Y’all might know that we bought our first house this past summer after a long and stressful season in our personal lives. The one happy ending to all of that mess is that we ended up here, in our own wonderful little home.
It hadn’t been on our radar to buy a house this year (or even within the next few years). We live in the outskirts of the fourth-largest city in North America (when including the suburbs, there are over six million people here), and the housing market is… ridiculously expensive.
Long story short (I’ll tell it one day), we wound up with a small back-split semi-detached home with a huge (by suburb standards) backyard. The house was/is in need of some serious TLC. We have been here over three months now, and we have renovated the basement (there was mold), the bathroom (there was no shower), and painted the whole interior (it was bright teal and yellow – we went with Revere Pewter in the main space and LOVE it), along with a million other smaller fixes (like replacing broken sockets, door handles, ripping out rotting wood on the deck, etc.)
The biggest area that is now in desperate need of a total reno is the kitchen. It is hideously ugly and falling apart, but it’s technically still functional, and we can’t afford to do anything to it right now.
Even if we had a budget for a full reno, the one thing that we can’t really change about our kitchen is that it’s tiny! Some people see that as a big fat negative.
They like big kitchens and they cannot lie; you other mothers can’t deny, that when a house walks in with a big huge space and a big kitchen in your face you get pumped, really wanna cook some stuff, ‘cuz you notice the cupboards are stuffed… (yeah, the first few lines of that song have been in my head since 1992 and they’ve been trying to escape every since. Sorry. Sorta. Ok, moving on…)
As I was saying, from the moment I stepped into this house for the first time, I chose to embrace the size of the kitchen and look at the bright side (which, in the daytime happens to be all sides since there’s a fab skylight in the ceiling. Score!)
While I don’t love the huge holes in the tile above the stove, or the fact that there are currently three or four different paint colours in various spots, or the broken drawer under the stove, or the faucet that wasn’t installed right, or the broken cupboard doors, or the fact that the counters were not even attached to the wall and fell over one day nearly crushing my two-year-old (they’re secure now!)… I do love the size of my kitchen, and I honestly don’t wish it were bigger!
Here are 7 reasons I love my tiny kitchen:
1. Clean up is a breeze
Even when it’s super-duper messy, it takes hardly any time to tidy, clean, and return to sparkling. When it’s a full-on disaster, it takes maybe twenty minutes, tops, to load and start the dishwasher, hand wash what’s left, clear off and wipe down all surfaces, declutter the random items that have taken up residence, and empty the garbage and compost.
In the various rentals I’ve lived in over the years I have occupied some really large kitchens. One that was as big as my current living room, with wrap-around countertops, an island, and an eat-in table and chair nook. One that was fancy and spacious with so many cupboards that I couldn’t fill them with what I owned. One that was in a small house, but still had a larger kitchen than our current tiny one.
In all of those bigger kitchen spaces, it inevitably took me forevvvvvvvver and ever to clean them. When they were in full-on disaster status, it could take hours to clean them up. Endless expanses of counter space, huge double sinks, and cupboards galore. Big kitchens are great for a lot of reasons, but easy clean-up is not one of them.
2. Lots of natural light, despite having no conventional windows
Because it’s so tiny, one skylight offers plenty of natural light to the whole kitchen. It also has a cut-out opening in the wall between the kitchen and living room, which filters in light from the front window as well. I love that a smaller space is so easily lit!
3. Cheaper to renovate and maintain
Because it’s so tiny, we’ll spend less on our whole-kitchen overhaul renovation. That’s a huge plus in my mind. I can’t imagine how much money it would take to renovate a huge kitchen. It would mean putting it off a lot longer, for sure. As you can see, there are some major reno needs going on here:
4. Decluttering motivator
Because there are fewer spaces to stash random things, I am motivated to clear out clutter and only keep the things that are particularly useful. I have gotten rid of a ton of stuff over the last few years (moving across the country with just an 11-foot trailer for a family of five forces that to happen whether you like it or not) and I now feel that I have cultivated my collection of kitchen items quite well.
(Since taking these photos, I’ve gotten even more off my counters, and look forward to a reno that allows for 98% clear countertops. Currently we have our Berkey at the front to allow everyone – even the 2-yr-old – to get their own drink of water, our Vitamix, our Chemex coffee maker, and our candles, which are very important around here, as I shared in this post about dinner time chaos. And yes, those are plastic cups… one of our current “crunchy compromises” for this season.)
5. It’s literally the center of the home
Our house is a semi-detached backsplit, and our small galley-style kitchen is in the middle of the home (against the wall we share with the neighbour). I love that when I’m standing in the kitchen, I can see the playroom downstairs (because it’s just six steps down) and the living room (thanks to the wall cutout).
The dining room is steps away, as are the 4 stairs to the bedrooms area. I can be in the kitchen, and not feel separated from the rest of the home.
6. Everything is within arm’s reach
This is probably one reason why it’s so fast to clean – everything is pretty much within arm’s reach. We call it a two-butt kitchen.
Only two people really comfortably can be in there at the same, which indicates how close everything really is. When you’re putting things away or cooking, it’s super convenient to be so close to everything.
It sounds silly – but when we had bigger kitchens, I hated walking from one end of the kitchen to the other any time I needed something in another cupboard. So much wasted square footage!
7. Reminds me to be grateful
I am very aware each day of just how excited I was the day we got approved for our first mortgage. The day the seller accepted our offer. The day we got the keys. And moving our stuff in made it so very real – it’s our house. OUR HOUSE. Tiny, ugly kitchen and all.
And I’m grateful for it, in current ugly status. For the meals I cook for my family in it, for the home that it’s in. I am grateful.
Need more encouragement for your small space? Check out: 6 Ways to Stay Sane in a Small Living Space