Living Large in the Kitchen: Space & Time Saving Hacks You Won’t Believe

There are just some things we learn in life that make us say, “OMG! I can’t believe I didn’t know this before!” These kitchen hacks, many of which will help you save time as well as space, are some of them. Especially the one on how to easily open a jar.

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1). Opening a jar with a bottle opener: This one made me and Dale both laugh out loud. My very smart neighbors didn’t even know this when I told them at our monthly coloring book party. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to take the jars of (natural) taco sauce I sometimes use for him to open, only for him to pound on the side of the lid with a knife and still get read faced trying to pry it open. I thought about buying one of those fancy jar openers, which another gadget I’d have to find room for in limited space. Simply take a bottle opener place it on the side of the lid and pull up enough to break the seal (you hear a little pop). The lid then easily comes off!

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2). You don’t need fancy extra machines for a lot of your favorite foods:  We tiny house dwellers don’t have a lot of storage, so having a lot of specialty machines is not in the cards. (I still have to have a waffle maker and crock pot!) I love dried fruit and when we lived in the city, I bought a lot of it already pre-dried at the store. The problem is that much of it contained sugars and yucky preservatives, which kind of nullifies the point of eating a healthy snack. I always thought you needed a dehydrator to make dried fruit. Not so! Here is a recipe for dried strawberries in the oven. I’ve read some reports online that says this doesn’t work, but sometimes you have to turn them over and cook longer. I tried it this past weekend and it worked fine for me. We use organic strawberries as they are one of the worst foods in absorbing pesticides. You also don’t need a bread machine to make homemade bread (my husband LOVES grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on homemade bread!) or a popcorn machine for popcorn (we don’t have a microwave) and I love popcorn. Simply fill a sauce pan with a thin layer of oil or butter, place on high heat until oil is hot or butter is melted (don’t let it smoke, that means it is burning and too hot), put in popping corn (again, we use organic to avoid GMO corn) cover with a lid (I have a see-thru lid so I can see it popping, which is fun for closely supervised children). Once corn starts popping, move pan back and forth and shake a little to keep your popped corn from burning. Once it gets going really good, you can turn down heat or even remove. Keep lid on until about 5 seconds after last pop and season your popcorn to your liking!

5879514339612p3). Cut up veggies on a sink board that also has a colander: I try to keep us to a mostly vegetarian diet and that means I’m cutting up a lot of veggies. I used to cut them on my board on the counter and then take them to the sink and dump them in a colander. A cutting board with a collapsible colander not only makes cutting and washing right over the sink easy, the collapsible colander eliminates them from taking up space in your cupboard.


 4). Using a towel rack to store your pot lids: Our lids had become such a problem in our cabinet that we were looking at buying one of those expensive pull out drawer systems to store the lids and our pots and pans more efficiently. Until I saw this online. This is something so crazily easy, it’s one of those things where we went, “Duh!” Here’s where I got this idea and this site has even more great ideas.


5). Spice storage: I wrote about this on the blog several years ago. I know a lot of people have some other great spice storage methods such as magnetic containers that go over the stove or racks, but having a dedicated drawer works best for me (and gets them out of sight when not in use).

Do you have any kitchen hacks that saves time, money or space? Share them!


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4 Responses

  1. Elena says:

    Thanks for these ideas, I love the one for pot lids! I plan to do a magnetic spice rack in our tiny house, that way you save the drawer space! A magnetic knife rack is also great!

  2. Roxanne says:

    We have stacks of long, skinny drawers in our kitchen because they helped fill in the lower cabinet layout. Like you, I LOVE them for spices — all the savory ones in 1 drawer, all the baking ones in another, etc.

  3. Jane Boursaw says:

    These are great ideas. We have a ginormous home-made food dryer in the basement we’ve been thinking about bringing back upstairs, but I really like the idea of drying in the oven. I think people think you need some sort of fancy gadget to do stuff when that’s not always the case. Just a little common sense works wonders!

    • Kerri @ Living Large in our Little House says:

      Really, until I saw the strawberry recipe on FB, I thought you needed a machine to dry foods. Duh.