How to Simplify Your Kitchen in your Tiny House

Guest post by Mariah Coz of www.cometcamper.com

As we gear up for another awesome session of my Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course, I wanted to share with you some of my tips for making life easier in your tiny kitchen.  As you guys know, I’m all about simplifying our needs and using less (in every aspect of our lives). I’ve downsized my life into 100 sq. ft. , and then again into just 35 square foot when my partner and I decided to live out of our custom converted Honda Element micro-camper. I’ve learned quite a few things about downsizing from making these two drastic transitions, and I have so much to share with you. If you like my tips from below, you’ll love the Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course. Registration is now open and class begins on August 10th, so you’ll want to save your spot by signing up here.

Mariah

I believe that occasional-use Kitchen Toys are your enemy when you’re trying to downsize and simplify your kitchen. Those things that take up a lot of space but only get used once a year? I say ditch it. Living in a tiny space is all about NOT planning for the “what ifs” and “every possible scenario”. You don’t need anything in your kitchen that serves only one purpose, unless you’re a total foodie and baking is your life (in which case do whatever you want!).

And if you’re trying to go off-grid with your tiny house, you’ll thank me for lessening your electric load!

simplify your kitchen

The Kitchen Toys:
What you don’t need (unless you can convince me otherwise):

  • Ice cream maker
  • electric pop corn popper
  • Microwave
  • Fancy food processors that take a long time to come apart and are hard to clean
  • Fancy China
  • Real Silverware in a velvet-lined case (from your wedding)
  • Specialized Glassware: An assortment of wine glasses, Martini glasses, and beer mugs in every shape and 8 of each? You need as many vessels as there are people in your household, and no more!
  • Cheap Mixers – just use a spoon and a bowl, no need for an electrical appliance here.
  • Toaster – grilled toast tastes better!
  • Bundt cake form
  • any type of special cake form
  • fancy baking supplies for frosting and cupcake making
  • “holiday” anything – if it has a “theme” like thanksgiving or christmas, get rid of it. Just get one nice set of dishes that can be used for every single day.
  • a block of 12 knives. You only need one or two really nice knives, and a sharpener.
  • Anything “As Seen On TV” that was meant to make your life better but got pushed to the back of the drawer.
  • Cookbooks. Any recipe can be found online, there is no need to keep a bunch of cookbooks (unless it was your great great grandmothers or something very special!).

If you haven’t used it in the last 2 months, you really don’t need it. You need the right tools, not more of the useless gadgets you see at the kitchen stores!

Mariah's Comet Camper

My Tiny Kitchen Essentials Inventory:
This is the stuff I use on a regular basis, things that you should definitely include in your kitchen!

  • One medium sized cast iron pan (I love cast iron!)
  • One small saucepan
  • 2 plate-bowls from Ikea – these are the only vessels I will ever need. It’s like a plate and a bowl combined. Genius.
  • 2 sets of silverware
  • one French Press
  • 2 coffee mugs
  • 1 tea strainer for loose leaf
  • 1 Tea pot
  • 1 set of various plastic containers for leftovers – no plastic wrap.
  • Citrus juicer (hand powered, of course)
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 Pyrex or other baking pan (not 5 or 10 or one in every single size, just one).
  • 1 colander
  • 1 nice knife
  • 1 spatula
  • 1 multi-purpose measuring cup, not a “set” of nesting ones.
  • 1 can opener
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 mixing bowl

The One-Bowl Method:
My partner Matt and I found one single plate-bowl (it’s a wide, medium shallow bowl from Ikea) that we love enough to use exclusively every day. You can eat almost anything out of it, except maybe a steak (for cutting reasons). Breakfast, lunch, or dinner – we really only need one multi-purpose vessel!

Simplifying the Fridge:
In your small home you will most likely have a small fridge. The good news is that it’s hard to stash lots of unused and unhealthy stuff in a tiny fridge. Fermented foods are a great way to have healthy, probiotic foods that don’t require refrigeration. Your fridge should only be home to the essentials. Here is a list of items that don’t need refrigeration so that you can declutter that icebox!

  • Eggs – don’t need refrigeration unless they have always been refrigerated. If you buy eggs that are cold from a fridge section, let them come to room temperature overnight. This will cause a small amount of condensation and moisture to form on the eggs, just wipe it off with a towel so they are dry and they will be fine.
  • Ghee (clarified butter – so good!)
  • Most fresh fruits and vegetables – It drives me nuts when my mom puts tomatoes in the fridge! That’s not good! It makes the vegetable actually go bad faster.
  • Bread – Maybe it’s just my mom, but she puts bread in the fridge too! Makes it go bad faster.
  • Potatoes
  • Honey
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Peanut Butter
  • Bread
  • Bananas
  • Baked Goods
  • Oils
  • Apples

And that’s it! Those are my most essential strategies for simplifying and downsizing your kitchen. Most people have out of control kitchen situations, and feel pretty bad for giving away expensive kitchen gadgets. I give you permission to ditch the crap you don’t use and make room for a simpler, de-cluttered life!

Tiny Transition E-Course 800 Button

If you want to join me and a class full of motivated tiny-hopefuls like yourself for an intense journey to simplified homes, lives, closets, and minds, come hang out in the next session of the Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course. You’ll have access to a private class forum so you can meet and connect with like-minded people, make new friends, and find motivation and support. If you’re curious about what you’ll get from taking the course, I’ll let some of the past members tell you:

“This class has single-handedly changed my thinking and life. The email course is rocking my world with the “how” to do this, the access to the associated Google group is invaluable. You could lurk and never post with this group and it’ll change your thinking and life. Even if you just want to tread more softly on this beautiful jewel of a planet we live on, you will benefit from this course.
I’ve found my true fun self since I’ve been taking this course. My stuff was burying my life, and I had no idea that I’d done that to myself. The e-course, the readings, and the Google Group together make for a powerful inspiration to keep going. The class is already paid for itself in less stress, less stuff, and heck, I’ve even lost weight! All because I’m realizing that I just don’t NEED a lot of things. While we may or may not move into an actual Tiny House, our house of 1,100 square feet is starting to look huge. We have SO MUCH SPACE NOW! I’m looking forward to a smaller house (and a smaller or NONEXISTENT mortgage soon). ” – Andrea

“This class is changing my entire life. For the good, too. So glad I made the decision to spend the money to take this course!” – Becky R.

“Thanks for a terrific course, Mariah! You have taught us “life” and (mental) “survival skills”. The process you have used to redirect our thinking while burdened by the overwhelming voice of “how will I ever manage this?”…has really been spot on.” – J.

“This was a fantastic class- I am so thankful I took it!!! I’m seeing great results. Your other “life” stuff that you suggested we look at and employ minimization on is also being whittled down. I’m not stopping until it’s all done- I’m already feeling “lighter” and loving it! This was and continues to be a life changing class for me. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, experiences & skills with me & so many others.” – B.

The next session of the Comet Camper Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course begins on August 10th, so sign up now to save your spot! I look forward to supporting you through this journey and seeing you in the class! Click Here!

Mariah lives in a 1960s vintage trailer that she renovated to be eco-awesome and off-the-grid. She blogs about vintage trailer life, tiny houses, and sustainable living over at her blog www.cometcamper.com.

Vlad’s Tiny House

by Lynne Hopwood

A couple that I freelanced for, designing ads and catalogs, had been remodeling a tiny house, so I just had to get over there and get a tour. Wow, they took a 12 x 24 ft. building with a loft and parked it on their property, added a front porch and two permanent overhangs that are used as a cook out area on one side and a place to park on the other. The little house has a stunning view of the valley below it.

view from the road

View from the road.

road view

loft and bed

Once you open the front door, you see the kitchen and loft stairs ahead, futon couch to the right. The open door is the door to the bathroom. An armoire sits to the left. I believe it stores clothes and the TV. The kitchen has a bar where two stools are placed.

futon

Another view of the futon just inside the front door. It is used as a second bed when not used as a couch.

entry and kitchen

View of armoire just to the left of the entry.

kitchen

The kitchen is super classy with recessed lighting, a full sized double sink, a small fridge and a four burner cook top which is raised up above the wooden counter top by about 3 inches. It looks like it was to make room for the mini fridge below.

mini fridge

sink

The bathroom below consists of a regular toilet and a built-in stall shower, mirror, and no sink. Shower to the left and toilet to the right.

bathroom

The loft ladder stands permanently on an angle, out of the way of traffic. I love the design.

loft ladder

There are only two wall windows and one skylight in this tiny house. It is very bright inside! Below is the view of the skylight from the loft.

loft

And next, a view of the front door from the loft. Nice use of paint and hard wood.

view below

There are no lights in the sleeping loft. A through-the-wall AC unit cools the entire house in the summer. Sorry that the picture is so bad, I must have been trembling with delight over this tiny place!

loft

The loft railing made from local bamboo and painted dark green.

green bamboo

Below a view of the porch. Note the bamboo shade that keeps out the intense sun when needed.

porch

A view from their valley. My friends sometimes rent this tiny house to employees that work at their herb/supplement business (MoreThanAlive.com). They have two other tiny buildings that comprise their office and small warehouse and could easily be turned into living spaces in the future.

road view

This story would not be complete until I give a shout out to the couple that did the remodeling, a husband and wife team, Marcus and Ester!

The Technology of the Tiny House

By Aaron Kuehn

I’m not ready. At least not yet. Every day I get closer. Closer to being ready to live in a tiny house.

Living “tiny” is not a new concept to me. When I was a child, my parents were avid fishers and we would spend months at a time in the deep woods of Canada. My dad, mom and I lived for those extended periods of time in a 23-foot travel trailer. It never seemed cramped nor odd to me. It was cozy and comfortable. We had everything we needed. Even as a kid I marveled at the efficiency of that RV. Every nook and cranny was used for something.

Terry Travel Trailer

I’ve also been impressed by the clever layouts that hotel designers have pulled off. In small spaces they have created functional and comfortable environments. I often find myself saying “I could live here” when spending time in a hotel room.

So the tiny house has always been on my mind and I believe that someday my lifestyle and a tiny house will merge. As time goes by, the practicality, and thus the reality, of such a life change becomes all the more tangible.

There are many perceived barriers to living in a tiny house. Most of them revolve around the “tiny” part: we hunger for space and we fear letting it go. However, the past several years have seen several technology improvements that allow for more efficient use of space and thus make the tiny house choice much more attractive.

TELEVISION
When the power goes out usually the first thing I miss is the TV. We have now said goodbye to the large, heavy, tube-based TV set in favor of the small, thin, lightweight, cooler, more efficient flat-panel design. This is a change that huge numbers of people have adopted in their homes. But it’s an even bigger deal in the tiny house.

Think of the cubic feet of space required for the old-fashioned TVs of just a few years ago. In a tiny house a large percentage of space was required to have a TV, particularly if you wanted one with a serious viewable area. Continue reading