16 Small Kitchen Storage Ideas for a More Efficient Space


A small kitchen can quickly feel cramped—especially if both counter and cabinet space is limited. With an overflowing collection of pots, pans, utensils, and appliances, finding a place to store everything may seem like a daunting task. However, with a few innovative small kitchen storage ideas up your sleeve, you’ll be well on your way to a streamlined setup. We spoke with organizing experts to help you tackle all your storage woes and create a space where you love spending time.

Nix Items You Don’t Use

Natalia Robert

Start by taking inventory of the items you have so you can get a feel for everything you own. Donate anything still functioning that you haven’t used in the last year, as well as duplicates of items (like all those water bottles and mugs!). Toss anything that’s broken or unsafe to use.

“You will have the best results by removing all of your items stored in your kitchen and grouping them by categories,” says Leslie Lehr, a professional organizer. “Also discard expired food and set aside occasional and non-kitchen products that could be stored in another area of the home.” For example, cookbooks, documents, and medications don’t necessarily need to stay in the kitchen.

Get Creative With Cabinet Doors

Courtesy of The Container Store

You’re certainly utilizing space inside your cabinets and pantry, but what about the door itself? “There is unused storage real estate available when you use the back of a cabinet door and pantry as a possibility,” Lehr says. “Measure each door you plan to use for additional storage, then research online resources or visit stores in person to locate the right product for your needs.”

Utilize Your Wall Space

David Patterson Photography

For extra storage, take advantage of the vertical space on your kitchen walls to free up counters and cabinets. Consider installing wall shelves—which are perfect for storing spices, utensils, and small appliances—or get creative with hooks. These are great for hanging pots and pans, saving space while adding some decorative flair.

Optimize Your 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.

Store Utensils in a Drawer


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.”

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.

Add Knife Storage on the Wall

Rebecca McAlpin

A wall-mounted knife block—as seen 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.

Add Open Shelves

Sam Lund

One of Martha’s favorite design features includes open shelving, as they help alleviate a cramped space while providing an opportunity to showcase your kitchenware essentials. “If you are keeping everyday 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.”

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.

Use Clear Food Storage Containers

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.

Focus on Vertical Storage

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

Think Outside of the Kitchen

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.

Have a Designated Utility Closet

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.

Add a Spice Rack

Pernille Loof

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.

Make Your Own Pegboard

Pernille Loof

Saving space will be easy if you hang a custom pegboard 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.

Organize Your Storage 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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