How to Organize a Small Kitchen: 22 Ideas

Having a small kitchen can feel constraining, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With some clever organizing hacks, you can maximize every inch of space and make your petite kitchen super functional. From utilizing vertical space to getting creative with storage, there are plenty of ways to organize a small kitchen without breaking the bank.

Assess What You Have

Before you can effectively organize your small kitchen, take stock of what you’re working with.

  • Clean out cabinets and drawers and get rid of anything you don’t use on a regular basis. This will give you a blank slate to work with.
  • Look for wasted space, like the area above the fridge or an underutilized pantry. Figure out how to better use these spots.
  • Note the kitchen’s flow and trouble areas where clutter accumulates. Identify solutions to keep high-traffic zones organized.

Getting a realistic picture of your current kitchen will help inform what organizing solutions will work best.

Clear Clutter

Clutter is the nemesis of any small space. When organizing a petite kitchen, ruthlessly purge anything you don’t need or use.

  • Store less kitchenware. Keep only the essential pots, pans, utensils, and gadgets you actually rely on. Donate or sell the excess.
  • Minimize food packages and containers. Transfer dry goods to uniform clear canisters and repack grocery items into reusable bags.
  • File papers and mail out of sight. Stash bills, coupons, and recipes in a drawer organizer or under-cabinet file box.
  • Remove countertop appliances. Store the panini press and juicer you only occasionally use to free up precious counter space.

Decluttering first is key to making the most of your square footage.

Optimize Storage

Well-designed storage is a small kitchen’s saving grace. Analyze existing storage spots and make smart upgrades tailored to your space.

Maximize Cabinets

  • Install pull-out shelves and drawers in lower cabinets to gain visibility and access.
  • Add narrow “roll-out” vertical storage racks inside cabinet doors to multiply usable space.
  • Use shelf risers, dividers, and stackable bins to better corral items and prevent toppling.

Rethink Drawers

  • Divide wide drawers into sections with cutlery inserts, trays, or DIY dividers.
  • Use drawer organizer boxes to neatly contain kitchen tools and lids.
  • Add custom inserts to make the most of awkward narrow spaces between cabinets.

Upgrade the Pantry

  • Buy tall, narrow shelving units that fit perfectly in galley kitchen pantries.
  • Use hanging racks or over-the-door storage for additional vertical storage.
  • Add hooks inside pantry doors to hang smaller gadgets, cleaning supplies, mops and brooms.

Optimized storage is key for corralling cooking essentials without crowding the space.

Embrace Vertical Space

In a vertically challenged kitchen, go up rather than out. Floor space is too precious to squander.

Mount Shelving High

Installing wall-mounted shelving, racks, and rails make use of wasted air space. Mount them a foot below the ceiling to stow:

  • Glassware, mugs, and barware.
  • Spices, oils, and other petite pantry items.
  • Cookbooks, vases, and decorative items.

Hang Pots and Pans

Get pots, pans, and lids off the counters and stash them overhead with:

  • Ceiling-mounted pot racks.
  • Wall-mounted pan racks.
  • Rail systems with S-hooks.

This opens up cabinets for lesser-used items.

Consider Upper Cabinets

If your kitchen lacks upper cabinets, have some added. They provide essential extra storage without eating up floor area. Just be sure to install them a few inches higher than standard so they don’t crowd the space.

Install Shelves on the Backs of Doors

Take advantage of the empty space on the back of cabinet doors by attaching sleek floating shelves. Use them to store small gadgets, spices, or cleaning supplies.

Get Creative with Storage Solutions

When dealing with a tiny kitchen, it pays to get creative with storage. Scope out unlikely spots to stash essentials.

  • Under the sink: Install slide-out trays and vertical storage to hold cleaning supplies.
  • Sides of the fridge: Mount magnetic strips or vertical racks to hold knives and small gadgets.
  • Inside cabinets: Use hooks, clips, and tension rods for pot lids, cutting boards, and bakeware.
  • Dead corner spaces: Add pull-out corner cabinets or lazy susans.

Don’t overlook a single potential storage spot. Those clever hidden spaces can make all the difference.

Take It Outside the Kitchen

If your kitchen cabinets are still packed despite your best efforts, look just outside the kitchen for auxiliary storage.

  • Stash lesser used appliances like the blender or panini press in an adjacent hall closet.
  • Store extra pantry items and bulk purchases in a closet pantry if space allows.
  • Mount shelving in the dining room for cookbooks, barware, table linens and serving pieces.
  • Use vertical space in an adjoining mudroom, laundry room or pantry for additional storage.

Getting certain items completely out of the kitchen can work wonders.

Invest in Multi-Functional Furniture

Well-chosen multifunctional furniture maximizes every inch. Look for pieces that work double or triple duty.

  • A rolling butcher block island provides prep space, storage and serving surface.
  • A drop-leaf table serves as a space-saving dining table and additional counter area.
  • Bench seating with storage cubbies below offer extra storage.
  • A kitchen cart provides a movable prep station, storage, and serving piece.

Multipurpose furniture optimizes space while adding function.

Zone for Efficiency

Creating activity zones within your petite kitchen helps make it more user-friendly.

  • Store cooking tools and most-used pots near the stove in easy reach.
  • Cluster baking essentials like mixes, pans, and utensils together in one cabinet.
  • Corral coffee and breakfast items together in an upper cabinet.
  • Stash cleaning supplies below the sink they’ll be used.

Thoughtful zoning streamlines daily kitchen tasks.

Purge Regularly

To keep order once you’ve organized your small kitchen, periodically purge unused items. Set a reminder to:

  • Clear out old expired food items.
  • Donate unused gadgets to thrift stores.
  • Recycle unneeded papers and random junk that accumulates.
  • Review shelf contents and remove any duplicates.

Staying on top of regular purges keeps clutter at bay.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I add more storage to my small kitchen?

Some smart ways to add storage include installing pull-out shelves in cabinets, wall-mounted pot racks, extra shelving, door-mounted racks, and multifunctional furniture like kitchen carts and islands.

What are some space-saving gadgets for a small kitchen?

Helpful gadgets include drawer organizers, lazy susans, tiered turntables, vertical in-cabinet storage, pan lids racks, and collapsible strainers.

Where can I put extra appliances if my cabinets are full?

Look for spots just outside the kitchen to stash extras like in a nearby coat closet, basement storage area, or on mounted shelving in an adjoining room.

What’s the best way to organize a tiny pantry?

Maximize vertical space by installing tall narrow shelving units. Also add hooks on inside of door, use over-the-door storage, and clear bins to neatly corral items.

How often should I purge the kitchen when organizing?

Plan to do a deep purge clearing out expired or unused items at least twice a year – once during spring cleaning and again before the holidays. Also try to do mini purges clearing out clutter monthly.


Organizing a pint-sized kitchen just takes some strategic space planning and smart storage solutions. Focus on multipurpose and vertical storage space, keeping high-traffic zones clutter-free, and purging regularly. With a little creativity, you can give your small kitchen an open, organized feel.