Having a small kitchen is always a challenge. It doesn’t matter if you’re an infrequent cook or a master chef. If your kitchen doesn’t have a pantry that’s an even more challenging problem. Fortunately it’s a problem that can be over come. Follow along for 5 steps on how to organize a small kitchen without a pantry. We’ll cover the main things to consider and add in a few kitchen storage hacks that’ll make the task even easier.
The number one most effective thing you can do is get rid of all the junk taking up room. You know there are things in your kitchen cabinets from 7 years ago that you haven’t used and aren’t going to use but you keep them anyway. This includes appliances, utensils, canned foods, spices, dishes, you name it. Yes, I know there are things you’re going to want to hold on to but do those things need to be stored in the kitchen? Take those items that you just can’t bear to part with and move them to another room. If the rest of your home is like your kitchen, well I can’t help you with that at the moment, I’m focused on your kitchen right now. But you get the idea. You don’t have the space in your kitchen to be wasted with things that don’t get used. We want to get this space optimized like a well oiled machine.
Consider which get used and which don’t. Also think about how to consolidate them. If you have the budget, you may be able to replace a couple small appliances with one that can fill multiple roles. Maybe you already have an appliance that can handle the duties of another.
So you’ve collected a few miracle gizmos from late night infomercials, but do you use them? Ever? If no then toss them or give them away. If yes, how often? If rarely, chances are you can do without them. Will a knife, fork, or spoon, handle the job almost as well? Does the added convenience of that novel one trick pony earn it space in your kitchen?
If you’re like me, you have quite a few utensils for cooking and only use a few of them. Trim down the herd by tossing out the ones you rarely or never use. This goes for knives, measuring cups, cutting boards, mixing bowls, etc. Get ruthless and liberate your kitchen!
Remember that time you decided to bake a cake for your cousin? You went and purchased a big bag of flour, sugar, etc. That stuff is still in your kitchen isn’t it? How long ago was it that you baked that cake? Why don’t you toss all that stuff and just buy some more when you decide to bake another cake in 5 years.
I could keep going but I think you get the point. There are loads of things taking up valuable real estate in your kitchen that just don’t need to be there. The value they bring doesn’t warrant the space they use.
Optimizing where things are placed is important. When it’s time to get cooking you want the flow of your decluttered kitchen to be seamless. Now that you’ve purged all the things you can do without, make sure you place all of the things you use most frequently in the easiest to access locations. Those things you decided not to get rid of but debated can likely go to the most difficult to reach locations. Some of this comes naturally but in a confined space we can’t afford to be wasteful. Consider everything and don’t simply decide to put something somewhere just because that’s where you’ve always put it.
Countertops are your work surface and need to be as clear as possible, especially in a small kitchen. Unfortunately there are likely several items that need to be stored there as well. You’ve hopefully already rid yourself of the unnecessary items and have slimmed down to the bare essentials. You’ve hopefully also optimized where everything goes be it back on your countertop or being banished to the deepest darkest recesses of your most inaccessible base cabinet. There may be so helpful countertop organizers that will corral your utensils, or knives more efficiently depending on your circumstances. An under cabinet paper towel holder is a good example of decluttering your countertop. With a little effort you can keep your surfaces relatively clutter free.
Cabinets can be a real challenge. Pots and pans tend to get stacked up making it difficult to get at just the right pan for the cooking job at hand. Assuming you’ve diligently completed the previous three tasks, hopefully the majority of your previous pain in this area has been alleviated. We can improve things even further by adding some pull out baskets to the base cabinets. This can help organize things and make them infinitely easier to get at. Other purpose designed solutions such as pot lid holders, can organizers, lazy susans, spice racks, etc. can consolidate items into much smaller spaces and better take advantage of vertical height or hard to reach spots.
Wall space often gets overlooked. This is where you can really optimize your space that extra bit. Magnetic knife holders, hooks for mugs, cooking utensil holders, etc. If you have the room you may even be able to mount some extra shelving for storing things. Oh, and don’t forget the ends of your cabinets as a great place to mount things onto.
Another great idea is to take advantage of any nearby doors. There are lots of great storage solutions designed to take advantage of doors as storage space. A full height door rack can be an immense amount of additional storage for all kinds of bottles and things that could have normally been stored in a pantry.
An ingenious idea is slide out storage in the slim space next to your refrigerator. There are some great slim rolling storage solutions available for purchase online or you can even build your own slim roll out pantry.
The inside of your cabinet doors can also hold things. Mount a wall organizer inside the door and store some slim items.
Small kitchens are a challenge for a lot of us and optimizing that space is the difference between an efficient cooking experience and a bumbling nightmare. If you can throughly commit to following these five simple steps you can drastically improve the efficiency of your kitchen and take advantage of storage space you didn’t even realize you had. Oh, and don’t forget about organizing your refrigerator.
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