Small Kitchen Organization Tips
You don't need a large space with unlimited storage to create the kitchen of your dreams. In fact, most of us have limited kitchen space. And if you live in a big city, in an apartment, or in a shared space, that space is even smaller.
Organizing a small kitchen can look very different from spaces with seemingly unlimited cabinets and drawers. After organizing hundreds of spaces, the majority of them being kitchens, here are my best tips for organizing a small kitchen:
Only store what you need and use regularly.
When you are limited on space, getting serious about what you really need is the best thing you can do. Do you really need two sets of silverware or a fancy set of China that you maybe use once a year? Do you have more than one set of essential pans? What about small appliances that are handy, but maybe not essential? I am not a hater of air fryers, food processors, and insta-pots…but if you really don’t have the room, consider consolidating some of your gadgets. How many dish towels do you currently have? There are only 7 days in a week…do you have more than one for each day?
Take a look at the food that you are keeping on hand. Is any of it expired or has it been sitting there for a long time? When your space is smaller, every square inch is essential. Don’t let a can of soup you bought two years ago take up precious real estate. If you like to shop at Costco or another bulk store, keep an emergency food supply, or if you really really love all the small appliances…consider putting the items used less often (once a month or less) in a different space or closet. Even if you are not getting rid of those items, clearing the clutter in your small kitchen will make it function better for you and make it feel bigger.
Maximize vertical space.
When you are using a small space, maximize every bit of space you can. Vertical space can often go wasted. It is easy enough to buy the materials to add an extra shelf. Adjusting your shelves or using stacking bins are two ways to maximize your vertical space. I love shelf stackers and clear acrylic bins that can be stacked on top of each other. I've also used this vertical door hanger to help store bulkier items.
Use wall space.
Do you have any wall space? You can add a magnetic knife holder anywhere along your backsplash or above your stove. Pots and pans can be hung from racks, aprons from a hook, and dishes and essential food items (placed in airtight containers) could be stored on floating shelves. I’ve used the side of a cabinet for hanging a wall spice rack and it looked beautiful. Do you have a lot of charcuterie boards? Turn them into decor and hang them - and then pull them down when you need to use them. If you have wall space to spare, think about how you could use it to help your space function better for you.
Style with function in mind.
If you have any counter space, use it to maximize space and add a little style. Do you drink coffee? Store your coffee in a cute jar and put your favorite mug or two with the jar and any mix-ins you like to use on a small tray. If you have room to bring in bigger pieces but are short on counter space, bring in a little island. You can store baskets of food or pots and pans underneath and use the top as counter space. If you have wall space, you could bring in a buffet or a cabinet for storage.
Eliminate as much bulky packaging as possible. Put items or food into consistent containers.
This is my number one tip for organizing any space but is especially important when organizing small spaces. If this is not something you are already doing, I promise you will be shocked once you start to implement this principle. Space literally expands.
Use the inside of cabinets to store paper towel rolls, hang dish rags, or store dish soap. I’ve lined the insides of cabinets with hooks for everything from drying towels, window cloths, and dusting mitts to fly swatters. Hooks are so handy.
Use the inside of your sink to store essentials used in the sink (scraper, washcloth, scrub brush, etc.).
Do you have a broiler pan or large cookie sheet that doesn’t fit anywhere else? Consider storing it in your oven. Just remember to take it out every time you preheat.
Think about how items can serve multiple functions. Mason jars can serve as drinking glasses, food storage, vases, and meal prep. A wooden cutting board can serve as a trivet, a cutting board, and a platter. The right kind of casserole pan can serve as baking ware, a serving dish, and Tupperware.
There are so many items you can now buy in a collapsible version. Colanders, bowls, Tupperware, popcorn maker. If you have an item that is just too big, look to see if there is a collapsible version available.
Trying to make a small kitchen functional and beautiful can be very challenging. However, after organizing hundreds of homes and making multiple small kitchens work myself, I know that it is very doable. As you prioritize the items that you use the most and maximize every inch of space in creative ways that clears visual clutter, I know you will create a kitchen that can function and create calm no matter what the square footage is.
Jen is the founder of Reset Your Nest, a Professional Home Organizing business in Utah (Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, Logan, Utah County, and St. George), California (Bay Area, Los Gatos, Hillsborough, Atherton, San Jose), Denver, CO, and Phoenix, AZ. She loves creating order and systems out of chaos. Her specialty is finding a way to continue the aesthetic of any home to every cupboard and drawer. She shares her tips and tricks on Instagram @reset_your_nest.