Most of us try to keep our kitchens as tidy and organized as possible, but sometimes that can be challenge. Living in a small apartment, that doesn’t have the amenities you long for, can not only make it hard to stay organized, but may make you feel limited in your décor options or abilities. Fear not! You can infuse your personality, style and organization into even the smallest, least-functional of kitchen spaces with these five simple and smart storage ideas.
Hit the thrift stores, flea markets or antique malls to find crocks, tins or other containers to hold your essential kitchen items. They’re perfect for storing flatware, basic cooking utensils or knives conveniently and attractively on countertops. Consider choosing heavier options like marble or sturdy stoneware, for frequently used or larger items—spatulas, wooden spoons and tongs. Less trusty containers, such as tins, can also be used to store spices, napkins and other dining essentials.
Many small kitchens are seriously lacking on adequate cabinet space. Luckily, plenty of kitchen supplies can be hung up—everything from pots and pans to utensils. Channel your inner Julia Child to create your own unique pegboard is a quick weekend project, and you can find a great tutorial over at A Beautiful Mess. Add a fresh coat of paint to the pegboard to add color, interest and style to an otherwise lackluster material.
Hanging racks are another, even simpler, option to utilize vertical space in your kitchen. These are easy to find at most home goods store. If you’re a cyclist, or just want to add a bit of whimsy to the space, suspend an old bicycle wheel to hang your cookware from.
Cabinets aren’t just for shelving. The inside of your cabinet doors can quickly be turned into storage for any number of things. Mount hooks or magnetic strips to the inside of your doors to hold measuring spoons and cups, knives and other small gadgets. Keep coupons, recipe cards or your grocery list handy by mounting a small memo board. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to use chalkboard paint in your kitchen, the backside of cabinet doors might be the perfect place to try it out—add notes, weekly menus or measuring equivalents.
Magnet boards can be handy in any room. Add magnetic strips to the back of store-bought spice jars to keep them organized and easy to find. Or you can purchase small magnetic tins to store homemade dried herbs. These could also be placed on an empty side of the refrigerator near the stove, along with other odds and ends that might otherwise get forgotten at the bottom of a junk drawer. In the kitchen you can leave magnet boards bare for a clean, minimal look or cover them with a fabric that matches your other décor.
Almost every apartment I’ve ever lived in, and some homes, had a lot of unused space above the cabinets. It’s not the most convenient place to store items, I’ll admit, but it is great for lesser-used items such as stock pots, blenders and large equipment that won’t fit inside cabinets. You can also use this area to display decorative items, such as collector’s plates or tea pots.
As with any attempt at organization, your number one rule and first step should always be to eliminate the items that aren’t necessary. Once you’ve cleared the clutter and junk from your kitchen cabinets and drawers, you may find that you actually have a lot more space than you thought. If not, try out one of these ideas to start reorganizing.
Ashley Houk is the web editor for Mother Earth Living. When she’s not producing online content, she’s probably reading or writing blog posts of her own. Find her on WordPress.