10 Expert Tips for Making the Most of a Tiny New York Kitchen

New York may have some of the best restaurants in the world, and yes, you can get delivery 24 hours a day. But that doesn’t mean New Yorkers never cook at home. Unless you have an unlimited budget, you likely won’t be getting a “chef’s kitchen” with miles of counter space and a walk-in pantry. So how do you create more than just canned soup or mac ‘n’ cheese from a box? It just takes a little planning. We talked with Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, founder of TheKitchn.com — a daily blog devoted to home cooking and kitchen design — to get her expert tips on making the most of a small kitchen. And she speaks from experience. The Manhattan resident estimates that her home kitchen measures at just 45 square feet.


First rule: No sets

Buying kitchen items in sets may make sense financially, but before you buy that big box of Tupperware, really look at what’s included. If you are never going to need to store 10 things at a time, the empty containers will just be clogging up your cabinets. Same goes for pots and pans. Be realistic. Are you ever going to use a one-quart saucepan and a two-quart saucepan at the same time?


Forget sentimentality

If you are known as someone who likes to cook, chances are you will get a lot of kitchen items as gifts. And these will probably include everything from specialty items that you may use once to seasonal décor more suited to people with linen closets (i.e. poinsettia kitchen towels for Christmas, Thanksgiving-themed cloth napkins). Write the thank you note, then find them a good home. You should also make a point to get rid of things you don’t use on a schedule, be it once a year or once a month. And that goes for food, too. Keep an eye on expiration dates for long-term items like olive oil. Knowing what is in your cabinets (and how long it’s been there) can also save you from buying things already hiding in the back corner.

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