Creative Storage Solutions for Small Kitchens

September 15, 2021

wit & whimsy Apartment Tour

After over ten years of living in New York City, I have lived in my fair share of small, tiny kitchens. I’ve had kitchens without drawers, I’ve had kitchens without counter space, I’ve had kitchens with minimal storage space. So to say I’ve had to get creative in making small kitchens work for me would be an understatement.

Creative Storage Solutions for Small Kitchens

For those of us not fortunate enough to have a huge kitchen, it’s important to have some creativity with how we make the space work. Obviously if you love to cook (or even if you don’t!), kitchen stuff takes up a lot of space. If you get your kitchen organized, you’ll find it way easier to keep it neat and tidy while also knowing that everything has a place. 

Creative Storage for Small Kitchens

Creative Storage for Small Kitchens

Creative Storage for Small Kitchens

Small kitchens can be exceptionally frustrating but fear not! Here are my best kitchen storage ideas when you’re dealing with a small space!

Do a Clean Out

Save space and make the most of your tiny kitchen by doing a full clean out before you begin organizing. Now is the time to check expiration dates of everything in your pantry and to also donate kitchenwares you’re holding onto and never use. (We’ve all been there!) Take everything out of the cabinets and go through things one by one.

You can likely cut back on your mugs collection, move items you’re holding onto for sentimental reasons to storage and put together a box or two of items that will be better used in someone else’s home.

Related: What I Learned From The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Organize Pots & Pans

Instead of having massive stacks of pots and pans in your cabinets, consider using an organizer that’ll make finding the right pot or pan much less of a headache.

Consider Hanging Things

I’ve seen friends add hooks to walls to hang everything from commonly used utensils to pots and cutting boards. If you have the wall space, consider adding a pots and pan organizer that will hold everything without taking up precious cabinet space.

I also installed Command Hooks to the side of my cabinets to neatly tuck away my pot holders when I didn’t have any drawers to do so!

Install Removable Shelves

For renters, you don’t want to be adding loads of holes to your walls, so consider installing removable shelves as I did for my spices (seen above). These command shelves come in a few sizes and were so easy to install and to remove and gave me some much needed additional storage. I bought a kit of matching spice jars to make all my spice jars look alike so they were more aesthetically appealing and added labels easily – it was the easiest DIY spice rack! Another alternative if you’d like your spices tucked away is to add a spice shelf riser so you can still see your spices while they are hidden in a cabinet.

If you don’t mind drilling into your walls, you can also consider adding floating shelves for things like mugs or bowls you use often. Open shelving, if you have the wall space, can add a lot of kitchen storage to small kitchens.

Tuck Away Less Commonly Used Items

A lot of kitchen items are often nice-to-have when you want or need them. For those items you’re not reaching for regularly, tuck them away instead of putting them with like items. Put them in that harder-to-reach cabinet so you know where they are but don’t have to work around them regularly.

Add Racks Inside Cabinets

Nowadays there are tons of great shelves and racks you can easily install yourself with adhesive to the inside of your cabinet doors that will give you extra space to store things. These are ideal for renters since you can then remove them before you move out. I like these, too.

I also own this rack for below my sink to store cleaning supplies in a more tidy fashion.

Add Vertical Space

Remember to always use every inch of cabinet and counter space – that means thinking vertically as well as horizontally! I added plate risers and removable shelves throughout my kitchen cabinets to give me more storage. This expandable shelf doubled my counter space in my last studio! I stored kitchen essentials on the top and the bottom of it. The extra storage space was crucial for making my kitchen more functional.

Categorize, Categorize, Categorize

I always use small acrylic trays in my drawers to keep kitchen utensils tidy but you can also use them for things like spice packets, commonly used kitchen tools and if you buy the kind that stack, you’ll be able to further maximize your space.

Use Lazy Susans

I love using Lazy Susans for organizing in small spaces. These rotating shelves add great space and allow you easy access to see things like condiments and spices.

Utilize Window Sills and Above the Cabinets

In one of my studio apartments, I added a lot of space to store things by putting things like less commonly used pots and pans atop my cabinets. I put casserole dishes, my grill pan, my cast iron pan and things I used only so often for baking all up top of my kitchen cabinets. I’d just hop on a step-stool to grab them when I needed them.

Use a Cart

I love the little carts on wheels that tuck away neatly but give you loads of extra storage space when you don’t have a lot of cabinet space.

Add a Kitchen Island

Kitchen doesn’t have a kitchen island installed? If you’ve got the space, add one yourself! There are so many great options nowadays for kitchen islands on wheels that make it way more flexible to have this added counter space and extra storage space.

Give everything a Home

If you haphazardly throw things wherever they fit, you’re sure to lose of track of what you own. Take the time to truly organize and give everything a home so that your space becomes less of a hassle and more functional overall. It’ll take more time to do it this way – but trust me it’ll be worth it!

Consider using a Professional Organizer

I have used professional organizers for my closet before and was amazed at how much I learned. If your small kitchen is overwhelming you, consult the pros. You’ll likely offload some of your stress and they’ll be able to recommend lots of great gadgets and organizational storage tools that you may not have previously been familiar with.

Consult Pinterest

Pinterest is a great search tool to get inspiration as you plot out how to best use your space. People have shared loads of creative storage ideas and good storage hacks so be sure to search “kitchen storage ideas” and “kitchen organization” on the site to help spark some additional ideas.

. . .

I hope these tips help improve the functionality of your small kitchen – let me know if you try any of them! And if you have any other great ideas for getting creative with storage in your small kitchen, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!


My Favorite Small Kitchen Organizers


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