21 Small Kitchen Storage Ideas That’ll Save Your Sanity

Having an organized, clutter-free kitchen is a dream for many homeowners. But when you’re working with a small kitchen, finding enough storage can seem downright impossible. The good news is there are plenty of clever storage solutions that can help maximize every inch of space in your compact kitchen. From pull-out drawers to hanging racks, these small kitchen storage ideas will help you keep items off your counters and create a sanity-saving organizational system.

Utilize Cabinet Organizers and Pull-Out Shelves

One of the easiest ways to optimize your existing kitchen storage is with cabinet organizers and pull-out shelves. Here are some options to consider:

  • Lazy susans: These turntable trays make items in corner cabinets and deep drawers much more accessible. Great for spices, canned goods and other small items.
  • Tiered shelves: Stackable shelves double your storage capacity without taking up any additional footprint. Perfect for organizing baking pans, cutting boards and lids.
  • Pull-out cabinet shelves: Install pull-out shelves to instantly increase the storage and visibility of standard base cabinets. Look for shelves designed for everything from dishes and pantry items to trash and recycling.
  • Drawer organizers: Customizable drawer inserts make it easy to corral utensils, cutlery, gadgets, spices and more. Options like bamboo, acrylic and non-slip silicone keep items in place.

The key is choosing organizers that make the most of your unique cabinet and drawer dimensions. Take measurements, then find solutions that fully maximize the given spaces.

Install Multi-Tiered Shelving

Another space-saving option is shelving that extends vertically to take advantage of unused air space. Some great multi-tiered shelving ideas include:

  • Wall-mounted pot racks: Hanging racks create storage for pots, pans and lids right above the workspace. Look for racks with adjustable hooks to accommodate different sizes.
  • Spice drawers: Install super-slim drawers designed just for spice storage inside upper cabinets. Use for any small pantry items that tend to get lost in cabinets.
  • Vertical plate racks: Plate racks attached to the interior of cabinet doors safely store plates vertically instead of stacked. Bonus space for other items.
  • Two-tier dish racks: Draining racks that stack plates vertically save tons of counter space. The lower dish rack catches drips from the upper rack.
  • Tiered wall shelves: Wall-mounted shelves stacked at various heights add display and storage space without eating up floor area. Great for frequently-used items.

Be sure to measure the interior height of cabinets and drawers first to determine what will fit. Store heavy items like dishes and pots on bottom shelves.

Optimize Space Under Sinks

Don’t forget about the storage potential under kitchen sinks, which tend to turn into disorganized black holes. Here are tips for tackling under-sink storage:

  • Install adjustable tilt-out trays to separate cleaning supplies from larger items like trash bags.
  • Use hanging racks or over-the-door organizers to take advantage of the cabinet door.
  • Sort items into small lidded baskets to prevent leaks and spills. Label the contents.
  • Add a pull-out vertical organizer for trash bags, scrubbies and sponges within easy reach.
  • Keep the area directly under pipes clear to allow access for leaks and repairs.

Take everything out from under the sink, clean the area, then put back only the essentials you use most. Donate or toss the excess.

Hang Rack Storage

Hanging racks are ideal for small kitchens because they maximize vertical storage space without the footprint of shelving units. Consider these hanging storage ideas:

  • Pan racks: Provide easy access to pans and lids by hanging them vertically on the wall. Choose racks sized for your cookware.
  • Pot lid racks: Remove bulky pot lids from cabinets by hanging them within reach on the wall or inside a cabinet door.
  • Towel racks: Install racks on the side of upper cabinets to hang dish towels, freeing up drawer space below.
  • Knife racks: Get sharp utensils off the counter by securely mounting magnetic knife strips to the wall.
  • Utensil hooks: Use hooks to hang often-used spatulas, whisks and other utensils for quick access while cooking.

Measure carefully so hanging racks don’t interfere with existing cabinets or appliances when opening. Install securely into studs or use heavy-duty anchors.

Store Items Inside Cabinet Doors

An easy yet often overlooked storage option is right in front of you – the cabinet doors themselves! Here are smart ideas for storing items inside cabinet doors:

  • Door-mounted bins and shelves: Install Princess plastic bins or wire shelves on the inside of cabinet doors using removable hooks. Perfect for oils, spices and other small goods.
  • Over-the-door racks: Hang lightweight racks on the back of cabinet doors to hold utensils, pots, towels – anything you need quick access to while cooking.
  • Magnetic strips: Adhere magnetic strips to hold knives and tools securely inside cabinet doors. Position out of reach of pets and kids.

Make sure any door-mounted storage is designed for weight so doors don’t get thrown off balance. Check that items won’t spill when opening and closing doors.

Repurpose Unused Spaces

From gaps between appliances to awkward corners, you can discover hidden storage potential in unused kitchen spaces with a little creativity:

  • Place narrow, vertical racks designed to store baking sheets and cutting boards in the narrow gap between your refrigerator and cabinets.
  • Install shelves or slide-out drawers in the dead space between cabinets and appliances. Perfect for small gadgets.
  • Use spin shelves or “blind corner” lazy susans to make hard-to-access corner cabinet space functional.
  • Attach a magnetic wall-mounted knife rack or some hooks on the side of cabinets near appliances where counters end.
  • Place a freestanding organizer cart next to your pantry to hold overflow items and small appliances. Roll out of the way when not in use.

Measure unused spaces carefully to find solutions, like slide-out shelves and vertical racks, tailored to the dimensions. Avoid permanent installations like drilled hardware.

Stash Items Under Tables and Kitchen Carts

Kitchen carts and tables often have an unused storage opportunity – open space directly under the surface. Take advantage of this with:

  • Bins or baskets that slide smoothly under kitchen carts to keep items contained yet accessible.
  • Hanging racks mounted to the underside to hold cooking utensils within arm’s reach.
  • Freestanding vertical racks for cutting boards and baking sheets that tuck under a cart or prep table.
  • Shelves under a kitchen table for large platters and serving pieces that won’t fit in cabinets.
  • Rolling carts with drawer storage that slide under sinks or tables to save space when not in use.

Be sure stored items don’t exceed the table height by more than an inch or so to allow clearance. Easy-glide universal casters help rolling storage slide smoothly.

Use Over-Cabinet Racks

The air space above kitchen cabinets doesn’t have to go to waste. Build or buy racks that sit on top of cabinets to hold items you use frequently or need quick access to. Try storing:

  • Frequently used spices, oils and condiments on lazy susans or turntables for easy access while cooking.
  • Stand mixers, blenders and other electric gadgets used daily but hogs for counter space.
  • Decorative dishware, platters and other dinner party items not used daily.
  • Extra appliances like the air fryer, panini press or rice cooker that get stashed away.
  • Less frequently used pots and pans.

Be mindful of the added weight on cabinet tops and use within recommended limits. Anchor racks into cabinets for added stability as needed.

Optimize Drawer Organization

Kitchen drawers crammed with a jumbled mess are wasted opportunities for smart storage. Make the most of your drawers with these tips:

  • Use compartmentalized flatware organizers so utensils don’t turn into a tangled heap. Consider slots for odd-shaped tools like zesters.
  • Sort gadgets into matching bins so everything stays neatly contained.
  • Designate a drawer just for towels and dishcloths. Use vertical dividers to separate types.
  • Store cutting boards on end vertically in a drawer, not stacked flat. Easier to grab the size you need.
  • Put shallow trays in place to corral multiple layers of items like spices. Contains but allows access.

Edit the contents of each drawer, keeping only essentials you actually use. Avoid overstuffing drawers, which makes organizing harder.

Add Extra Storage with a Butcher Block Cart

A movable butcher block or kitchen cart adds workspace along with storage potential. With open and closed storage options, it’s a mobile organizational asset.

  • Closed cabinet storage at the bottom is great for large cookware and bulky appliances. Use baskets to keep everything tidy.
  • Wine glass racks let you properly store stemware that might otherwise hog shelf space.
  • Slide-out drawers under the prep surface provide easy access to utensils and tools while cooking.
  • Open shelves above are ideal for oils, spices, cookbooks and other go-to items to have within arm’s reach.

For flexibility, choose a cart on lockable casters. When not in use, roll it against a wall, into a corner or into another room entirely.

Think Vertical for Food Storage

Since horizontal space is limited in a small kitchen, go vertical when storing foods:

  • Store canned goods on shelf risers or vertical partitions to see the labels.
  • Use wall-mounted rail systems with hooks to hang utensils and bulk boxes of food.
  • Opt for narrow vertical storage like utility carts and freestanding shelving units.
  • Install extra-deep wall cabinets with pull-out shelves to efficiently utilize all the available height.
  • Store snacks and breakfast cereals in clear canisters on countertop tiered shelving.

Edit items so only staples you use frequently stay in the kitchen. Donate excess canned goods and boxes of forgotten foods.

Maximize Pantry Storage

Even a closet-sized pantry can effectively store a lot with some simple organizational upgrades:

  • Use shelving units and racks tailored to the pantry’s dimensions to maximize vertical storage.
  • Clearly label shelves by type of food like snacks or canned goods. Keep like items together.
  • Transfer flour, sugar and other bagged goods to uniform clear canisters to protect against pests. Attractive too!
  • Hang a tension rod under shelves to utilize the vertical space for taller item storage.
  • Use door hooks, hanging racks and over-door storage options for items used daily like spices.

Purge the pantry first, donating unopened and expired items, to make sorting and organizing the keepers much easier.

Take Advantage of Blind Corner Cabinets

The space in blind corner cabinets (with a hard to access angled interior) is often left underutilized. But specialized storage solutions can completely transform that wasted space into highly usable storage.

  • Install blind corner lazy susans which pull the contents outside the cabinet for easy access. Great for boxed goods and canned items.
  • Use vertical pull-out racks designed to hold baking sheets, cutting boards and bulky cookware in unused corners.
  • Tiered cabinet shelves double storage capacity for blind corners. The stepped shelves roll out together on tracks.

Don’t forget to anchor new organizers properly into studs or use heavy-duty hardware to safely hold weight. Follow manufacturer instructions carefully.

Store Cookware Lids Efficiently

One challenge of small kitchens is dealing with the substantial storage space occupied by pots, pans and their cumbersome lids. A few problem-solving options for cookware lid storage:

  • Vertical lid racks inside cabinets keep lids organized and free adjoining shelf space.
  • Wall-mounted magnetic strips allow quick lid access and are perfect for narrow unused spaces.
  • Lid racks that sit on countertops corral lids without occupying cabinet space. Stack multiple sizes.
  • Hanging racks on walls or cabinet doors make lids visible and in easy reach.

Try to store lids and pots together in base cabinets. If not possible, go for wall-mounted lid racks near the pots.

Create a Coffee Station

For homeowners who can’t function without their morning brew, a dedicated coffee station helps keep all the essentials organized. Ideal coffee station storage ideas:

  • Use vertical space with wall-mounted racks and shelves for coffee mugs and supplies.
  • Store bulk coffee in sealed containers in base cabinets to extend freshness.
  • Install under-cabinet hooks for coffee mugs to keep them within reach but off counters.
  • Utilize narrow spaces between appliances for narrow-depth shelves, racks and trays to hold gadgets.
  • Install small drawers or slide-out trays under countertops for teaspoons, sugar packets and other extras.

Hide away less frequently used coffee appliances in upper cabinets or on top of the fridge. Have daily essentials easily accessible.

Keep Baking Essentials Organized

avid bakers know the kitchen can easily be overflowing with baking pans, cooling racks, cookie sheets and all manner of specialty bakeware. Keep it all organized with these storage ideas for baking gear:

  • Store sheet pans and baking pans in vertical racks that slide into base cabinets to save space.
  • Mount pot racks and utensil racks on walls to hang tools like whisks, spatulas and measuring cups.
  • Corral baking ingredients like flour, sugar and chocolate chips in matching airtight canisters.
  • Use drawer organizers and compartments to neatly divide baking tools and liners.
  • Clear up cabinet shelf space by storing mixing bowls nested inside one another.

Having key ingredients and daily-use gear within easy reach makes even the smallest baking sessions more seamless.

Create a Breakfast Nook with Storage

For small kitchens without space for a dining area, create an intimate breakfast nook with smart storage.

  • Use a small bistro table with a lower shelf or cubbies for concealed storage.
  • Include cushioned benches with lift-up lids for keeping dishes, table linens and extra seating.
  • Opt for a breakfast cart with cabinets, drawers and shelves for concealed storage.
  • Hang wall shelves or mounted wine glass racks above the nook for glasses and dishes.
  • Install hooks on the sides or bottom of wall cabinets near the nook to hang mugs and towels.

Choose furniture on casters for mobility to easily move when not in use. Anchor furniture properly so it doesn’t shift or topple.

Install a Wall-Mounted Breakfast Bar

For a space-saving alternative to a bulky kitchen table, install a wall-mounted drop-leaf breakfast bar. When closed, it lies flush and allows for open traffic flow. Lower it to create an eating space that also adds counter area for food prep.

Mount over a base cabinet or floating shelves to integrate storage, like:

  • Base cabinet storage below for large platters, extra dishes and table linens.
  • Floating open shelves for pretty display of plates, mugs and glasses.
  • Enclosed cabinet with hooks or a towel bar to conveniently hang dish towels.

Use hooks on the ends for hanging utensils and pots when the bar is up. Choose hardware that supports the weight when lowered.

Get Creative with Repurposed Furniture

Before buying new storage furniture, look for creative ways to repurpose what you already have:

  • Turn a vintage dresser into a kitchen island with storage. Remove the back panel and place against a wall.
  • An old media cabinet becomes a perfect pantry for a small space. Use enclosed storage for food bags and open shelves for frequently used items.
  • Make an armoire or hutch a coffee station. Use the cabinets for supplies and shelves for mugs.
  • Transform a writing desk into a kitchen workstation. Add rolling drawers and open shelving for storage.
  • Use an antique buffet sideboard as a serving station, storing large platters and extra dishes in the cabinet section.

Add butcher block, marble or stainless steel as a countertop on top of repurposed furniture for food prep. Paint or re-stain as desired.

Incorporate Hidden Wastebins

A small kitchen often means trash bins take up precious floor space. Get creative with more discreet waste management solutions:

  • Install a compartment trash and recycling bin that slides in and out of base cabinets.
  • Choose a step bin that fits snugly between cabinets and appliances, out of sight.
  • Mount bins on the insides of cabinet doors to keep trash out of sight. Use toe-kick options for easy, hands-free opening.
  • Opt for in-drawer waste bins that allow you to sweep food scraps right in and conceal mess.
  • Under-sink bins free up floor space. Use individual bins for separating recycling. Hide with cabinet doors.

For maximum discretion, position bins where they’re accessible when cooking but totally out of sight when cabinets are closed.

Round Up of Top Small Kitchen Storage Solutions

To recap, here are 21 of the top storage solutions for maximizing every inch of space in a small kitchen:

  • Pull-Out Shelves and Cabinet Organizers
  • Multi-Tier Wall Shelving
  • Under Sink Storage Upgrades
  • Hanging Racks and Wall Storage
  • Cabinet Door Storage
  • Repurposed Space Organizers
  • Open Shelf Carts and Tables
  • Over Cabinet Racks
  • Drawer Inserts and Dividers
  • Butcher Block Carts
  • Vertical Food Storage
  • Pantry Upgrades
  • Blind Corner Optimizers
  • Lid Racks
  • Coffee Station Organization
  • Baking Essential Storage
  • Breakfast Nook Storage
  • Wall-Mounted Breakfast Bars
  • Repurposed Furniture
  • Hidden Wastebins

With some creativity and clever products, you can have an organized space where everything has a home. The resulting sanity and peace of mind from a tidy, optimized small kitchen is priceless.