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How to Organize a Small Kitchen

All kitchens work better for you when they’re well-organized, but tiny kitchens can be especially difficult to manage. Here are some organizing ideas especially for little spaces.

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

1. Get rid of stuff you don’t use.
This might sound obvious, but it must be said: own as little as possible. It’s easier to organize any room when there are fewer belongings to fit into it.

2. Think about multi-use containers.
If your kitchen is so tiny that it has only one drawer (like mine), you can store cooking utensils and tools like spatulas and wooden spoons in tall vases, and flatware in a caddy or cute tin.

3. Import some extra counter space.
For additional (portable!) counter and storage space, consider a rolling cart or small kitchen island.

4. Take the time to organize your kitchen drawers.
Kitchen drawers can quickly become jumbled messes. Drawer dividers help corral contents, but perhaps more important is having a dedicated place outside of the kitchen for items like scissors and rolls of duct tape that tend to wind up among the corkscrews and measuring cups.

5. Use the space under the sink to your advantage.
That large cabinet under the sink is probably the most disaster-prone area of a kitchen as far as organization goes. That’s even more true if it’s your kitchen’s only large storage area. Luckily options for organizing under the sink are many. Lazy Susans mean you don’t have to reach all the way in to grab a bottle of cleanser. Pull-out shelves or baskets make freezer bags and parchment paper more accessible. And containers that hang over cabinet doors keep sponges and extra rubber gloves from getting lost.

6. Move less-used small kitchen appliances.
Almost every kitchen has a highly inconvenient shelf. That’s the place for items you use least. I have a tart pan from tart-baking phase that ended years ago. I should give it away (see #1) but since I haven’t, it goes on the very top shelf which is difficult to reach without…

7. Use a step stool.
If you’re less than tall, having one around will make everything - from reaching that upper shelf to cleaning the top of your fridge - much less bothersome.

8. Think about horizontal kitchen storage solutions.
Taking plates out and putting them back again is not fun if they’re stacked horizontally under some bowls. Instead, try placing them vertically in racks. This also goes for baking sheets, cutting boards, or anything else that’s flat.

9. Invent your own kitchen storage spaces.
In the absence of other storage options, don’t neglect the tops of your furniture and appliances. Kitchen scales and timers can go on the narrow ledge of the stove, small appliances on top of the fridge, and extra tissues and paper towels above the cabinets. If the latter option is too messy for your taste, use bins like these for a nicer look.

10. Nest your cooking pots.
It’s quick and easy to rearrange pots on the stovetop, so store smaller pots inside larger ones when the burners aren’t on. If you cook primarily on the stovetop, cookware can be stored inside the oven. (Just don’t keep anything flammable in there.)

11. Install a catch-all pegboard.
Rolling pins, cutting boards, and more can be hung on your walls with a pegboard. This is a great use of space that also looks attractive. Paper towel rolls can also be hung up instead of stood on a countertop. And if you want to make even greater use of your walls for storage, install some open shelves.

12. Store your grocery bags. before them become kitchen clutter.
Control plastic grocery bags by placing them in a container designed or repurposed for them. A cloth bag sewn up except for a hole at one end, a holder that fits over a cabinet door, or an empty tissue box can all be neat receptacles for unruly plastic bags.

13. Sort and group similar items.
Where you put what will depend on how your kitchen is configured, but try to separate dishes from cookware from cleaning supplies. Within each category, group further so that mugs are in one place, plates in another, rolls of tinfoil in a third, etc. It’s easier and faster to grab what you need when you know where to look.

14. Take the time to arrange items logically.
Place frequently used items near where you use them. My kitchen is small enough that I can touch pretty much everything in it while standing in one spot. But in a bigger small kitchen, being able to reach the olive oil while you’re cooking, or having your knives close to your refrigerator, streamlines the cooking process.

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