Sunday, May 8, 2011

Condensing the Kitchen, Part I - Pots and Pans

What will probably be the most significant difference between living in a house and in a boat is the drastic reduction in storage space. The result is that we need to prepare to live with far fewer things than what we are used to, and the things that we do have need to be as space-efficient as possible. Perhaps our biggest source of clutter in our house has been our collection of random pots, pans, cooking utensils, and other kitchen items. So the kitchen is where we began our condensing efforts.

Most of the boats we are looking at (more on that in a future post) will have less counter space and cabinet space than we are used to. Right now, maybe half of the counter space in our house is devoted to supporting various appliances and kitchen items. On the boat, we should be able to have the same amount of usable, appliance-free counter space that we have now, so long as we are able to keep everything stored in cupboards or mounted to the wall. The result is that we will need to store a greater percentage of our kitchen items in less space than what we do now.

Pots and pans were our first target. We started with several pots and pans of various types, almost none of which stacked together in any meaningful way. We also had more pots and pans than we used on a regular basis, so we had substantial room for improvement. Here is what we started with, stacked about as efficiently as possible:

Not bad for a house (we have certainly seen worse), but a different story entirely on a boat. Those pots and pans would consume most of our kitchen storage on a boat, leaving little room for, well, anything at all.

We knew that we would be keeping our pressure cooker. We use it frequently, and it is a great item for a boat because it cooks with a minimum amount of fuel and is well sealed. We also decided to keep our largest pan, which is 14" in diameter. We will be cooking for a crowd at some point or another, so we need to have a large pan. Also, because the big pan has small handles, it is actually pretty space-efficient for its size. Everything else, we decided, would have to go.

We decided to replace all of our space-wasting pots and pans with a stackable set with removable handles. The set we decided on is made by Fagor, the company that made our pressure cooker, which we have been very happy with. The set has 3 pots with lids, 2 pans, and 3 removable handles. Everything stacks together in less than a cubic foot. We also discovered that we can stack our new set completely inside of our old pressure cooker and large pan. Here is a photo of all of our pots and pans, all stacked together:

Now that will fit on a boat! It is not only small in volume, but also extremely space-efficient, considering everything we have. We have a 8-quart pressure cooker with steamer (which also serves as an 8-quart pot), a 4-quart pot, a 2.5-quart pot, and a 1.5-quart pot, all with lids. We also have a 14" pan with a lid, a 10" pan, and an 8" non-stick pan with a lid. Here is everything unstacked:

Not bad! We have been using our new pots and pans for a couple of months now, and we couldn't be happier with it. An unexpected bonus was that with no permanent handles, all of the pots and pans can be easily loaded into the dishwasher. Everything is well made, easy to use, and easy to put away. And, with the exception of the one large pan from our old collection, all of the pots and pans are made for an induction stove. Although we are prepared to make some sacrifices when we move onto the boat, it is nice to know that good pots and pans will not be one of them.


  1. And the BEST part is that I got my pick of the leftover pots and pans!

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