Kitchen Organization Tips for Optimizing Cabinet + Countertop Space

Small kitchens, they get such a bad rep but why? Having little cabinet and countertop space in your kitchen does not have to be such a negative thing. Sure, more space is nice but there are ways to live functionally and happily with less space to sprawl out. If you're a fellow small kitchen renter or owner, follow my tips below to optimize your cabinet and countertop space!

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Pare Down

The most obvious tip, I know, but this is the most crucial tip I can give. If you're looking to optimize your cabinet and/or countertop space then chances are you likely have a smaller kitchen which means any cabinet and countertop space that you do have is prime real estate.

Start with assessing your countertop and then work through the cabinetry. Rule: get rid of appliances or other items that you don't use on a daily or even on a weekly basis. If you can't part with them completely (aka donating or throwing away) then you need to either A. store them in a basement or other space that you can access when you do need them or B. carve out some cabinet space for them. If you choose to do the latter, remember to not store heavy items too high above as you'll never want to take them out! That same rule (above) applies to all items that live in your cabinetry too. 

Think about ways to store items on any wall space you may have. My husband and I have a very tiny kitchen (our entire apartment is just 640 square feet) and lack both countertop and cabinet space but we try to maximize what we do have. We use an otherwise small sliver of bare wall space to hold our cooking utensils. I'm also planning to mount a magnetic knife holder so that we can relieve our countertop of our knife block and make some real estate for baby girl's drying rack which will be a countertop necessity. I also love this acacia version if you're looking for something more stylish. 


Trays are your best friend 

For items like olive oil, s+p, dish and hand soap, scrubbing brush, etc. that might live on the countertop at all times, use trays to corral them in their designated spots. Trays anchor the countertop and the items that they're corralling. This will not only streamline how these items are stored but trays offers an aesthetically pleasing visual for the eye. Opt for classics like glass, white or gray - stay away from overly patterned and/or colored trays that may be visually overwhelming. 


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Shelf risers are your other best friend

Once you've pared down in and outside of your cabinets, consider organizers like the beloved and versatile shelf riser. You can find these at places like Target and The Container Store, but IKEA has been known to sell their own version. They come in all different shapes, sizes and even finishes which make them extremely useful for just about anything, not just kitchen-related items. However, when used in the kitchen I like to use them most for mugs, glasses, plates and bowls. Tip: don't be afraid to adjust your cabinet shelves to accommodate for the risers!


Consider out of the box places 

Who says you can't use the inside of a cabinet door to store some items? Some great items to store on the inside of cabinet doors are pot and pan lids and even food storage wraps like aluminum foil and saran wrap. This over the cabinet tall basket is perfect for your food storage items while a streamlined towel rod is great for your lids.


Decanting is always a good idea

I know it may seem like so much work to start but it's really not. Not only will you be able to see how much of any given food is left in its canister, but decanting allows for easy stacking which maximizes cabinet space. Win win.


Less is more

I would suggest this mantra even if you happen to have a large kitchen as it's worth its weight in gold. Similar to my first tip which was to pare down, use this as a "must live by" approach when trying to optimize your kitchen (or entire home for that matter).

Only hold onto items you truly love and regularly use. Just because that serving platter was a gift from a coworker, that does not mean you have to keep it if you already have a couple that you love and use more often. And unless you have the pantry space whether it's in your kitchen or in a basement to neatly store bulk foods and/or kitchen items that you will eventually use, don't overbuy or hold onto. You'll be able to neatly store and find the items that you do have if you stick with a less is more approach. You'll be less frazzled day-to-day when you're trying to pack your kids' lunches, prep dinner, make the grocery list and just live.


Thanks for reading!

Candace XO