Unless you’re lucky enough to have an expansive, airy kitchen or were able to create your dream version from scratch, you’ve probably run into some storage issues over the years. Some kitchens are beautiful, but just weren’t designed to actually be all that usable. Others are outdated or were perfect for previous residents, but just don’t work for you. From counter space issues, to too few, too high, or awkwardly-designed cabinets and beyond, your kitchen is one of those places that you might have to get really creative in order to make the most of the space you do have. Depending on which problem you have (or problems…), there’s a solution out there for you.
If you don’t have enough counter space…
If you like to cook in your kitchen, counter space is pretty crucial. You need space to slice and dice, space to set ingredients and measure, and space to plate up your masterpiece. That means that lack of counter space can be a serious problem. If your kitchen is large enough, adding a little kitchen island (perhaps one on wheels that can move around the space) is a great idea, but if you (like me) simply don’t have the space, consider creating functional burner covers that can go on your stove, using this tutorial from The Kitchn. That way, you’ll have some extra space to prep and place things (before you start cooking, at least) without having to add extra pieces of furniture to your already cramped room.
If your cabinet space is ineffective…
Cabinets can provide some of the best storage in your kitchen, but in order to do so, they have to be set up effectively. If your cabinets aren’t big enough, are too high, have weird shelving setups, or there just aren’t enough of them, you’re really not getting as much out of them as you could. One thing to consider: if you have some room above your stove where you can fit some skinny shelves, that can be a great place for jars of spices, particularly if they’re not out of reach. My landlord put these in for me in my apartment, and it’s been a total game-changer in a very small kitchen.
If the cabinets you have include moveable shelving, consider rearranging things to better suit your needs. Or, you can use any deep drawers the way that you would cabinets and shelves. Stack your cookware or dishes in the drawers for easy access when you need them.
Adding in freestanding shelving is also a possibility if you have a bit of space in your kitchen or dining room. I have three shelves tucked underneath the peninsula in my kitchen, which keeps all of my pots and pans where I can reach it.
If your fridge is always full…
Overflowing refrigerators are a real problem — particularly because you can’t just take everything out and stash it somewhere else. That being said, the first thing to do if your fridge seems to always be full is to double check everything that’s in there to see if everything needs to be in there. Unopened sauces, unripened fruit, bread, and the like can all come out (at least for the time-being). Then, going through and making sure you’re making use of the drawers and shelving in your refrigerator and adding some containers to keep everything organized can make all the difference.
If your floor space seems non-existent…
Sometimes you just don’t have the room to add free-standing shelving, an island, or anything else that has to take up space on the floor to your kitchen. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Consider hanging your pots and pans where they’ll be out of the way, freeing up precious space for dishes and food.
If you don’t have a pantry…
Pantries can store all kinds of things, depending on the kind of pantry that you have. But generally, they’re the perfect place for all of your staples like flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, salt, spices, cereals, dried pasta, rice, and canned goods. Not having that kind of dedicated space brings with it it’s own set of problems. And if your cabinets, drawers, and shelves that you’ve rearranged and added to the kitchen just aren’t quite cutting it, you still need to find a few creative ways to make sure that stuff gets stored without too much trouble. Consider a wall-mounted spice rack (which you could also potentially hang on the inside of a cabinet door, depending on depth) or a very thin freestanding rolling cart. These kinds of things will help fill in the gaps, making your kitchen the most organized one on the block.