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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Small kitchens and the joys of organization!

The kitchen is unpacked. {A sigh of relief from the starving Maynard children.} Seriously, what a chore! But it’s done done done. We actually ate dinner as a family around the table last night…granted, dinner was a frozen veggie lasagna, but it’s a step in the right direction!

new kitchen web

Today’s post is all about small kitchen spaces. I know I’m not the only one out there with a small kitchen, and mine isn’t even that bad (anyone from Manhattan out there?).

I have to say, now that I have a smaller kitchen space, I’m more organized than I’ve ever been! Without the luxury of space, I’ve really had to think about what I need and use regularly, and the best way to organize and store it. I’m especially proud of this cupboard. Who needs drawers? Not me!

kitchen cupboard organized web

In addition to buying a few organizing bins as well as uniform tupperware that fit inside one another neatly, we also purchased doors for a small bookcase we have and stuck that against the wall near the kitchen table to serve as a mini pantry. After everything was unpacked and put away, I actually had space left over! In fact, my KitchenAid is going to take a permanent spot on the counter. Yea!

Today it’s all about small kitchens and organizing our kitchen wares. Even with the large kitchen I had before, I certainly wasn’t organizing it as well as I could have been. We could all do with a few good tips! So, bring it on, folks…give us your best advice for organizing kitchen ‘stuff’ and/or tips for working in a tiny kitchen. Can’t wait to hear your great ideas!


  1. 1

    I need to organize my kitchen as well, mine is just about the size of yours. My best advice would be to get rid of everything you don’t actually use, they are the worst space- hoggers!.

  2. 2

    I’ve always used Lazy Susan’s for our spice/oils cupboards. If you have a tall cupboard or can take out the shelf above, I like the three-tiered kind. Our spaces were always so narrow and if I didn’t have my lazy susan, I would constantly be knocking over or moving what’s in front to get to spices at the back.

  3. 3

    Yea! I am glad your kitchen is unpacked. It looks great! I will never have a big enough kitchen:) I have too many kitchen appliances and gadgets. I like to color coordinate my dishes and keep similar products together-baking, spices, canned goods, etc.

  4. Hello Jane! So nice to meet you (through Amy). Oh my, did I ever have the tiniest kitchen not too long ago. I survived a kitchen remodel, but I just got used to storing stuff in the garage. Not what you want to hear, uh?

    You’re looking pretty organized there, girl! 🙂

  5. Have no real advice other than eat out a lot..;-) ha! Just wanted to sigh a sigh of relief for you! shwew! and the kitchen looks great!

  6. 6
    Sarah L

    I find myself with enough counter space to cook on…most of the time, but never enough room to store things! I’ve gotten used to having my buffet in the dining room full of kitchen gadgets (I guess it’s good I don’t own china!)

  7. 7

    I’m with Becca on the lazy susan for spices! I also like to use hooks on the wall for pot holders & a rack to hang pots. No wasted space!

  8. Ummm, did they install that microwave for you? I guess they love you! Enjoy the small kitchen space and good luck with rent collection!

  9. 9
    Jane Maynard

    I LOVE the lazy susan idea for recipes…so smart. love all the other comments, too…keep ’em coming!

    jaci – of course they love me 😉 just kiddin…

  10. I’ve got a small kitchen but am so not good at organizing. I also find I rotate things…if I’ve got the kitchenaid I bake a lot, switch with cuisenart who knows what I’ll make 🙂 I did get a little convection oven (my first ever toaster oven) which is awesome, takes up some room but serves as oven, toater, and cooling rack on top. Having a dog means you can’t leave food around at countertop level ever without supervision.

  11. 11

    I relocated this last summer from SoCAL to Manhattan. I was so nervous about the size of my kitchen in our small apartment. But it is amazing what a little organization and down-sizing can do!
    Here are a few of my tips:
    -Find simple but elegant bowls that can double as mixing and serving bowls (that way you don’t have to store both)
    -You really don’t need 5 wooden spoons and 8 different kinds of spatulas. I have a great ‘fish’ spatula from Williams Sonoma that I use for everything.
    – A large butcher block cutting board can rest over the sink which can give you extra ‘counter top’ space
    – Be creative in obtaining “kitchen” furniture. I bought a great desk storage piece from IKEA that sits right outside my galley kitchen that I use to store dish cloths, ziplock bags, spices, etc.

  12. 12

    Janers, the kitchen looks so cute and neat and clean and new! Love it.

    Can’t wait to have you in MY kitchen in May. I think we need to conquer our arch- rival– the Trifle. Let’s call Megan over and tackle that baby once for all.

  13. 13

    No tips – just wanted to say – Hooray for unpacking!! It does feel good after it’s done!

  14. 14

    Ikea has a ton of organization thinks that you can hang on the walls and store spoons or whatever in. I love ikea. Check the website out and you will be inspired

  15. 15

    My cousin has just survived 7 years of her husband’s mid-life career change…and so been in student housing with 5 and then 6 children. Frankly she is a saint but also the most organized person I know. In her tiny kitchen everything has a place. One thing she does is use an over the door organizer for inside some cupboards for things like ziplocs and even some of her most commonly used spices.

  16. 16

    I live in a townhouse style apartment in Massachusetts and my kitchen is fairly small. We moved from a 4-bedroom house to a 2 bedroom apartment. The kitchen itself is small but is open so, it’s not so bad. One thing I have found that works for me was to apply the same concept to my kitchen that I do when I clean out my closet. I got rid of anything I haven’t used in 6 months -a year. That got rid of a lot of smaller not so useful appliances. Then, I keep the largest counter free of everything so I have a workspace. I also organize my cupboards so that I can fit everything in there and still find it. I also find chopping and prepping ahead of time really helps. When I try to do it all right around dinner time I find I am running out of space because I’m trying to do so many things at once. That’s what works for me!

  17. 17

    I am probably not the best to suggest seeing I have a huge amount of kitchen storage and still manage to have gadgets and appliances that have to live down in the basement(nasty gadget addiction). That being said in the last apartment I was in I had luck freeing up a lot of space cheaply by using something like this for hanging pots and pans: (I know it was a towel rack that looked similar to this I am not sure if this was the exact one)

  18. I also am super lucky to have a fairly large kitchen – especially for newly weds. However, I am crazy about being organized and get stressed when things don’t have a spot, so I have decided that if something only has one use – its gotta go. We decided not to buy a rice cooker, we got rid of our pasta cooker and sandwich maker. These are all things that were really just taking up space, since most of the time I just cook all these things stove top. And I have my kitchenaid on my counter as well – its so pretty, I couldn’t bring myself to store it away!

  19. I sent you a tweet with the link to my ideas, but it looks like you’ve done a really great job here! Love the idea of those bins in the cupboard, even though I don’t have a tiny kitchen some of those would give me some extra space. You go girl!

  20. 20
    Nikki CB

    Looks awesome! I have these metal/wire racks that basically split a cupboard shelf in half – so if you have short items you can stack them under and on top of the rack/riser. It works really well. Great tips from everyone, good idea Jane.

  21. 21

    If you have an extra door in your kitchen take a shoe organizer and hang it up and put extra kitchen stuff there. You can cut them and hang them on the inside of cupboards too. We use these all over the house for toys, tools, etc. I have them in the car hanging from the back of the front seats to organize my kid’s car stuff, in the shower (with holes cut for drainage) for bath toys. The limit on using these is only your imagination. I do usually hang them on the inside of cupboards/ doors so they aren’t visible to everyone, avoids the cluttered look. My kids have decorated clear ones and use them in their playroom for stuff.

    Good luck! My kitchen is the first think I clean and keep organized, drives me crazy otherwise!! 🙂

  22. 22

    It’s not the size of the kitchen but how you use it. I have a small kitchen but I’ve made some great meals in it.

  23. 23

    If you want to downsize your utensil collection but aren’t sure which ones to toss try putting all of them in a box for a month and as you use them put them back in the drawer. At the end of the month the ones that are still in the box are the ones to toss.

    Use wall space, a shelf over the stove to store spices free’s up cabinet space. Store things under the sink; this can be a great place to store pots and pans or large containers or oil or shortening.

  24. 24

    Those cupboards make me happy. I love a well organized cupboard! We have a much smaller kitchen in our new place, but we haven’t put forth ANY effort to organize. You might just be my motivation to do it!!

  25. 25

    I use plastic snap lock boxes to store stuff and organize. I can stack very nicely with them. We also use metal wire shelves over the back of the stove for things like frequently used pots and our tea kettle.

  26. 26
    Jana Barbay

    I have a very small kitchen with an ajoining small dining room. I had absolutely no kitchen counter space for all my electronics..much less enough cabinet space. My husband and I bought William’s Sonoma wooden shelving. The magazine displayed it in a large pantry. We bought enought to line one wall (3 units) and now store mixing bowls, kitchen appliances, some cookbooks, platters, canisters etc. on them. We get tons of compliments. Everyone loves the way they look and they are extremely functional. It’s great not having to work around occasionally used appliances like my icecream maker. We also purchased some of their wicker baskets and we store dish towels, cupcake liners, cookie cutters etc. in them.

  27. 27

    3M’s command hooks are everywhere in my kitchen. Almost every cabinet door has one/some attached to the inside, and there are things hung on almost every door–pot holders, cutting board, etc.

    Also, I attached cork board to the inside of one door right over the main work area. I have almost no counter space, so when I’m cooking I can tack my recipe/task list to the inside of the cabinet door (which would be open almost constantly anyway) and not have to worry about it getting wet/lost/icky… and I can see it to boot!

    I have all my spices in a drawer, labeled on the top so I can see them. But I covet the rack on this page:

  28. you are just full of good tips, huh bethanie? thank you!!! 🙂

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