How To Organize A Small Kitchen

Yesterday, I re-organized my kitchen. It was a tangled mess! The reality is, spaces that get used a lot get cluttered, especially when they are small. Read on to see how to organize a small kitchen!

Let’s go on a tour of my biggest problem areas (my drawer of food storage containers, lazy susan cabinets, and my spice and baking cupboards) and show you how I edited them, and created space I didn’t even know I had!

Why not start with the worst one?

Can I get an OMG? What is it about food storage containers that gets so out of control so quickly? This drawer gives me heart palpitations. Oh, but wait, there’s a whole. other. drawer.

Here it is:

And this, dear readers, is why two drawers is not better than one. Look at all the wasted space! This is prime real estate in my kitchen. Why on earth had I allotted two drawers to this? Sometimes you have to try things to see what works. This didn’t.

The problem with my food storage container drawer:

  1. Too may different sized containers made it difficult to grab and go, and made stacking and organizing them difficult.
  2. The lids were everywhere.
  3. I don’t need to take up two drawers with containers. I’m using too much space here.

The changes:

  1. I got rid of everything except the easy lunchbox containers (those divided ones you see above) because all the other containers were ten different sizes and I’d waged far too many battles with their oddly shaped lids.
  2. Next, I bought sets of new containers in three sizes only, with easy to put on lids, in different shapes. That way I don’t have to play the musical lid game, and the containers stack easily.
  3. After that, I found an amazing container from Storables that keeps the lids grouped together like with like, and upright, which saves a lot of space.
  4. Finally, I consolidated all storage containers to one pull-out drawer, which frees up a whole pull-out for me! Happy dance!

Here’s the new set-up:

Love at first sight. I’d like a moment of silence to appreciate my drawer.

That was nice. Okay, on to the next problem area:

Lazy Susans:

Who is Susan? Why did she invent these spinning wheels of annoyance? True, they create “usable” corner space. Yes, they theoretically prevent one from having to reach things in those dark corners. But, like mine, they may get so cluttered they stop spinning at all.

True confession:

Notice the coffee grounds? It’s because there’s a coffee grinder in there somewhere… I think. Also, note: juicers, and slow cookers do not belong in a Lazy Susan. Getting those in and out was like birthing a child. Can you tell I like hyperbole?

The good news? Because I saved so much space in my pull-out above, I was able to relocate these bulky appliances, and I found a few more in there that I completely forgot I had!

Here’s the new set-up:

Ahhh. That’s better. The trick with a Lazy Susan is not stuffing it full. Susan needs breathing room. Susan needs boundaries. Otherwise, Susan may need counseling.

And here’s my happy new appliance pull-out:

All is right with the world again.

But wait, my kitchen also came with a Lazy Susan two-fer.

And for some reason I thought it would be a great idea to store large pots and pans in there. No good deed goes unpunished.

Okay, so after the horrors above, this may not look like much. But, sticking my head in this cabinet to find a pot and the matching lid was like someone crashing cymbals in my ears every evening. Something had to give. I spent exactly $10.00 to get lid and pan holders, they have made a world of difference!

Here is the new cupboard:

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. Ten dollars well spent.

The problem with my Lazy Susans:

  1. Too many bulky appliances made it difficult to get things in and out, and for the Lazy Susan to spin properly, which defeated the purpose.
  2. Again, lids were an issue. They fall down and prevent the Lazy Susan from spinning, and they are hard to find easily.

The changes:

  1. I relocated bulky items to a pull-out, which makes them easier to access.
  2. After that, I invested in lid and pan organizers to keep them organized, save space, and make it easy for the Lazy Susan to spin.

And now for the last stops: my baking and spice cabinets!

Would it surprise you to hear that I really don’t bake? True story. Maybe this is why.

And then there was this:

Are bubbles a spice? I think not. Does that Pectin label also remind you of a roll of toilet paper? Is it bad that I have no idea when I last used Pectin?

Here it is now:

Hello, Love! Believe it or not, editing my cupboards and archiving things I rarely use allowed me to combine my baking and spice cabinets into one. This freed up an entire cupboard! I decided to devote it to my cookbooks, which I really missed having in the kitchen. That’s a perfect example of my motto: “make space for what you love.” Here is my new cookbook cabinet:

The problem with my spice and baking cabinets:

  1. Bulk spices in bags were hard to store, and created clutter.
  2. I had too many items, many of which were expired or rarely used.

The changes:

  1. I vowed to stop buying more bulk spices than I need for one recipe!
  2. Then, I de-cluttered my cabinets, and took out anything old, or little used.
  3. Finally, I archived rarely used items to a different location to free up space for more meaningful items.

And that’s a wrap!

Here are 7 things I learned from organizing my kitchen:

  1. De-cluttering changes everything. It frees up so much space! Do it before you do anything else.
  2. Lack of storage is not usually the problem; it’s improperly used storage.
  3. Store things close to where you use them. It will save you prep time.
  4. When trying to decide how to organize a cabinet, think thematically: the coffee station, the baking station, the chopping station, etc.
  5. If you have tried to organize using what you already have, and you know exactly what you need to buy, go get it. Sometimes the right item can make a small cabinet more functional.The key is to know the problem you are trying to solve before you go shopping.
  6. If you are lucky enough to have a separate space to archive little used items, do so.
  7. I feel more joy when I am challenged to be resourceful in my kitchen rather than being prepared with a bunch of gadgets.

Now I think I’m going to sit and enjoy a cup of tea in my newly organized kitchen!

If you liked reading this post, why not share it with your best friend or your 500 Facebook friends?

Subscribe for weekly organizing inspiration every Wednesday! And check out my post, How to Organize Your Refrigerator to Save Meal Prep Time.

Happy kitchen editing,

P.S. Want more organizing tips + ideas? Sign up for our newsletter and receive the 5 Step Guide to Organize any Space!