5 Common Kitchen Space-Wasting Mistakes and How To Quickly Fix Them

updated Jul 17, 2020
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(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Your kitchen is only so big, so if you’ve run out of storage room, it’s time to make the space work harder and be more efficient. It’s easy to miss potential, but look closely and you’ll find lots more opportunities to store essentials and clutter. Here are five ways we often get it wrong, and how you can quickly remedy your kitchen mistakes.

(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

#1: You Don’t Optimize Your Cabinets

Instead of accepting what the cabinet gods gave you, outfit the insides with after-market inserts that dramatically increase the amount of stuff your kitchen can hold. We’re talking about tiered shelf risers, lazy Susans, and vertical slots for cookies sheets and cutting boards. It’s an inexpensive way to make your storage a lot more efficient.

(Image credit: Rachel Jacks)
(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

#2: You Ignore the Empty, Awkward Spots

So many kitchens have some awkwardly-shaped or hard-to-reach space on top of the cabinets and/or fridge, and it’s usually completely empty. Stick some stuff up there that you don’t use that often, and clear off your cluttered countertops. Done well, the spot can be both functional and visually appealing.

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

→ 7 Things to Do with That Awkward Space Above the Cabinets

#3: You Don’t Think Outside the Box

Have a bunch of items that you use all the time? How about freeing up space inside your cabinets by using the space outside: install hooks or magnetic racks on the sides for things like pots and pans, cutting boards, spices, and oft-used utensils — anything you want to keep readily available and within reach.

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

→ The Handy Storage Spot You’re Forgetting to Use in Your Kitchen

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

#4: You Underutilize Your Cabinet Undersides

The same principle goes for the bottoms of cabinets too. Some well-placed wine glass holders, mug hooks, or magnetic spice racks fit perfectly underneath cabinets. Or, mount a rail from the underside of the cabinet (as seen below in a kitchen from Coco Lapine Design) for hanging utensils and dish towels.

(Image credit: Coco Lapine Design)

→ Smart Uses for the Space Below Upper Kitchen Cabinets

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

#5: You Overlook the Air Above You

When you’ve maxed out on storage everywhere else, think of the space above you as the final frontier. Hang a tiered basket near the window for loaves of bread, snacks, and even table linens. A pot rack above the island or stove frees up tons of space below. Unless you’re 8 feet tall, they won’t be in your way, and that area isn’t good for much else.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)
(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)