One of the (fun) challenges of moving into a new house with not a lot of money is figuring out how to set up the various living spaces to work efficiently within the limitations of 1) how the space is configured and 2) not having much cash.

In the new kitchen, we decided that the refrigerator would take up too much space, as well as block access and light. So the fridge was banished to the utility room just outside the kitchen. In its former slot, Jordanne suggested I use a spare table that had been my dining room table and, later, a right-hand return next to my desk for spreading out books and papers in my graduate student days.

So, now the table is a work space next to the stove. However, its convenient position readily attracts items that don’t belong on it. To solve the clutter problem–stat–we checked out the The Container Store.

Moving tip: If you submit a change of address notification online, you can opt to receive coupons. There are some good ones–for example, I was sent a coupon for 20% off an entire shopping spree at Bed Bath & Beyond. (However, be sure to keep track of expiration dates….)

I found this variation on the peg board concept and bought a few baskets and hooks using a (non-expired) coupon I had received. (More shelves will be built later, but I needed an immediate solution so decided to invest in an already-made, new storage system.)

Okay, so it doesn’t quite fit the 1890 time period, but it works really well! The items I need most frequently when at the stove are within arms’ reach: utensils; matches; salt and pepper; cooking oils; coffee.

Until shelves are built, the table does have three kombucha-brewing containers plus a borrowed sauerkraut crock. But, the rest of the space is clear and available for food prep.

What works just right for you in your kitchen?


  1. Christina Hollis says:

    That looks great – I wish I was so well organized, but one thing I’ve found very useful is to have a space under the kitchen counter where a small, upright freezer was originally designed to fit.
    I can hide the recycling boxes, big bulk-buy packs of washing powder and washing up liquid there. In fact it’s proved to be so useful, I’ve never got around to buying the freezer it was designed to hold.

    • Treechild says:

      Thank you for your comment! The key word is “hide.” It is good to be able to buy in bulk–but then there’s always the storage challenge. It sounds like you have a handy solution!

  2. Dan at says:

    When I lived in Estes Park, Colorado we lived in an 800 square foot home built to be a weekend home. To save room we didn’t even have a conventional stove. We cook a lot. How did we do it? A good quality countertop convection oven, a single burner induction cook top, and a quality electric skillet. We found an additional benefit from not having the standard range and oven – our countertop appliances did not heat up the house as much as conventional units do.


    • Treechild says:

      Thank you for describing your small kitchen setup and how it worked for you. Appreciate your taking the time to write!

  3. Angela in Australia says:

    Thanks for these excellent ideas. I’m trying to make a new kitchen work for me too. Tricky…

    • Treechild says:

      Best wishes in your new venture and your new home!

  4. KBL says:

    For the record, “Bed Bath & Beyond” coupons do not expire. At least the stores in our region let me use them as much as 4 years or more old! And I am permitted to utilize multiple coupons at a time. Which is really nice, as many times I won’t need something & then all of a sudden I have a myriad of purchases to make. Letting me use all my coupons ensures my customer loyalty to be sure! (I lieve in the upper south on the East coast).

    • Treechild says:

      You are fortunate that your stores have such a generous policy–but, as you say, they benefit from retaining a repeat customer! I did get on the phone with the local store, but, because this particular coupon was via e-mail, they were not able to reissue it.

  5. Jill Hodge says:

    Hello – I’ve mostely been reading and stopping in now and then. I saw this post and really loved it. I have a challenge in my kitchen. My spices! I have a cabinent near the stove where they all live right now but I find that I’m constantly having to take them all out to find that one spice I’m looking for. Is there a better way to organize spices? (I have a LOT of them!)


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