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September 15, 2021
18 Kitchen Essentials For Your Undersized New York City Apartment
Please, get some dish risers and a cabinet organizer.
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An NYC kitchen is unlike any other. It’s stylish, personality-driven, and also usually the size of a phone booth. That’s the main thing. Sometimes, there’s even a bathroom in the kitchen, but we promise, from the bottom of our hearts, that there’s almost never a dishwasher.

Life in New York City is a very specific type of existence, and if you’re trying to figure out how to configure your cooking space, here’s some stuff you should find useful. From extra-slim storage carts and magnetic knife holders to wall-mounted wine racks and pots with removable handles, this is what you need to make the most of your pre-war, post-war, walk-up, walk-down, or generally undersized (i.e., cozy) space.

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I Have A Massive Google Sheet Of Everything You Need For Your First Kitchen, Here’s What’s On It

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An NYC-Sized Storage Cart

At just 4.7 inches wide, this is a cart that can slide into any random space that you might have between cabinets or appliances. (New York City apartments are all about random spaces.) You can also just rest it against a wall if you need somewhere to store your excess spices, oils, or cleaning supplies. The fact is, you could use more open storage space — and this is an easy way to get it.

Get Yamazaki Home Rolling Kitchen Storage Cart ($58) →

Pans That Just Make Sense

Generally, we don’t like to discuss things that we haven’t tested out. But we’ve seen these pans on TikTok (and have heard good things), and they appear to have a very sound concept. Unlike standard pots and pans, these ones all share one removable handle. That might not sound like a huge deal — but if you store your cookware in a cabinet, this is going to save you a lot of space. We’re honestly surprised more companies haven’t embraced this approach. (The pans are non-stick, by the way.)

Get T-FAL Frying Pan Detachable Handle Ingenio Neo Grand Bleu Premier Set ($169) →

A Hanging Set Of Bowls

Technically, these are baskets, but they’ll serve the same function as those fruit bowls that are currently taking up precious square inches of your counter. Tiered hanging baskets are highly underrated as space-saving storage solutions, and they look nice as well (especially if your tastes gravitate toward the boho/cottagecore end of the spectrum). Hang these up, then toss in some oranges, bananas, or shrimp-flavored chips.

Get Three Tier Hanging Basket ($39) →

Same Thing, Different Aesthetic

In case it isn’t clear by now, we think you should own tiered hanging baskets. If those aforementioned ones (made of cotton and wood) weren’t quite your style, here’s another option in copper wire. It’s less boho, more modern.

Get RSVP 3-Tier Copper Wire Hanging Baskets ($22) →

A Wine Storage Alternative

Wine racks are great, and you should get one. However, they still take up room that could otherwise be used for kitchen prep or appliance storage, so if you want to avoid that, get a rack that sits on your wall. It’s an atypical choice, but you’ll get some extra style points.

Get Live-Edge Floating Wine Rack ($100, was $128) →

The Under-Cabinet Version

If your walls are already cluttered, here’s a wine rack you can install under one of your kitchen cabinets. Just be sure to install it somewhere cool. Your wine should not be braising above your oven.

Get Jubao Gold Wine Rack ($17, was $20) →

Bleachers, But For Spices

When you open your spice cabinet, can you only see the spices in front? And do you occasionally get lazy and try to pull something from the back and therefore spill spices everywhere? If you answered no to any of the previous questions, you’re lying. That, or you already own this cabinet organizer.

Get Copco Non-Skid 3-Tier Spice Pantry Kitchen Cabinet Organizer ($7) →

Make A Mobile Shelf

Alternatively, throw all your spices on a lazy Susan. That way, you can avoid the whole reaching thing and just give this object a spin whenever you’re looking for an ingredient.

Get Marble Lazy Susan ($58) →

A Countertop Hack

Double your counter space with a rack that gives you two tiers of storage. You can use this as a single shelf that expands from 16 to 32.5 inches, or you can separate the two pieces for a more versatile setup.

Get Smart Design Kitchen Storage Expandable Shelf Rack w/ Scratch Resistant Feet ($20) →

An Option For Minimalists

If you’re a goth or goth-adjacent person who only owns black decor, don’t worry, we didn’t forget about you. This expandable rack from Yamazaki Home (more expensive, but also more attractive than the above rack) should fit in nicely alongside the rest of your monochromatic objects.

Get Yamazaki Home Expandable Countertop Rack ($65) →

Organize Your Dishes

We may have already mentioned this, but NYC apartments are usually on the smaller side. This means less cabinet space and more heavy dishes stacked in disorganized piles. If that sounds like you, here’s how to rectify the situation. Yamazaki’s dish risers come in two sizes and will help you turn your heap of ceramics into a few better-organized piles.

Get Yamazaki Home Steel & Wood Dish Riser, Set of 2 ($44) →

An Essential Knife Caddy

If you’re still just throwing your knives in a kitchen door, stop that. Your knives deserve better. Mount a magnetic knife strip on your wall, and you can save some precious drawer space and also show off your (properly sharpened?) cutlery. Honestly, this is something we’d recommend for any kitchen, no matter what city you’re in.

Get Magnetic Knife Strip ($70) →

Super Practical Glassware

When it comes to preserving cabinet room, stackable glassware is key. (As professional glassware hoarders, you should trust us on this one.) These tumblers from Our Place check that box and also provide flair with their retro (think 1970s) color palette.

Get Our Place Drinking Glasses ($50) →

A Pan That Can Handle Most Tasks

Speaking of Our Place, this is the Always Pan. Perhaps you’ve met. Or maybe you’ve seen a bunch of ads for it on Instagram or YouTube. That’s what happened to us, so we decided to test it out — and we approved. If you aren’t a super ambitious cook and would rather get one versatile pan rather than a whole set, The Always Pan can do just about anything (boil, fry, braise, etc.) at a reasonably high level.

Get Our Place Always Pan ($145) →

Solve Your Wine Glass Problem

We definitely like the fact that you can drink wine out of wine glasses, but wine glasses are also awkward to store. A few of them can take up a whole cabinet, especially if they’re red wine (or balloon-like, ostentatious Burgundy) glasses. The obvious solution is an under-cabinet glass rack. Don’t be lazy. Just install one (or two).

Get Great Credentials 10 Inch Long Wine Glass Rack, Set of 2 ($12) →

For Cleanup Time

New York City landlords want us to work hard and fulfill our potential. That’s why they don’t give us dishwashers. Here, we scrub our dishes by hand — which makes a dish rack essential. Rather than a bulky upright one that permanently lives on your counter, try this silicone version that sits over your sink and rolls up for storage.

Get Five Two Over-the-Sink Drying Rack ($45) →

A Realistic Air Fryer

There are a lot of appliances that you’d like to own, but it’s important that you stop living in a fantasy world. When you reside at the confluence of the East and Hudson Rivers, bulky electronics simply aren’t the cards. What you need is an air fryer that’s roughly the size of a tea kettle, such as this user-friendly, 2.6-quart one from Dash.

Get Dash Tasti-Crisp Electric Air Fryer + Oven Cooker ($47) →

Sort Out Your Pantry

Maybe you already have some food storage containers. But are they the right shape? Get some rectangular ones, such as these. They’ll help you efficiently organize your pantry space and prevent you from having to sweep up flour every time you reach for that half-empty bag sitting on a shelf that’s just above eye level.

Get Mepra Modula Stackable Storage Containers ($30-$80) →

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