Tips & Tricks

Managing a Pantry and Kitchen in Small Spaces

Stocking a full pantry and keeping items organized can be a daunting challenge in small spaces, but it is possible. I spent many years living in Manhattan, and one thing that stood out, was that New York City apartments are known for kitchens the size of small closets, with barely enough room to turn around in! Kitchen real estate is not much better on my sail boat, where space is at a precious premium. However, cooking in small kitchens and galleys has taught me the need to be creative in order to maintain a decent sized pantry and an organized kitchen.

Sedna Galley

One of the biggest arsenals in my weapon against clutter and chaos are ClickClack containers. Not only can I stack them neatly in my cupboards, but because they are made in numerous shapes and sizes, they fit in various spaces quite efficiently. These containers are airtight as well, which helps to keep humidity (and bugs) from getting into my rice, flour, sugars and other items.


I also like to keep a list of pantry items including spices, so I know at a glance what I have in stock. I happen to like the Paprika recipe app, as it enables me to do my menu planning for the week, add menu items needed to a shopping list and keep a pantry list of stocked items. One of the features I particularly like with Paprika is the ability to sync between my iPad, from which I do most of my work, and my phone, which I take with me when I go shopping. Having easy access to my pantry list on the phone also stops me from buying items I already have.

In terms of spacing saving items in a kitchen, nesting cookware (pots, pans and colander) make a significant difference on maximizing space, and companies like Magma and a few others do offer nesting cookware designed for the boating or small environments. Shopping around though, can yield other quality cookware at reasonable prices. I found a set at Ikea, 12 years ago that still work great and nest into a compact size.

Kitchen utensils are another thing that can quickly become cluttered in a drawer and can easily take up a lot of space. Fortunately, there are many utensils and kitchen gadgets that are well thought out for small spaces, some of which are highlighted in the galley below.

Another trick I found, which is useful for leftovers, is to keep all containers the same size if possible. This makes it much easier to stack in the fridge for maximum efficiency. Before I went the route of same-sized containers, I had a hodgepodge of different sized containers, making the fridge look very cluttered and also leading to a lot of wasted space. Given the small size of my fridge, every inch was precious.

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