When your cooking space is limited, every single inch has to work twice as hard. That might mean hanging spices on an open wall or using the inside of your cabinet door to store your sponges. Trust us, after trying these genius ideas in your kitchen, and it’ll feel twice as big.
Organizing a small kitchen can be a bit of a challenge. I was constantly pinning posts about organizing kitchens, but they seemed to have heaps of drawer and cabinet space to organize every pan, plate, and spice jar. I have a grand total of 4 drawers and a limited number of cabinets to work with, and I really wanted to make the most of them. I’ve moved things around quite a few times trying to find the perfect configuration for our new kitchen, and since we’ve been living with our current setup for a little while now and it seems to be working well, I thought I’d share the tips and strategies that have helped me create our organized kitchen.
Start with the “HAD TOS.”
Since working with a small space, there were a few pretty limited areas (aka those areas “had to” hold certain things because that’s the only place they would fit), specifically drawers and large cabinets. Knowing this going in, chose to sort out these areas first and then fill in the rest of the cabinets afterwards.
When it came to the drawers, knew silverware needed to be housed in one of them. Since the top drawer next to the sink is a double drawer (one of my favourite features of the IKEA SEKTION cabinets!), also able to store our knives in that space too. Used a knife block in our old kitchen, which was clunky and took up counter space, so you’ll be glad to get rid of it!
Start with a clean slate
My first step for any organizing project is to empty everything out. But when it comes to a kitchen, there’s a LOT to empty! While this may not be a do-able step if you have a large kitchen, it IS possible to do with a small kitchen, and I would highly recommend it.
Here’s why: I know for me, whenever I move somewhere new, I just want to get things put away, especially in the kitchen. As a result, I don’t always put things in the best places that make sense for how I use the kitchen.
Emptying everything out of the cabinets allowed me to start with a clean slate and not assume that where I keep things is where they should actually go.
Because you have everything out of your cabinets and drawers, this is the perfect time to give everything a good wipe down. You’d be surprised how great that will feel, especially when you go to put everything back in its place.
If you’ve ever read any of my organization posts before, you probably knew that this was going to be the first step. You’ll really hate when a space feels cluttered, so try to purge often so that we’re not feeling overrun by stuff.
To start, it’s important to literally see every item in your kitchen and start from a blank slate. So pull it all out and assess the damage! This step can be really hard but consider the goals – to have a functional space, to have as clear a counter as possible, and to actually enjoy being in the kitchen. Once you’ve gone through your items, you should have a keep section, a toss section and a donate section.
After emptying out the entire contents of our kitchen, I was ready to start my favourite part – decluttering! I love a good purge, and when it comes to small spaces, this is essential.
Because the reality of living in a small apartment with a small kitchen means we can’t have a lot of things. There are only so many kitchen cabinets to store things in and only so much counter space! So I have to be realistic about what we can and cannot keep.
That’s why my next small kitchen organization idea is to do some serious decluttering first before any type of organizing! Even the best kitchen organization hacks won’t be helpful if the cabinets are too full of needless clutter.
Decluttering enabled me to weed out a whole bunch of non-essentials and only keep what we need and use.
Arrange Your Items Based on Frequency of Use
The sorting method described previously also applies to cupboard space. Plates, cups, glasses, and cereal bowls that will be used every day should be placed on shelves that are at eye level or lower. Since glasses are used more often than plates, they can be placed in a cupboard close to the sink at eye level for ease of use. Items that you use less often can be placed behind more often used items or on a shelf higher up.
Sky’s the Limit
When trying to find a place to fit all those pots and pans, don’t forget to look up. Install a hanging rack, and keep these kitchen essentials out of the way but within easy reach.
Turn One Shelf Into Two
With wire shelf risers, you can multiply vertical storage space, giving you even more room to store all of your dishwares. See? Just because you’re short on space doesn’t mean you have to compromise your love of mugs, dishes, and cute bowls.
Tea Bag Organizer
If you like to mix up your tea flavours throughout the day (good thinking!), then you probably have a drawer full of tea boxes. Reduce clutter — and keep your tea collection in tip-top shape — with this compact tea organizer.
Double your cabinet space by adding under-the-shelf racks for plates, bowls or mugs. Not only will you be able to fit more dishes in the cabinet, but each dish will be easier to find.
Store your table linens — placemats, cloth napkins, or even the table runner you only use on Christmas — in durable plastic pins. The best part? They pull out so you won’t have to dig for anything in the way back.
Invest in useful storage
Containers designed to organize drawers and cabinets definitely have their place in small kitchens, but it’s important to give yourself plenty of room to adjust as you go. The Knife storage and a small container for all of my measuring cups and spoons (shown below) have both been great. I love having a space to collect all of those measuring spoons (I have three sets since I often test many meals at a time), but I love that we just drop everything in there after unloading the dishwasher.
Are you running low on cabinet space? A slide-out coffee cup rack offers plenty of space for hanging your everyday mugs.
Fresh out of ideas for storing—and showing off—your beloved coffee mug collection? A handful of hanging cup hooks can be employed just about anywhere in your kitchen and allows you to display your mugs in style, just like we saw in Sarah Bishop’s home tour.
Pullout Chopping Board
Pullout solutions are perfect for small kitchens as they allow a decent amount of extra kitchen counter space with a very small footprint. And a pullout cutting board is perfect for food prep, cookbooks or extra storage. Plus, when you are done, you can simply slide it back into the cabinet.
Divide and Conquer
Drawer dividers are one of the simplest ways to keep your kitchen organized. Separate flatware, spices and knives easily with a divider that keeps everything in its place.
Drawer dividers aren’t just for forks, knives, and spoons: Adjust them to accommodate large, small, and oddly shaped utensils.
Store Pans Sideways
It seems like no matter how hard we try to keep our pots and pans organized, they’re always a jumbled — and noisy — mess. Stack pans, cutting boards, lids, and baking sheets horizontally to limit any future frustration.
Food Container Drawer Organizer
How many times have you stored food in tupperware only to find out that you somehow lost the correct lid? Guilty. For a smooth post-dinner cleanup, store all of your containers and lids in this sleek organizer.
Don’t Overpack Cabinets
Keeping tabs on the food you already have is all about creating categories that work for your household. Here, snacks go on the bottom shelf, while breakfast foods and sweets go on the second shelf. The third is left empty for the inevitable overflow.
A metal file organizer is perfect for storing baking sheets, cutting boards and pan lids. You can pick one up for a buck at a dollar store. To keep the organizer from sliding around, use rubber shelf liner or attach the hook-and-loop tape to the cabinet base and the bottom of the organizer.
It goes without saying that a junk drawer goes from being a place for miscellaneous items to an overflowing space that has more non-essential items in it than ones you actually want to get easy access to. Go through your junk drawer quarterly, making sure anything that’s in there is something you truly need. The rest you can toss, like extra rubber bands, plastic bags, chopsticks, business cards, and more.
Expand the Counter with a Kitchen Cart
A rolling kitchen cart is the next best thing to adding cabinets and countertop space. The top provides extra workspace when you’re preparing that big Thanksgiving dinner. And the shelves below hold items that would otherwise consume countertop space. If you plan to use a cart for food preparation, choose one with a tough top like butcher block, stainless steel or plastic laminate. Some cart tops are glossy finished wood—beautiful, but not very durable. Carts come in a variety of wood finishes, so there’s a good chance you can match your existing cabinets. Or you can go for an eclectic look with a shiny metal or painted cart.
If you’re looking for small kitchen organizer ideas, you really can’t go wrong with a pegboard. They have so many uses and look stylish too.
I love this idea of storing your pots and pans on a pegboard. This Kitchen Pegboard Pots and Pans Pegboard Organizer Storage and Organization Kit is ten times stronger than traditional pegboard, so you know those pots and pans aren’t going to come crashing down.
Group by Color
You colour-coordinate your clothes, so why wouldn’t you carry that organizing style throughout the room in your house that you use most? Exactly. Colour coding lets you reap the benefits of open shelving (flexibility) without the downside (visible clutter).
Were you searching for an artful way to display your cookbooks and colourful cookware? Consider organizing your cookbooks by colour spine colour, and using similarly hued appliances as bookends just like Amanda and Justin did in their home tour.
Use Clear containers
Items that your family always keeps on hand are best stored in clear containers ($14, amazon.com) — this way, you can see when you’re running low and add them to your shopping list.
Stunning glass canisters lined along your shelf or in the pantry are aesthetically-pleasing storage containers that make it easy to know when you’re running low on your basic essentials.
The skinny space between your fridge and the wall is prime real estate for organizing canned goods (and a cute chevron surprise never hurts).
Under Sink storage shelves
Do you lament the waste of valuable storage space that lies under your sink? Well, cry no more! This amazing under sink organizer expands and adjusts to fit the dimensions of your sink cupboard.
Tension Rod Storage Hack
It can be difficult to keep spray bottles and other cleaning supplies from falling over and making a mess under your kitchen sink. Thankfully, we have plenty of cabinet organization tips and tricks. To keep your cleaning supplies upright, hang them from a short tension rod inside your cabinet. Another clever idea is to slide a paper towel roll through the tension rod for easy access. This tension rod organization hack is also a great place to hang dish-drying towels and rubber cleaning gloves.
When organizing your kitchen, it’s easy to forget the dark area below the sink. Stop tossing in the miscellaneous cleaning supplies, and give them a space that’s all their own. By adding a small curtain rod below the sink, you will be able to hang your cleaning supply bottles while also opening up the bottom of the cabinet for other items.
Choose a Hollow Island
From the front, this piece looks like your average island — but from the back, it’s storage central for everything you want (cookbooks, holiday accessories), but never seem to have enough space for.
Use Forgotten Spaces
Like the side of your lower cabinets. It’s the perfect spot to hang heavy, clunky items that are annoying to store — like colanders or cutting boards.
Build a Better Bench
A breakfast nook bench takes up less space than dining chairs and works double-duty with storage under the seats.
Suspend fruit and veggies in a hanging basket
Purchase a hook designed for ceilings at a hardware store. Install a hook in your ceiling. As with wall mounts, never insert the hook directly into drywall. You’ll need to locate a ceiling joist, drill a hole, and insert an anchor in order to hang the ceiling hook correctly. Hang a basket from the hook and enjoy.
Spice Up Your Life
Surely you’ve heard of this revolutionary thing called a spice rack. Embrace it. When it comes to kitchen storage, all those little containers of cumin, oregano, and cinnamon can quickly overwhelm and confuse you. Stacking them in a cupboard without any logical order will only lead to chaos. The solution: spice rack. If you’re extremely organized, you can transfer your spices to uniform jars and add printed labels. Depends on how often you find yourself reaching for these flavourings.
Hang spice racks to free up cabinet space. Don’t keep beautiful spices cluttered inside a cabinet. A spice rack on the wall adds convenience and decoration. Go with a traditional, wooden rack or opt for a magnetic spice rack for your refrigerator.
If you like to keep your spices near the stove but lack the space to store them, boy do we have the solution for you. Magnetic spice racks can be mounted on any wall—or under any cabinet like Ursula did in her home tour—so you can create an actual spice rack just about anywhere your heart desires.
Give Essentials a Lift
Counter space in a small kitchen is a precious, precious thing — and these savvy baskets mean you can keep all your go-to ingredients at-the-ready without sacrificing your chopping station.
Store on the Door
To make the most of your pantry’s space, utilize the inside of the door to store canned goods, spices, sodas and more. You won’t believe how much extra storage you’ll add when you take advantage of this often-forgotten area.
Hang your most-frequently-used cooking utensils (like measuring cups and spoons, if you’re a baker) on the back of a cabinet door, instead of cramming them into already-full drawers.
The inside of the cabinet doors is one of the most under-utilized spaces in most kitchens. Use hooks and caddies to add extra storage. And your grocery bags can organize themselves when you take the time to fold them up carefully.
Your storage doesn’t have to be used in the way it was originally intended. Instead of hanging towels, this rack holds pot and pan lids whose counterparts are hung on the wall nearby.
Searching for the right lid for a pan can be a real time-waster. Save time and stress by storing your lids in an upright pan rack that fits right into your drawer. Bonus? You’ll never have to hear the loud clanging of lids again!
Hidden Magnetic Knife Racks
This idea is not only great for clearing counter clutter, but it’s also so much safer if you have kids about.
Wall-mounted hanging pot rack
When considering small kitchen space ideas, pots and pans can throw a spanner in the works. Luckily, kitchen storage ideas for pots and pans cater for all kitchen sizes. This wall-mounted hanging pot rack looks great and frees up space in your drawers.
Drawer-mounted Hanging Pots and Pans organizer
this small kitchen business if I didn’t need pots and pans, but that’s just being silly.
This clever way to store pots and pans is a fine solution to stacks of mismatched pots and lids, spilling all over your limited cupboard space.
Utilize the space on top of your cabinets
Don’t let that awkward space on top of your cabinets go to waste. The space is perfect for storing rarely needed items like a bread baker or crockpot. It’s also an excellent place to store wine since it’s far away from heat sources.
Consider purchasing a collapsible step stool if you don’t already have one, so you can reach these items safely.
Most of us aren’t lucky enough to have full height cabinets, leaving extra dead space that drives any small space kitchen storage seeker nuts!
When you’re organizing a tiny kitchen, you need to make the most of height, to avoid clutter at eye level. Simple wire baskets placed on top of cabinets can help you find space in your small kitchen.
Foldable dining table
Another storage idea for small kitchen areas is to use a foldable dining table with storage. This design is super clever, with well-sized cabinets for storage.
The table can be converted to suit either 2 or 4 place settings and can be used as a side table when not in use.
The only thing better than a well-organized kitchen pantry is one where everything is labelled, too. Do yourself a favour and pick up a pack of labelling stickers, or an old school label maker like Chris and Amber used in their home tour, and upgrade your pantry in seconds.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Think outside the box, and save counter space (and money!) by mounting cool pie-filling cans to hold your cooking utensils.
Organizing a small kitchen can be tough, but it can also be super-fun. There are so many amazing products and ideas out there to help you get your small kitchen organized and make it into the perfect space to create your favourite recipes.
Getting your small kitchen organized makes a huge difference in the way you feel about your kitchen.