How to Organize a Small Kitchen

small kitchenDo you feel claustrophobic and angry if someone enters the room while you’re cooking? Have you ever opened a cabinet only to have a jar of paprika crack hit you in the head? Can you touch the stove, pantry, sink and all your cabinets without taking a single step? Then you know all too well the woes that come with having a tiny kitchen.

Cramped kitchens are less than ideal, for sure. However, that doesn’t mean they have to be a place filled with angst and minor accidents. The following ideas can help you figure out how to organize a small kitchen.

Use All Your Space

From walls to the underside of cabinets, there’s so much space that goes wasted in most kitchens. When you’re thinking about how to organize a small kitchen, you need to make the most of every square inch. Keep in mind that to maximize your meal prep productivity — and minimize messes — you should keep kitchen items near the areas in which you’ll be using them. Here are some ideas for small kitchens to help you reclaim all that unused space:

  • Hang a magnetic knife strip near your stove or over the countertop where you prepare meals.
  • Install hooks under cabinets to hold coffee mugs.
  • Use racks to hang your pots and pans so you can free up cabinet space.
  • Hang large spoons, ladles, spatulas and basting brushes from hooks fastened to wall-mounted rods.
  • Strategically place shelves in your kitchen to hold everything from wine glasses to bread pans.
  • Brush up on your pantry organization skills to free up even more room in the actual kitchen.

Set Up Kitchen Zones

Ready for organizing kitchen cabinets? The best way to tackle this task in a small kitchen is by setting up zones. This way, you always know where everything is. For example, designate one cabinet for mixing bowls, cutting boards and plastic food storage containers. You can store dried beans, quinoa and rice in another cabinet. And, naturally, you’ll have a spice cabinet.

Once you’ve established your kitchen zones, enlist some of these killer ideas for small kitchens:

  • Place baking goods, beans and grains in clear containers so you don’t have to hunt for them. Label the containers with the name of the item and its cooking instructions.
  • Use small plastic crates or bins to organize your spices. Label the top of each jar with the spice’s name. Tip: Categorize your spice bins by the type of food you’ll be cooking when you use them. For example, cinnamon can go in a container labeled “baking,” while tahini might go in a bin labeled “Mediterranean.”
  • Toss out any food storage containers for which you no longer have lids. (Do it. You’ll never find that lid.) Corral the survivors of your purge in one large bin or crate. Stack the storage containers inside one another, and line lids up along the side of the bin or use a dish-drying rack or magazine holder to organize them.
  • Use a bucket to hold your dish soap and DIY household cleaners. When you’re ready to clean house, you can just pull out the bucket and get to it.

Invest in Space-Saving Gadgets

Small kitchens are par for the course if you live in an apartment, and many people in the United States are apartment dwellers. Because of this, there’s a slew of items on the market to help you figure out how to organize a small kitchen. Some of the many ideas for small kitchens are:

  • Over-the-sink cutting boards that save precious counter space.
  • Measuring cups, cheese graters, funnels and colanders that collapse so that they’re easier to store.
  • Magnetic spice containers that you can attach to the side of your refrigerator.
  • Stackable mixing bowls and measuring cups.
  • Wire baskets that attach to wall-mounted rods.
  • Wall-mounted racks for drying your dishes.

Unless you like to cook, you may never enjoy making dinner. But you can learn how to organize a small kitchen so that meal preparation is no longer a harrowing event.

Interested in getting the rest of your house in order? Check out these tips on organizing your laundry room and linen closet.