Apartment Living BlogApartment Living › 15 Small Kitchen Storage & Organization Ideas

Are you planning to cook for the holidays this year? Cooking in a small kitchen can be really frustrating, but if you get creative about your kitchen storage you’ll find you probably have a lot more room than you thought! Here are a bunch of creative storage ideas and organization tips to help you make the most of your small kitchen!

Storage & Organization Tips For A Small Kitchen

We live in a small apartment, but I absolutely LOVE our kitchen. It’s small, but I’m going to show you some of the tips and tricks we use to make the most of the limited space!

1. Pot lid storage

Install a towel bar above your stove to store pot lids. When you uncover a pot to stir it, you can store the lid in the towel bar rather than using counter space to set it down!

2. Use the space above your doorway for storage

The space above your doorway is probably not being used, so hang a shelf up there! Since we don’t have room for a liquor cabinet, I turned part of a pallet into a shelf to hold a few bottles, and mounted it above our doorway. I’m not tall enough to reach the shelf without a step stool, so just make sure you aren’t storing things you’re going to need every ten minutes.

If you want to see the full tutorial for this pallet shelf project or any of the others in this post, you can find them at Practically Functional!

3. Create cheerful, open storage

Remove upper cabinet doors to open up your kitchen; the open shelving makes the room feel bigger. Bonus points if you wallpaper the inside of the cabinets with removable wallpaper to add a pop of color!

4. Store things on your counters if you’re short on cabinet space

If you don’t have a lot of cabinet space, you can leave your most used kitchen items on the counters. Make sure to keep it all organized so it’s easy to access what you need when you need it. And be sure to leave the front half of the counters clear so you can use them for preparing food!

5. Organize items on your counters with trays

Use trays to help keep items on your counters organized. I make tea most days, so I keep all of my tea and beverage making items on a tray right next to the stove so that I don’t have to search the whole kitchen to find what I’m looking for.

6. Get organized with labels

The easiest way to organize anything is to label the containers! This way you can store things efficiently and it’s still easy to find them when you need them! When placing your labels, make sure they’ll be visible once you put the containers away. Label the tops of anything that’s going in a drawer or will sit out on the counters, but label the front of anything that’s going to be put in a cabinet.

7. Put your favorite recipes in an easy-to-access binder

Our recipe binder lives on the counter and it contains all of our favorite recipes. When we find a great recipe I type it up, print it out, and stick it in a page protector in the binder. Tab dividers make it very easy to find what we’re looking for, plus we can pull one page out at a time and leave it on the counter for reference, and if anything spills, we can just wipe it up with a sponge!

8. Hang things instead of putting them in a drawer or on the counter

Use a 3M hook to hang your hot pads on the outside of your upper cabinets. This way you can get to them easily and they aren’t taking up space in your kitchen drawers. Plus the 3M hooks are removable, which means no permanent damage to the cabinets when you move out! Another thing that can hang is your paper towels. Use a paper towel holder that mounts under an upper cabinet rather than one that sits on top of your counter to free up counter space.

9. Add a portable dishwasher

If your rental didn’t come with a dishwasher, you can get a portable one! Portable dishwashers usually sit on casters so they can be rolled away when not in use. But if you have room to leave it in your kitchen permanently, just set it up near your sink and use the top as extra counter space! (You can use another 3M hook to hold up the connector hose so that it’s out of the way of the sink, but easily accessible.)

10. Store knives on a magnetic knife rack

Magnetic knife racks are easy to install and they’re incredibly useful! They keep knives in easy reach so you never have to open a drawer and search around, and you don’t have to give up counter space to have a knife block.

11. Keep useful stuff within easy reach of the sink

I know I said keep your counters reasonably clear, but the one time that rule isn’t true is when it comes to your kitchen sink. You definitely want important dish-cleaning supplies on the counter so that you don’t have to open a drawer or cabinet with wet, soapy hands to find a sponge or brush.

But some things don’t have to sit on the counter; you can hang them up instead. Install a bar above your sink so you can hang a dish cloth to dry (I found a long door pull at Home Depot that was perfect!) Still accessible, but out of the way. I also hung our watering can just above the sink with a small picture hanger. It’s perfect because it’s always in easy reach whenever I need to water our plants and it’s not taking up counter space.

12. Utilize the back of cabinet doors

Find a good organizer that hangs over a cabinet door (we found these at Bed Bath & Beyond) to store cleaning supplies etc. These are great because in addition to the organizers inside the cabinet, there is also a rod on the outside that is perfect for hanging dish towels!

You can also use the inside of a cabinet door to hang a magnetic spice rack! This way your spices are easy to find, they don’t take up any room on the pantry shelves, and you can see exactly how much of a spice you have left!

13. Hang produce from the ceiling

Install a hanging basket to keep your produce organized and up off the counter.

14. Make a drop space in the entryway

If you have a back door that leads into your kitchen, make a drop space for your keys and sunglasses so they don’t end up on your counter somewhere! We actually rescued this little shelf from a dumpster in our alley and it turns out it’s just perfect for this!

15. You don’t need to use the dine-in area for dining if you don’t want to

If you have a dine-in kitchen, you can use that space for storage if your dining table will fit in another room! You can add open shelving and use it as a pantry, or put a desk in the space and use it as a command center. Remember that your kitchen is your own and you can organize it however you want, even if it that isn’t ‘what it’s for.’ Get creative!

What tricks do you use to maximize the space in your kitchen?

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About :

Hi! I'm Jessi, the blogger behind Practically Functional, a blog about simple, practical projects and ideas to help you love your home, no matter where you live! I decorate, I craft, I DIY, I build, I organize, I cook… I even garden in our tiny 650 square foot apartment, and we love every single square foot of our little home! And Practically Functional can help you love yours too, no matter where you live! Make sure you follow along by RSS or subscribe by email so you don't miss anything!



  1. Great ideas, thanks. Can’t wait to use a few.

    • I love the magnetic spice keeper and the magnetic knife rack, but neither are available in my small town. Can you give me the names of a couple of stores that sell these? would like to make sure that the knife rack, especially, is strong enough to hold them securely. Thanks.

      • I found one at Bed Bath and Beyond for around $16 – they also have online shopping. It works great – esp with small kids!

      • You can get the magnetic knife holder and the spice rack and jars at Ikea. I think you can order them online too.

  2. Those are great tips, Jessi! There are a few that I am going to implement in my kitchen ASAP!

  3. So many clever ideas! I love the pot lid trick!

  4. Great ideas I love the wine storage that is so cool!

  5. Amanda @ Serenity Now says:

    Love that pot lid storage idea…that’s a good one!

  6. Even in a big kitchen, I’m constantly in need of good storage ideas. Thanks for the great list!

  7. I, unfortunately, have a teeny tiny kitchen. Going to put tons of these hints to use!

  8. Great ideas, pinning for later!!!

  9. That pallet shelf is A-DORABLE! I’m definitely going to have to make that!

  10. Claire @ A Little Claireification says:

    Jessi these are fantastic ideas!! Our kitchen is smaller now than in our old home and there are some awesome tips here! Pinned! xo

  11. Morgan @ Modern Mommyhood says:

    Wonderful ideas! I absolutely love the magnetic spice rack and didn’t even know those existed!

  12. Great tips! I am loving that wine rack!!

  13. laura caudillo says:

    I used your idea to Organize items on your counters with trays.

    thanks, it worked for me.

  14. Cameron Jolie says:

    Fabulous job with awesome idea!

  15. Wonderful ideas says:

    These alternate wonderful ideas really helps.

  16. flatpack kitchen installers Sydney says:

    Thanks for the great ideas. With this innovation ideas, you kitchen can be a nice place where you can keep in good condition with elegant look.

  17. I will be using quite a few of these tips since we lost 1/2 of our storage space when we moved. Your awesome!

  18. I have a towel bar hung and bought some S hooks hanging on it hang my wire strainer{too big for a drawer) measuring cups/spoons, a tea towel, my apron, a cloth bag that holds garlic and small onions.

  19. where do you find the magnetic spice rack for kitchen cabinet door?

  20. This is actually the sight I saw the magnetic spice rack for kitchen cabinet door. where do you purchase?

  21. I love these ideas! I have a small kitchen at my apartment and this Christmas everyone will come at home and I am a little in a stress because of the small space. Thanks for the tips, I will try them for sure! Regards!

  22. Great storage organization tips! I’m going to try them right away. I had truck loads of kitchen stuff which I’d recently moved to my public storage at St Catherine’s ( migsonstorage.com ) . The stuff involved utensils , microwave dishes ,fab glassware, old dishwasher and other cookware. I really like your tips and now I think I can bring some of my fav collectibles back. Thanks for the article. Keep posting more awesome works.

  23. Meu Cooktop says:

    These alternate ideas really are useful for my kitchen.

  24. Susan C. Crisp says:

    Wonderful ideas! I absolutely love the magnetic spice rack and didn’t even know those existed!

  25. Elizabeth says:

    Great ideas – will definitely adopt some of them. I have a tip which has simplified my kitchen life. I have an electrical bar with an “On/Off” switch where I plug all my small appliances so that when I need to use one of them I don’t have to search for a free outlet and plug and unplug said appliance. Just flip the switch. Also makes it easy to ensure all appliances are disconnected since the red “On” light is a reminder when the bar is still “On”.

  26. I love these storage ideas. Especially placing your knives in a magnetic rack. Although I’m thinking if its hygienic or not. I will be doing the rack for my liquors.

  27. So many great ideas! My husband and I recently took down all the upper cabinets’ doors and it’s so better now. And the pot lids are all over my kitchen all the time, I don’t know why. Our kitchen is not so big, but it’s not so small too, But the storage is never enough. Thank you for the tips!They’re great inspiration for me.

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