Sure, we all want a huge kitchen with a walk-in pantry, storage for seasonal décor, and space to hide all our appliances. But, the reality is, most of us are stuck in a tiny kitchen with barely enough room to tuck away our collection of reusable water bottles.
While we can't do anything about the cost of living, we do have the organizing solutions to make your current space feel infinitely more comfortable. Professional organizer Joanna Wirick tells us, "The easiest way to keep things organized is to commit to building organizational habits daily. There are dozens of small decisions you can make each day to help you stay organized."
Meet the Expert
Joanna Wirick is a professional home organizer based out of Omaha, Nebraska.
She compares being organized to being healthy by adding, "You can’t be healthy by only changing one habit and nothing else. Staying healthy is a commitment to a lifestyle, and all of the small decisions add up to help you achieve your goal. Make several small decisions each day to help you get there."
Once you've edited your stash, it's time to get organizing. Ahead are 20 smart storage ideas that make even the smallest kitchens feel big.
Create a Spice Drawer
If you're anything like us, you currently have spices floating throughout your kitchen cupboards. Investing a single drawer to house them all in one place will not only look more organized, but it'll also make finding the spice you need when you need it much easier.
Ditch Bulky Packaging
Snack foods, like cereals and chips, often come in big, bulky boxes or air-filled bags that take up more space than the contents within. Decant them into clear, space-saving, stackable containers to save valuable shelf space and make your snacks look cute to boot.
Before you start pulling everything out of all your drawers and cabinets, Wirick says to start by purging your pantry items. "Focus on keeping the necessities and toss anything expired," she suggests.
If you’ve held on to a canned or jarred item for more than six months, toss it. If you're not using it, it’s taking up prime real estate.
Roll Your Tea Towels
We're all guilty of folding our tea towels and stacking them into a toppling tower that comes undone every time you grab one. Instead of storing them vertically behind a cabinet door, roll them and lay them horizontally in a shallow drawer. They look much cleaner this way—and don't become a nuisance every time you need one.
Store Small Snack Items in Baskets
Smaller snack items, like granola bars and lunch-sized bags, have a way of cluttering cabinets and falling to the bottom of drawers. Opt for easy access baskets to keep them all together in a single place.
Bring in a Bookcase
If you're lacking built-in cabinets and shelves, take matters into your own hands and slide a bookcase into an empty corner of your kitchen. The famous IKEA Billy bookshelf with glass doors is perfect for recreating this exact look. This chic addition will give you plenty of space for additional pantry storage, dishes, and your favorite cookbooks.
Customize Your Shelf Heights
If you currently have dead space hanging above your cups or plates, utilize every inch of it by adding shelves and customizing them to the perfect heights for all your dishes. You'd be surprised how much extra space you're wasting.
Place Pantry Items on Lazy Susans
Rather than stuff your pantry with items that are sure to get lost in the back, place taller bottles and jars on spinning lazy Susans for 360-degree access. Stop shuffling bottles and spin them around to grab what you need instead.
Place Every-Day Items at Eye Level
We all have trouble reaching those higher-placed shelves. Save those for seasonal items and entertaining essentials like platters and trays. Reserve the easier access shelves for items you use every day, like plates and bowls.
Store Food Containers in Drawers Instead of Cabinets
We all tend to want to stack storage containers on a shelf, but moving them into a deeper drawer makes them easy to see and keeps all the lids confined to a single area so you don't lose them.
Get Creative With Additional Storage
If space is your biggest concern, think of every blank space as an opportunity to create additional storage. We love how this kitchen utilizes the unused side of a kitchen cabinet to maximize storage with shelves.
Install Slide-Out Drawers
Most cabinets boast a good amount of space, but accessing that space can feel impossible at times. Rather than kneeling down and reaching what feels like your entire upper body into cabinet, install slide-out drawers. These convenient pull-outs make it easy to reach that far-back cabinet space you usually don't get to use.
Double Your Shelf Space
If you're looking to double the shelf space inside your kitchen cabinets, the best solution is one that is affordable and couldn't be easier to install. Try some affordable in-cabinet shelving to get all of your dishes in their place.
Wire racks add an extra shelf without the need for power tools, extra lumber, or measuring—and the best part is you can find some for under $10.
Install Upper Shelves
If you don't have upper cabinets, a few shelves will give you the storage you need without the need for a contractor. Plus, the open shelving look is super trendy in kitchens right now.
Choose See-Through Containers
You don't want to go through the trouble of organizing, only to have all your kitchen and pantry items lost in big baskets. Choose wire or mesh baskets you can see through and clear bins to make finding your favorite snacks in a snap.
Put Everything in Place
Labeling your containers, shelves, and drawers will not only let you know where everything is, it'll keep you accountable on the days when you get lazy about organizing. This fridge has a place for everything and everything in its place, thanks to subtle labeling.
Install a Narrow Shelf
A narrow, tall drawer (usually installed near the stove), for seasonings and cooking oils, is a genius addition to any small kitchen. It doesn't take up much space, but holds plenty of cooking essentials within arm's reach.
Make Use of Hooks
If you don't already have a set of hooks hanging up as your kitchen catchall, you're missing out on some valuable storage space. Park some kitchen towels, cutting boards, and even plants here to keep them out of the way but still within arm's reach when you need them.
Store Canned Foods on Risers
Canned foods often get tucked away in a cupboard, stacked on one another, and pushed way to the back. Instead of losing sight of all those cans, place them on risers so you can actually see what you have.
Use Drawer Separators
No matter how organized you think you may be, unless you're using drawer separators, the items scatter freely, looking messy. A few trays will keep groupings, like utensils, together and easy to sift through.
When it comes to flatware, Wirick suggests evaluating your needs, editing, and tossing the duplicates. "You may want to have multiple spatulas and non-stick skillets, but if space is a challenge, push yourself to only have one of each," she says.
Wirick admits it may create a slight inconvenience from time to time, but as she says, "It's better than having overflowing drawers and cabinets."
One of the fundamentals of organization includes grouping specific categories together. This makes finding items easier and keeps everything together that you might need at that specific time. This organized and well-stocked coffee bar surely makes mornings easier.