I really value being intentional with my living space. Living in Seattle (where rent is getting more expensive than ever) I’ve always lived in odd apartments and old houses. I don’t mind living in small spaces and I might even take the plunge and try a tiny house (under 300 square feet) one day.
However, a few months ago I was getting really fed up with how chaotic and cramped my current space was feeling. At just under 450 square feet (including two people and two cats), there’s not a lot of extra room and this is particularly challenging for me in the kitchen because the kitchen also doubles as my office. Since I spend most of my time at home either cooking or working, having a chaotic kitchen wasn’t going to cut it anymore so I decided to start my kitchen organization makeover!
With fall just around the corner I’ve been getting the itch to clean, de-clutter, and organize even more so I thought it would be fun to share some of my tips with you and show you some ways to organize and save space in a small kitchen – plus, these tips work great in a rental since none of them are permanent!
Kitchen Organization Makeover Tip #1: De-Clutter and Clean
When I’m cleaning and organizing my kitchen, I always start in the pantry area and go through each and every item.
For pantry items, these are typically the questions I’ll ask myself:
- Is this item still fresh? (If not, compost it!)
- Will I use this item? (If not, compost it or give it away)
- (If I’m going to keep it) Could I store this item in a more space efficient way?
You can see in the “Before” picture below that my pantry shelves were a bit of a mess. Eek! I brought each item down one-by-one and went through my questions above. After getting rid of a bunch of items, I cleaned the shelves and transferred some items to different containers so they would be easier to store.
One of my particular challenges is that I keep my vitamins on the same shelf with the spices and since they’re not front-and-center, I frequently forget to take them. So, I ended up purchasing this stainless steel spice rack organizer which is great for keeping vitamins and supplements at eye-level. I also think a lazy susan is helpful for storing spices (especially if the shelf is higher than you) because it extends your reach and means that there won’t be spices or pantry items lost in the back. Overall, I don’t know if the “After” picture really does the kitchen justice, but I got rid of about half of the items that were previously on the pantry shelves and the space already feels more organized and de-cluttered.
- Glass jars for storing bulk items
- Stainless steel spice rack organizer
- Lazy susan (great for organizing spices)
Kitchen Organization Makeover Tip #2: Use glass jars for easy storage/organization
Another area that was majorly in need of some de-cluttering was the tea/coffee shelf. I’m a huge tea drinker and although I prefer looseleaf teas, I always have a stockpile of tea bags and half-empty boxes of tea. None of the tea was expired and I intended to drink it all so I focused my efforts on how to organize and reduce the space that items were taking up.
I ended up transferring all looseleaf blends to mason jars to get rid of the excess bags and then I used a giant gallon fermentation jar to store all of the individual tea bags. I don’t know if you’ll be as excited as I am about this, but this discovery was life-changing for me! One of my biggest pet peeves is half-empty boxes of tea that fall and never stack up neatly, but by putting the individual tea bags in a jar I was able to get rid of all of the boxes and it’s actually easier to see what teas I have now!
Kitchen Organization Makeover Tip #3: Use shelf organizers for more space
If you have a small kitchen (or even if you don’t), maximizing space is one of the best ways to keep shelves organized. Just like with the steps above, start by de-cluttering and donating any dishes that you don’t use anymore or are broken.
I then used these large shelf organizers to essentially double my shelf space! I have open shelves in my kitchen and this is one of my favorite features because it’s a nice way to show off your dishes and easily find things you need. Since the shelves are white, these organizers blend in well and make the space very functional.
Tip: If you have open shelving, try to stick to monochromatic colors, or use all white dishes with a few pops of color. I tend to use turquoise as my accent color so my turquoise mugs are a perfect way to keep the shelves from looking too white/boring.
Kitchen Organization Makeover Tip #4: Keep like-items together
One of the best ways to make a kitchen organized is to group items of similar function together.
Here are a few examples:
- Coffee and tea with supplies: Coffee and tea is on the shelf above the mugs, teapot, and tea strainer.
- Spiralizer with blades: It’s always easier to use an appliance when you keep all of the parts in one place. Make sure you store your spiralizer, juicer, blender, food processor, etc with all of the accessories in one place for easy access.
- Cutting boards and knives: I use a knife block to keep all of my knives in one place and I use the awkward space between my microwave and the kitchen shelf as a storage space for cutting boards. You can also use a pantry rack organizer to store cutting boards on a shelf.
Kitchen Organization Makeover Tip #5: Use vertical space and hang items
Storage space is definitely one of the biggest challenges in a small kitchen. Since my current space only has two drawers and very limited counter space, there isn’t much room to store cooking utensils and small kitchen tools. This is when I realized the beauty of hanging items up!
I had some extra storage rails so I just had to buy a package of S hooks and now I can easily find my measuring cups and tools when I need them. I also bought a wall-mounted pot lid rack for above the stove to make it easy to grab pot lids as I need them while I’m cooking.
What are your favorite tips for a kitchen organization makeover?
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