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Recently, my parents moved from a 3,500 square-foot home into a 38-foot-long motor home. "In the very beginning, we wanted to use the RV as a means to look around the country and find a place to settle down," says my mother, Susan. "But we quickly realized we wanted this to be more than just a temporary way of life."
To say they’ve become experts on downsizing in recent years would be a bit of an understatement. They pared down immensely in every part of their home: Including, of course, the kitchen. As avid home cooks, they had to figure out exactly which appliances, gadgets, and tools are worth their space.
"Properly outfitting a small kitchen is all about being strategic and selective," says Susan. "Once you realize all the little steps you can take to declutter, I challenge you to unsee them." Here are the 5 must-have tools they think are worth the schlep.
1. The best do-it-all kitchen appliance on the market
A lot of organization experts say you should ditch your kitchen gadgets to save space. But this one is worth its counter space. In fact, this cult favorite was the number one selling product on Amazon’s Prime Day. Give up one cubic foot, and you get a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté/browning, yogurt maker, steamer and warmer. The best part? It can turn frozen chicken into a delicious meal in under 20 minutes. My parents use it at least 5 times a week.
2. A slim tool that eliminates your need for a strainer
If I had a nickel for each time I saw my parents use this seemingly unnecessary tool, I could probably afford their RV. (Just kidding, I'm a writer.) But this tool effectively eliminates the need for a colander: It's perfect for straining cooked pasta or removing veggies from a stew. It takes up very little space and significantly cuts down on clean-up time, making it a must-have for any sized kitchen—but especially a tiny one.
3. Pots and pans that stack neatly and save space
The design of these pots and pans makes them huge space-savers. The handles are easily-removed at the click of a button, which allows every pot and pan to stack neatly inside each other in storage, instead of stacking up in a cumbersome cookware tower. Even so, you’re never more than a snap away from a cook-ready pan.
4. A multi-use blender for everything from peanut butter to diced veggies
My parents keep this small, powerful blender suctioned to their countertop at all times. Blenders are, of course, great for making smoothies, but they’re also amazing for pureeing food, and even using as a food processor in a pinch—you can chop or grind pretty much anything, easily and quickly.
In case this one isn't for you, here are our other picks for the best blenders.
5. Skinny cooking utensils that do it all (except waste space)
Just another kitchen utensil? Think again. These spatulas are lightweight, multi-functional, and best of all, the slim wooden handles mean they take up very little space inside drawers. Tools with thick, rounded handles are bulky and waste a ton of drawer space (something you'd only notice after downsizing). They're great for everything from flipping eggs to frosting cakes.