After downsizing to the house I am in now, I had to get creative with my kitchen cabinets. Over the years I had accumulated many casserole dishes, pots and pans and more from well-meaning relatives and gifts.
Raising a couple of kids and running a daycare for many years, meant a lot more dishes and plastic containers too. So, once we moved here I was determined to always know what was in each cupboard and drawer and not feel the need to crawl into them to find lids and accessories.
There are many products on the market now to help organize a small kitchen and to utilize all available space so that you can not only store your dishes but also see what you have to eat!
If a gut renovation is not on the books right now, then get creative with a few affordable additions that will help to house all the things you want to keep.
Donation is the First Step
This may be hard to do, but for me it was easier since I could do it while I was packing to move. It still took a bit of work to not want to hang onto that monster pot or casserole dish with the broken lid.
I went through each cabinet one at a time so that I was not overwhelmed. I chose to do one a night and gave myself plenty of time. I had a box open and ready for donations.
I pulled everything out onto the floor and many times I was quite excited to come across things I thought had gone missing years ago!
I then looked at all the items from this one cabinet and basically looked at them and pulled aside the things I would use all the time, and then donated the rest. I had to get ruthless because the kitchen I had to put all these things into was half the size.
Some of the things I donated were taking up huge space that could be used for something else.
I did this with every drawer and every cabinet. As I filled each “donation” box, I taped it shut and labeled it and then slowly got them into the car to take to the reuse center.
Sometimes things were so used up they were destined for the dump, so they had their own box.
By creating a little bit of a schedule, and stating that I would work on one cabinet a night, many nights 3 or 4 would get done without feeling stressed.
Even if you are not moving, you can still empty a cabinet a night. Then give it a good clean and you are now ready to put things back in.
Amazon Price: $8.99 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 30, 2013)
This is one of the best investments in my opinion. You can take that larger space and separate out your plates and bowls and have space for the cups underneath or however you want to organize it. This way you are not stacking things too high and you can see things right away without having to move the cups to find the plates.
You can get these from many department stores but you can also get them online and it is an affordable way to split up the space, especially for dishes. It leaves the cabinets looking much neater too. You could also use this style of storage for open shelves if you have that style of kitchen to keep things looking neat and tidy.
My Gran used to say “everything looks better when it has its own place” which I thing is true.
Canned Goods Organizer
The food cabinet was a mess in my house. I found old soup cans at the back of the cupboard because they simply ended up being pushed there over the years especially when the kids were living at home.
The shelf space would get taken up but there would be about 2 feet in height above all the cans that was wasted space.
So, I found one of these can racks to work out quite well. You can get them for all kinds of other goods too, but for me finding space for tins was a big one.
As you get new tins you can add them to the back of the rows and this way nothing gets left in the deep dark corners of your cabinets for months or maybe even years!
Amazon Price: $19.99 $18.99 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 30, 2013)
Under the Sink Organizer
Most people shove garbage cans, cleaning supplies and other ugly things under there because it always seemed like a useless space with the sink plumbing in the way. You basically put everything on the bottom of that cabinet and that was it.
You may still want to use this space for cleaning supplies but at least they can be well organized with two shelves for lots of space. You could also use this for accessories in your kitchen that you do not use very often or any kind of storage.
This type of storage can adjust to allow for the design of your sink drains. I found this to be the best affordable way to optimize under the kitchen sink. You can get these for under 30 dollars.
Amazon Price: $22.33 $17.97 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 30, 2013)
Over the Sink Shelf
These are a great way to create more storage space especially around the sink. You can use this for dish soap, scrubbers, neatly stacked cute tea towels, or even plants. This gets everything off the counter which is what makes things look so cluttered.
It is easy and quick to set up, and yet looks good too. Perfect if you are renting your small space and need a little extra room without renovation or construction.
This particular one is bamboo but you can get them in chrome or wire rack style. Storage can also look nice and be a part of the kitchen.
By following the above 5 steps I was able to get rid of clutter, and organize my kitchen in such a way that I now know what is in each cabinet with a glance, no more digging or searching.
For under 100 dollars I was able to make life easier in the kitchen.