8 Ways to Declutter a Small Kitchen

Kitchens are often one of the most cluttered rooms in a home, and small kitchens face even greater organization challenges. With limited storage and countertop space, it can be difficult to keep a tiny kitchen tidy. However, with some clever solutions, you can transform your small kitchen into an efficient, clutter-free zone. Follow these 8 tips to declutter your small kitchen and maximize every inch of space.

Clean Out Cabinets and Drawers

The first step in any decluttering project is to empty out all of your cabinets, drawers, and pantries. Take everything out so you can fully see what you have and wipe down the interior surfaces. As you put items back, get rid of anything expired, duplicated, or that you simply don’t use. Some decluttering tips for cabinets include:

  • Evaluate dishes/glassware: Be realistic about how many you actually need based on your household size and how often you entertain. Donate extras.
  • Consolidate food storage containers: Match lids to containers and recycle any with missing or ill-fitting lids.
  • Toss old spices: If they no longer smell potent when you open them, it’s time to replace them.
  • Get rid of rusty, dull, or warped cookware: Upgrade your essential pots and pans for maximum efficiency.
  • Reorganize by category: Group like items together for easy access – mugs together, all spices together, etc.

Maximize Pantry Storage

Pantries offer prized storage space, but all too often become a black hole where food gets lost and expires. Make the most of your pantry with these tips:

  • Install shelves or racks: Leverage vertical space with extra shelving.
  • Use clear storage bins: You’ll be able to easily see what’s inside.
  • Label bins and shelves: Identify categories like snacks, baking ingredients, canned goods.
  • Use shelf risers: Create extra tiers for food storage.
  • Store by category and frequency of use: Keep daily-use items within easy reach.
  • Rotate stock: Use and replace items before they expire.
  • Get rid of bulk items you don’t need: Donate unopened packages to food banks.

Rethink Kitchen Storage Containers

The right storage containers can make your kitchen more efficient and decluttered. Consider these options tailored to small kitchens:

  • Clear canisters: Allow you to instantly see contents.
  • Stackable containers: Provide double the storage in existing space.
  • Multi-compartment containers: Organize produce, snacks, and more.
  • Tiered shelves: Create new layers for added storage.
  • Hanging racks: Increase space for pots, pans, or utensils.
  • Under-shelf baskets: Make use of unused vertical real estate.
  • Over-the-door storage: Take advantage of the back of cabinet doors.
  • Magnetic strips and spice racks: Get spice jars and knives off the counter.
  • Narrow, vertical storage: Fit into tight spaces between appliances.

Under-Sink Storage Solutions

Don’t let the space under your kitchen sink become a black hole. This area provides useful real estate for cleaning supplies, sponges, and more. Get organized with these approaches:

  • Mounted wire shelving: Add tiers to take advantage of vertical space.
  • Hanging plastic bins: Ideal for spray bottles, sponges, and scrub brushes.
  • Tension rod with storage baskets: Instant shelves for washcloths, gloves, and other items.
  • Undersink pull-out cabinet: Provides easy access to everything inside.
  • Undersink drawer organizer: Neatly stores cleaning supplies out of sight.
  • Undersink lazy susan: Creates a rotating carousel for bottles and cleaners.

Repurpose Unused Spaces

From stashes of unused space to dual-purpose furniture, a small kitchen needs creative storage solutions. Make use of every inch with these ideas:

  • Shelf inside a cabinet: Add instant storage over the dead space over cabinet doors.
  • Rack over the stove: Provides a spot for spices, oils, and utensils.
  • Rail with S-hooks: Hang mugs, towels, or utensils.
  • Butcher block cart or island: Provides storage and counter space in one.
  • Bench seating with storage: Doubles as storage and extra seating.
  • Hidden garbage/recycling bins: Frees up floor space yet keeps trash out of sight.
  • Vertical wall racks: Hold brooms, mops, baking sheets, and more.

Multitask with appliances

When every inch matters, look for appliances and tools that can serve several functions:

  • Toaster oven: Toasts, bakes, and broils to replace several larger appliances.
  • Instant Pot: Functions as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, and rice cooker in one.
  • Immersion blender: Purees and blends right in pots and bowls.
  • Cast iron skillet: Goes from stovetop to oven for maximum versatility.
  • Collapsible drying rack: Folds down small to store over the sink.
  • Magnetic knife strip: Hangs on the wall to clear up counter and drawer space.
  • 2-in-1 kitchen tool: Items like a spatula/spoon or zester/grater combo consolidate tools.

Organize Refrigerator Shelves and Drawers

A chaotic fridge wastes space and leads to spoilage when items get lost in the shuffle. Give your refrigerator an overhaul with these tips:

  • Group similar items: Keep produce together, condiments on one shelf, drinks along the door.
  • Use bins and organizers: Prevent toppings and other loose items from getting buried.
  • Label everything: Identify leftovers and bins so you know what’s inside.
  • Display most-used items at eye level: Keep milk, juice, butter, and other daily items front and center.
  • Don’t overstuff: Allow airflow between items so the fridge doesn’t have to work as hard.
  • Toss expired items: Check all expiration dates and get rid of anything past its prime.
  • Clean shelves and bins: Wipe down regularly to prevent growth of bacteria.

Declutter Countertops

With limited countertop real estate, a small kitchen requires an especially minimalist approach to keep counters clutter-free. Reduce countertop clutter with these strategies:

  • Install a shelf for spices: Get them up and out of prime real estate.
  • Mount paper towel holder on wall: Frees up space for food prep.
  • Keep only essential appliances on counter: Stash others in lower cabinets and draw them out as needed.
  • Put knife block in drawer: Saves a chunk of usable surface area.
  • Use wall-mounted pot rack: Removes bulky cookware from eating up counter space.
  • Store oils and vinegars in wall-mounted shelf: Keeps them nearby but off the counter.
  • Minimize decor: Pick function over form.
  • Clean as you go: Never leave dirty dishes or food scraps sitting out.

Questions and Answers

Here are some common questions and answers about decluttering small kitchens:

What are the benefits of decluttering a small kitchen?

Decluttering maximizes efficiency and storage space. It also minimizes frustration when cooking in a cramped kitchen. An organized kitchen has a place for everything, so you don’t waste time rummaging and items staying out on the counters.

How often should you declutter your kitchen?

Aim to do a deep clean and declutter of your kitchen seasonally, such as when transitioning between summer and fall cooking. Quick declutters should be done 1-2 times per month to keep everything organized.

What are the best storage containers for a small kitchen?

Clear storage bins are ideal since the contents are visible. Stackable containers double your storage vertically. Multi-compartment containers allow you to corral produce, snacks, and other items while maximizing space.

What is the best way to arrange a small pantry?

Install shelves to take advantage of vertical real estate. Use clear bins to easily identify contents. Organize by category and frequency of use. Store daily use items at eye level and lesser-used items up high or down low.

How can you maximize storage using your refrigerator?

Group like items together on shelves. Use bins and dividers to corral loose items. Label everything. Display most-used items at eye level. Don’t overstuff – allow airflow. Toss expired items regularly.

How can you free up more counter space?

Mount a spice shelf on the wall. Install a wall-mounted paper towel holder. Only keep essential appliances on the counter. Store knife block in a drawer. Use a wall-mounted pot rack. Declutter decor.


While decluttering a small kitchen presents unique challenges, following organization best practices can help maximize every inch. Start by editing down dishware and cookware to only the essentials. Install extra shelving and storage containers to better utilize space. Repurpose unused areas for clever concealed storage. Multitask appliances and tools whenever possible. Give refrigerators and pantries a declutter too. Most importantly, commit to an ongoing decluttering system to maintain order long-term. With some elbow grease and creative solutions, even the tiniest kitchen can become an efficient, organized space.