Renting Solutions: essential supplies for a small kitchen

Those of you whom have been following NellieBellie for a bit know that we moved from our large country home to renting a little apartment in a charming city many months ago. We adore living here. But, there have been a few challenges. One of the challenges has been learning how to cook and bake in a tiny kitchen. There is little counter space, storage space, no dishwasher (gasp!), and a poor layout. Don't get me wrong, it's the cutest little kitchen you ever did see. But...I've had to learn how to condense my kitchen stuff down to the essential supplies.

Renting Solutions: the only 20 essential supplies for your small kitchen that you need to make it perform in a big way!

I still cook the same things, the same ways (for the most part) but...I've gotten a bit more creative with how I use my pots and pans. And, I have realized how important it is for my kitchen items to do double duty. Super important!!

Today I'm going to give you the list of what I have in my small rental kitchen and maybe it will help you stock your small kitchen.  Or simplify the one you have. Yes, you may have to wash a dish twice when baking. Or take a bit more time. But...there is no reason why you can't make fabulous dishes and treats just because you have a small kitchen! And, of course...each person likes different things. So, you may need to add your own item. Or take away one of mine.

orange pot

My list of essential supplies for a small kitchen:

1. Large cast iron/heavy duty pot.

The large orange pot works on the stovetop and in the oven. I use it for boiling water, making soups, roasting a turkey, even making pudding.

You are looking for a pot that is heavy duty enough to also go in the oven. You want it fairly large so that you can use it for roasting turkeys, making soup, and more.

If you can't afford to buy new keep your eyes peeled at your local thrift store and garage sales. Be patient and you will probably run across the perfect thing!

2. 2 cast iron/porcelain skillets in 2 sizes.

You want to have heavy duty skillets in 2 sizes. A large size for making skillet dinners, pancakes, and even boiling water (for use with your saucepan in making a double broiler). Mine is cast iron with large sides, and double handles to make putting it in the oven a cinch! Then, you want a smaller skillet for sauteing vegetables, frying an egg, and melting butter.

Just like with the large cast iron pot...your thrift store and garage sales will most likely have a heavy duty skillet or two that are just the thing!

cast iron pans kitchen essentials

3. large colander.

For draining pasta and cleaning veggies. Also works great for holding veggies on the counter! Or put a towel in it and hold your rolls for dinner.

4. electric mixer.

Get a good and sturdy mixer with multiple speeds/attachments. You will use it for everything from making frosting, whipping potatoes, and baking a cake!  If you can afford a Kitchen Aid, go for it!

cake pan kitchen essentials

5. cast iron/porcelain cake pan

Just like the large pot and saucepans, choosing a cake pan made from heavy duty material (like cast iron )means you will get double duty. Your cake pan will work nicely as a roasting pan. A deep dish pizza works great in it. And, you can bake up a batch of beautiful cinnamon rolls!

6. wooden spoons.

Most cast iron and porcelain pans will scratch with metal spoons. Frankly, I think wooden spoons are awesome anyways. They look cool, don't melt, and work pretty darn awesome for poking a cake to see if it's done!

7. wire whisk.

Most often you will use your mixer. But, some things you want to make don't need the full treatment. A quick stir of the whisk is sufficient.

8. heat proof spatula.

You'll need a spatula or two. Make them heat-proof (this one is from Pampered Chef) and they will do double duty for you. Scrape a bowl, stir a soup, or put fried onions on a burger.

knives kitchen essentials

9. chef knife.

10. bread knife.

11. small paring knife.

You may have your favorite knives. Most likely you don't need an entire collection...just a few very, very good knives. I use a chef's knife for chopping veggies, a bread knife for slicing bread and pizza, and a sharp paring knife for most meats, fruits, and veggies. Those are my go-to's and the only knives I use.

12. stacking measuring cups.

13. nestling measuring spoons.

No need for overflowing bins of measuring cups and spoons. Get a set that nest nicely together and that's it. Rinse/wash them out when you are done and put them back.

nesting bowls kitchen essentials

14. can opener.

well, yeah. for opening cans.

15. set of oven-proof nesting bowls.

Choose mixing bowls that go from the oven to the table to the freezer. Look for dishes that are the right size for multiple purposes. And, hopefully you can find a set that look pretty as well! Mine are from Ikea, but you can find great sets for great prices at many stores! (mine I painted with porcelain paint to make them pretty!)

grinder & paper kitchen essentials

16. coffee grinder.

Along with coffee, a grinder is great for spices and nuts. If you like to use fresh spices...a grinder is a great tool!

17. parchment paper.

18. aluminum paper.

Read up on these papers. Their multi-puposefulness is amazing. I use them for covering dishes, cooking potatoes, lining pans, even making pot lids!

silicone cutting board kitchen essentials

19. silicone cutting board/ cookie sheets

I use silicone cutting boards as cookie sheets as well (obviously these are the oven-proof version). The cutting board used for meat is marked specially and not reused. But, I have another for veggies, fruit, and bread that is also our cookie sheet. Dual purpose!

20. a porcelain sauce pan

I found my yellow sauce pan at a thrift store. It is a heavy duty saucepan that we use to cook veggies, make mac and cheese, just about everything. Because it is heavy duty it also works great as a double broiler (for treats like toffee) set on top of boiling water in my large skillet.

I know that there will be items that you will add to your kitchen. Or items that you wouldn't use. But, I wanted to show you what is in mine and hope that it helps you realize the potential of your small kitchen. And, I have to say it is absolutely wonderful to see that my kitchen supplies fit on my table. I kind of like that!

7 thoughts on “Renting Solutions: essential supplies for a small kitchen”

  1. We just moved into a condo after selling our lovely home. So little fits, cabinets are super high. Don’t you use cake pans, pie pans, cookie sheets etc? Small appliances? K-cup coffee maker, blender, panini cooker etc? I am very discouraged.

    1. Yes, I use cake pans, pie pans, cookie sheets and some small appliances. However I only one a single version of each. We use a pour-over, hand blender, and a panini press rather than the appliance. It can be an adjustment, for sure. Perhaps stashing away in a Rubbermaid the items you use only one time a month and see if you can make that work for you. This post was written in 2013 and in 2016 we bought a home with 1500 square feet and a larger kitchen. It's amazing the stuff that accumulates when you have more cupboards :). It can be hard to downsize a lifetime of good. Good luck and don't be discouraged! In time, I bet you'll love the freedom having less stuff brings you. P.S. cast-iron pans make great pies!

  2. I love this! Thanks so much for posting! I'm going from owning a home in the suburbs to living in a tiny apartment in NYC, so this is going to be super helpful as I start over!

  3. Jane's Adventures in Dinner

    Love your list! I totally have to pair down but I have such a dish addiction...and my blog is such a perfect excuse to indulge.

    1. We get the addiction! We are always finding adorable dishes we want to get...it takes all our self-control not to buy them. Sometimes we still get them anyway :)

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