Small Kitchen Storage Ideas for a More Efficient Space

Wooden floating shelves in kitchen
Photo: Lauren Miller

A small kitchen can quickly feel cramped—especially if both counter and cabinet space is limited. With overflowing pots, pans, utensils, and appliances, finding a place to store everything may seem like an impossible task. But with a few innovative storage ideas, you'll be well on your way to streamlining your setup.

Start by taking inventory of the items you have and parting with never used or damaged cookware and servingware. Then utilize common kitchen features—think shelving, utility closets, and wall space—to create unique organizing solutions. Doing so can help you maximize every inch of the area and ensure you aren't wasting valuable space by storing everyday items incorrectly.

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Optimize Your Pantry

organized pantry
Ryan Liebe

Make the most out of your space by organizing your pantry staples. "When a pantry is crowded, so many items go unused and the vicious cycle continues with multiple purchases," says Ben Soreff, professional organizer at House to Home Organizing. Check expiration dates of your cereals and dry goods, so that unnecessary items aren't taking up precious room on your shelves.

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Store Utensils in a Drawer

Stylish cutlery with wood-effect handles in organizer.

Keep kitchen tools out of sight and save precious counter space by stowing forks, knives, and more away in a drawer. "Utensil trays are not only a good way to keep items in their place, but also create a limit on the category," says Soreff. "The goal is not just to find what we are looking for, but for everything to go in easy and come out easy."

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Implement a Tilt-Down Drawer

Annie Schlechter

Make use of even the tiniest of nooks to get the most out of your small kitchen. A tilt-down drawer at your sink, for example, is a handy way to store sponges and other cleaning supplies that would otherwise take up valuable counter space.

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Add Knife Storage on the Wall

powder blue kitchen with view of stove featuring gold accents
Rebecca McAlpin

A wall mounted knife block—which you'll find here in this powder-blue kitchen by Michelle Gage—may appear as a design element, but in reality, this will allow you to use some of your most commonly used kitchen utensils without cluttering your drawers or countertop.

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Add Open Shelves

open shelving with white and glass dishes
Courtesy of Wellston

One of Martha's favorite design features includes open shelving, as they help alleviate a cramped space while providing you an opportunity to showcase your kitchenware essentials. "If you are keeping every day plates and cups on open shelves, then a review is super important," says Soreff. "Focus on how often you use them to determine what should live on the shelves."

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Use Cabinets for Pantry Items

Annie Schlechter

Modifying your cabinet to serve as a customizable pantry space is a convenient all-in-one solution. Pull-out drawers and racks allow you to pack all of your pantry items into one convenient location that's infinitely smaller than a normal-sized pantry.

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Use Clear Food Storage Containers

dried foods grains lentils beans
tashka2000 / GETTY IMAGES

When small cabinets are crammed with baking supplies and snacks, it can be hard to see what you already have handy. "Glass jars and canisters make your pantry food easier to see, and they use vertical space better than plastic bags," says Darla DeMorrow, certified professional organizer and owner of HeartWork Organizing.

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Focus on Vertical Storage


Add dowel rods to your cabinets and shelves to create vertical storage opportunities for pans, cutting boards, plates, and more.

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Think Outside of the Kitchen

wood panel wall dining room with custom tom jean webb painting
Andrea Calo

If you have limited kitchen storage, make use of your other rooms to help alleviate some of the mess. Move barware and entertaining pieces to the living room with custom cabinetry.

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Have a Designated Utility Closet

pantry organization broom closet and drawers in blue kitchen
Adam Kane Macchia

Find an alternative area for cleaning supplies you'd typically keep in kitchen cabinets. "Don't sacrifice valuable storage space to cleaners you don't use every single day," says DeMarrow. Instead, dedicate a separate closet in your home to storing brooms, mops, and dustpans.

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Add a Spice Rack

Spice rack on modern kitchen countertop

Your assorted spices can take up more space than you think. Keep these kitchen essentials organized by storing them on a designated spice rack, which will allow you to quickly identify and grab what you need as you cook.

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Make Your Own Peg Board

wooden pegboard
Pernille Loof

Saving space will be easy if you hang a custom peg board on your wall. Simply arrange the pegs in a desired spot to prop up shelves and use it to store everything from seasonings to silverware.

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Organize Your Storage Containers

kitchen drawer filled with stackable containers
Annie Schlecter

Do you have a drawer dedicated to miscellaneous food containers? Take inventory of your supply and part with anything that doesn't have a matching lid or body. Place the vessels back into their designated drawer, ensuring you keep like with like.

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