Are you starved for space in your pint-sized kitchen? Even if you've recently upgraded your kitchen design or moved into a place with a bigger kitchen, size is relative. Ever notice that kitchens have a way of shrinking over time?
Regardless of how small or sprawling your kitchen is, while most kitchen blogs will encourage you to maximize space, we're more about optimizing space. Creating more kitchen counter space or cupboard space is a great approach, but some kitchens simply don't allow for that. So instead, we offer some suggestions for how to make clever use of the space you already have.
On a side note, this is a good approach to life too--appreciating what we already have rather than wishing for more. Learning to stretch our dollar a little further if earning more isn't a realistic option. Making good use of those leftovers rather than chucking them and ordering take-out. Showing up a little better in our relationships instead of collecting false friendships.
Your Kitchen Is Your Sanctuary
Here's the thing about kitchens: they should be comfortable, convenient, and functional. The last thing you want to do at the end of a long and tiring day is have to deal with the stresses of a cramped and cluttered kitchen. But to achieve that, you need to invest a bit of thought and time upfront.
In this blog, we're going to run through some useful kitchen organization hacks on how to make more counter space in a small kitchen and optimize all of those spaces you wouldn't otherwise notice were viable storage options. On top of that, we're going to rate them by their ease and expense, with 10 as the easiest and least expensive option to implement, and a score of 1 as the more challenging and high-ticket options.
Oh, and did we mention that you can put these tips to use inside a campervan kitchen too? After all, summer is just around the corner and air travel is limited these days.
Ready? Let's get started!
7 Ways to Optimize Your Kitchen Space
A Rolling Pantry
Ease Score: 3
Expense Score: 4
Use all that extra space around your fridge to store non-perishables and non-edible pantry items like extra paper towel, dish soap, kitchen sponges, dishtowels, and more. A rolling pantry is essentially a tall, slender shelf on wheels that slots into that wasted space between your fridge and the wall. In addition, you can also slide a tray on top of your fridge and stash your teas, non-essential cutlery, and other like items. The critical bit is choosing items that aren't affected by the heat your refrigerator generates.
Ease Score: 2
Expense Score: 4
Of course a tiled, unadorned backsplash looks nice, and it certainly makes sense in a sprawling, state-of-the-art kitchen. But if that's not the kitchen you have, then you want to use that space diligently. Let's not call it wasted space, shall we? Instead, consider backsplash as fertile kitchen real estate.
Install a pegboard as kitchen backsplash from which to hang large kitchen utensils like ladles, spatulas, and more. Those hooks also come in handy for hanging dish cloths and towels or little objets d'art that you'd otherwise have no space for (who says we have to limit our kitchen inventory to practical items just because we have a small kitchen?!).
Corkboard also makes an excellent backsplash, and it doubles as a home for organizing all those to-do items, photographs, and recipe cards that may otherwise end up stuck to your fridge or in the dreaded kitchen junk drawer.
Want something novel, changeable, and that everyone in the family can appreciate? Consider installing a blackboard, aka chalkboard, as a backsplash. Just make sure you don't scrawl those important reminders right above the sink!
Ease Score: 7
Expense Score: 6
If standing space is tight, then you don't want permanent fixtures or big, heavy items you have to move every day. Install a folding table in a location where extra counter space would be convenient if it didn't take up so much space. That way you can pop it up when you need it and fold it down when you don't. A pop-up table is ideal for those times you're prepping a big dinner for the family or doing crafts with the kids.
Kitchen Utensils Curtain Rod
Ease Score: 8
Expense Score: 9
For the creative eye, a curtain rod isn't just for curtains! It's also a convenient place to store those larger kitchen utensils if you don't have space on your countertop for a kitchen utensils holder. It's an easy installation and it costs next to nothing. It also doubles as a place from which to hang small plants.
Over The Sink Cutting Board
Ease Score: 10
Expense Score: 10
There are few tasks more frustrating than chopping vegetables for an entire salad on a cutting board you've had to cram into a small space. In my college days, my studio apartment kitchen was so tiny I had only about 15" x 15" of counter space with which to chop and assemble food, stack dirty dishes, and store all those frequently-used implements, like my electric kettle. So the line-up of food awaiting preparation usually sat on the end of my bed until I had the wild idea to buy a cutting board that was long enough to lay over my kitchen sink. Problem solved, and salad made with the least amount of frustration and expense.
Folding Dish Rack
Ease Score: 10
Expense Score: 10
This one may seem like an obvious option at first glance, until you realize that actually, it's one of those frequently-overlooked items. Most disk racks are super-sized or cumbersome items that hog kitchen countertop real estate, and the worst part is that they're not even in use a good chunk of the time.
You can find folding dish racks at IKEA and other similar stores. There are plenty available on the Amazon marketplace too. When you're done with it, simply fold it up and stow it under the sink or slide it on top of your refrigerator, out of sight. It's an easy-peasy solution to creating more counter space in your kitchen.
Ease Score: 10
Expense Score: 8
Anyone love cute little shelves? Select one that is tall enough for you to stow your coffee maker or other permanent countertop fixture underneath. Line it with all those small clutter-makers, like salt and pepper shakers, spice jars, your butter dish, and other similar items.
From Cramped To Comfortable...
Check out our Facebook page for more ideas on how to make your kitchen comfortable, convenient, and functional--like a place you actually want to spend time in. Meals really do taste better when they're cooked in a no-stress environment. So, investing time and money now to avoid endless days of frustration is worth the effort--we guarantee it!
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From our kitchen to yours, enjoy a comfortable, convenient kitchen this spring!