweight, easy to store and some say the brew even tastes better. Clearing your counter space quickly will be a lot easier without having to shift a coffee maker around. 

Invest in a Good-Sized Cutting Board

Chopping, cutting and dicing are involved tasks that often require lugging out a cutting board, and then washing it afterward. Small boards seem like the smart investment, but they're actually just little enough to take up counter space without providing any other use than cutting. Really big ones, especially butcher blocks - can save you effort by doubling as a usable countertop surface. All you have to do is scrub them down between uses instead of taking up half your sink after every meal with a cumbersome board. Butcher blocks can be installed as a replacement countertop surface, or you can invest in a sizable cutting board. 

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