3 Easy, Instant Ways I Made More Room in My Tiny Kitchen

published Sep 28, 2015
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(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

I moved into a small, 500 square foot apartment with real wood floors, tall charming ceilings and a spunky little kitchen that can’t be more than a few feet wide. Yes, WIDE. We’re talking can’t-open-the-oven-unless-you’re-standing-on-the-side small. But I managed to fit everything I needed in my kitchen snugly, in a way that functions well enough that I can easily pull things out as I need. And there were three small, easy things I did that instantly gave me more space in my tiny kitchen.

1. Brought in some baskets

Thanks to the tall ceilings, I had ample room above my cabinets to add baskets that could store extra things. I choose three baskets (on sale from Michaels) — two the same size and color, one different — in natural textures so they complemented the existing color of my cabinets. Funnily enough, they don’t hold any kitchen implements; I actually use these to store the tools for my home. I just have to be sure to keep them from overflowing and looking messy. Otherwise it was a nearly instant way to add to the storage space of a small kitchen.

2. Embraced the stove ledge

The stove ledge is basically a built in shelf. Instead of trying to find room in already-full cabinets for tea tins (I’m in love with Zhi Tea) and spices, I streamlined my spice and tea collection to the just-needed basics and neatly arranged a few containers (I did update some spice containers to be more aesthetically pleasing) on the ledge. Now the things I use daily are right within reach and aren’t taking up room in the cabinets. If I ever need more spice room, I could easily add another shelf above the ledge since I’ve already established that area in my kitchen.

3. Got creative to store stuff in a kind of weird spot

While I fit all my pots, pans and other kitchen things in my cabinets, my food storage containers were another story. I’m a chop/dice/prep ahead kind of home cook, spending a couple nights a week preparing a lot of my ingredients ahead of time so throughout the week I can just slip something into a pan and have a somewhat decent meal to eat. (Don’t be too impressed; I can just as easily fall off the prep-ahead wagon and turn into a take-out queen.)

But this means I have a healthy collection of food storage containers, which, if I’m being honest, have always been my kitchen clutter monster to slay. Excited to start anew with this new kitchen, I ran through the gamut of possibilities on where — and how — to store my food storage. Nothing satisfied. And honestly, everything else fit everywhere so perfectly I was getting annoyed with the fact that I had to make room for them. Most times of the week, they’re full of chopped veggies in the fridge, they’re out of my way, my kitchen is happy and I’m happy. But later in the week, as I finish up ingredients, I’d find myself leaving one piece of chopped veggie in a container so I’d have an excuse to still keep it in the fridge and not have to clean it and find a place for it.

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

And then it hit me. Why can’t the food containers just live in the fridge when they’re clean and awaiting me to fill them up with chopped food? Is there some rule out there somewhere that says you can’t use any unused space in your fridge for things other than food? So, that’s where my containers are going to live when they’re empty, ready for washing and using to fill up with food. And if I’m being honest, I’m moving some things from my pantry in to there to give it a little breathing room, too (because by pantry, I mean one small cubbie of one slim upper cabinet). It might seem a little odd to use a fridge for extra storage, but in my insanely small kitchen, it’s working just perfect for me.

Now tell me the kind of weird, but totally-works-for-you ways in which you’ve found a little extra space in your tiny kitchen.