Having a small kitchen space doesn’t mean living small. With these 5 small kitchen organization tips to maximize your kitchen storage, you can have a super functional kitchen too with a small square footage!
How I got into small kitchen organization
Last time I shared a tutorial on DIY spice drawer organizer, and this time I would like to talk about how to organizing kitchen space to maximizing the storage and functionalities. As I talked about in my About page, I have a small house with two bedrooms and one and a half bathroom. you can probably guess that my kitchen is pretty small too. In fact, it is 10’ by 10’ – only 100 square feet!
The kitchen from our house is 1940 original – it has appliances that we had no idea how to use! So the first thing after we moved in is to redo the whole kitchen. Redoing a kitchen can be quite costly, but building a kitchen that is completely customized to our needs is so exciting!
So as I was redesigning this kitchen from scratch, I worked very hard at packing as much storage and functionalities as possible into only 7 lower cabinets(one of them is used as a pull-out trash cabinet) and 4 upper cabinets. I have been using our brand new kitchen for about 9 months. So far I have been really enjoying using it everyday and never feel like I’m constrained with the limited kitchen space. I’m able to have all the essential kitchen appliances and enough space to store all of our kitchen tools.
So here are 5 tips that help my 100 sq ft. kitchen to be fully functional for us:
Tip #1: Pair down your kitchen tools
As a big fan of Marie Kondo’s book “the life changing magic of tidying up”, I’m all about simplifying my life by decluttering. Before we moved to our new house, the first thing I did was to pair down the existing kitchen items and discarding things we no longer need: beat-up pots and pans, plate that I don’t like, kitchen gadgets I never used, etc. After the pairing down, I was left with 60% of the essential kitchen items, and have no regret at letting go the other 40% which I never use.
Tip #2: Leveraging awkward space in your kitchen
I encourage you to ask yourself: have I used all of the space in the kitchen? Unless your kitchen is a perfect square or rectangle shape, there will be some weird spaces or corners. Coming up with a smart way to use those spaces is the key.
I have an awkward recessed area in my kitchen wall that is about 60” tall, 30” wide, and 12” deep. Because of the shallow depth, I wasn’t able to have any lower cabinet there. We thought about adding some shelves inside to add storage, but I worry with 4-5 shelves there, it may make the space looks a bit cluttered. So we ended up hiring a closet company to add a custom cabinet inside so we can use it as pantry.
After converting that awkward space into a pantry cabinet, we freed up so much space in our lower cabinet, and even have a big empty drawer now!
Tip #3: Maximizing your lower cabinet with drawers
Do you feel the same way that drawers just function better as storage for lower cabinet? I certainly do! Over the years I have found that having drawers in the lower kitchen cabinet is so much easier to store things. So when I designed my IKEA kitchen, I made sure to have small to large size drawer in all my lower cabinets (except lazy susan cabinet). It certainly worked out great: I can find things I need at a glance; Taking things out is such an ease – no more rearranging things in order to get the things from the back.
Tip #4: Drawer Inside drawer & drawer inserts
One thing I love about IKEA kitchen system is the flexibility to modify it as the needs change. (BTW this post is NOT sponsored by IKEA 😛 I’ll have a separate post to talk about my IKEA kitchen experience and its pros and cons. Stay tuned!)
The system has small drawers that live inside a big drawer which makes medium to large sized drawer more space efficient. When we first built the kitchen, I didn’t have any inside drawers. After using it for several months, I realized that I needed one more drawer for bowls. So I ordered an inside drawer from IKEA and installed it in one of my medium size drawers. By doing that I was able to combine two gadgets drawer into one, and freed up a whole drawer for serving bowls.
Another way to make drawers organized is to use drawer organizers. Besides my DIY spice drawer organizer, I have drawer organizers for utensils, specula, gadgets. Because I bought them from IKEA too, they fit my drawers perfectly!
Tip #5: Zoning your kitchen
Kitchen is the space packed of stuffs you use regularly, so having a big picture of how things are organized is very helpful. I divided my kitchen into 3 zones: cleaning zone, prepping zone and cooking zone. Here’s the example of what I store in each zone:
Cleaning zone: Sink marks where the cleaning zone is. It is where I wash fruit and veggies, cleaning up dishes for dishwasher. Under the sink, I store household cleaning items, such as dishwasher soap, general purpose cleanser, etc.
Prepping zone: For prepping zone, I have everything I need for prepping a meal: serving plates and bowls, knifes, kitchen gadgets, utensils, cutting boards, you name it.
Cooking zone: Cooking zone is all about what you need during cooking. I store specula, cooking spices, and cooking oil and sauces.
So here you go, 5 tried and true tips on maximizing your small kitchen space. I hope you find those 5 tips helpful on organizing your kitchen and maximizing the storage! Happy organizing!
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