Growing up, I’d sit in the kitchen and watch Mami cook traditional Dominican food. To me, she was a wizard, a High Priestess, a witch doctor – and I hadn’t a clue how she did the voodoo she did over the stovetop.
A housewife through and through, Mami never taught me how to cook. Taking care of her babies and her husband was her sole responsibility; no need for anyone to mess in her kitchen. She also didn’t teach me how to organize my kitchen or save space. And so I hadn’t a clue how to make every nook and cranny count in a small NY kitchen when I moved in with a boy for the first time.
With little space and more stuff due to expecting our first child together, I had to get creative. I’m now happy to announce that my kitchen is not only cute, warm and family-friendly (goodbye Ramen noodles!) but it is also functional. Here are some kitchen saving tips for you and your familia:
KS Tip #1: Invest in a strong and durable trash bag.
I’m not sure why, but Boo and I go through trash bags like a family of 5. It’ll only get worse when baby boy arrives in June. (Smelly diapers, anyone?) That’s why I began using Hefty Ultra Strong. Hefty Ultra Strong bags are an outstanding quality at a new, lower price. Although there’s a scent free option, I opted for the Arm & Hammer odor neutralizer. We eat lots of food that rots in our household (meat and meat and meat) plus I need a trash bag that will contain that dirty diaper smell. Sounds great, right? Don’t wait and purchase two or more Hefty trash bags at Walmart and earn a $10 Walmart gift card.
KS Tip #2: Purge!
When Boo was off at his salsa studio I declared the kitchen my bitch. It was time to purge! In a few hours, I emptied out cabinets, cleared out shelf space and put aside dishes and appliances that we never used to donate. I also threw out canned foods that Boo had stored for years. There was a can of corn from 2000, y’all!
KS Tip #3: Create new shelves.
Shelving is so important in a kitchen. When you only have 5 cabinets it makes it challenging to conserve space – unless you get creative. My father-in-law came over and added shelves to an empty cabinet. I also purchased extended shelves from Amazon. They have been my savior! I mean, look at all the space I have now? So convenient, affordable and organized. I never knew shelves would make me so happy.
KS Tip #4: Pot holders are EVERYTHING.
One thing I have is lots of pots. I cook often (about 5 days a week) and so I use pots often. I wasn’t sure where to store them when they dried, however, and I refused to do what Mami and many New Yorkers do – store the pots inside your stove. There had to be a better way! There is, chicas. I purchased pot and lid holders from Amazon. The lid holder are amazing as one of my pet peeves is having pot lids on top of each other. They’d clang and fall and slide over. Now, I can access my pots and pot lids easily.
KS Tip #5: Hook it up.
When all else fails use hooks to store kitchen items. I used hooks to hold my kitchen gloves. I stuck them inside a kitchen cabinet, making them easy to find, use and put away. You can also use hooks to store pots, towels and much more!
So, go forth, save space and organize your kitchen! Mami may not have taught me how to make every nook and cranny work; luckily you all have me to teach you these lessons.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.