Every time I have my mother in law over for dinner she marvels at how much I can do in my "tiny kitchen." The truth is I've lived in New York City my entire adult life and I've never even realized that my kitchen was tiny. A small space does pose a bit more of a challenge, but it's not impossible so long as you're strategic. With that, I bring you 4 of my tricks for making entertaining in a small kitchen easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
The tiny kitchen in question:
1) Wear black, and if you don't wear black, wear something you don't care about ruining. In close quarters, stains happen easily. Oil splatters, in particular, have taken many a beloved shirt from me. My #1 rule for entertaining, particularly in a small kitchen, is to wear something you don't mind staining. Black is safe as it doesn't soil easily, but if you're averse to black I would recommend not wearing your very favorite, brand new, very expensive top. Save it for when someone else is doing the cleaning.
2) Divide and conquer between the stove and the oven. If you're planning to cook, you should think about having adequate space for the preparation. Do you really have space for 7 different pans on the stove, or 5 different dishes in the oven? Most likely not. Craft your menu in a smart way by splitting oven dishes and stove top dishes to make sure you have room to make everything. I also recommend taking advantage of counter top appliances like the crock pot, instant pot or sous vide to free up even more space in your oven or stove.
3) If you're using real dishes, make sure your dishwasher is empty before your guests arrive. With an empty dishwasher, cleared plates can go directly in for cleaning and not have to fester in the sink or on the counter all night long. I always make sure I have time to run and empty the dishwasher before entertaining. This sometimes means washing last minute pots and pans by hand before guests arrive, but it's a small price to pay for waking up in the morning with nothing in your sink. (PS - if you're using plastic, make sure you have a fresh trash bag in!)
4) Disposable Tupperware is your friend. This one took me a long time to figure out but made cleanup exponentially easier. Clearing the plates from the table can tend to happen fast, and if you're in a small kitchen there isn't much space to put them. Buying standard sized disposable storage container prevents having to look for "the right size" storage container and allows for much faster cleanup. If you're not a huge fan of leftovers (this girl!) you can also pack up the leftovers for guests.