When we downsized our house, I lost a lot of kitchen space. Even though I thought organizing a small kitchen might be difficult at first, as it turns out, having a small kitchen has been amazing. More than anything it has really forced me to simplify and evaluate what I need and use. If you find yourself with less storage space in your kitchen, or are wanting to find ways to make the most of the small kitchen space that you have, I have compiled some of my best tips to help you make the most out of your kitchen!
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Know your end goal
My first recommendation with anything you do, especially when it comes to simplifying your space is to first ask yourself what you want the end goal to be.
What type of kitchen do you want to have?
Are you hoping to have a functional kitchen with more space to move around? Do you like the idea of having ample room for people to gather and dine together?
Before you get started organizing your space, first ask yourself what it is you want from this space in the long run. Painting a picture of the end goal and how you want to feel in your kitchen once it’s completed is going to be the best way to help you stay motivated.
Step One: Declutter
When you have a small kitchen, or any sized kitchen, for that matter, when you are wanting to create more space, you must first be intentional about what you keep. A lot of times people aim to organize without eliminating and the truth is, organizing (and maintaining organization) becomes much easier when you have fewer things to care for. Having less clutter to deal with will make storage solutions so much simpler and will allow you the space to do what you want in your kitchen space.
Where to start decluttering
Just like most things in our life, there is a chance you already know what kitchen products you are using over and over again. This is always a good place to start. You know what pan is your favorite, what spatula is the best and even your favorite coffee mug. Pull these things out and set them aside. Using your favorite things to help compare to other items you pull out can be really helpful in the elimination process.
- Separated pairs
- Unused items
- Expired products
- Tops of the counters and cabinets
- The lest favorite things
Process for decluttering
As someone who tends to be a little more scatter brained, I have come up with a 4 Bin Declutter Process that has always helped me tidy and organize my space while staying on track and not drifting from room room.
If you are someone who has a hard time with starting to tidy one area and then drift to another area, I highly recommend checking out the process I follow in order to make the organization process less daunting.
Doubles are everywhere in kitchens. These are simply the items that you have more than one of in your kitchen space. For example, chances are you have multiple frying pans that are the same size, double spoons, double soup ladles and maybe even doubled up spices.
The funny thing about doubles is that we usually already have a favorite or a go-to that we always use. If you have doubles that are going unused consider adding them to your donation pile so that you can create more space in your kitchen.
You know those lonely plastic containers shoved in the bottom of your cupboard never to be heard from again? Well, it’s time to take them out. Take the time to match your lids up with their container partner and discard any that don’t have a match.
Our family has been working to gradually switch to glass lids with click-on tops in order to reduce the amount of plastic we have in our home as well as to avoid lost lid tops!
Now is the time during your kitchen organization where it’s time to get practical. Take the time to ask yourself, what you are actually using.
Are you taking advantage of that cake decorating set you swore you would get to someday? Your great grandmother’s punch bowl?
Be honest about the items that aren’t serving a purpose and be willing to part ways. I know it can be hard letting go of the things we never got around to using to their full advantage, but think of it as creating space for all the things you do love to do!
Keep tops of the cabinet minimal
While adding decor to the tops of kitchen cabinets can be fun, or a good way to display your favorite things, in a small kitchen this can make things feel especially cluttered. This can make the space feel smaller and more closed in when you are trying to create a space that feels lighter and more open.
Keep counters clear
Do you know those bulky items like the blender, toaster and Instant Pot? Taking the time to create and store these items somewhere else instead of on top of your counters can instantly create a clutter-free kitchen and give you more working space on your counters.
This is why we go through the declutter process first, in order to create additional storage for items that we do use on a daily basis.
Speaking of daily basis, if there are things that you use frequently, there is nothing wrong with keeping them out in order to easily access them. However, if some items (like a blender or mixer) are taking up ample cabinet space, finding storage for them can make the space feel instantly roomier. Read: 7 Ways for Busy Families to Keep Clutter Off Kitchen Tables and Counters
Maximize your space
After you’ve gone through and decluttered your kitchen, it’s time to find ways to optimize your space for better storage of the things you did decide to keep.
I’ve got some great storage ideas that we have taken advantage of ourself to maximize space in our small kitchen.
- Double shelving
- KonMari drawers
- Store pans sideways
- Hanging storage
One of my favorite ways I have ever seen storage fully utilized in a small kitchen is by creating a roll out shelf on the side of the fridge.
More on the KonMari Method
- How to KonMari Your Suitcase for a 2 Week Road Trip
- His and Hers KonMari Closet Makeover
- Creating a Functional Office/Bedroom the KonMari Way
Create Double shelving
Cupboard space is precious when you have a small kitchen. Something you can to do make the absolute most of it is creating extra shelving. There are a ton of options to match your style and storage needs. This can be helpful in storing pans, dishes, tupperware and even food items if you don’t have a pantry available.
Store pans sideways
Instead of stacking pans on top of one another like those little nesting dolls another option is to try storing them sideways so they take up less space and you can get to them much easier.
You might not have counter space or inside cupboard space, but you can take advantage of hanging space by hanging things on the outsides of your cupboards or on your walls.
My favorite way to do this is with fresh fruits and veggies. Not only does this free up food storage space but it reminds you that you have fresh fruits and veggies to be eaten!
Store food smarter
We are a family of 5 and we eat a ton, which means we’ve had to be pretty savvy about our food storage. Thankfully, we do have a pantry, but we lost a lot of cupboard space and refrigerator/freezer storage as well.
A lot of times we shop in bulk at places like Costco, so managing our food organization is super important. Here are some of the best tips that I have found work for us. Read: Our $100 Costco Shopping List for One Week
Food storage ideas
- Keep small items together
- Cycle your food
- Shop your pantry
- Process bulk items right away
Keep small items together
I am a big fan of tea, especially during our cold Minnesota winters. We’ll also buy small snack packs in bulks to use in quick lunches on the go or when we travel.
Instead of leaving these all in the boxes, I try to gather them together and organize them. That way we can see them, know when we’re running low and I don’t have small packages floating all around my house.
Cycle your food
To make sure you are keeping your small kitchen organized and that you aren’t letting food go bad, work to cycle your food.
That means when you come home from the store, put your new purchases behind and old “leftovers” you might have. For example, if you have a few cups of Cheerios leftover, make sure they are in the front of your cupboard or pantry. Store the new box behind so that you are ready to refill when necessary.
Shop your pantry
Avoid double purchases by shopping your pantry first before you go grocery shopping. That just means taking a quick inventory of all the things you have and gathering some potential meal ideas based on what you currently have in stock.
Process bulk items right away
Like I said, we buy a lot of things in bulk. This can quickly take up a lot of space in our pantry if we let it. That’s why I make sure to process all of our bulk items right away.
Things like rice, oatmeal, cereals, and other dry goods get instantly put into large glass jars. Then I break down all of the boxes and put them immediately into the recycling. This saves a ton of space and helps me see what food items I’m running low on.
Combat clutter right away
Just like decluttering, there is another genius way to keep your small kitchen storage nice and tidy and that’s by avoiding bringing in additional clutter. This can be as easy as not buying more stuff to add to your kitchen supplies. However, our everyday lifestyles tend to clutter up our kitchens rather quickly.
Here are some practical tips for keeping clutter at bay every day:
- Sort the mail into recycling before it comes into the house
- Have an area to store important papers
- Have a nightly reset routine
- Put dirty dishes into the dishwasher instead of the sink
Another great idea is to just keep re-evaluating what you have.
A funny thing happens when you start being more minimalist and intentional about what you own; it gets easier to let go of more.
So just because you went through and decluttered once doesn’t mean you might not get the itch to do it again! Doing this can help clear space in your kitchen and in your mind!