I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our small kitchen and what to do with it since losing a wall of cabinets. Because our kitchen is the hub of our home, I’ve been putting time into researching and planning to try and get it as functional for us as humanly possible (and without spending a small fortune). Hunting down any and all organizational ideas for utilizing as much of the space our small kitchen has to offer has become my new past time. You can imagine how I’m easily the life of the party at social gatherings right now… #sarcasm
Before we can get into the fun stuff that helps organize your kitchen to the max and use every square inch, we need to know WHAT kind of kitchen will function best for our needs.
If you’re in the same boat as ourselves, I’ve created this FREE workbook that you can download and use to plan your own kitchen upgrade or renovation.
This is how we’ve been approaching this behemoth-of-a-plan for our kitchen.
*This post contains some affiliate links. Clicking on a link may mean that I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks! Please read disclosure here.
Spend Time in Your Kitchen
To really get an idea of what your kitchen lacks, it really helps to have used your space for at least several months to get an idea of what you need. When we first moved, we would sometimes switch things in our drawers; within the first few months we made small changes such as moving our utensil drawer closer to the sink and our plastic wrap, foil, and wax papers near the stove. Time let’s you begin to know what works in the space you have.
We’ve been living in our home for nearly 2 years and have a good idea now of what still isn’t working and a few ideas on how to fix them. A commonly recurring thought for me as we’ve used the kitchen has been “organization”. I want a specific place for every little thing. Another is a need for more counter space, a smaller fridge, and to take advantage of our high walls with cabinets going to the ceiling.
How to Have Kitchen Storage for Everything
First step to knowing what your kitchen will need to have storage for? One word: Purge.
Take everything out of your cabinets and drawers. Everything. Put back only what you use on a monthly basis. Get rid of mismatching china plates and use them instead for wall decor. Find out that you have 3 manual can openers when you only need one. Toss out pantry items that are 3 years past their expiration. Sell or donate your bread maker or giant mixer that gets used once a year (if it helps, you can always borrow a small appliance such as a bread maker from a friend or family member for the rare occasion).
Once that’s done, look over what you have left and decide how your kitchen plans could best help you organize the stuff you’re keeping.
Do you like the idea of your pots and pans being within reach and in the open near your stove? Maybe a pot rack would be ideal for you.
Or would you rather your pots be in storage but still easy to quickly find and pull out? Look into large base cabinet drawers that you can slide out to find the pot you need rather than digging through a deep door cabinet.
List What Your Kitchen Currently Stores
Now that we know what we’re keeping, we need to figure out how to organize those items.
I’ve got lists of everything in our kitchen broken down into categories that you can edit or add to for your own:
Plates, bowls, & glasses
Kid plates, bowls, & cups
Coffee mugs & teacups
Produce (things that don’t go in the fridge such as potatoes, garlic, and bananas)
Pots & Pans
Cast Iron skillets
Baking pans/cookie sheets
Spices & oils
Baking supplies (baking powder, baking soda, almonds, chocolate chips, etc)
Food storage containers/tupperware
Plastic wrap/aluminum foil/wax paper/plastic bags
Small appliances (toasters, coffee makers, etc)
Pot holders/oven mitts
Paper products (plates, napkins)
Whoo. That’s a lot to think about! But don’t worry, we’re going to find a place for everything!
Find Ideas for Organizing Your Specific Kitchen Items
As you read through the following ideas, think over which ones would really make the best sense for how to store and access your kitchen tools and supplies.
HANG POTS & PANS
Pot racks create a great way to use overhead or wall space that may otherwise go unused, and also make it easy to quickly grab the pot or pan you need as you’re cooking. Not to mention that if you have a cool collection of pots, you can use this method to make them as a decorative element.
I am a little obsessed with these drawers ever since finding this idea! Up until now I’ve had our garlic, potatoes, and onions corralled into wire baskets, but they take up precious counter space. This may be the ticket!
Utensil drawers on a new level of genius!
LAZY SUSAN OR CORNER DRAWERS
In a small kitchen every inch counts, so using the corners makes a notable difference.
These can be hidden in ways you’d never guess for added storage!
Look at this utensil pull-out! So handy when right next to the stove! Also another way to save counter space if you’re currently storing your cooking utensils in a jar.
STORE BAKING PANS UPRIGHT
WALL PLATE RACK FOR PLATTERS AND/OR CUTTING BOARDS
This could work in either your kitchen or, if you have one, a dining room. Really handy for walls in your kitchen that people would bump their heads or shoulders if you tried to add shelving or cabinets that poke out. We have one such wall that I’m seriously considering doing this.
DEEP DRAWERS FOR PLATES & COOKWARE
Also known as a “crockery drawer”, these fantastic little cubbies are a great way to eliminate having to dig and move things around to access items in the back of a cabinet! Not to mention you no longer have to be on your tip-toes trying to lift a heavy stack of china. They also can come with movable pegs so that they can custom fit to your dishes.
Can you tell I love the deep drawer ideas?
MAGNETIC KNIFE STRIP
Simple and in-reach method for storing your knives. I especially like the strips that look like wood and am considering this one for our kitchen.
It’s annoying to have to fiddle around, pushing spices around our upper cabinet cubby and trying to see the labels. This drawer solves that problem, and without having to buy custom spice bottles.
INCORPORATE YOUR TRASH/RECYCLING
Extra useful if you can put it next to your sink so that after a meal you can scrape off your plate, then put it in the sink.
Bonus points for whoever thought of making a slide-out cutting board with the trash can beneath!
Getting your gears turning yet with ideas? I know I’m inspired and want to use just about all the neat storage designs here!
Measure & Map Out Your Kitchen
You can’t know what will fit without knowing your kitchen’s measurements. For a quick and easy way to know, jot down the length and how deep each of your counters are, and the width and height of any walls that you want to hang shelves or a plate rack.
Now the fun part! Take your storage ideas, get some graph paper, and draw specific cabinets/drawers/pull-outs you want and place them where it makes the most sense to you. I like to make each square on the graph paper represent 1 inch to help me make sure I am drawing things in the correct sizes for the space.
We’re in the middle of this stage of planning for our kitchen now, and it’ll be the longest stage for sure, but that’s ok because you WANT to be able to make alterations to the plan while it’s still on paper, not while in the middle of the renovation. ;)
What would y’all like to use in your kitchen from these ideas?
We’ll be back when we have more finalized plans, but before that I’ll be doing another post going into the nitty gritty (and dusty) part of the steps to expect in the actual kitchen construction, from demo to finding a contractor to where to shop for cabinets. If you haven’t yet, drop your email and be the first to know when the post goes live!
Also, don’t forget to download the FREE WORKBOOK for helping you organize your thoughts and plan your layout! :)
Pin it for later!