Ultimate Guide to Storage Ideas for a Small Kitchen

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If you have a small kitchen and are grappling with limited space and longing for more cabinet space, this post is for you.

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We’re going to see how you can take your tiny kitchen with limited storage ability and unlock its full potential with ingenious storage ideas.

We’ll look at a variety of creative solutions, from DIY shelving and repurposing furniture to smart organization strategies.

Is the lack of pantry space a problem? We’ve got some great ideas for that too!

A FREE Small Kitchen Organizing printable is down below. Be sure to grab it!

Let me share a little story that inspired some of the ideas in this guide. My first house was tiny – there were two bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room, and a kitchen crammed into 750 square feet. 

The kitchen in this little bitty house was a charming, but tiny one. It had only one short row of cabinets and counter space. The stove and refrigerator were lined up against one wall and a small round dining table was shoved in a corner.

Typical dinner prep involved using my limited counter space for both food preparation and as a temporary storage spot for my utensils and ingredients.

I knew that I needed to get creative if I didn’t want to become frustrated every time I prepared a meal. I looked around and noticed the unused space above my kitchen sink.

It sparked an idea. The next weekend, I installed a couple of open shelves above the sink. Something similar to this…

It was a game-changer. Not only did it give me extra space to store my spices and dry goods, but it also freed up my counter space, making cooking much less of a juggling act. It was my lightbulb moment in the world of small kitchen organization. 

This small change made a big difference in my daily life, turning my tiny kitchen into a space that was both functional and inviting. But oh, what I wouldn’t have given to have the storage and organization products on the market today!

So, when I say these ideas can transform your kitchen, I speak from personal experience. It’s all about finding those untapped spaces and being a bit imaginative with your solutions. Your small kitchen has more potential than you might think!

Maximizing Storage in a Small Kitchen

Don’t jump into maximizing your storage feet first! Before you make any changes or purchases, I recommend spending time just analyzing your kitchen.

There are several questions that you should ask yourself to get the most bang for your proverbial buck. 

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What are my storage needs?

What are your most-used items that you need easy access to? Do you have a lot of pots and pans, small appliances, or pantry items? Understanding your specific storage needs will guide you in prioritizing what solutions to implement.

How do I use my kitchen space?

Reflect on your cooking and kitchen usage habits. Are you a person who loves to bake? Do you prefer to prepare quick meals or are you more of a gourmet cook person? Is your kitchen used for anything other than cooking and eating – as an office or for crafts for example?

Having the answers to these questions will help you come up with the right storage solutions that will be most beneficial for you.

What items can I declutter?

Before adding storage, it’s helpful to reduce clutter. Ask yourself if there are kitchen items you haven’t used in a long time, or duplicates that you can donate or discard. Decluttering can often free up quite a bit of space.

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How much counter space do I really need?

“I have too much counter space”, said no one ever! Determine just how much counter space is essential for your food preparation. This will help you decide if you can sacrifice some counter area for additional storage solutions or if you need to focus on vertical or wall storage instead.

Are there underutilized spaces in my kitchen?

Look for areas in your kitchen that are not being used effectively, such as vertical wall space, the tops of cabinets, or corners. These can be key areas to add shelving, a kitchen cart, hooks, or other storage options.

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What is the aesthetic or look that I want in my kitchen?

Think about how any storage solutions will fit into the overall look and feel of your kitchen. Are you going for a minimalist look, a traditional vibe, or something sleek and modern?

How permanent do I want these solutions to be?

Do you need temporary solutions that can be easily changed or removed, or are you after more permanent installations like built-in cabinetry or shelving?

What is the room’s square footage? 

Accurate measurements of your kitchen are crucial. This includes the height, width, and depth of potential storage areas to ensure any additions fit perfectly and don’t obstruct movement or functionality.

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Can multi-functional furniture or appliances help?

Consider if replacing current items with multi-functional ones could save space. For example, an oven with a built-in microwave or a fold-down table can be both practical and space-saving.

What is my budget?

Determine how much you are willing or able to spend on storage solutions. There are options available for various budgets, from DIY solutions to professional custom cabinetry.

TIP: Add a mirror to give the illusion of more space and increase the amount of light in the room.

​Budget-Friendly Small Kitchen Storage Ideas

Operating on a budget? The good news is that saving space in the kitchen doesn’t have to be costly.

Look into DIY open shelves and under-shelf baskets that you can mount yourself to the bottom of cabinets for extra storage. These solutions are not only budget-friendly but also add character to your small space.

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Dollar stores are a great place to find small storage containers and organizational items. Especially if you’re working on a tight budget.

They usually offer the full gamut of storage options – ranging from simple plastic containers and baskets to shelf organizers and drawer dividers, all at affordable prices.

Mount affordable magnetic strips on the wall, or use stick-on ones on the side of your refrigerator, or inside a cabinet door to free up valuable drawer space. These strips are inexpensive and easy to install.

Store your prettiest items out in the open. A Dutch oven looks great displayed on the top of a stove. 

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Hanging baskets are good for utilizing vertical space efficiently and can be hung from the ceiling in an empty corner or under cabinets. They’re a great place to store fruits, vegetables, or small kitchen items.

Command Hooks are wonderful to use to hang lightweight items such as oven mitts, a dish towel, and small kitchen tools. Use them inside cabinet doors if you want to keep not-so-pretty things out of sight.

Speaking of your stove. Did you know that using the inside is a clever way to store cookware when not in use? Just remember to remove it before preheating the oven.

​Think outside of the box and use everyday decorative items to hold cooking utensils. I store mine in a pretty blue and white planter that I found at a local consignment store.

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Use pretty coffee mugs or tea cups as a scoop in large glass jar containers.  

During meal prep, your stovetop is just wasted space. Create extra counter space by using a cutting board to cover the burners. Genius! The same goes for your sink. A large cutting board, placed across the sink, will give you instant prep room.

Efficient Kitchen Organization Strategies

Efficiency is key when it comes to organizing any tiny space. To make the most of your kitchen space, vertical space can be your best friend. 

Open shelving offers a great way to store and display dishes, small appliances, and other kitchen items. Don’t have any empty wall space for shelves? Consider mounting a shelf directly underneath the upper cabinets. That’s a great option for using dead space.

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Make every bit of drawer space count with drawer organizers. Purchase ready-made ones or make your own using scraps of wood or pieces of cardboard cut to length.

You’ll want to organize kitchen items in a way that makes them easily accessible. Space savers like hanging pot racks or a lazy susan in a corner can help to keep things within easy reach and take advantage of empty, unused space. 

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If shelving isn’t a good option, consider adding a pegboard to the wall. You can hang pots, pans, favorite kitchen utensils, or even small shelves on them. They’re great for keeping things accessible and off the counter.

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Do you have open space above your cabinets? Don’t let that go to waste! It’s a great place to store items that are used infrequently. Place them in decorative baskets for a prettier look.

This image is from my laundry room, but you get the idea.

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If you have a door in your kitchen, don’t miss using an over-the-door organizer. They are available and come in so many different configurations that can hold everything from spices to canned food. Some even have built-in shelves or baskets.

Turn your backsplash into storage with a pot rail, peg rail, or towel bar. If you don’t want to drill into the wall, this hanging bar mounts with included Command Strips and is very sturdy. I use one at the end of a lower cabinet to hold pretty tea towels that I change seasonally.

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Is the side of your refrigerator exposed? Put it to good use! A magnetic organizer can hold spices, paper towels, and more.

I once used the side of my refrigerator to hold a bulletin board with Command Velcro strips. It worked like a charm as a command center to help keep me on task. 

BTW – what was I thinking with this green???

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Are you lucky enough to have a window above your kitchen sink? Then by all means free up cabinet space by transferring dish detergent and hand soap to a pretty bottle and storing it there.

TIP: Use shelf risers to store double the amount of stuff on your counters. 

Creating a Pantry for a Small Kitchen

When it comes to kitchen design, a pantry is considered a vital element that is one of the most highly sought-after features. But what if you don’t have a massive kitchen with room for one?

One option is to turn kitchen cabinets into a pantry with pull-out storage shelves that you install yourself.

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Don’t want to give up cabinet space in the kitchen? Consider using a closet or cabinet in a separate room to act as a pantry where you can store food, dishes, and other items.

I currently use a dresser in a bedroom to store table linens. In my previous house, I added shelves to a coat closet to give me enough room to hold extra dishes and kitchen appliances that I didn’t want to leave out to take up counter space. 

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If you don’t want to install shelves, consider using a bookcase. Place it in the back and store less often used items on it, so that you can still use the closet to hold hanging clothes.

Hide appliances under a table by using a floor-length tablecloth. We’re being creative here – remember?

Turn the top of your refrigerator into pantry space with the addition of stacking drawers.

A rolling utility cart can act as a portable pantry that you store in a different location and pull out when needed.

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If a pantry isn’t an option, use clever storage solutions to make the most of your kitchen sink area or even the dining room. Utilizing lower cabinets for food preparation items or storing ‘smaller kitchen’ essentials under the kitchen table can free up a lot of space.

Get Your Free Kitchen Organization Checklist!

To make your journey to a perfectly organized kitchen even easier, I’ve included a free Kitchen Organization Checklist!

Whether you’re installing new shelves, reorganizing your drawers, or setting up a makeshift pantry, this checklist will ensure you cover all the bases.

CLICK HERE to download it now and start turning your kitchen chaos into kitchen harmony!

printable small kitchen storage checklistPin

Embracing the challenge of a small kitchen can lead to a wonderfully efficient and stylish space. With a little creativity and the right “storage in the kitchen” solutions, even the smallest areas can be transformed into a cook’s paradise.

Give some of the ideas a try and reap the added benefits that these changes will bring to the functionality of your home. Enjoy the process of making your small kitchen the true heart of the home!

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  1. Kristin | White Arrows Home says:

    Such great tips! Thanks for sharing!