Every square inch in a dorm room and apartment is sacred. Deciding which pieces to put where, whether that be your roommate’s hot pink rug she absolutely needs or your multicolor floor lamp, is a taste of independence. Dorm and apartment living is cozy, and there’s no room for mistake purchases from the appliances aisle. Here are five common kitchen tool substitutes you need to make the most out of your tiny living. 

1. Double Boiler

camp cooking, Fire, gas lit stove, stove, Camping, pot
Shelby Cohron

For the amount of times you’ll use a double boiler, a small, heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water will work just as well. Double boilers are also clunky because two saucepans have to sit on top of each other. Almost any heatproof bowl will do, even one you’d eat cereal out of. Here’s a classic, chocolate fudge recipe that uses a double boiler, but now you’ve got an easier trick!

2. Meat Tenderizer

pizza, bacon, coffee
Alexandra Oduber

In a pinch, use a heavy book. A little weirdness is needed for a melt-in-your-mouth piece of meat on short notice! Just make sure the meat is tightly sealed in a plastic bag, so the book stays relatively clean and bacteria-free. You’re not really reading your Norton Anthology of English Literature book anyways, right?

3. Rolling Pin

whisky, soda, juice, beer, wine, ice, liquor, vodka, alcohol
Alex Frank

You should probably get around to buying a rolling pin for your new apartment (it can also be used as a substitute meat tenderizer!) but because you haven’t, an alcohol bottle will do the job. We have no idea how a vodka bottle ended up in the miniest freezer of your mini fridge, but it will result in a flaky pie crust like this one. Make sure to peel the bottle’s label off, for whatever level of sanitation is left.

4. Panini Press

bread, cheese, sandwich
Alana Babington

A perfectly toasted sandwich complete with grill marks is enviable, but panini presses retail for an upwards of $50 and they take up precious counter space (more room for your smoothie blender!). Instead, put your freshly-made sandwich in the center of a warm, buttered pan, and flatten it with a lid of a pot. It’ll be an easier clean up with kitchen equipment that’s already laying around.

5. Muffin Tin

girl, frosting, cake, cupcake, chocolate
Jocelyn Hsu

Baking muffins for a study group, or cupcakes for a friend’s birthday? Make a DIY muffin tin by doubling up on cupcake liners and placing your treats directly on a cookie sheet. You can also experiment with aluminum foil liners or a combination of both, but that’s only if you really like your biology study partners.

You may never look at these five kitchen tool substitutes the same way again. You’ll be a DIY master in the kitchen in no time, and you’ll get points for creativity.