I recently moved into a new apartment that has a kitchen with about half the storage space—and floor space—as my previous one. For days, I was stuck unable to unpack several boxes because I simply had nowhere to store the gear inside.
The kitchen has the distinction of being one of the most heavily used rooms in the house as well as usually one of the smallest. All that kitchen usage requires a lot of equipment. What can you do if your kitchen simply won’t accommodate yours?
Here are a few ideas, all of which I am putting to good use in my own tiny galley. These strategies have allowed me to unpack those boxes and set up a well-organized space for myself.
1. Move things out of the kitchen
If you have extra space in the dining room or whatever room is outside your kitchen door, you can establish some storage outside the kitchen cupboards.
Buffets and sideboards are designed specifically for this purpose, but the options go well beyond such traditional pieces. You can use a bookcase, a bureau, or anything else that works.
2. Hang things up
You can also hang silverware in receptacles attached to a rail, glasses in an under-cabinet rack, or mugs on hooks. The world is your oyster; Julia Child hung pots, pans, and all manner of other cookware on pegboards covering her kitchen walls.
3. Stack things wherever possible
Of course stacking your dishes is a no-brainer, but what about other possibilities for stacking? Can you store your flour and sugar in containers that stack?
Can you stack pots or serving dishes in the cupboards in such a way to make use of what vertical space you have? Or even invest in new cookware that stacks particularly well.
4. Make good use of counter space
In a small kitchen, counter space is at a premium. Keep food processors, microwaves, and spice collections on other surfaces if you can.
What you do keep on the counter should be the stuff you use daily and need quickly. In our house that means a toaster, a blender, cutting boards, a bin of utensils, salt and pepper, and olive oil and vinegar.
5. Store food efficiently
Maximize cupboard space by moving food to your own containers. Invest in some uniform, stackable food-storage pieces—preferably square or rectangle—and use them to keep all your dry goods, cereals, crackers, and other groceries that come in bags or boxes.
What’s your best tip for organizing a small kitchen? What strategy has made the most difference in your house?