Garrett & Kenzie Keck

Free Kitchen “Upgrade”

on February 24, 2014

Garrett and I moved into our first house in December of 2012. We had a pretty tight budget, but we really wanted to stop pouring all our money into paying rent. There weren’t many houses available in our price range. We looked at one that had a great yard and kitchen, but only one bathroom and the bedrooms would not have fit our big bed. The one we bought was literally the only one we looked at with 2 bathrooms and a decent sized master bedroom. However, I made huge compromises on the kitchen and yard. I told myself that we wouldn’t have big kids in this house and that we live super close to a great park, so the small yard was ok. But, there’s really nothing to be said about the kitchen. 



Here it is when we first moved in. Note the serious lack of cabinet and counter space. I’ve tried several things to remedy this issue. I tried making the laundry room closet a pantry, and put a shelving unit up against the side of the fridge to store bowls, cutting boards, etc. This was ok when we didn’t have a dining room table, but once we did, the extra shelving was in the way, and walking back and forth (although only about 5 steps) from the kitchen to the laundry room to get all the ingredients I needed drove me absolutely insane. So, we took down the shelves and moved all the food from the pantry into the kitchen. We moved all bowls, small appliances, cook books, etc into the laundry room closet. This set up seems to be working a lot better. 


Yes, that’s a book shelf inside of the closet. I have no idea what this closet was supposed to be used for. I’d say coat closet but there’s not a coat rack. Anyways, for me, it’s just not as bad to grab the blender or a bowl out of this closet as it was to have to drag a bunch of food out of there. However, there was a new issue. Not all of our food fit in our cabinets. Because of this, we constantly had food on pretty much every surface. Bread, fruit, bags of chips, boxes of crackers, and anything I had recently baked that didn’t need refrigerated littered every inch of the counters and the top of the refrigerator. I dealt with this for about 4 months and then last night, I just couldn’t take it anymore. Honestly, how much junk was on top of the fridge was bothering me more than the lack of counter space. So, we moved a shelf from the garage into my craft room, and the book shelf from there into the kitchen. Now we have this:



I’m not in love with it. I don’t actually think I gained any counter space. The microwave used to be on a small hutch where the bookshelf is now, but the hutch only had one shelf inside of it, so it was pretty useless for storing stuff. The bookshelf isn’t deep enough to put the microwave on one of the shelves. The bread, produce, and extra food used to pile up where the microwave is now. But, I do think having the microwave on the counter just looks nicer than a pile of food. 

My favorite part is now, our roommate has a shelf for his food that isn’t the top of the fridge:


See? All clean up there!

It’s not perfect by any means, but it will hold me over for now. Garrett pointed out that I have a breakdown about our kitchen about once every 4 months, so we’ll have to see if this is still working for me in June.


Do you have a small kitchen with limited space? What ways have you made more room or made the limited space work for you?


6 responses to “Free Kitchen “Upgrade”

  1. Shannon Finley says:

    Do you use the light above the sink? From some of these pictures it almost looks like you could take the light out and add a couple of cabinets. Maybe just smaller ones like the ones that usually go over a fridge. Just a thought! Also you might check out the Ikea website or even bed bath and beyond. They have all kinds of cabinet space saves that you can install that allow you to fit more things in the cabinets you have. Good luck!

  2. krumpeck5 says:

    Of course you have to freak out and redo it every four months. I totally get it! 🙂 It’s looking good in there. I like the fact that the bookcase kind of goes with the cabinets. How about that hanging colander?! Teee hee. For me, the key to having hardly any counter space is to keep hardly anything on it. Everything has to go inside the cupboards or somewhere else. And, I am fastidious about cleaning out the dishes, pans, etc… that I don’t use. If I don’t use it, then away it goes. I have to prioritize everything, living in a small house. My CrockPot is lucky it’s still here.

    Since you don’t use the light, install a shelf. That will be way easier than a teeny cupboard. 🙂

  3. krumpeck5 says:

    Also, use those little white cupboard shelves to make more space. Here is a pic. Also, hanging stuff under the sink is good. There is a pic at the same link.

  4. krumpeck5 says:

    Just saw some of your friends’ responses on FB. The idea to hang the microwave is great. The kind you have can’t be mounted to the wall, but you could take down your stove hood, build a shelf and put your microwave on it. The problem is plugging it in. You have to be sure you have a solution for that first. Also, you will lose your hood light and fan. I guess technically you’re supposed to have a fan over the range. You could look on Craig’s for an over-the-range microwave – then you’d get the fan and a light. It’s not terribly hard to mount them to the wall, but be sure the seller gives you the mounting bracket.

    • Thanks, Rachelle! I’m thinking a shelf over the sink and maybe the microwave over the oven, but yeah, probably will need a new microwave. I don’t think I would like one over the sink. Seems like it would get in the way of my head while I’m washing dishes.

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