7 items professional organizers always have in a small kitchen — we asked pros for their must-haves

Investing in items professional organizers always have in a small kitchen will pay off 100-fold

An image of a white kitchen with white cabinets and countertops and a wooden mini island to the right showing some of the things professional organizers always have in a small kitchen
(Image credit: Getty Images)

What better shopping list for January than items professional organizers always have in a small kitchen to keep their clutter at bay. If they can do it, so can we!

We spoke to our organization pros to round-up seven items worth buying so you can keep keep your small kitchen neat and ordered from the off this year.

Whether your small kitchen is packed full of too many items, or it feels as if there isn’t enough space to hold what you need, these are the must-have expert-approved products to organize your small kitchen, according to our pros. 

All the items professional organizers always have in a small kitchen

When it comes to organizing a small kitchen with too much stuff, check you have the essentials our experts say are must-haves for easier and faster organizing. 

Shantae Duckworth, professional organizer and founder of Shantaeize Your Space, says, "Managing clutter in a small kitchen can be challenging, but with strategic organization, you can create a space that feels open and functional. 

"As a professional organizer, I always remind my clients the key is to maximize every inch of available storage and minimize unnecessary items."

Shantae Duckworth
Shantae Duckworth

Shantae Duckworth is a professional organizer and founder of Shantaeize Your Space in Seattle, Washington. She is a Member of National Association of Black Professional Organizers, and Member of Black Girls Who Organize Group. She is a public speaker and writer about organization as well.

1. Kitchen storage bins

An image of a set of glass storage jars with pasta, rice and nuts and seeds inside

(Image credit: Canva)

If there’s one area of the kitchen that is difficult to keep ordered, it’s organizing kitchen cabinets, especially if your cabinets have deep shelves. 

A great hack is to add plastic storage bins (this set of storage bins from Target should be ideal for this) to your cabinets so that you’re able to utilize the entire depth of your cabinets fully. 

Shantae recommends opting for clear plastic storage bins (like this storage bin from Target which comes with an easy-to-fit lid) and explains, "Clear containers or labeled bins can help you quickly locate ingredients and prevent the chaos of rummaging through a crowded pantry." 

Tip: For easier labeling of storage bins, invest in a label maker (like this compact mini label maker from Amazon with over 10,000 five-star reviews) that's quick and easy to use. Plus, your bins will look uniform, too.

Chenise Hinds, interior designer, home stager, and licensed realtor, says, "Labels on containers and shelves help everything stay neat. Writing what's inside means you won't need help finding things as much. It keeps everything in order."

Chenise Hinds
Chenise Hinds

Chenise Hinds is an interior designer, home stager, and licensed realtor, as well as a graduate Assistant at the prestigious New York School of Interior Design, where she cultivated her keen eye for aesthetics and functional design. She organizes homes and stages them for her clients on a daily basis, so she knows a thing or two about cutting clutter and making the most of the space available to her.

2. Lidded containers

A firm favorite on TikTok and Instagram, clever items such as these lidded containers from Amazon, and matching jars are a great option for keeping a kitchen organized

These can be used to stash all sorts of items, from storing dried goods like pasta, rice, and flour, to storing excess utensils or cleaning products. 

For decanting and storing foods in a more visually appealing way, using glass storage jars with bamboo or cork lids (such as these storage containers from Amazon). Not only do these containers look nice, but they’re also designed to keep food fresh and minimize wastage.  

3. Over-the-door organizers

An image of white kitchen cabinets and a wooden countertop with plates and utensils on a metal rack in the background

(Image credit: Canva)

Over-the-door organizers are extremely versatile, making them an ideal tool for using throughout the kitchen, according to professional organizers. 

"Over-the-cabinet-door organizers are perfect for storing cutting boards, baking sheets, or cleaning supplies," according to Shantae. 

Not only are they renter-friendly, but they're super useful for kickstarting an organizational session without any DIY. You can simply hang and get sorting.

4. Turntable organizers

For maximizing space, one of the items professional organizers always have in a small kitchen are turntable tidies. They are useful throughout the kitchen, but especially for tight corners or compact cabinets. If you're currently having to pull out a bunch of items to get to that one thing that's always in the back, this one's for you.

These organizers are a great choice as they’re ideal for keeping bottles and condiments neat and ordered. They also work well for helping to organize a fridge and offering easier access in cabinets where items of various heights might hide behind each other easily.

5. Storage baskets

An image of a white shelving unit with woven storage baskets with cutlery and cooking utensils in

(Image credit: Canva)

For keeping similar items together, storage baskets can be a great choice, especially if you have shelves in your kitchen you can store them on. Baskets also offer ideal storage for items that are necessary to the kitchen but you don’t really want to display. 

To maximize space in a small kitchen, opting for stackable baskets can be a smart option, especially when storage space is limited. Baskets are key items professional organizers always have in small kitchens because they're budget-friendly, nice to look at and so practical in their function.

6. Expandable utensil trays for drawers

For organizing kitchen drawers, expandable utensil trays are a complete game-changer. No matter what size drawers you have, the right utensil tray will allow you get your drawers neat and ordered. 

Shantae says, "Drawer dividers keep utensils and gadgets in order, preventing them from becoming a tangled mess."

If your kitchen drawers need decluttering, take the time to have a good old clear-out before you place a utensil tray into the drawer. After all, there’s no point storing items you no longer need. 

Don't have space for a utensil tray? A great alternative is to use drawer dividers to make your own customizable layout. For keeping cutlery, utensils, and other miscellaneous items organized, drawer dividers can work wonderfully without wasting space for set sizings that don't work for you.

7. Tiered or raised organizers for shelves and cabinets

An image of a wooden spice rack organizer with spices on it

(Image credit: Canva)

Key items professional organizers always have in a small kitchen are raised and tiered organizers for easier small kitchen cabinet organizing. For maximizing kitchen cabinet space and shelves, tiered and raised organizers are a godsend. 

Chenise says, "Use shelf risers in cabinets and pantries. This gets more use out of the vertical space. You can see what's on lower shelves better too."

Tiered organizers also work well for using to store spices on. Plus, if you are fed up of having to lift out a stack of bowls to get to your dinner plates underneath, tiered organizers are just the ticket. We like this simple corner organic bamboo tiered shelf from Amazon for its sturdiness and four color ways.


How can you start organizing a small kitchen?

Shantae says, "Whenever I work with a client, we always start by decluttering items they rarely use or don't serve a specific purpose in the kitchen. 

"Be ruthless about what deserves the limited space in your cabinets and drawers. Once you've decluttered, it's easier to see what storage solutions will work best for your needs. I like to take everything out and truly take a look at everything in the kitchen.  Yes, this will take time, but it is worth it."

How can you keep your kitchen free of clutter?

"Make decluttering a routine. Regularly assess your kitchen items and get rid of things you no longer need," Shantae advises. "By maintaining a clutter-free kitchen, you'll find joy and efficiency in even the smallest culinary spaces."

These seven things professional organizers always have in a small kitchen for keeping their spaces neat and organized are a real boon for getting your space sorted too. We love that none break the bank and need little to no assembly before they're working their magic in the kitchen.

Now you know how best to use the items recommended by our organizational pros in your small kitchen, take a swing at styling — Dua Lipa's luxe kitchen has had us swooning this month.

These things professional organizers always have in a small kitchen for keeping the space neat and organized are so simple yet truly effective.

Now you know the 'what' and 'how best to use them' in your small kitchen, you will be in a position to maximize the limited space you have and perhaps give singer Dua Lipa's quiet luxe kitchen aesthetic a spin.

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.