Friday Five: Kitchen Tools for Tiny Spaces

As someone who loves to cook, I find myself with an ever-growing arsenal of kitchen gadgets. With limited storage space on the boat, we are always looking for tools that maximize efficiency and storage space.  While moving onto the boat our kitchen gadgets transformed into galley gadgets and we selected items that are easy to use, take up very little space, and are easy to clean. Choosing what to keep aboard can be challenging, but here are five items that will improve your experience in a galley or small kitchen:

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1.) Pyrex Storage Containers

I’m sure the first thought of many will be, “Glass on a boat?” Yes, we use glass on a boat, and plenty of it. The reason we love the pyrex containers is their variety of uses and lack of harmful chemicals. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and a few different types of lids. We prefer the lids with a vent and removable sealing ring for easy cleaning.


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Sealing lid

The best part about these dishes is that they can go in the oven. This means we can reheat leftovers, bake individual portions, roast veggies, and more. If you can reheat leftovers in the storage container, that’s one less dish that needs to be cleaned. We also occasionally use the containers for food prep such as mixing, marinating, or simply mise en place.

The fact that they are much safer, is an added bonus. Putting hot food into a plastic container, even one that’s BPA free, can leach out harmful chemicals into your food.

These containers don’t stack as neatly as traditional tupperware, but their variety of uses makes them worthy of their footprint. We started with a set and have added additional pieces over the years.

2.) Collapsible Mixing Bowls

There’s  no two ways around it, mixing bowls are bulky. However, there is a solution that maximizes storage without sacrificing capacity. Collapsible mixing bowls have a solid base with silicone sides, allowing them to collapse into a flat disk. We use these ones, in all three sizes, reducing our mixing bowls to the size of stack of dishes. As you can see in the video below, they make a variety of collapsible items which are perfect for a small kitchen or boat galley.

3.) Fourth Burner Pot

The Fourth Burner Pot is a tall, narrow 12 cup pot designed with a small footprint. It’s unique shape allows it to fit with a variety of other pots and pans, even on a small marine stove! It can be used for boiling pasta, steaming veggies, heating sauces and much more. We love this pot because it saves space when cooking and when stored. The lid has a built in strainer so there is one less dish to clean when dinner is done. We discovered this pot thanks to The Boat Galley, and have loved using it ever since.

Mini Tea Kettle and Fourth Burner Pot fit on a small stove alongside a cast iron pan.

Mini Tea Kettle and Fourth Burner Pot fit on a small stove alongside a cast iron pan.

4.) Stacking Drinkware

Drinkware can take up a lot of valuable space in a small galley. Before moving aboard we had a collection of different glasses, jars, and mugs filling an entire cabinet. Call us trendy, but we love drinking out of jars. image4 (3)Unfortunately this varied collection was just not practical on the boat as nothing stacked and it created a lot of wasted space. As we went through our items in storage we remembered a lovely set of glasses we had received as a wedding gift and decided to bring them aboard for a trial run. They work perfectly! Not only are they nice to look at, but they stack very well. In the place of one jar we are able to stack up to 6 glasses. By reducing the space needed for storing our drinkware we have increased available space for other items that previously had to live on the counter.


We also have a collection of Silipints. These stack well, and have the added bonus of unbreakable construction.

5.) Mini Tea Kettle

Before living aboard a boat we did a lot of camping and a multi-month cross country road trip. Somewhere along the way we picked up a GSI Tea Kettle and instantly fell in love with it. This mini kettle is extremely lightweight, small enough to pack, and simple to clean. It’s perfect for two people, but any more than that would require multiple batches. Mixed with a simple and rugged french press, you can have coffee without electricity in moments. Similar to the Fourth Burner Pot it has a very small footprint allowing it to fit beside other items on the stove.  This kettle boils quickly, even on a small burner. It does not have a whistle, so you will have to pay attention and remember to take it off when it boils. Unless you are regularly heating more than a quart of water, this will meet all of your kettle needs.

Have you discovered a galley (kitchen) tool that saves space, time, or energy? Please share it with us in the comments below as we are always looking to maximize efficiency aboard!

Disclaimer: We use all of these items on a daily basis. We have no affiliation with the manufacturers or retailers linked in this post, and will not be compensated for our review of these items.

Matt Garand

About Matt Garand

Lifelong Mainer, and professional mariner, Matt Garand is the creator of A Life Aboard, a look at year-round living on a sailboat in Maine. Matt and his wife, Skye, live aboard in South Portland and use every available chance to throw off the lines and explore the coast.