I Have Only Two (Tiny) Kitchen Cabinets — Here’s How I Manage to Store Things in Style

published Oct 6, 2022
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
Credit: Shutterstock

I rented my apartment in Old Irving Park in Chicago, Illinois, at the peak of the pandemic, which meant landlords weren’t really doing in-person walk-throughs and instead were sending grainy video tours via text. When I first saw the pixelated kitchen, I thought I counted more cabinets in the clip, but it turns out I only have one two upper cabinets (that are different sizes) in the whole room. Granted, I have an under-the-sink cabinet and one other tiny one near the dishwasher, perfect for countertop appliances, but upper cabinets for dishes, bowls, and my ever-expanding assortment of cups were scarce. 

Credit: Marlen Komar

This made things tricky. I needed to carve space out of thin air, which lead me to spend hours researching ideas on organizing blogs. Luckily, I had something under my nose I didn’t realize was there: negative space. Cabinets are filled with negative space, and most people don’t take advantage of it. In the case of cabinetry, this term refers to the empty area hovering over your lines of coffee mugs and stacked bowls or plates. Once I stocked up on some helpful hangers, hooks, and platforms, I felt like I could fit twice as many things inside the cabinets as I thought I could. Plus, stylish storage solutions are always pretty and calming to look at when you open up doors. These are the products that made my bleak kitchen situation work, and I can’t recommend them enough.

Cabinet Shelf

This is quite possibly my favorite kitchen storage solution: the cabinet shelf. If you hate having to lift a stack of bowls just to get to your dinner plates — or dislike the look of mugs stacked on top of each other — this nifty riser creates a shelf over a shelf to store more items over others. In my case, this piece lets me stack two sets of bowls over two sets of plates. I got my specific shelf at T.J. Maxx, but The Container Store has a similar one.

Buy: Medium Cabinet Shelf, $9.99 from The Container Store

Credit: Amazon

Mug Hooks

I love making coffee, so I have many different cups and saucers to serve my family and friends with at dinner parties. The only downside is I don’t have a lot of room to store my growing collection. That problem was solved once I found a way to hang the cups over their corresponding saucers. I bought the EigPluy Mug Hooks from Amazon, but these only work for espresso mugs. They’re not very sturdy, so a bigger cup could cause drooping.

Buy: EigPluy 2pcs Mug Hooks, $9.99 from Amazon

Credit: Amazon

Wine Glass Rack

Now, what to do with my collection of wine glasses? Two tricks here can help you make the most of your space. First, alternate your wine glasses between standing on the stem and standing on the lip to pack them in tighter on a shelf or in a cabinet. Second, score a wine glass rack to hang your smaller glasses over your bistro or shot glasses.

Buy: Tiilan Under Cabinet Stemware Rack, $17.99 from Amazon

Credit: Amazon

Under Shelf Baskets

You also want to make use of the space underneath your cabinets. Create an extra cup holder with an under-shelf basket. You can either do this inside your cabinet underneath a shelf or if you no longer have any room in that spot, hang one or two of these right underneath your cabinet.

Buy: Simple Houseware Under Shelf Basket, $24.99 $19.97 for a 2-pack from Amazon