5 helpful ways to organize a small kitchen — from the experts

Girl, start decluttering with these ways to organize a small kitchen

The Pinterior black marble kitchen counter
(Image credit: The Pinterior @thepinterior)

You're going to need some ways to organize a small kitchen if you're a little stressed in your space. For those kitchens lacking in spare square footage, keeping things neat and tidy is essential. 

While you can’t easily increase the size or layout of your kitchen, you can always re-evaluate what makes sense in your space. Even for the coziest of kitchens, the right helpful tips can help you make the most of your space. 

If you're running out of small kitchen ideas, see our top tips for some much-needed inspo. Our expert advice proves that small kitchens can function just as well as larger ones. 

5 ways to organize a small kitchen

1. Attach utensils to the wall

Mohammad Ahmed, an interior designer and founder of The Home Guidance, recommends shopping for storage options that can be attached to the wall. “Vertical storage,” Ahmed notes. “Wall-mounted racks can be used to hang pots, pans, and utensils. Magnetic knife strips are also great for keeping knives accessible and off the counter.” 

Items such as The Original Gorilla Grip Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Holder or a ceiling-installed hanger for storing pots and pans (such as this Brass one from Etsy) could free up much-needed counter space. 

2. Organize your drawer space

If wall space isn’t accessible, maximizing your drawer space is another option to store utensils and other kitchen necessities. “Drawer dividers can be used to segment utensils, silverware, and other kitchen tools to ensure every item has its place,” Ahmed adds. 

Items such as this funky hexagon-style plastic drawer divider from Amazon are great for organizing even the messiest of drawers. 

3. Store some kitchen items in another room

Ben Soreff is a professional organizer at House to Home Organizing and believes that organizing can come down to one simple rule. “The things we don’t use frequently, we should store more remotely,” Soreff explains, “If we are talking about the kitchen specifically, then items like entertaining or holiday serving, such Thanksgiving platters, can live in kitchen runoff in the basement, etcetera”. 

Items such as these Jumbo Box plastic bins from The Container Store can help you view the contents, allowing you to tuck away your holiday items for easy access once a year. 

4. Designate a home for every item

For Soreff, decluttering is also a necessary move before learning how best to organize your kitchen. This will help you determine which items are needed and where those items will go. “Items we use frequently need to ‘live’ in an area for easy use. After reviewing our kitchen items and determining which items should be stored more remotely, which items can be donated or tossed, we now need to find the best location for the remaining items,” he explains. One helpful tip is to divide everything into its own category. 

“Everything is a category like baking, cooking, formal, everyday, utility, and decor,” he says. 

Items such as this Yamazaki Expandable Countertop Organizer or this YouCopia UpSpace Bottle Organizer, both available from West Elm, help to keep everything in one category in one organized area. 

5. Consider what gets buried in cabinets

“We want to put items where they belong, not just where they fit,” Soreff says. “Cramming every dish, bowl, and cup in the cabinet is very easy, but getting them out again is a nightmare. We want to think about the next step and focus on making sure the items can come out again easily.” 

When packing your cabinets, be sure to place lesser-used items in the back while keeping items like strainers, or your favorite salad spinner, in an easy-to-reach spot.  

You can even go one step further and keep everything color-coded. This Slate Blue 10-Piece Set from Crate & Barrel is a great way to spot which items are for baking, even when they’re buried in the cabinet. Or use one of our favorite cabinet organizers to help organize even more.

Kitchen Organization FAQs

How do I know when I’m going overboard with the organizing bins?

It can be difficult to believe that getting organized means filling a cart full of organizing products but real organization is a different process. 

Start by analyzing what needs to be organized and measure the spaces of your cabinets and drawers. This will help you determine what can be better suited in an organizational bin and stop you from over-buying. 

How can I function in a kitchen with very little counter space?

Counter space is imperative for home cooks. For kitchens with little counter space, start by considering what is already taking up space. 

Maybe there’s a coffee maker you never use or a juicer that can be stored away in a cabinet. 

Next, consider a portable kitchen island. These islands can be tucked away in a corner and used as counter space when needed.

Meet The Experts

Mohammad Ahmed
Mohammad Ahmed

Mohammad Ahmed is an interior designer and home expert. He did his bachelors degree in interior design at the University of Minnesota in 2013 and since then has worked as an interior designer in various companies, designing functional and beautiful spaces for clients.

Ben Soreff
Ben Soreff

Originally from Portland, Maine, Ben Soreff is a professional organizer at House to Home Organizing in Connecticut. Having graduated from Skidmore College, Ben has extensive experience working in organizing, and even has experience with Level 5 Hoarders. 

From reorganizing your pantry to finding more counter space by decluttering, organizing your kitchen takes time and lots of thought about how you want the space to function. 

Instead of being put off by rearranging everything, plan ahead by taking a look at what can change and what’s already in the most organized manner it can be. Take these expert tips and tricks to get your small kitchen to become your favorite part of your space. 

Kate Santos

Hello! I’m Kate Santos, a writer and photographer based in Los Angeles. In the design world, I got my start working as an Editorial Intern for Dwell magazine in San Francisco. Since then, I’ve written about design and architecture in many national magazines and online publications, including Playboy, Hunker, and The Culture Trip.

I grew up in a very old house in North Carolina and am still influenced by the rustic, charming, antique and aged elements of a home. Sustainability and longevity is extremely important to me and I believe learning to reuse materials or purchasing items you’ll love forever goes a long way. I also lean towards the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi when designing my own home, embracing the perfectly imperfect items I can find.