If you're stuck in a tiny space, knowing how to declutter a small kitchen is essential. Kitchen clutter can take over and make your workspace unusable before you know it.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a large kitchen with tons of cabinets, an island, and one of those fabulous double refrigerators?
Of course, it would, but if that isn’t your reality, it doesn't mean you can’t have a decluttered small kitchen. You just have to be strategic about it. We spoke to experts to find the best small kitchen ideas to keep this space neat and tidy.
How to declutter a small kitchen
If your things are piling up, it may be a warning sign you need to declutter your home. A small kitchen is a great place to start off as you need to use this space multiple times a day and too much clutter can make it non-functional.
Kick off your organizational kick and learn how to declutter a small space with our expert advice.
1. Get rid of broken or expired products
The first step to declutting a small kitchen is getting rid of anything you don't need. Have a think about what to throw away when decluttering before you get started.
First, get out the big garbage bags — you can stock up on Glad garbage bags on Amazon if you forgot yours. Get rid of expired food, spices, and condiments.
Then go through larger things like pots and pans. Throw out any damaged non-stick pans. Then put the pots and pans you never use like that giant soup pot in a giveaway pile. If most of your pans are damaged, replace them with the best non-toxic cookware.
Then go through gadgets. Anything you don’t use — giveaway. Put broken gadgets in the garbage.
2. Add shelving
More is more when it comes to shelving explains Ashley Murphy, professional organizer, co-founder, and CEO of Neat Method. Try installing floating shelves whenever possible, like this set of six floating shelves from Amazon.
“Oftentimes the easiest storage solution lies in your unused vertical space. Add shelves to cupboards with adjustable shelving.”
If you're looking for renter-friendly shelving add to your small kitchen layout. If you don’t want to buy a shelf, you can usually add shelves from a cupboard you don’t use (like a high-up one) and move it to a lower one.
Ashley Murphy is Co-Founder & CEO of Neat Method — a luxury home organizing company with professional organizers across the US & Canada.
3. Use a spice rack
If you have a small kitchen and cook a lot, you probably have a lot of spices. Storing spices in a small kitchen can be a challenge. So, Leslie Kilgour, founder of Get It Straight and professional organizer suggests purchasing magnetic spice racks, like this spice rack on Amazon, for your refrigerator door.
She tells me, “Kitchens naturally just have a lot of stuff, but in a small kitchen, it can seem impossible to know what to do with it all. A magnetic spice rack is a great basic because nobody has space for 20 spice jars.”
Leslie Kilgour is the founder of Get It Straight Professional Organizing. She lives on Long Island and is the mother to two children.
4. Pegboard wall
Kilgour advises storing utensils on a pegboard wall. “They’re like a mini superhero costume changing station.” This is a smart idea if you lack drawer space.
You could also use a pegboard for extra cooking tools like spatulas and tongs. Best of all, these are easy to arrange in whatever way makes the most sense for you.
5. Hang up knives
Getting your kitchen knives out of your cutlery drawer is a great way to declutter a small kitchen. “A magnetic knife strip is a small kitchen essential,” says Kilgour.
“No more fumbling through drawers, hunting for the right knife. Hang those blades on the strip, and you'll free up precious drawer and counter space.” This also makes meal prep faster and easier.
You can snag this highly-rated magnetic knife bar from Amazon for under $25 as a budget-friendly option.
7. Shelf riser
Shelf risers help you make use of every vertical inch of a small kitchen cabinet. “They're like tiny bleachers for your dinnerware, giving every plate a front-row seat in your culinary circus,” says Kilgour.
You can use cabinet risers for everything from spices to snacks. A riser creates a whole extra shelf which is useful for storing short items like mugs and low drinking glasses. Kitchen cabinet organizers are a make-or-break item for any small kitchen.
6. Under-shelf baskets
Kilgoour recommends using under-shelf baskets as an alternative to stacking storage baskets. "You may have forgotten about the space under your cabinets," says Kilgoour. "It's dead space that wouldn't be used otherwise, so why not make use of it with some additional storage?"
These are great for storing things like large wooden spoons and gadgets like lemon squeezers. Use these baskets to stash away clutter and make everything easy to access.
We love this SimpleHousewear undershelf basket from Amazon. With over 6k reviews it's clear customers love it too.
9. Stackable cookware
Getting stackable cookware, like this Kemore cookware set available at Target, allows you to nest your pots and pans into each other, according to Kilgour.
“Utilize stackable cookware to save room and maintain some kitchen harmony. Remember, in the world of pots and pans, it's not about quantity, it's about creativity!”
This is ideal for cabinets that might have a lot of vertical space but aren’t very deep.
8. Lid organizers
After starting to declutter a small kitchen, you may notice you can never find a lid when you need one. This Toplife lid organizer from Amazon is the solution to your issues.
“If you've got more pots and pans than a cooking show, but storage space that laughs in the face of your culinary dreams, there is no need to panic," says Kilgour.
"I always recommend to my clients to use a lid organizer. It's like a VIP section for your pan lids, so they don't clutter your cabinets like overzealous fans. This way all of your lids are in one place and you're not scrambling to find the perfect lid fit when you're cooking.”
10. Turntables and Lazy Susans
Murphy tells me, “Turntables are one of our favorite solutions for corralling bottled items such as condiments, vitamins, or small spice collections.”
There are many places to use turntables, this Brightroom 10" Lazy Susan from Target in the kitchen. You can use them in cabinets, in the refrigerator, or even on the countertop. They also come in a variety of sizes and styles, with single or multiple tiers.
“Use turntables in upper cabinets to make things more accessible to reach and view. We especially like to use turntables for oils, spices (when drawers aren't an option and vitamins," says Murphy.
11. Tension rod
Cookware can take up a lot of space so Kilgour recommends going with a tension rod to free up cabinet space for other things when decluttering a small kitchen.
“Try hanging those pots and pans from a sturdy tension rod under your cabinet, turning your cookware into a modern art installation.”
How can I declutter a small kitchen quickly?
Decluttering a small kitchen can seem like a daunting task, but with the right motivation you can power through and declutter a room in just 30 minutes. Focus on the minimum you have to clear from your space in order to make an impact.
What should I avoid when declutting a small kitchen?
There are actually a few decluttering mistakes you should look out for while working on your small kitchen. One of the easiest mistakes to make is going overboard and throwing out too many items you may need later. Before tossing everything away, ask yourself if you'll have to replace it later.
Decluttering a small kitchen is no easy feat but it can be done without too much trouble. If you're struggling to start, you may want to try the 20/20 rule for decluttering.
The 20/20 method is a minimalistic tactic that will help you decide what to toss and what to keep. Simply put, the rule means that you should let go of any items that you can realistically toss in about 20 minutes for less than $20.