When food blogger Anne-Marie Nichols moved from a home with a huge kitchen to a 1928 Tudor rival cottage, she knew finding a way to arrange and store her bulky kitchen appliances and gadgets would be a challenge in a small kitchen, especially when it came to kitchen counters and cabinet space.
Nichols’ husband took their Keurig coffee machine to his office but that still left another coffee maker, three crock pots, a food dehydrator, vacuum sealer and other clunky appliances.
“Countertop space is limited. and if there are more than two people and our dog Nellie in the kitchen, there are literally too many cooks in the kitchen,” says Nichols.
With all those helpful but humongous kitchen appliances, “cooking in a small kitchen is problematic,” says Nichols. So, she and her husband got creative with arranging and storing kitchen appliances that are too big for their little kitchen. If they can do it, so can you.
Here are 8 humongous appliances or kitchen items too big for little kitchens, along with storage ideas from professional organizers and others who found ways to store or make room for big appliances in tiny kitchens.
1. Slow Cookers and Pressure Cookers
Challenge: Maybe you got so excited about freezing batches of homemade soup prepared in that 16-quart slow cooker that it never occurred to you that the gargantuan machine takes up a chunk of counter space and won’t fit inside a single kitchen cabinet.
Solution: Nichols converted a nearby hall closet to a “multi-shelf appliance garage,” a storage area where she stores their 8-Quart Instant Pot and three slow cookers.
“It’s not ideal, since I have to step out of the kitchen when I need to grab one of them,” says Nichols. “Still, it’s better than keeping a herd of appliances on top of the refrigerator, where they get grimy and become an eyesore.”
2. Food Processors and Blenders
Challenge: Food processors can take up tons of space, especially when you have to take them apart to make all the parts fit inside cramped cabinets.
Solution: Try to stick with large appliances that can perform double-duty tasks, says Leslie Eiler, design manager for CRD Design Build, a design-build remodeler in Seattle, WA. For example, a toaster oven — another biggie —can be used to both toast and bake. For storage, “use roll-out shelves wherever necessary,” says Eiler.
Solution: “Consider storing mixers on a pantry shelf or secondary location outside the kitchen,” says Sicalides. “Because it’s so heavy, think about a low and accessible shelf.”
But many mixers now come in vibrant and attractive colors, so if you do bake a lot you might consider displaying your mixer proudly on the counter.
4. Food Dehydrators
Challenge: Nichols’ food dehydrator, which is 14” deep, 11” wide and 14” high, is a good fit for her dried fruit needs but not so much for her little kitchen. The dehydrator’s five 13” trays must also be stored.
Solution: Because Nichols doesn’t use her dehydrator daily, she stores it in the same converted closet as the slow cookers and other large appliances. Countertop space is reserved for appliances she uses every day such as her coffeemaker, electric kettle and toaster.
5. Coffee Makers
Challenge: Some people assume “go-big-or-go-home” is the key to making good coffee, but do you really need a coffee maker that brews 12 cups or has bells and whistles that you rarely use?
Solution: “Consider downsizing to a single-serve machine or French press,” says Spears. “They take up less space and make better coffee.”
6. Cutting Boards
Challenge: If you like to chop, slice and dice your way through life, you’ve probably got a huge cutting board that you spread out on when preparing a recipe that calls for some elbow room. This kitchen tool isn’t an appliance but there’s a lot you can do with counter space otherwise taken over by a 24 x 18” or even larger cutting board.
Solution: Utilize the inside of cabinet and pantry doors, says Saurabh Jindal, who lives in Paris, France, where kitchens run small.
“We put hooks and holders on the inside of cabinet doors and use them to hold daily use appliances such as cutting boards and baking sheets,” says Jindal.
7. Ice Cream Makers
Challenge: Curt Overstreet of Overland Park, KS, loves his ice cream maker, but the 24” tall appliance is bulky and cumbersome.
Solution: Overstreet stores the ice cream maker, along with his many industrial-sized appliances in plastic totes with dust-proof lids in a room outside but close to the kitchen. “That way I can see what’s in them,” says Overstreet, who has around a dozen totes with appliances too big for his little kitchen.
8. Deep Fryers
Challenge: Overstreet uses his semi-professional quality deep fryer outside all summer but after frying up final batches of fried chicken and tenderloins come Labor Day, it’s time to store the favorite appliance until spring.
Solution: Store seasonal items like ice cream makers, deep fryers and turkey roasters in plastic, airtight totes organized by season. These items are also good candidates for closets converted to kitchen appliance storage spaces. Or if you rent a storage unit, you can have all the room you want for seasonal appliances!