Organize & Clean

11 Ways to Organize a Kitchen Without Many (or Any!) Cabinets

updated Jan 11, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Let’s be honest: tiny kitchens can be tough for a lot of reasons. Along with cramped countertops and puny appliances, a small cooking space often means you’re stuck with little to no cabinets for storage. Throw in the fact that you’re renting (and can’t make permanent changes to your place) and things can start to look really dismal.

Follow Topics for more like this

Follow for more stories like this

Thankfully, with a little scheming, you can turn your skimpy kitchen into a stylishly organized (and storage-savvy) place. Forget that you only have two drawers and some under sink space, there are still plenty of ways to carve out more storage room—even if you’re not into IKEA hacks! Read on for ten of our favorite ideas for keeping your kitchen organized when you aren’t working with a lot of cabinetry. 

Credit: Amazon

1. Add under-shelf storage.

Limited storage space means you may have to get a bit creative when it comes to storing things like mugs. But if you’re living in an apartment, you may not be able to drip holes or stick strips to the bottoms of your shelves. That’s why we love this model from Amazon, which incorporates a unique, wrap-around design to effectively store mugs without altering your shelves. 

Credit: Amazon

2. Add a utensil storage strip.

In a kitchen without cabinets, that same lack of storage can be a real hassle when you need utensils at the ready while preparing meals. This under-cabinet utensil organizer from Amazon can solve that problem, allowing you to have all your most-used utensils at the ready, suspended from the undersides of your cabinets.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

3. Make smart use of a rolling cart.

If weren’t already hip to the magic of mobile storage then now’s the time to listen up. Along with being super cute and affordable, rolling carts can carry everything from cleaning supplies to condiments, and squeeze just about anywhere in your kitchen (or anywhere else).

(Image credit: The Container Store)

4. Double your cabinets with stacking shelves.

Funny how something as simple as an extra shelf can make or break your storage situation. Stacking shelves (like the one above from The Container Store) are an easy—and inexpensive—way to create extra room inside your small cabinets without taking up any additional space.

(Image credit: I Heart Organizing)

5. Divide and conquer your drawers.

In addition to keeping your drawers ultra-organized, mini storage bins (like these from Bed Bath and Beyond) are a great way to forge extra storage space in a cramped kitchen (the uber-organized pantry drawer above is from I Heart Organizing). Stick—and stack— a few ones inside a deep drawer or pantry and store food, cutlery, and all your other small stuff; no cabinets necessary!

6. Hang some curtain rods.

Who would’ve guessed that curtain rods could ever be so multi-functional? Hang a few ones above your oven to hold all of your favorite pots and pans or slide a couple of tension rods under your sink for some unexpected storage.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

7. Create a pegboard wall.

Resourceful and surprisingly stylish, pegboards are a snazzy way to stay organized when you aren’t working with a ton of cabinetry in your kitchen. And though hanging one might leave you with a few unsightly holes in your wall, it’s nothing some spackle can’t fix before move-out.

Tara & Thierry’s Charming Cottage (Image credit: Sarita Relis Photography)

8. Add a (mobile) island.

Much like a rolling cart, mobile islands are a cunning approach to creating more storage space in your compact kitchen. On top of being portable, these multifunctional islands moonlight as cutting boards, meaning you get extra countertop space, too!

9. Use an open shelving unit.

While it may seem like a no brainer, open shelving units are a smart (and sturdy way) to forge more kitchen storage when you’re lacking cabinet space. Place a sleek one in a tight corner or along a narrow wall, and show off all your cool dishware in style.

10. Stash dinnerware on a wall shelf.

Whether you use one as a drying rack or for additional storage, wall-mounted shelves make awesome dinnerware displays. And if you’re worried about leaving behind holes, fret not. They’re super easy to patch up in a pinch.

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

11.Use your oven (really!).

It might sound cliché but ovens are in fact, a clever way to create more room for storage in a tiny kitchen. You can stash your cutting boards and baking sheets without using up any cabinet space and look slightly more cosmopolitan for doing so.

Re-edited from a post originally published 1.10.2017 – TW