How We Make Our Small Kitchen Function Better

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Ok, I’m gonna make this intro as short and sweet as I can so that you can get to work right away on these easy ways to organize your kitchen and make it function better. I know that my kitchen is relatively small so it might not seem like I should have that much to do but it is the opposite. I have a lot of stuff crammed into my tiny kitchen where we cook at least 3 meals a day not counting snacks.

Work Space and Zones

I think we have all heard of the work triangle that we should have in our kitchen, right? Well that is pretty much nonexistent in our kitchen. No matter how I’ve tried to rearrange our sink, stove, and fridge just aren’t gonna make any kind of triangle so we make the best with what we have.We do have little zones set up though for different areas.

Under The Sink Storage

Under the sink is where the some of the cleaning supplies are stored as well as my bigger jugs of molasses and vinegars. I also have a couple of stacking bins under there to hold the sponges, brillos, and miscellaneous items. When my kids were younger I always tried to keep this cabinet childproofed.

I really want to try some of these little organizers or I might possibly just buy some of these to keep my sponges (these little things are AMAZING!) and other little odds and ends in to help keep the sink area looking neat and tidy.

Above the sink I do use the window sill to keep a few things within arm’s reach like my Ulu knife which I love! For now I also have a little basket for my essential oils but I have ordered this little organizer for them. (I never thought I’d be hooked on oils like I am. Check out my Affiliate Links page for a special code from Simply Earth.)

Cabinet and Drawer Organization

We have all of our baking pans together in one bottom cabinet (I only have two lower cabinets and two upper cabinets!) I use an old file sorter standing on its side to keep the baking pans, serving trays, and the kids’ cutting boards neat and tidy. We did have the mixing bowls in the cabinet above them but it was too hard for the kids to reach so we moved them to a pantry shelf.

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Most of the cooking utensils are hung on the wall within arm’s reach of the stove. (Picture below.) Some of the other ones are in the two drawers closest to the stove. One drawer holds the utensils that the kids use like their new peelers, measuring cups, and measuring spoons while the other one holds some of my herbal teas and lesser used utensils. (When we moved we purged a lot of utensils that we rarely used and you may want to do the same if you have too many.)

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The majority of my spices are in the spice racks that I have hung above the utensils. I also have a couple of small bins that fit just right in the small cabinet above the stove. The bins make it easy for me to reach them and grab what I need. I am just a step or two away from any spices or seasonings I may need when cooking.

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I left the old can opener on the wall because I really like it and it still works, at least for me it does. Do you like the Dutch Oven Mr. Awesom got me for Christmas? He did really good, didn’t he? It’s current home is right where it is because it’s so pretty!

The drawer below the dish drainer holds the silverware. It is too narrow for most silverware trays so we just use a few long trays to sort the silverware. We also have a few of these in the utensil drawers for smaller items.

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Another drawer holds the tin foil, saran wrap, and wax paper. I really would like to get one of these organizers to store them in so I can free up a drawer for something else.

The storage containers are all in the cabinet underneath along with our meal prep containers. I have a small wire basket to hold all of the storage container lids which makes it much easier when the kids are putting away dishes.

The cabinets above the dish drainer hold the plates, bowls, and cups on the lower two shelves. The top smaller shelf holds the lesser used glasses and such. The other top cabinet which is above the microwave and coffee maker holds the coffee supplies, large coffee cups, tea bags, and vitamins on a lazy susan. The tip top shelf holds a couple of small bins with the packaged seasoning mixes and some shelf stable milk.

Small Kitchen

Don’t forget the top of the cabinets! They store a few items that I don’t use very often as well as a couple of decorative items that I really wanted to keep when we moved. I may eventually add a small shelf to go between the two upper cabinets and maybe some corner shelves of some sort to fill in the area between the wall and the upper cabinets.

There is an awkard space between the wall and the lower cabinets which works well to store my serving trays on one side and then my cake decorating supplies, which are stored in clear boxes, on the other side.

Counter Space

Our counter space is very limited and we really only have one counter top which is pretty much used up with the microwave, coffee maker, dish drainer, stand mixer, and knife block. So there isn’t much work space available.

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We do have a rolling cart (see below) that we use in the middle of the kitchen. It stores our deep fryer and extra coffee. We also keep the fruit bowl on this counter as well as that cute bin to hold everyone’s water bottles that we use throughout the day. You can see how I dressed up this old cart here. This little cart comes in so useful as the kids can all gather around when they are working on their cooking lessons and their KidStir boxes.

Pot Rack

When we first decided to move I knew that the storage options were going to be limited so I found a pot rack to hang on the wall. (It took me a couple of months to find one I liked at a price I was comfortable with.)

Originally I had it hung where the spice racks are but I couldn’t open one of the cabinet doors so we had to move it to the other side of the kitchen. It’s not ideal but the kitchen is so small it’s really not much of a bother either. I really like that I can store almost all of my pots and lids on this one rack.

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Beside the rack I have an old hanging planter that holds our onions. Then below the rack is an old shelf that I’ve had for awhile. I added a couple of bins and baskets to store the dish towels and rags, the small appliances like the can opener and mixer, potatoes, and some other miscellaneous things. I also store my griddle down beside the shelf so it is easy to reach.

Pantry Cabinets

Since storage was an issue and I had the cabinets full of dishes I needed somewhere to put the food. I had these three cabinets from the old house and we just place them in the kitchen and secured them to the wall so there was no danger of the kids tipping them over. One cabinet holds my cookbooks, morning quiet time basket, momma’s cookies (shhhh), mixing bowls, and appliances like the toaster, waffle iron, and food processor. The other two hold the majority of the dry goods and such.

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The foods are organized into the following sections:

  1. Cereals
  2. Peanut butter, jelly, and canned fruits
  3. Canned veggies and sauces
  4. Pastas, beans, and rice
  5. Baking supplies
  6. Baking mixes
  7. Snacks
  8. Large/bulky items, condiments

For the most part we are able to keep these organized and everyone knows where to look for items they need.

In such a small space I try to take advantage of every area that I can and this includes the top of the pantry shelves. I keep the bread basket up there along with my big and little crock pots, turkey fryer, air fryer, and a couple of other containers that hold plastic silverware and such.

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(This picture kinda makes it look like the fryer is falling but I promise it isn’t.) The kids also use the cabinet knobs to hang their glasses on when they lay down for naps and bedtime.

Above the Fridge

Ok, so this is the one area that bothers me the most as I have never really been one to store anything on top of my fridge, Why? I don’t know for sure but I had to get over that really quickly here, at least for now. This is where we keep a lot of the bulky boxed items we buy at Sam’s or Walmart. Not my favorite place to store them but it works for now.

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A couple of other things that are kept near the fridge are the step stool (also doubles as an extra chair sometimes). I also keep my grocery list, magnetic pad, and the menu for our favorite Chinese Restaurant on the side.

On the other side I have a wall organizer which holds the broom, mop, dusters, aprons, and reusable grocery bags.

Maintenance

No matter how hard you work to get your kitchen organized it won’t stay that way if you don’t maintain it. One thing I’ve learned from living in this small house is that you have to maintain it every day! By doing a little every day it keeps us from having a big mess later on.

You don’t need to go out and spend a lot of money to organize your kitchen. There are a few items I really want to buy but I will buy them a few at time. For the most part I have reused items we already had like the little bin for the water bottles which was something from a gift set I received at one time. Many of the little baskets and such came from Dollar Tree as well.

I have reorganized a few things since we moved in and there are still a few areas that need to be tweaked as we go along. One small example was the when I had the stand mixer in the corner where the knife block is now. I couldn’t access it very well without moving everything else off the counter. By swapping places I can easily pull the mixer out when I need it and then slide it back when I finish.

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Our kitchen also serves as the staging area for many of our videos and photographs so it does serve as a multipurpose room in many ways and it needs to be kid friendly. By keeping it organized it saves us a lot of time as we don’t have to go searching for things, at least not to often, and money because we aren’t buying duplicates of things that we can’t find. It also helps me keep my sanity which seems to be slipping away a little at a time. I hope you found some of these tips useful.

You can also check out this link for more information:

8 Ways to Streamline Your Kitchen Organization

 

Want to add affiliate links without the hassle? Try out this link here.

 

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