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Cozy Cooking


By most accounts, we have a small kitchen. It measures just over 8-foot by just over 9-foot and, were it designed any other way, it might be too small. As it stands, we got lucky: it is already laid out in that perfect “triangle” designers strive to incorporate into their kitchen designs. Meaning, we can stand at the counter to chop and only have to lean or take a step left, right or back to access cabinets, the sink or stove and the refrigerator. There is more cabinet space than you might imagine in a circa-early 1900’s building with ¬— I’m guessing — a circa-1940s kitchen. Unfortunately, the undercounter cabinets are poorly designed (read very deep), but nothing a few well-placed bins, racks and a Lazy Susan can’t cure. We do not own, so replacement isn’t an option. Which means we’ve had to get clever when it comes to organizing. Whether you have a tiny kitchen or the large gourmet variety; lease or own; or are simply looking for a little organizing inspiration, here are a few of the things we’ve done over the years to keep our hardworking kitchen looking cute and tidy while still getting the job done.

When real estate (aka counterspace) is at a premium, form and function are essential. Ramekins, measuring cups, coffee containers, the salt and pepper grinders and even the blender, for example, are all in keeping with the vintage vibe I’ve cultivated using my colorful Fiestaware dishes as inspiration. (By the way, the dishrack is not vintage or vintage inspired, rather it is by Yamazaki, a brand with roots in Japan that I’ve fallen in love with for its clever, minimalist, high-function home items.) My philosophy is: if you can see it, I want it to have a little charm.

Plates And Bowls

Salt And Pepper

“Stations” are another buzzy tip generally suggested by pro organizers, and for good reason. By grouping items together according to task, you’ll save space and time. Our coffee station has everything we need for our morning brew with coffee cups stored in the cabinet directly above the coffee maker and the grounds and a scooper in a crock next to it. The sink is to the right within reaching distance. Next to that, is the cleaning station, which of course is centered around the sink. Another crock with scrubbing brushes and the dish soap is situated to the right of the sink. Additional cleaning implements, hand soap dispenser and hand lotion live on the sink surround. In the cabinet underneath, my dish gloves hang on a removable, sticky hook attached to the inside of the cabinet door and cleaning supplies for the rest of the house are housed in buckets and bins. On the small shelf above the sink, I keep ramekins of various sizes, shapes and colors, an aloe plant (in case of burns) and our vitamins. I’ve removed the labels on the vitamin bottles, so they blend in and look more sculptural. I used my label maker to create ID stickers, which I hid by sticking to the bottom of each bottle.

Coffee Station


Another huge space-saver is wall-mounting. From the spice rack to the pot rack; the magnetic knife strip to the measuring cup and spoon hooks; and the windowsill garden shelf, if it can be hung up, it is moved away from the countertop and I find a way to nail or otherwise attach it to a wall, window, cabinet or refrigerator. The magnetic knife strip and mounted spice rack were the single biggest game-changers in our kitchen.

Knife Strip

Spice Rack

Despite the size of the room, everyone still ends up in our kitchen when we entertain. Even Mr. Percy the Diabetic Cat, as evidenced by the picture of him lounging on the counter. (Aside: Please don’t tell my father we allow the cat on the counters. We have enough battles to wage with the cat and countertops can be cleaned and sanitized.) I like to think the gravitational pull to the smallest public space in our home is because it truly embodies the oft used euphemism for small spaces — cozy.


Windowsil Garden And Counter Area






What are some of your tried-and-true kitchen space savers and organizing hacks? Share them in the comments or email me at melanie@myneworleans.com.




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