Small Kitchen Organization Solutions and Ideas

Revamp your small kitchen with easy space-saving organization solutions and ideas, and learn how to max out efficiency by enlisting features like the kitchen island and cabinets to work double-duty.
Stainless Steel Kitchen Island Top

Stainless Steel Kitchen Island Top

Putting furniture on casters makes it easy to move it for flexible use of space in lofts or open plan homes.

By: Alison Miller

When it comes to small kitchen organization solutions and ideas, it's not how much space you have; it's how you organize it. With helpful storage tools and smart ideas, there are easy ways to maximize your small kitchen's square footage.

20 Smart Kitchen Storage Ideas

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Stash Stuff in Plain Sight

Open shelves provide plenty of storage while keeping everyday serveware, pots and pans within easy reach. For the true chef, built-in knife slots in this kitchen's butcher-block island keep culinary tools handy. Photo courtesy of The Brooklyn Home Company

Don't Forget the Kids

Keep little ones busy while you finish up dinner prep with hideaway kitchen storage for art supplies. Roll-out shelves make the most of the storage space at the end of this colorful island and make it easy for kids to access crayons and paper then neatly put everything away again. Photo courtesy of Mullet Cabinets, Inc.

Customize Your Pantry

Shelves, pullout baskets and shallow drawers will ensure your pantry offers a place for everything and keeps everything in its place. "Even small closets can be converted into orderly and spacious walk-in pantries. It's about making the best use of the space you have," says Rozalia Kiss, design manager of transFORM.

Think Vertically

Even if there isn't room for a walk-in pantry, you don't have to sacrifice much-needed storage. Designer Bart Lidsky of The Hammer & Nail, Inc. embraces the height of this kitchen to create a fully functional pantry with cabinetry. No space is wasted with tall pullouts and drawers and shelves of varying sizes which allow for a variety of food storage needs.

Stash Bottles Safely

Curved cradles turn an ordinary pantry shelf into a beverage storage center and allow you to store wine — or even water or soda — bottles on their sides without fear of them falling off the shelf. Photo courtesy of transFORM

Easy-to-Grab Spices

Storing spices in a drawer rather than a wall-mounted rack ensures seasonings are handy for cooking while preserving their delicate flavors by protecting them from sunlight, moisture and heat. Photo courtesy of Dura Supreme Cabinetry

Take Storage for a Spin

Put corners to work with a carrousel-style rack that spins to allow easy access to items in the back. Photo courtesy of transFORM

Keep Veggies Fresh Year Round

Keep root vegetables, like onions and potatoes, fresh longer by storing them in a cool, dry, dark place. Handy open-weave baskets, like these, provide air circulation to keep the veggies dry while the cabinet's interior protects them from sunlight. Photo courtesy of Dura Supreme Cabinetry

Put Pots in Their Place

Instead of precarious stacks of cookware piled in the back of a cabinet, store your everyday pots in a handy drawer. This drawer features two separate sections: a deep area for housing big pots and a shallow roll-out for storing potholders, lids and trivets. Photo courtesy of Dura Supreme Cabinetry

Handy Sink Storage

To really maximize the storage in your kitchen, put unused areas to work. Typically, the "drawer" in front of the kitchen sink is just a false front, but with the addition of cleverly hidden hinges and a stainless steel tray, it becomes out-of-sight storage for wet sponges and scrub brushes. Photo courtesy of Mullet Cabinets, Inc.

No More Junky Drawers

Make the most of your utensil drawer with dividers that organize utensils, steak knives, measuring spoons and even your favorite spices. Photo courtesy of Dura Supreme Cabinetry

Practical Dish Drawers

A clever peg system allows dishes to be placed in a base cabinet for easier lifting and organization. Sturdy slides under the drawer can support up to 250 pounds, so heavy plates are no problem. Photo courtesy of Mullet Cabinets, Inc.

Easy-Access Pullouts

Pullout pantry racks are a smart place to store canned goods, dry goods, and fruits and vegetables, while still providing greater visibility and ease of access. "Your home and pantry should enhance your lifestyle, whether you are hosting friends or cooking dinner for the family," says Rozalia Kiss, design manager of transFORM.

Clear the Countertops

Stash dishwashing supplies out of sight. This narrow pullout provides sink-adjacent storage for dish soap, scrub brushes and hand towels. Plus, a towel rack allows the dish towel to dry after use. Photo courtesy of Dura Supreme Cabinetry

Wine Lover's Storage

Homeowner Susan Opperman wanted to display her husband's passion for wine in a fresh, modern way. Her custom-constructed island safely houses 30 bottles of wine in a functional design without distracting from the kitchen's overall look. Design by Sally Ross Designs and Kenzer Furniture; Photo by George Ross Photographs

Not Your Typical Lazy Susan

Make the most of those pesky corners with drawers that embrace the right angle. Another perk: Corner drawers increase the depth of a standard kitchen drawer by six inches. Photo courtesy of Mullet Cabinets, Inc.

Functional and Concealed

Hideaway storage is key to keeping a kitchen looking well organized and clean. Pantry-style shelves and pullout drawers maximize storage space in a narrow cabinet next to the double ovens and refrigerator in this kitchen designed by Jennifer Gilmer Kitchens & Bath Ltd.

Add Storage to the Island

Large islands are the ideal space to add much-needed storage as well as a few luxuries. Designer Jennifer Gilmer of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchens & Bath Ltd., included an under-counter beverage refrigerator, deep and shallow drawers, and even an extra prep sink to create a functional and stylish island.

From: Jennifer Gilmer and Lauren Levant

Photo By: Photography by Bob Narod for Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath

Location, Location, Location

Keep pots handy for cooking by storing them right below the range. This convenient drawer even features a partition at the back that neatly stores all the lids in plain view. Photo courtesy of Dura Supreme Cabinetry

Small-Space Solutions

Vertical pullout spice racks are the perfect solution for small kitchens, since they take up a minimal amount of real estate while providing plenty of storage. The hidden storage also keeps the spices out of light, which can weaken their flavor. Photo courtesy of Dura Supreme Cabinetry

Expanding the space in your kitchen without changing the floor plan is absolutely possible. First, reconfigure your cabinetry, whether that means a customized project or a no-construction-necessary addition. In the first category, consider building out kitchen cabinets to ceiling height. This renovation not only increases storage space by expanding cabinets, but it can allow for more countertop space to make room for floating shelves or a display of your prettiest kitchenware, like containers filled with dry goods. Secondly, introduce order to cabinets by rethinking the interior space. Trading out fixed shelves for a two-tier rollout shelving unit places necessities in plain view, enhances accessibility during cooking prep and prevents pots and pans from scratching against one another.

Put cabinet doors to work by adding removable hooks to hold a paper towel roll or a rack that will bring order to spices. Using dividers, customize an existing cabinet to tuck away narrow kitchen tools such as cutting boards, pans and baking sheets. Finally, conceal space-hogging waste and recycle bins inside a pullout cabinet.

We can't forget the pantry! Without the luxury of space for a walk-in pantry, enlist a vertical cabinet to stash your culinary goods or install a mechanical pullout pantry rack with shelving.

While you're updating the cabinets, pack more use into your kitchen by bringing order to your built-in or removable kitchen island, too. A center island can easily serve double-duty if it's equipped with drawers and open shelves, offering a quick inventory of what you have. The added benefit of an island on casters is that it can be rolled away when more room is needed in your small kitchen.

When space is tight, corralling all of our things is key, so swap chaos for organization inside drawers, along walls and on open shelves. Line kitchen drawers with removable dividers to give everything from eating utensils to measuring cups a proper place to belong. Enlist a blank wall to house a cork board and calendar as your family's information zone, stash wine glasses under a cabinet with the help of a stemware hanger, or install a floating shelf above the stove to line up spices. Who says storage and style are mutually exclusive?

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