Ask Lela

Ask Lela: Small Kitchen Storage

Ask Lela Burris

I have a very small kitchen. Four top cabinets and then, of course, bottom cabinets. No storage or pantries. Not much counter room either. I want to eventually remodel and put in new cabinets but it’s not really in my budget right now. Can you give me some little ideas that would help with storage in the meantime? 

-Laura Hall Barnett

Small Kitchen Storage Solutions

I feel ya, Laura! I’ve had my fair share of small kitchens with no storage space, and you’re totally right, it’s pretty frustrating. Although a remodel with a better cabinet system is ideal, I know that is such a huge hit to a budget. So until you’re ready to take the plunge, here’s some ways you can maximize the cabinet space you’ve got.

Get Rid Of Excess Clutter

Kitchens are loaded down with all kinds of gadgets, most of them we never use. And we tend to buy way more pots and pans and dishes than we’ll ever need, yet we keep them hanging around “just in case.” Here’s my challenge to you. Get some blue painter’s tape and keep it on the counter. Every time you use something in your kitchen for the next month, put a piece of blue tape on it (after it gets washed).

At the end of the month, take a look around your cabinets. I bet you only used 15% of what’s in there. Now it’s time to take a hard, honest look at the tapeless items and ask yourself why you’re letting them take up precious real-estate in your small kitchen.

Organize, Organize, Organize

Everything needs a place. And I mean ev-er-y-thing! Now’s the time to hit up the dollar store and get little bins and baskets for every single drawer and cabinet you’ve got. Add in wire shelves so you can stack glasses safely and double your cabinet space. Use containers that can stack on top of each other to store snacks and pantry items. By giving everything it’s own spot and making sure it stays in it when not in use, you’ll really make the most of the cabinets and drawers you have.

Think Outside The Box

There are lots of great “creative” storage solutions on the market that don’t belong in a drawer or cabinet at all. You can use a magnetic organizer like this to store all your spices, utensils, and even paper towels. And it just hangs on the side of the fridge so your countertops are free and clear.

Also consider using the wall between your counters and upper cabinets as more hanging storage. I love these knife and utensil bars and these hanging baskets for storing things in a pretty way but also super functional within arm’s reach while you’re cooking.

You can even use an adjacent wall for a freestanding pantry like this one, or even a bookshelf or dresser to store your food items and lesser-used cookware.

Read More:

Here’s a great post I wrote to help you take back your storage space in your kitchen, no matter how small or large it is.

Click here to read How To Regain Control Of Your Cluttered Kitchen

Shop My Favorite Small Kitchen Organizers

Click here to visit my very own Amazon store with all my favorite small kitchen organizers, all in one easy place.

Lela Burris Amazon Shop for Small Kitchen Organization

Have A Question Of Your Own?

Need decorating advice? Stumped on storage solutions? No idea how to organize that awkward cabinet in the corner of your kitchen? Stop waiting for the golden answer to appear at your doorstep. You can send your questions here and if chosen, you’ll be featured in an upcoming Ask Lela segment. Free advice straight from a pro. What more could you want? 🙂


  1. Hi Lela,

    I’m right with you on this one – kitchens are a magnet for clutter, especially if you are a gadget-a-holic like me. Every so often I have to go through and pare things down, even though some things are hard to part with.

    I love your site – it looks like we write about similar things – very nice to meet you!

    • Thank you Neena! And I feel ya on the gadget love! I’ll find something really cool, bring it home, use it once, then go back to my plain-jane go-to knife. After a month that cool gadget is in the donation box. When will I ever learn? haha! So nice to meet you too!

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