Organizing a Small Kitchen

Category Kitchen
Organizing your kitchen is tough even in a large kitchen. It is even more important to organize a small kitchen, where space is limited. This is a page about organizing a small kitchen.


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July 1, 2011

My husband constructed two wooden cutting boards to fit my double sink to increase my counter space. The stove is to the left of the double sink; there is no space to the left of the stove for cooking preparation.

Kitchen sink with wooden cutting board cover

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I recently moved from a 3 bedroom house to a single wide mobile home. I found I have much less storage space in my kitchen so this is what I did. I don't use my oven regularly, so I store my pots and pans and lids in the oven. In order to cut costs on my electric and water bills, I do not use the dishwasher. The top tray makes an excellent place to store the small items like measuring cups and spoons, long handled forks and spoons, tongs, and can opener. The bottom is large so the large dishes, baking pans and cookie sheets fit with no trouble.


I also hang a small hand towel and a dish towel over the door.

This puts everything in a place, out of sight, and everything is quickly reachable. This worked so well that I bought a small roll of that rubber mesh used for shelves and cut it to fit the top tray so the measuring spoons and other small items wouldn't fall through. Works great.

By Clynn Altemus from Inglis, FL

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My kitchen has lots of floor space, but hardly any cabinet or counter top space. I use a chest of drawers to give me extra counter and storage. It has a hard easy to clean surface and holds can goods, aluminum foil, zip bags, etc. A tall, narrow one might work for an even smaller kitchen.


By tnphoenixrising from Clarksville, TN

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I had this handy dollar store over-the-door hook. I wanted to hang it over the top of my cupboard next to the stove for hot pads and towels. But, I have the kind of cupboards that are not square on top.

The hooks fell forward too far and rattled each time I opened them.

I found it worked great on the oven door. I made a couple hot pads and crocheted a chain to keep the towel on the door so you could see the affect. I think it works great.

This tip might help you, too.

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I adapted instructions for a vinyl molding spice rack to fit my space. I used the space just between the counter top and the cabinets.

Spice Rack in Kitchen

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November 22, 2011

My passion is my kitchen and making it easier to work in, as it is small. I just try different things. I bought one of a set of square boxes from the hardware store, and put it on my upper counter to give me a space to slide things in.

View of small kitchen with white box shelf with many small compartments

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I was about to lose it before a dinner party when I ran out of counter space. I opened my utensil drawer and laid my cutting board on top and it was the perfect fit.


I use this method in the kitchen every day, now, not just for when I cook for a party!

A cutting board placed on top of an open drawer in the kitchen.

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I helped a friend move into her first house since a divorce. To say she downsized would be an understatement. Counter space is of a premium to be sure. So, to consolidate two things, I suggested these two options.

An over the door hook with paper towels and hotpads.

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Cutting boards and pan lids were always particularly difficult to store, until I found that the upright manila file storage racks sold for office organization work great for upright kitchen storage.

Use Upright File Storage in Kitchen

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To match my kitchen, I have a glass cutting board on a plate hanger right at my counter. Near my table is another with place mats, and two hot plates for the table in a multi-level plate hanger.

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November 21, 2011

I use an oval metal planter that has a plastic lining by my kitchen sink for my hand soap container, dishwashing soap container, stoppers, and scrubbers. They are all in one place and in a decorative container.

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I have a very small computer desk that didn't have enough surface space. It has one drawer. I had a small metal cookie sheet that I wasn't using, so I covered it with a piece of an old plastic tablecloth.

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In addition to making a magnetic knife holder, I also purchased little magnetic spice canisters to hold the spices I use most often. Like the ones that I have recently dried from the garden, or that are "over flow" spices that I bought extra of, like exotic peppers or salts.

magnetic items on fridge

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December 30, 2004

I live in a very small house and the kitchen is tiny. I do a lot of freezer cooking and holiday baking so I never have enough counter space for everything.


What I have been doing is to pull out the top drawers and using them to rest my cookie sheets on.

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November 11, 2008

I was reorganizing my limited kitchen drawer space (5 in the entire kitchen). I needed to have a place for my plastic storage bags, waxed paper, plastic wrap, and what have you. So I bought a plastic shoe bag that hang in a closet at the thrift store.

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April 23, 2004

If you run out of room on your kitchen counter, place your cutting board on top of your sink basin, or pull out a drawer and place the cutting board on top of it.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

My kitchen in my apartment is very old and very small. More like tiny. I only have 1 drawer, 3 cabinets, and about 2 square feet of counter space. I don't know where to put anything.


By Ginn from Tuscaloosa, AL


May 14, 20100 found this helpful

You can get kitchen "utility carts" in many styles and sizes. They're on wheels, so you can move them where you need them. Some are open shelves, some are enclosed with drawers and doors. These can let you store small appliances, etc. and move them out of the way when you don't need them. Many come with a wood, cutting board top.

Keep stovetop utensils in a crock at the stove. Store large flat objects like cookie sheets in the stove drawer, if there is one. If you're allowed, install a hanging rack for pots/pans. Store cleaning products elsewhere, and use the under-sink space for kitchen storage. You may need to clean it thoroughly and line the bottom with shelf-liner. If you don't use items daily, or at least often, store them elsewhere in the apartment. Get some underbed boxes and keep stuff there easy access, but out of the way.

Scour the local thrift stores, you may find several utility carts. If they're not pretty, you can add a fabric "curtain" all around it.

Good luck.

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May 14, 20100 found this helpful

I store my baking pans in the oven and my pots, kettles, and skillets in the drawer.

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May 14, 20100 found this helpful

I feel your pain; if two of us are in the kitchen here, someone has to back up so the other can leave. We bought an inexpensive sideboard which lives in our entry way, and it's doubled the kitchen storage. And things I don't use much, like the cake mixer actually stay in a box in the bedroom.

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May 15, 20100 found this helpful

Apartment Therapy has posted oodles of articles on this subject:

They've done a lot of articles on organizing for any room in virtually any size and most recently they had a contest for "Small Cool" apartments that range from under 400 sq ft to 1000 sq ft (link is at the top right now). Those entries may help you as well. Lots of great ideas to pull from their site even if the decor (seems to be mostly mid-century modern) isn't your style.

Hope that helps.

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May 16, 20100 found this helpful

I would store what you don't need daily and find creative ways to maybe hang your pots on the wall. There are cute copper pot hanging accessories in stores. Also, use shelving and other creative storage devices in the drawers and cabinets to maximize your space. Places like the Container Store and Bed Bath and Beyond have space saving gadgets that may help you to extend your limited space. Good luck.

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May 16, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks guys! Great ideas! I am definitely going to install some shelving, put pans in the oven drawer, and I am totally loving this apartment therapy website. Thanks to all!

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July 17, 2011

I am moving to a new place and unfortunately the kitchen has little storage space, no kitchen cabinets and little counter space. Does anyone have solutions or ideas for what to do in place of cabinets or how to go about putting in some?

Thanks so much.

By Laurie C.

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I have a very small kitchen and do not have any space for a dinette table and 4 chairs. I only have 2 adults in my family, and was wondering if there anything else I could use for a table. I thought about a small portable card table, but wanted to get your suggestions first.

Thank you.

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March 9, 2007

Cork Board

My house has a very small kitchen and there's nowhere to put my recipe while making something except on the stove or counter where it gets dirty. I have put up a 12x12 inch piece of cork on the front of one cabinet door so I have a place where I can tack my recipe.

By K. Cooper

Tape To Cabinet Or Use Fridge Magnet

I used to have the same problem when we lived in a tiny apartment. I'd tape the recipe to the cabinet door, or, since the refrigerator was right next to the counter, I'd stick it to the fridge with a magnet.

By Camilla North

Large Chip Clip On Fridge

I have a large chip clip with a magnet, more like clipboard size that works well for putting the recipe up on the fridge.

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel

Use A Fork

Stand a fork in a drinking glass, with the handle down. Slide the recipe between the tines of the fork, and you have an easy recipe holder.

By Patty Zion

Magnet Clip On Cupboard Handles

I too have a small kitchen. Here's my idea and it works great for me. The handles and hinges on my cupboards are metal. This allows me to stick a magnetic clip holding my recipe to the handle. When finished baking, the clip gets placed in with my wooden spoons, spatulas, etc.

By Marian

Wooden Clothespin

What I did is I glued a wooden clothespin inside my cupboard door, just hang the recipe on there. Works for me!

By Greta


By lisa (Guest Post)
March 9, 20070 found this helpful

I have a large magnet I keep my recipes clipped to on top of my stove fan. Works great. I keep several there at a time.
I also keep a typed list of recipes I use often.. (also listing the c-book they can be found in.) taped inside my cupboard door.
One c-board door is painted with chaulk paint for my groc . list.

I just started a recipe cllection for my 10 yr old daughter. I write the recipe cards out and simply insert into the album. Easily kept clean by the wipe off sheet.
Lisa , Ia.

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May 14, 2010

I am learning to cook and have bought several spices and have a small kitchen. I need to know the best way to organize them without them looking cluttered. I need help organizing my entire kitchen, too. Ways of making items easily accessible.

Currently I have them alphabetized in 2 rows one behind the other. I have to be careful not to knock other spices over when garbing spices from behind them.

By Nate from Louisville, KY


Organizing a Small Kitchen

One trick is to have things readily available in the areas you will use them. For example: spices near the stove (many people put spices on top of the back part of the stove or hang a spice rack on the wall above/behind the stove), small bowls are used infrequently so put them in a cabinet further away from things, same with plates, canned goods (that need cooking) in a lower cabinet close to the stove, canned goods (ready to eat) in a cabinet further away. We have a small kitchen and acquired a Hoosier/pie chest that we put in the hall outside the kitchen; we keep the canned goods in it. (03/15/2010)

By Suntydt

Organizing a Small Kitchen

I have two methods that work for me. I put them in a shallow drawer that is handy in the kitchen. They are lined up with labels facing me as the drawer is opened. You can keep them in place by wedging something that you don't use very often behind them.

Another idea is to get a turntable carousel for spices at a kitchen accessory store. These are really handy on the counter top and don't take much space. Hope this helps. (Cook for Years) (03/16/2010)

By Sheila

Organizing a Small Kitchen

Just remember that small appliances, seldom used items, extra supplies, etc. don't necessarily have to be stored in the kitchen. Any closet, like a coat closet can be used. Anything can be stored under you bed, also. (03/16/2010)

By Betty

Organizing a Small Kitchen

If you have cabinet space near your stove or food-prep area, you can install a spice unit that folds out and down (like miniature pull-down stairs), very handy. If you don't have cabinet space to spare, there's an under-cabinet unit for spices you can affix to one of your upper cabinets. Of course, these will hold only spices in containers that fit the unit, but it's neat, handy, and keeps your counter-space clear. (03/16/2010)

By Margret

Organizing a Small Kitchen

I put my spices/herbs in plastic baskets about 12" X 2" . They are like desk/drawer organizers that you can get at any drugstore for under fifty cents each. You can fit 4-5 jars to a basket. I usually put herbs that go together like cumin powder, chili powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper together in a basket. Then I label the front of the basket. When I am cooking something that needs a Mexican flavor I can simply pull out that basket. No muss, no fuss, and no knocked over jars. Hope this helps.

Kimberly (03/16/2010)

By kimchee

Organizing a Small Kitchen

My house was built in the 60's; back then people didn't have all the appliances and kitchen equipment so I have had to improvise and organize. If you are fortunate enough to have a handy man around, he could make a rack for you. Mine is above the sink and faucet. I also have turntables in the cabinet near the stove. Baking supplies are on the other side of the room where the eating nook once was. I put our large fridge over there (the space designed for one is way too small for modern ones so that space now is another lower cabinet and shelves above) and added upper and lower cabinets. I still have to store stuff elsewhere sometimes.

I am trying to break a long-standing habit of buying a lot of everything. It was how I shopped when I had a large family at home, but I am trying to break the habit now. I also use the ends of cabinets to store utensils, colander, etc. I store cutting boards and plastic cutting sheets between the micro and oven. I also hang potatoes and onions in one of those hanging baskets. (03/16/2010)

By Pat

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March 14, 2010

I would also like storage ideas for the kitchen in my new flat, as it is very small. Many thanks.

By helen from U.K


Organizing a Small Kitchen

We have a small kitchen and have no storage space. What we did was buy a cupboard with doors and put it in our little hallway near the kitchen (or wherever you can fit it) and use it for food and baking goods, etc. (10/08/2009)


Organizing a Small Kitchen

I have what can politely be called a one-butt kitchen. The best investment I ever did was a pot rack (see photo). (02/04/2010)

By Kathy Fletcher

RE: Organizing a Small Kitchen

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