Food & Drinks

Everything I Used to Make My 22-Square-Foot Kitchen Functional

The author’s kitchen is too small to fit a fridge, so hers sits just outside of it in the living room.
Photo: Hannah Starke

After a very long winter at home with roommates, I moved into my first solo apartment this spring. I haven’t stopped talking about it since: The place is rent-stabilized, near an express train, and has French doors, exposed brick, stained glass, southern exposure, and wood accents older than my grandparents. But it also has a kitchen that’s better described as a 22-square-foot closet. Four cabinets (two half-size) hang above a sink and oven, which sit on either side of a sliver of countertop that’s just big enough for a Nutribullet. Beneath the sink there are two more cabinets. With no room for a fridge, mine lives just outside the kitchen, in my living room.

This wouldn’t have given pre-pandemic Hannah, whose dinners primarily came from the frozen-foods section of Trader Joe’s, a moment’s pause. But after a year spent cooking the majority of my meals at home and actually enjoying it, I had no choice but to optimize every square inch of the kitchen. Even though this apartment is not my forever home, I wanted stuff that not only met my spatial needs but would also last for years (if not decades) and look nice enough to distract visitors from the shock of how tiny the area is. Armed with the dimensions of every nook and cranny, I spent months acquiring products. From fridge magnets that store my Swiffer, to a dish rack that rolls up, to some skinny-wheeled shelving that slips beneath my counter, read on for the 16 things I got to eke every bit of function out of my 22-square-foot kitchen.

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