Getting the most out of your small kitchen...

10 kitchen hacks – organization ideas for small spaces…

Can kitchen organization ideas for small spaces really make a difference? When most people think of organization hacks for small kitchens, they mostly think in terms of making do with fewer accessories and appliances. As in all things, you need to be realistic when you are downsizing. If you have a collection of kitchen appliances and gadgets that would put a master chef to shame, some paring down will be necessary. But you don’t need to toss all of your favorite gadgets. Making your space more efficient will allow you to keep more and toss less.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links.  You can read the full disclosure in the footer section at the bottom of this page. 

Table of Contents:

Dinnerware…
Canisters & Labels…
Baskets…
Hanging Pot Rack…
Pan & Bakeware Organizers…
Unique & Miscellaneous…
Retrofitting Cabinets with Pullouts…

Kitchen organization ideas for small spaces…

Here are some great kitchen hacks for people living in very small spaces. They revolve around two major themes – preventing clutter creep from countertops, cabinets, and drawers while making good use of wall space.

Open Shelving:

Countertop and cabinet space is often in short supply with small kitchens. Adding open shelving is often the solution. Now I know that many will protest that open shelves lend themselves to a cluttered look. This can indeed be true. If you keep things like bags of sugar and cereal boxes on open shelves, this can be a very messy option. This is where an investment of a little time and money can work wonders. No, you don’t have to break the bank. After all, many people move to smaller spaces to expenses down. But some common sense purchases can make a world of difference.

1. Dinnerware…

If you are like me, you now have a hodge-podge of plates cups and bowls. Do yourself a favor and invest a bit of money in a uniform set that can be displayed on shelves. You can keep it simple and neutral or add a punch of color. A little touch like this can go a long way to making even a studio seem more like a home. This stoneware set is a perfect example of how something as simple as four place settings can add a touch of style.

Click here to purchase this stoneware set…

2. Canisters…

Canisters can help you keep your kitchen organized and looking great! Personally, I love products from Oxo.  These POP containers from Oxo can help you get rid of that ugly bag of sugar or flour that is stuck in the in the back of a cupboard and allows you to keep them on an open shelf without that cluttered look. These come in all shapes and sizes. From small containers that are ideal for spices to 4-quart containers suitable for a large bag of flour, Oxo POP containers have you covered. They have the added benefit of providing an airtight seal with the touch of a button. This keeps the bugs away and your dry goods fresh and easily accessible all at the same time. This 5-piece POP set has a nice assortment of sizes.

For those who prefer the more traditional look of Mason jars, there is plenty to choose from, though the larger variety that Oxo promotes and a not as common.

Click here to purchase this 5-piece canister set.

3. Canister and spice labels…

Of course, you need labels for your canisters. There are plenty of options here. For a more traditional look, there are the very popular and classic chalkboard labels.  I happen to love this look, but it’s not for everyone. For a truly modern look, Oxo also has labels that can be purchased separately. These have a more modern clean look to them which some people will prefer.

Click here to purchase chalkboard labels.
Click here to purchase Oxo labels.

4. Baskets…

Baskets are a perfect way to organize kitchen items on open shelves. You can collect items that would normally look disorganized or messy and neatly tuck them away. A simple tip is to make sure that each basket contains items that tend to be used together making kitchen tasks and chores a breeze. These water hyacinth storage baskets are great for kitchen shelves. One thing I really like about them is that they are foldable when not in use.  When you live in a smaller space, anything that folds up and tucks away is your best friend.

Click here to purchase water hyacinth baskets.

Tame your pots and pans:

Pots and pans can arguably take up the most space in a kitchen and there is nothing worse than having to dig through an inaccessible cabinet for the right pot. Here are some ideas to help tame this particular space hog.

5. Hanging pot rack with shelf…


This is a popular solution. Pots and pans hang from a wall (or ceiling) where they are easily accessible. Common cooking utensils can also be hung on this racks and pots can often be stacked on the shelf above. This hanging pot rack is a great way to store pots and pans.

Click here to purchase this hanging pot rack.

6. Pan organizer rack…

This is specifically for the storage of pans. The pans can be stored in a cabinet or on a countertop. It stacks the pans so they are easy to find and access. If you don’t like your pans hanging, this is an alternative solution and a clever one at that.  I like this particular pan organizer rack is due to the size of the rack since it doesn’t exceed 8 inches in height.

Click here to purchase this pan organizer rack. 

7. Bakeware organization…

Like pots and pans, bakeware and oven racks tend to be strewn all over the place in a drawer or cupboard. Getting them organized frees up space and prevents frustration when you are trying to bake something special. The adjustable bakeware rack and organizer accomplishes this task nicely and inexpensively.

Click here to purchase adjustable bakeware rack. 

Making space in unique ways…

Here are a few bonus items, that create more space either by eliminating bulky items or by reconfiguring available space to make what you have more accessible.

8. Lazy Susan for corner cabinets…

Everyone has that awkward corner cabinet where things get jammed into the back, never to see the light of day again (until we have to clean it out because we are moving).  These areas offer a lot of space, but they are just really hard to access. These cabinets can be reconfigured to create pull-outs. But this is a fairly pricey way to solve this problem. Adding a lazy susan or two to a corner cabinet is an effective and far less expensive answer to this issue. This divided Lazy Susan allows you to organize and group together some favorite items, such as kids items or cleaning supplies.

Click here to purchase this divided Lazy Susan.

9. Magnetic knife bar…

This is a great place to keep your kitchen knives and other utensils. Why dig around in a drawer when they can be easily stored on a simple magnetic strip?  This frees up precious drawer space for other things while keeping your utensils neatly tucked away, yet within easy reach.

Click here to purchase this magnetic knife strip.

10. Reusable & foldable grocery bags…

Plastic bags and paper bags are not only environmentally wasteful – they also take up a lot of space. It’s amazing how something so light and so essential can eat up closet space. Using a reusable canvas bag or something similar to the bags you see for sale in supermarkets are easier on the environment, but they are still bulky. Worse still, we tend to forget to take them with us (at least I do). So they aren’t there when you need them. I started using bags like these about 5 years ago.  The particular bags that I bought are no longer available, but these are very similar. They get high marks from consumers. Tuck them away in your purse or your car and they are ready and waiting. Better still, you can free up a lot of the space that was being eaten up by all those bags.

Click here to purchase reusable grocery bags.

Taking small kitchen organization to the next level…

Kitchen cabinets themselves can be hacked by retrofitting with pull-out drawers and other fixes. This is a more expensive way to go, but if you have great kitchen cabinets that are just impractical and awkward when it comes to organization, this is definitely something to consider. Full disclosure, I haven’t tried any of these solutions personally, but I think they will give those interested in really streamlining their kitchen a starting point with respect to ideas.

Base cabinet wire basket pullout…

This type of system creates a pullout drawer effect for your cabinets. It allows you to see everything and stops you from having to stack things and dig through 10 pans to find the one you are looking for. This is useful to everyone. They are particularly good for those who have a bad back and find it painful to spend time digging through a low cabinet trying to find that one item that always seems to be buried at the bottom of the pile.

Click here to purchase this base cabinet wire basket pullout.

Cabinet pullout organizer…

Here is an example of another pullout organizer with adjustable shelves. It’s similar to the one above but has more flexibility.

Click here to purchase this cabinet pullout organizer with adjustable shelves.

One big caveat is that all of these fixes are designed to fit with standard sized cabinets. Obviously, anyone purchasing these organizers needs to measure their cabinets carefully. Also, if you are not handy, you need to factor in the cost of having someone install them for you.

The importance of culling and purging…

10 kitchen hacks for small kitchens...No number of kitchen-specific small-space organization ideas will fix the fundamental issue that there will be less space. If you are downsizing, all of the fixes discussed above will not take away the need to cull through your kitchen items and purge what you are really not using.

We all have to be realistic. I  know people who have bread makers, ice cream makers, crock pots, rice cookers, pasta makers, several types of coffee makers, 2-3 blenders, at least two mixers, baking racks galore and enough pots and pans to start a restaurant. If you are living in 750sf of space with a galley kitchen, there is no way in the world everything is going to fit.

To deal with this sort of situation, it is probably important to cull each item carefully and base your decisions on just how much you use each item. If the bread maker is only coming out once a year, it might be time to let that item go. There are other decisions that are somewhat easier. How many coffee makers do you really need? Can you find a blender that does 90% of the things that you need and let the others go? Do you really need more than one mixer? Really and truly? In the end, all of these decisions are highly personal, but there are choices that will have to be made.

Another thing you can do if cooking is a major part of your life is to tuck some of your least used items in closets, or even under a bed. If you are in a house where you have access to a  basement, you can store some items there. But this should be temporary until you decide what you are truly using.

Some people actually rent storage space and keep some items in storage until they decide what they want to do. Now, this is a very expensive fix and should never be permanent. It’s very easy to fall into the habit of using paid storage space for all your overflow. Don’t get caught in that trap. But, if you are downsizing from 5000sf to 1200sf, this may be a necessary (but temporary) compromise, if only to preserve your sanity.

Further Reading:

How to have open shelving in your kitchen (without daily staging)

27 life hacks for your tiny kitchen

© 2018 – RGHicks – https://www.downsizingup.com – All rights reserved.

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