The most commonly asked question we get from our friends and family is, “How do you manage without a kitchen?” Surprisingly, it hasn’t been all that difficult, and it’s actually been kind of fun. Don’t get me wrong; we long for a full-sized refrigerator, an oven for baking, and a stove and not to mention, a dishwasher. However, going with out a kitchen hasn’t been as hard as we initially imagined.
The main thing that has been making life without a kitchen easier is keeping everything organized. Of course, organization is key to enjoying any room in the house, but it’s absolutely critical in our temporary kitchen.
We set up our kitchen on two six-foot folding tables that we borrowed from Ashley’s mom and dad. Rather than taking up a bunch of space with lesser-used appliances, we decided it was best just to keep a few out and store the rest. Our “top five” list of appliances boiled down to the microwave, coffee grinder (which I use daily to make delicious coffee in my Aeropress), electric griddle, slow cooker and toaster. Having these out in the open makes doing things in a small, makeshift kitchen relatively easy.
On the other side of the “kitchen”, we have other necessities like paper towels, cutting board, knives, a few canisters (which are storing a handheld can opener and our daily vitamins) and last but not least the mini refrigerator.
We ended up storing the boxes that contained kitchen stuff under the tables. That way, if we ever need to dig out a platter or dishes of some sort, it’s right there at our fingertips.
The fridge situation hasn’t been as bad as we thought it would be, either. We just have to remember to keep things small. For the most part, we keep condiments, deli meats, single-serving meals (in the freezer) and drinks in the fridge. Oh, and Bentley’s dog food. We can fit a 12-pack of Diet Coke and at least two half-gallon containers of some sort (this week’s half-gallon beverages of choice: milk and grapefruit juice) in the fridge, still leaving room for other items. Remembering to think small/single-serving helps to eliminate the frustration of getting something home from the store and realizing it doesn’t fit.
Then we have the pantry. Seeing as how the pantry is currently serving as a storage space for items not typically kept in a pantry, it’s nothing special at the moment. Ashley is really eager to get her hands on it once the kitchen is done and turn it into a shrine to organization like Shelley’s pantry over at House of Smiths. We’ll get there one day, Ash.
All the way at the top, we have our mixer, juicer and food processor. Since we don’t use them on a regular basis at the moment, we decided to stash them up here for now so they are out of the way. Plus, they’re easy to get to (for me, at least! Ashley isn’t nearly as tall as I am, haha) if we ever need them for something.
The next shelf down is home to oatmeal, crackers, popcorn, bread etc. You know, the usual stuff. We try not to stock up on a ton of stuff at one time so that we can keep everything simple and organized. Any more, and keeping everything organized would get rather complicated.
Then we have spices, sandwich bags and a bunch of grilling extras. We tend to have a lot of grilling sauces and such on hand these days because we use the grill a LOT. Not having a stove forces you to find other options for cooking, and sometimes the microwave just won’t cut it. It doesn’t hurt that I absolutely love to grill, either.
Smore’s supplies (which is pretty much a staple around here during this time of year), leftover Christmas candy, plastic utensils (washing silverware in the bathroom sink got really old really fast), Rubbermaid containers (for leftovers), and a few dishes (just in case we get tired of using paper plates now and then).
On the bottom shelf, we have extra paper towels, napkins, our go-to cook book, containers that we’ve been collecting from our local Chinese delivery place (Ashley “has a plan”) and mixing bowls. We have a pretty hefty collection of cookbooks, but we decided to keep only those who have mostly recipes that can be done in a temporary kitchen like ours. There was only one.
So this is how we’ve been surviving without a kitchen. Keeping things simple, uncluttered and minimal has proven to be the best way to enjoy our temporary kitchen. It’s not ideal, but it’s definitely not as bad as I had originally thought. And it’s definitely a good experience overall; we’re really going to appreciate our new kitchen once we get it finished.
Do any of you have any stories about living without a kitchen? Did you just do take-out all the time, or did you try to make a temporary kitchen function like the real thing? Let us know in the comments…
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