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Small kitchen with refrigerator

Small Kitchen Organization Ideas

A small kitchen's size can impact just how functional it is, but it doesn't have to. Cut down on clean-up time and keep your space looking fresh with our small kitchen organization ideas.
A small kitchen's deep drawers open for organizing all kinds of cookware

Getting Started

Whether you've lived with your kitchen for a few months or decades, it seems like more space is always needed. What homeowners often need to do is change up the existing layout and routine to make the most of their space. We recommend a 3-step process to remove what you don't use, restructure your space and maintain your new lifestyle. Our small kitchen organization ideas will help you get the process going.

Remove What You Don't Use

It might seem obvious, but when you live in a space for a long time, it's easy to overlook the obvious. Explore within cupboards, drawers, cabinets and other storage spaces: what is here that you really don't need? What do you have too much of? Get rid of it to make space for what you love using with our small kitchen organization ideas below.
  1. Take control of your cookware & bakeware. Walk through your kitchen and mentally categorize your cookware and bakeware. What do you use everyday, at least once a month, once a year, or never? Next, make a couple of piles: one for keeping, and one for selling, giving away, throwing out. No one needs four mismatched cupcake pans. And if you do make a lot of baked goods, consider ditching your existing ones in favor of cake pans that nest inside each other to save space—it's one of the best small kitchen organization ideas around.
  2. Revamp with dinnerware & glassware made to match. In that same vein, make sure your dinnerware, glassware and mugs are all ones that you actually use. Throughout a few years, it's easy to accumulate a few (dozen) mismatched plates and cups—that goes double for households with kids. Soon there are sippy cups next to wine glasses (an incomplete set, since the dog ran past and broke two of them) and kid-sized plates jumbled beside your dinner plates. Now, if you still have young children growing in your home, you'll still need to keep the sippy cups and plastic plates around, but they don't need to be mismatched, and they shouldn't live with adult glassware. Do the same thing you did with your cookware: make one pile for keeping, and another for selling, giving away or throwing out. Keep matching glassware and dinnerware together, while kid's gear should get its own special child-accessible corner of the kitchen, like a drawer. One of our pro small kitchen organization ideas? Any mugs or glasses you love, but don't match your current aesthetic, can easily become vases or planting pots. Grow herbs from that holiday mug, and keep fresh wildflowers in that stemless champagne flute. And keep them both out of the kitchen to make room for functional space. For more storage for these, opt for a classic china cabinet in another room to free up space.
  3. Recycle & replace appliances. Don't forget to recycle what you can, too. Abt's recycling center accepts appliances: one great way to make room in the kitchen is to ditch old appliances (like, say that bulky countertop microwave). Bring it in to the shop along with wood pallets, cardboard and more. Finally, keep that counterspace clear with a microwave that doubles as a range hood, or an undercounter microwave. Suddenly, you have a lot more space to prep meals. You heard that: small kitchen organization ideas that are as green as we are. For a full list of what we accept at our Recycling Center, check out our Green Initiatives.
copper pans hanging from a pegboard in a small kitchen

Restructuring Strategically

Small kitchens need to function efficiently, and now that you've cleared out some refuse, find the small kitchen organization ideas that make sense for you. Restructure your space strategically based on your lifestyle with our ideas below.
  1. Get smart about your current storage methods. Take another hard look around your kitchen, thinking about what areas make the most sense for storing food, drink, cookware, even bills. Do you place your 12-packs of soda pop in front of the cabinets right as you walk into the kitchen? Do you leave the mail on the small kitchen island the moment you come home? How do you go about cooking, restocking the refrigerator, searching through the pantry? Think about squeaky wheels in the process: those 12-packs are blocking very useful storage space, and that mail is likely to get lost while cluttering your kitchen. These habits are the ones it's time to rethink if they aren't working for you. Instead, find new places for this to live: can those 12-packs fit INSIDE those cabinets, with room to spare? Maybe as you walk into the house, you can make it a priority to recycle junk mail immediately, and leave leftover bills in a dedicated bin or folder.
  2. Explore options for containers. When you've freed up space, it's important to make it functional. Some people love large glass jars for baking ingredients like flour and sugar: they double as decor on kitchen counters or beside backsplashes. Plus, they keep one more thing out of your pantry. Keep an eye out for nesting collections of tupperware as well: anything that nests is easy to store, generally: that's one of our top-tier small kitchen organization ideas.
  3. Consider layering and leaning. cutting boards and other flat must-haves can easily be leaned against a backsplash for another stylish storage solution. Even place a utensil holder in front to keep it in place or hide it. Or if you're a big meal prepper, leave your favorite wood cutting board out and ready to go as a style piece.
  4. Speaking of layering, it's time to take a look at those big empty cabinets and deep drawers. You probably don't have a lot of them, but they're the perfect place to stash large baking dishes, more cutting boards, platters, pizza stones and more. To keep these organized, you have options: dowel rods and pegs are all great ways to keep these sections seperate.
  5. Prioritize that kitchen counter space for small appliances you actually use. For example, a lot of people have a cup of coffee every day, so the espresso machines should have a prioritized space (or even be built into the wall). Or if you prefer baking to coffee, keep that KitchenAid mixer out. Everything else should be placed in easy-to-access storage.
  6. Keep a foldable stool around! One of our greatest small kitchen organization ideas technically has nothing to do with the space itself, but it will help you access overhead areas you might not be able to reach. This is often underutilized space: make the most of it, whether you hope to store holiday dishes here or larger cookware and bakeware.
  7. Dedicate specific spaces to what you use the most. Think back to that example of the coffee machine. That coffee machine should have a dedicated space prioritized to creating your favorite caffiene in the morning. Even keep a couple of matching mugs beside it. Make sure to keep this area clear of other objects, like a knife block or cutting board. This space will just be for coffee. To make things even more streamlined, dedicate an overhead coffee cabinet to all your mix-ins and arabica beans. That way, you won't even have to travel across the space to get what you need.
  8. Verticality!When it does come to gear like that knife block that's always known for taking up square footage, consider going vertical. A magnetic knife strip is the perfect solution: mount this on a nearby wall to show off your beautiful santoku, chef's knife, paring knives and more. If you have beautiful knives, this strip turns into a piece of decor, too. Pots and pans don't necessarily need shelf space, either: nearly all cookware has space for a hook in the handle. Get creative with the idea for wall racks or an overhead hanging space. A pot rail above your range is a great idea for gear you use on the regular: things that you're always reaching for. If you're hoping to make this your main method of storing cookware, invest in a pot rack that hangs from the ceiling. This is the perfect pick for hanging over the ceiling. But if you have a kitchen that is truly small, it might make your space feel too crowded.
  9. Have fun with pegboards. Alternatively, find some small kitchen organization ideas and inspiration from Julia Child's famous pegboards. Hang all of your pans from the wall, alongside handheld strainers (and yes, even those knives). You can make this a feature wall in your kitchen for a bold look, or hide it around the corner or in the pantry.
  10. Looking for more ways to go vertical? Ditch any lamps you have sitting on tables, sideboards and countertops. Instead, invest in overhead lighting. There's all kinds of flexible styles: explore low-hanging Edison bulb designs, nested lights or even more statement pieces. Do you have a high ceiling? For even more exciting small kitchen organization ideas, browse our collection of chandeliers.
  11. Portable islands.If you have less room in your home, one thing you've probably always envied is the extra prep space you can find from a kitchen island. Expand your food prep horizons with a more portable kitchen island. Explore models with extra storage cabinets beneath (perfect for stock pots and larger cooking equipment) or opt for a tall table-style one that gives the illusion of taking up less room in your cookery. Whichever style you choose, you're sure to have more room to cook food, whether you're baking for a school fundraiser or cooking a massive holiday dinner. Don't worry, we've got extra dining chairs if you need them, too.
Try out just a few of these small kitchen organization ideas to strategically restructure your space. And while that's a large part of creating more room, the final step is just as important: taking the right steps to maintain that extra space.
Knives hanging from a magnetic strip in a small kitchen

Maintain Your New Cookery's New Format

You've put all this energy into completely redoing your kitchen (or you're planning on doing so). We wouldn't leave you without some small kitchen organization ideas to keep everything looking perfectly spick-and-span. The result will be less cleaning and hard work for you in the long run.
  1. Fix anything the moment it breaks. These spaces need to function as efficiently as possible. That means that the moment something breaks, it's time to prioritize fixing it. From a broken drawer to a non-functioning garbage disposal, fix it up before problems start to stack. Otherwise, you'll find that daily problems become messier, faster.
  2. Keep your counters clear. It's a simple concept, but it can be a hard task to carry out! Keep every counter as clear as possible, because every square inch matters. Cleaning as you cook makes a cleanup process much easier, too.
  3. Refill your storage containers. If you've opted to use storage containers (like large glass jars for baking necessities), don't forget to refill them, often. It's important for a few reasons: one, you always want to have fresh ingredients, and two, there's no reason to have a paper bag of flour in the pantry when you have a massive jar with some beside the sink. Make sure you sync your pantry storage.
  4. Use smart storage containers to keep things where they go. Mail does not go on the kitchen countertop. Instead, get a mail holder, a folder or some other snazzy container, and just like in step 1, it's best to deal with anything the moment it shows up as a problem. Respond, toss, and do whatever you need to get it out of your personal space.
With a little bit of work and a lot of gentle redesigning with help from our small kitchen organization ideas, each square inch does more work than ever before. Make sure everything stays right in its place, have fun getting rid of things you don't use, and keeping everything clean will be a breeze. Plus, a lovely organized space often looks twice as large as a more cluttered version. Have fun creating the cookery of your dreams inside the house you already love! For more advice on small kitchen organization ideas and gear that will fit perfectly in your home, call our team at 800-860-3577 and check out our appliance buying guides for kitchens and beyond.