Easy, Inexpensive Hacks To Save Space In A Small Kitchen

For those who have a small kitchen, space quickly becomes an issue. But with a few hooks, curtain rods, and a little creativity, you can maximize space. Put hangers on the bottom of shelves and cabinets, repurpose food cans, and put storage on the outside of your fridge. If you want easy, cheap hacks to save kitchen space, look no further.

Unify Your Pantry Containers

A pantry is organized with clear, labeled food containers.
Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Many people struggle to organize pantries, mainly because food containers are all different. Cereal boxes are much larger than pasta boxes, while seeds and nuts come in plastic bags. If you unify your cabinet containers, storage will be much easier.

Get clear, airtight containers–preferably in square or rectangular shapes–and store food inside. Although this is an investment, it will make cooking so much easier. You’ll be able to see how much food you have and stack the containers on top of each other.

Turn Shelves And Cabinets Into Hangers

Mugs hang on the underside of a kitchen cabinet.
Trish Schumacher/Pinterest
Trish Schumacher/Pinterest

This hack is great for storing more items using the same amount of space. Hooks on the underside of cabinets and shelves can store mugs, wine glasses, or cooking utensils. If you don’t want to drill into wooden shelves or cabinets, get an under-the-shelf hook.

These shelves are detachable, so you can move them wherever you want in the kitchen. Many are also narrow enough so that the cabinet door can still close. Some shops, like Amazon and Home Depot, also have removable hooks that you can stick to the shelf.

Make Sure Your Cutting Board Can Fit Over Your Sink

A wooden cutting board sits over a sink.
CharynJoy Voas/Pinterest
CharynJoy Voas/Pinterest

The next time you shop for a cutting board, measure your sink first. Purchase one that can fit over your sink, with a hole. Usually, these slots are for carrying your cutting board, but you can also push food scraps through it into the sink.

Chopping veggies over the sink will save room and time. However, do not push everything into the sink. Starchy vegetables, fruit pits, eggshells, meat, and bones should not go down the drink, or else they’ll clog your drain.

Make A DIY Trash Bag Dispenser

Rolls of trash bags hang in the inside of a cabinet.
Denise Keller/Pinterest
Denise Keller/Pinterest

Trash bags are rolled into a wheel which you have to remove from the box to use. But it’s much easier and convenient to create a bag dispenser. You just need a rod and some hooks to hang it.

Grab a curtain rod with no curves on either side (cut them off if you have to). With two metal hooks, you can mount onto the wall. Before that, jam the rod into the center of the trash bag wheel. You can then hang it and dispense it like toilet paper.

Fruit Bowl? Why Not A Fruit Basket?

Metal wire baskets containing fruits and vegetables are stacked on top of each other.
Interior Design/Pinterest
Interior Design/Pinterest

Although fruit bowls are popular, they can only hold a certain amount. Why not get fruit baskets instead? Metal baskets allow air to flow through them, which will prevent mold. But since they’re square, you can also stack them!

Get a few baskets that are all the same size and stack them on the counter. These will separate your fruits and vegetables, which tend to ripen faster when placed together. Also, they’ll appear more organized on the counter.

Take Advantage Of Fridge Magnets

Baskets on the side of a refrigerator hold spices.
Alisha Walling/Pinterest
Alisha Walling/Pinterest

Many people put decorative magnets on their fridge. But what if you use this for more storage instead? Many office and home improvement stores sell small magnetic shelves. Stick these onto your fridge for more space.

These magnets can hold lightweight items, such as spices, napkins, paper towels, oil bottles, oven mitts, and utensils. Having them handy and visible will make it easier for you to find and grab, too.

Put Utensils In Decorative Cans

Utensils are stored in food cans and hang from a wooden board.
Liliana Garcia Rey/Pinterest
Liliana Garcia Rey/Pinterest

Cooking utensils, such as wooden spoons and tongs, should be within your reach while cooking. For a DIY hack, save empty food cans, like soup or canned vegetables. Clean them, and then put utensils inside.

Because these cans are sturdy and lightweight, you can customize them. Glue them to a wood plank and hang them on the wall to save counter space. You can also paint the cans or cover them in decorative paper to match your kitchen decor.

Convert Clear Desk Organizers Into Fridge Organizers

Clear desk organizers are used to organize the fridge.
Terri Wildes/Pinterest
Terri Wildes/Pinterest

Clear organizer drawers are often designed for office desks. By why not use them for the refrigerator? With plastic organizers, you can see everything in your fridge and organize them.

Stack the clear organizers for more storage space. You can even use them as a soda dispenser. Take off the door in the front part of the organizer, and stack the cans on their side. You’ll fit more, and you can easily take cans out of it.

Instead Of Stacking Pots, Hang Them

Pots hang from shelves in a small kitchenette.
Quick Image/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images
Quick Image/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

If pots and pans are cluttering your cabinets, check the handles. Many have holes in their handles for people to hang them. Hanging pots not only organizes them better, but it also relieves cabinet space.

Depending on the type of hook you get, you can hang pots beneath shelves, on walls, inside cabinet doors, or from the ceiling. Make sure that the pots are easily within reach and that the hooks are strong enough to support their weight.

Replace A Spice Rack With A Spice Drawer

Spice containers are organized inside of a drawer.
Brittany B/Pinterest
Brittany B/Pinterest

If you have more drawers than counter or wall space, convert one drawer into a spice rack. Storage inserts, like the ones made for utensils, can hold standard spice containers. If your drawer is narrow, cut a plastic insert to fit inside.

Some stores like IKEA design inserts specifically for spice jars. These inserts are ridged, so the containers will not slide around when you open the drawer. While organizing, place the spices that you use the most in front.

If You Can’t Nail Into The Wall, Get A Pegboard

A blue pegboard holds pots, knives, and kitchen utensils.
Ally Schultz/Pinterest
Ally Schultz/Pinterest

If you cannot put nails into your rental walls, or if you don’t have wall space, get a pegboard. A pegboard, or perforated hardboard, is pre-drilled with holes. By sticking pegs into the holes, you can hang whatever you want wherever you want.

Since pegboards are so sturdy, they can hang heavier items such as pots, pans, strainers, and bowls. Lean the pegboard against a wall or on the side of the fridge. Plus, you can paint it whatever color you like!

Repurpose A Curtain Rod To Hang Lids

Pot lids are hung on curtain rods.
Amanda Morse/Pinterest
Amanda Morse/Pinterest

When you hang pots and pans, where do you keep the lids? Well, you can hang those too. Grab a spare curtain rod and attach it to the cabinet wall. The handle on the lid will prop it up as the lids lean against the wall.

If you don’t have a curtain rod, use a pot rail (designed for storing pots) in the same way. Or, you can hang lids with command hooks. Pinch the lids with the command hooks, using two hooks for each lid, and stick the command hooks to the wall.

A DIY Measuring Chalkboard

The inside of a kitchen cabinet has been turned into a measuring cup board.
Laura Read/Pinterest
Laura Read/Pinterest

Don’t toss measuring cups into a messy drawer. Hang them on a chalkboard or whiteboard. Why? Because then you can convert the board into a measuring equivalent chart.

Mount the board onto the wall or on the inside of a cabinet door. Attach two or three rods with hooks onto the board, near the bottom. On the top, write down measuring conversions that you’ll need for cooking. Your measuring cups will be organized, and you will be able to bake or cook more quickly.

Shelves Within Shelves

Riser shelves are put inside kitchen shelves to stack extra dishes.
Krysten R./Pinterest
Krysten R./Pinterest

If your shelves are high, take up as much of that space as possible. Portable shelves, called risers, can fit in most cabinets. Risers offer you more levels to organize your dishes and stack more on top of each other.

Shelf risers can put bowls on top of glasses, pots on top of dishes, lids on top of mugs, and so on. To save counter space, put a few risers on the counter. It will store all of your smaller items (like spices) in an organized spot.

Transform A Breadbox Into A Charging Station

A bread box was converted into a phone charging station
DIY Home Decor,Renovations, Recipes at Four Generations One Roof/Pinterest
DIY Home Decor,Renovations, Recipes at Four Generations One Roof/Pinterest

With some DIY techniques, a breadbox can become a charging station. Use it for your phones, or to keep appliance cords out of the way. You just need a regular wooden breadbox; you can thrift one for cheap.

Drill a few holes into the back of the breadbox. These need to be large enough for the charging cable to reach through. If you want to use this for phones, attach another shelf to the inside of the breadbox. Close it while not in use.

Throw Out That Knife Block

A butcher reaches for a knife hanging on a magnetic knife strip.
Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images
Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images

Knife blocks take up a lot of room on the counter. To get rid of it, buy a magnetic knife strip. These strips hang your knives with magnetism. Although it might seem like the knives will fall, they won’t; the strip has a strong magnetic force.

These magnetic strips don’t just hang knives. They can also store scissors, cheese graters, and other metal items. Many are designed to look like wood that can match your cabinets.

Hang Cleaning Sprays From A Tension Rod

 A person puts a cleaning spray onto a tension rod.
becky d/Pinterest
becky d/Pinterest

If you can’t fit a Lazy Susan underneath your sink, grab a tension rod. Mount the tension rod in the cabinet and put cleaning sprays on it. The bottles will hang by the nozzle, and they’ll be easy to remove.

But what about the bottom of the cabinet? Get some plastic trays, boxes, and buckets to store items that you cannot hang. These might be brushes, sponges, towels, or trash bags. The are under your sink will be organized and useful.

Put A Lazy Susan Beneath The Sink

A lazy susan rotating table stores cleaning supplies underneath the sink.
Nikol Pearson/Pinterest
Lannie Morton/Pinterest

A Lazy Susan is a turntable that usually distributes food. But nowadays, Lazy Susans are designed to hold objects, and you can use this to your advantage. If you place one under your sink, your cleaning supplies will be much more organized.

Kneeling to grab things out of your sink can be annoying. But with a Lazy Susan, you can rotate the tray to get whatever you need: cleaning sprays, more sponges, trash bags, dish soap, etc.

Use The Stovetop As Storage

A person's stove containers decorative pots and pans.
Dane Deaner/Unsplash
Dane Deaner/Unsplash

How often do you use all four stovetop burners at once? Probably not often. In that case, your stovetop can serve as storage. While the burners are not on, you can leave teapots or pans on them that appear decorative.

Plus, most stoves have a ridge right about the clock and oven controls. Use this to your advantage. Place small containers and utensils on there, like spices, oils, salt and pepper shakers.

Place Office Organizers Into The Freezer

Office organizers are stored inside of a freezer.
Gerry Lewis/Pinterest
Gerry Lewis/Pinterest

If you have extra magazine or folder organizers, put them in the freezer. Lay them vertically or horizontally to create multiple levels of storage. These organizers are narrow enough to hold standard freezer bags, from frozen fruits to meat to dinners.

The best part? You can color-code them! By getting colored organizers (or painting the ones you have), you will transform your freezer. For instance, you can place vegetables in a green container and frozen dinners in a black one.

Cabinet Doors Become Racks

A wooden rack is hooked onto the inside of a cabinet door.
Rose Carpenter/Pinterest
Rose Carpenter/Pinterest

The inside of cabinet doors can do so much more with this hack. Convert them into storage with hangers, shelves, or baskets. Whenever you need an easy-to-grab item, open the cabinet and grab it off of the door.

Cabinet doors are ideal for flat items. Cutting boards, pot lids, towels, cleaning gloves, baking pans, sponges, utensils, and even cereal boxes can hang on the door without crowding the shelf space. You don’t have to drill, either; stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Amazon offer stick-on shelves and hooks.

Multiple Uses For A Drying Rack

Dish drying racks hold dishes, bowls, utensils, and fruits.
Lee Sharon/Pinterest
Lee Sharon/Pinterest

Dish drying racks are not just for drying dishes. They can also be cheap, convenient storage. Use a drying rack to stack lids, cutting boards, mugs, cheese boards, bowls, knives, utensils, and more.

If you didn’t know, there are several different kinds of dish racks. Magnetic dish racks can hang on the side of a fridge, and some hanging dish racks have multiple levels. Put hooks on the bottom of hanging dish racks, and you’ll have a complex storage unit.

For Awkward Corner Cabinets, Hang Supplies

Pots hang inside of a corner cabinet.
Good Housekeeping/Pinterest
Good Housekeeping/Pinterest

Some kitchens include cabinets that take up the corner, which is such an awkward space that you cannot store things regularly. Instead of stacking items in the corner, hang them. Attach hooks to the cabinet’s ceiling or on the back wall.

Corner cabinets are the perfect place to hang pots and pans, since they’ll be out of the way. If there’s not enough room, hang towels, oven mitts, rubber gloves, or cutting boards. After all, you need to use every available space.

Need More Cutting Space? Get A Kitchen Cart

A kitchen cart offers more storage and cutting space on wheels.
Benefits of Kitchen Remodeling®/Pinterest
Benefits of Kitchen Remodeling®/Pinterest

Most small kitchens do not have an island. If you want more counter space, buy a kitchen or bar cart. These carts are on wheels, so you can drag them in and out of the kitchen whenever you need extra counter space.

Also, many of these carts have two levels. Since the upper level will be cutting space, the lower one can store cutting boards, utensils, cleaning supplies, or anything else that you don’t have room for. When it’s not in use, store it next to the fridge or a cabinet.

More Storage, On Wheels

A bar cart holds kitchen utensils such as coffee makers.
Blake Carpenter/Unsplash
Blake Carpenter/Unsplash

Storage carts come in all shapes and sizes. Many retailers offer portable storage, wheeled racks that have several levels. Some are so narrow that you can fit them in between the refrigerator and the cabinets.

Use these portable carts to your advantage. Put lesser-used materials inside, such as tinfoil, plastic wrap, spare towels, baking supplies, or measuring cups. Whenever you need them, roll the cart out, grab the supplies, and then roll it back in.

Take Spices Off The Counter

A person takes a stainless steel spice container off of a magnetic mounted spice rack.
Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Spice racks do not have to consume counter space. There are many ways to store spices on the wall. One option is a hanging spice rack. These racks are nailed to the wall, and many come with spice jars that are labeled on the lid, which face outward.

If you lack wall space, get magnetic spice jars. These tiny jars attach to your fridge, and many have transparent lids so you can see the inside. If they don’t, label them.

From Sink To Storage

A sponge is stored in a magnetic basket on the side of the sink.
Tina R Hansen/Pinterest
Tina R Hansen/Pinterest

If you sink is stainless steel, magnets will stick to it. Convert the inside walls of your sink into storage. With a magnetic basket, you can hold sponges or brushes in an easy-to-grab area. Do not put anything in these baskets that you don’t want to get wet.

If you do not want anything inside of the sink, get a dispenser-storage hybrid. Some soap dispensers include a nook for people to place their sponge, and they are fairly cheap.

Multiple Tiers Of Hanging Fruits And Vegetables

Fruits hang from baskets attached to the ceiling.
teracee/Pinterest
Brett_Hondow/Pixabay

For those with little counter space, a hanging fruit basket might become a lifesaver. These metal mesh baskets often have multiple layers to store different fruits and vegetables. Hang it from the ceiling or a wall hook.

Hanging baskets separate fruits and vegetables. If they are stored together, they will ripen faster. If you get mesh baskets, they allow for more air circulation to prevent mold. Do not hang these baskets in front of a window; the sun might rot produce or speed up the ripening process.

Make A Chic Food Jar Shelf

Glass jars containing food are put on a shelf.
Marie Noelle Perrier Issard/Pinterest
Marie Noelle Perrier Issard/Pinterest

Dried foods such as pasta noodles, nuts, and seeds can become decorative items. Store them in a translucent, sealed container such as a mason jar. Then, hang them for as a decoration to clear cabinet space.

All you need is a shelf wide enough to hold the jars. For a cheap often, go to a thrift or antique store. Get a stylish shelf, repaint it, and mount it on the wall. It will maximize storage and make your kitchen look chic.

Hide Appliances With A Mini “Garage”

A door opens to reveal appliances on the kitchen counter.
Rael Lasarow/Pinterest
Rael Lasarow/Pinterest

If your kitchen counter looks crowded, cover some of it up. With a sliding cabinet door, you can create an “appliance garage.” Attach one to the corner of your counter to cover up appliances and cookbooks when you’re not using them.

At home improvement stores, you can find sliding doors that fit your cabinet space. But what if you can’t find one? Then, grab a towel and attach it to the cabinet above the space. It will conceal some of the clutter and make your kitchen look more organized.