So, I’ve seen a bunch of folks throw in the towel on cooking in their tiny kitchen because they think it’s too cramped, it kills their cooking vibes, and turns the whole process into a hassle. But listen up, my friends, I’ve got a golden ticket solution for you: kitchen organization!
Believe me, I’m whipping up a feast in a 10×10 kitchen like it’s a party because it’s organized to a T. Check out these 10 little-known kitchen organization mistakes and how to fix ’em. Trust me, it’s even more critical when dealing with a small kitchen where keeping things tidy is the name of the game.
Mistake #1: Not Utilizing Shelves in the Kitchen
The first kitchen organization mistake I see people making when it comes to organizing their kitchen is not utilizing shelves. I know it’s not entirely your fault since modern kitchen design has always revolved around putting things in cabinets and keeping them tucked away. However, shelves are incredibly useful when it comes to making your kitchen storage more efficient and organized.
Installing a shelf is relatively easy, and you can find tons of instructional videos on YouTube. You don’t have to renovate your whole kitchen and get rid of all the cabinets, but finding that one empty wall or little space in your kitchen where you can install a shelf or some type of rack can make a world of difference.
The reason I love shelves is that they provide easy access to appliances and ingredients. You can just grab what you need off the shelf, use it quickly, put it back in its spot, and continue cooking. It makes meal preparation quicker and more efficient, as you don’t have to waste time searching for things in cabinets.
Mistake #2: Not Organizing Your Drawers
The second mistake is not organizing your drawers in the kitchen. All you have to do is measure the width and length of your drawer, go online or go to the store, and find some type of organizational element that fits in your drawer.
There are endless options out there, and you’re sure to find something that makes sense for your setup. Some of my favorites are adjustable drawer organizers, clear little bins, and wire bins of different shapes and sizes. These options make it easy to create sections in your drawers for all your kitchen tools and utensils.
Mistake #3: Stuffing Your Pots and Pans in a Drawer
How many of you have a drawer stuffed with pots and pans? It was the same in my small kitchen, and every time we tried to shut it, the drawer was a disaster. The clanging and scratching of the pots and pans together probably led to the drawer breaking a few times over the years. This might be my worst kitchen organization mistake that I will never want to make again.
Stuffing all your pots and pans in a drawer is probably one of the least efficient ways to operate your kitchen. Professional kitchens and restaurants don’t do it either. Instead, they hang their pots and pans, cutting boards somewhere or have them on a rack, making them easily accessible.
It’s also much better for drying purposes if your pots and pans are exposed and not touching each other. Hanging your pots and pans or putting them on a shelf is much better for their longevity, and it keeps your kitchen organized.
Mistake #4: Using an Old Knife Block
The old knife block, good or bad? I mean, it’s not terrible, but I just don’t think it is the most efficient way of organizing your knives. First of all, knife blocks are often designed to fit a specific set of knives, so if you add to your collection, you may not have a spot for your new blades. Additionally, knife blocks take up valuable counter space, and can be difficult to clean, especially inside of the slots, which can accumulate dust and grime over time.
So what’s the solution? Well, there are a few options, depending on your kitchen layout and personal preferences. One option is a magnetic knife holder, which can be mounted on the wall or on the side of a cabinet door. This keeps your knives easily accessible and frees up counter space.
Still don’t buy it? Read our neck-to-neck comparison of Knife Block vs. Magnetic Knife Holder.
Another option is a knife block insert for a drawer, which allows you to store your knives safely out of sight.
Mistake #5: Not having a dedicated space for your essential ingredients.
I’m talking about your oils, salt, pepper, and other spices that you use every time you cook. These should be consolidated in one spot that’s easy to access from your main cooking station.
In my kitchen, I have two spaces dedicated to these essentials – a little shelf for salt, pepper, and another salt shaker I made from a mason jar, and another spot for my essential oils and vinegar. Throw up a shelf or a lazy susan to get these ingredients consolidated and within reach of your main cooking station.
Mistake #6: Throwing your spices in a random cabinet and forgetting about them
Another common kitchen organization mistake is throwing your spices in a random kitchen cabinet, where they are forgotten until you do your spring cleaning two years later. Not only is this a waste of money, but it’s also a missed opportunity to add flavor to your dishes.
To avoid this, organize your spices in a dedicated spice rack or area, so you have a wall of inspiration and flavor to choose from. If you don’t have enough wall space, create a little spice area on your countertop.
You can use clear jars labeled with the name of the spice, which not only looks pretty but also makes it easy to find the spice you need. Just make sure to keep them away from direct sunlight or heat from the oven.
Mistake #7: Not putting in any effort to level up your pantry organization
Moving on to your pantry, this is another area where a little organization can go a long way. You don’t need to have a big walk-in pantry to level up your pantry organization. Lazy susans are also a great way to keep things organized and easily accessible.
You can also use different styles of containers to consolidate certain ingredients, and keep them sectioned off in their own area within the pantry. Takeout containers are another great free organization tool that you can use to store your food. You can also invest in higher-quality containers that offer a better seal if you’re traveling with food.
Mistake #8: Not maximizing your counter space
Now let’s talk about maximizing counter space. You might think that you don’t have enough counter space, but you probably have more than you realize. In my kitchen, I’ve used a combination of countertop space and shelves to store my kitchen items and ingredients.
If you have limited counter space, consider using hanging racks or magnetic knife holders to free up space. You can also use a kitchen cart or a rolling island to add more counter space to your kitchen.
Mistake #9: Not labeling your containers.
Whether it’s in your pantry or your refrigerator, labeling your containers is a must. This will not only help you find what you need quickly, but it will also help you keep track of what you have and when it expires. You can use simple labels and a marker, or invest in a label maker for a more professional look.
Mistake #10: Not using your freezer to its full potential.
Many people use their freezer as a place to store frozen dinners and ice cream, but it can be so much more than that. You can freeze almost anything, from bread to fresh herbs to leftover soups and stews. Freezing these items not only helps to prevent waste, but it also makes meal prep a breeze. Just defrost and reheat for a quick and easy meal.
Conclusion – Kitchen Organization is easy!
I hope the ten points I mentioned above have made it clear about what I stated in the beginning: It’s all about organization to make your small kitchen a cooking heaven!
With just a few simple touches, you can transform your kitchen into a functional and inspiring space. By keeping your essential ingredients within reach, organizing your spices, consolidating your pantry ingredients, maximizing your counter space, and using individual containers to store your food in the refrigerator, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a master of your cooking space. So let’s get started on some organizing and enjoy your newly transformed kitchen!