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How To Organize Small Kitchen To Maximize Space

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A small kitchen is no one’s friend. But just like dark under-eyes, cranky in-laws or your inability to hold a camera still, sometimes you just have to learn to deal. Having a small kitchen does not mean you cannot make it work and be functional. We’ve found ways to organize in any small kitchen to maximize space. How are you supposed to cook when the only place to put a cutting board is on top of the stove? Pots and pans may be the most difficult things to find space for in a kitchen because they’re difficult to stack and too deep to store in upper cabinets. 

Here are some of the common small kitchen problems

  • Not enough room to eat
  • Not enough counter space
  • No space for all these pots and pans
  • The kitchen doesn’t have drawers
  • I want to add more storage to my kitchen, but I hate clutter
  • None, or very little, natural light
  • No upper cabinets

Have you experienced the pain of having a kitchen with no drawers? Where do you put the silverware? One of the biggest problems of a small kitchen is the lack of drawer space. Where does one store his/her flatware, or more importantly, his/her corkscrews?

There are so many storage solutions for small kitchens—pot rails, knife racks, stacking things above the fridge — that involve storing things right out in the open. But what if you’re allergic to clutter—or your kitchen is open to the rest of the apartment, and you don’t want to stare at pots all day?

In an attempt to get as much space as possible in a small kitchen, lighting can be neglected until the very end. However, a small kitchen without the help of any natural light will look and feel even smaller than it is actually is.

To create a much more pleasant layout and make the smaller kitchen look much more attractive, no upper cabinets are put at the time of causing a lack of storage. One of the solutions to this is to dedicate a wall to ceiling to floor storage within the kitchen itself.

Small Kitchen Solutions

Out in The Open

While the idea of exposed shelving may sound messy and super revealing, removing heavy cabinetry can actually create an airy and open room.  Replacing traditional cabinet doors with glass versions can make a kitchen seem more spacious. Try to take advantage of open wall space. Wall space is the gem of kitchen storage. It’s not the most obvious or common storage spot, but it has so much potential. Pegboards have the power to open up a lot of new storage solutions. Or you can add shelves or even a fold-down table.

Nonexistent drawers

Deep baskets on the shelves can stand in as drawers, and the extra surface space–a perfect home for your cutting board or spiralizer–is just a sweet bonus.

Rule of tiers

 In the interest of restricted counter space, stack things upward rather than sprawling them outward.

Hang your pots

Clear out a good chunk of clutter from your cabinets by hanging up your most-used pots and pans. As simple as that!

Add an accent color

A strong accent color draws the eye in, distracting from the room’s tight corners. Pick one dominant color, then go neutral for everything else.

Vertical shelving 

Every kitchen has some under-utilized wall space yearning for a shelf. Perhaps you have that blank wall at the end of your galley kitchen? The unused space between the kitchen window and the ceiling? Go Oprah on it and you get a shelf!.

Clear out your under-counter cabinets

Hang your most-used pots and pans. Start by putting your most-used pots and pans on racks. There are simple wooden or metal bars with hooks that attach to your kitchen ceiling or wall. Fit the holes of your pot or panhandles in the hooks. Just like that, you’ve cleared out a good chunk of clutter from your cabinet and positioned your pots and pans for easy access. Next, get mixing bowls that nest. If you do not have a set of mixing bowls that nest, buy one and get rid of your old ones. Three or four bowls now will take up the same space of one old one. You can even keep them on the countertop or on an overhead shelf to free up more under-counter space.

Enough shelves for food

Put screw-on jars under shelves. If there is a lot of space wasted between shelves, try this trick: Attach mason-type jars to the underside of the shelves. Using a nail and a hammer, punch a hole or two in each metal jar lid. Then screw the lid to the shelf using half-inch wood screws. Install a lid about every 5 inches. Now fill the jars with rice, and other staples and screw them into their lids.

If you got soup packets and dried-food bags falling from every shelf

Put them in transparent containers. Use stackable, see-through plastic containers to hold loose packets of soup mix, hot cocoa, tea, and condiments. They will be much easier to find than tucked away in piles of plastic bags. Kitchen supply stores have s nice-looking sturdy glass or plastic containers, or you can convert jars you already have. If you have counter space or areas available on top of your wall cabinets, keep the jars of dried foods outside the cupboard, where you will not forget they are available.

Arrange your spices

Get a lazy susan. If you have a potpourri of containers that do not fit rightly in a spice rack, put them on a revolving lazy Susan. It can make room for spice containers of any shape—tall skinny bottles, short fat ones, little bags, bigger bags, and plastic containers as well as the classic little bottles. And as long as you keep it on a shelf at or near eye level, you can easily spot the spice you are looking for as you turn the tray.

Install mini shelves 

Install stepped mini-shelves. To enclose the chaos of cans in your food cupboard, try a stair-style mini-shelf unit. You can find these tiered shelves at kitchen supply stores. Buy one that is about one can-height short of touching the shelf above it and one can-width less wide than the main shelf you will be setting it on. Fill the mini-shelves with your canned goods. Now not only can you see the can you want, but you can also pull it out without pummelling others.

Magnetic knife strips

If you’re short on counter space, skip the knife block and keep your knives organized with magnetic strips instead. These magnetic strips can also be used for storing pot lids and other metal kitchen tools.

Add another shelf inside cabinets.

Dishes and pantry items can only be stacked so high before cabinets start to feel totally unorganized. Most cabinets never seem to have enough permanent shelves, the best solution for this is to get the most storage is adding expandable shelves or even baskets that hang just below the shelf.

Hang your things on the open side of a cabinet.

If you have a cabinet that doesn’t butt up against a wall on both sides, go ahead and utilize the open side. Use it to mount shelves or hang smaller items, like cutting boards, magnetic strips, a spice rack etc.

Utilize the inside of cabinet doors.

This might be the most under-utilized space in your kitchen. Whether you buy an organizer to hang over the cabinet door or use hooks to hang things like dish towels and potholders, this is a smart storage area.

Use tension rods

Small tension rods are useful organizational tools in the kitchen. Utilize them in an under-the-sink cabinet to hang cleaning supplies and towels, or arrange a few of them vertically to keep baking sheets, cooling racks, and cutting boards.

Use your oven for storage.

Consider this: How often do you really use your oven? If it’s no often, it makes a handy storage space. If you are really short on cabinet space, use your oven to store baking sheets and cooling racks. Just remember to take them out before turning on the oven.

Store Above Your Window

No matter the size of your kitchen, every little space matters when it comes to storage. A simple shelf above a window increases space for plates, bowls, and art.

Save Space with Swing Stools

Vintage swivel stools are playful, but, most importantly, practical, since they almost disappear when not in use.

Store Strategically

Store lesser-used gadgets in higher cabinets. If you don’t already have some, add them in above your hood and windows.

Turn the Sink into More Counter Space

Counter space is always a demand, but there’s an easy fix: Get a cutting board that fits over the sink to create extra space for chopping. Many have built-in colanders to help make prep a breeze.


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