How to be Flexible in a Small and Unyielding Kitchen
Week 2, Part 1 - Organizing Pots, Pans and Food Storage Containers
Truth be told, I would love to completely gut my kitchen and start all over. Then, I could make everything just so. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for me right now. Even if my wish was granted, however, I’d still have to come to grips with it’s small size.
Of course, every kitchen has its own challenges, but small kitchens come with a unique set of issues. They’re often short on cabinet space. And the cabinets that are present are riddled with tricks like blind corners and shallow shelves. There never seems to be enough room for anything!
Okay, okay, rant over. We’ve identified the problems, now let’s look at some solutions to help us organize those tiny and rigid kitchens. Welcome to Week 2 of the Whole House Organization challenge!
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“Don’t Fight the Tide, Go Along For the Ride”
The title above is a line taken from a somewhat corny but effective song called “Time to Change”, which aired on the old sitcom The Partridge Family years ago. It’s application here is that instead of fighting with something you can’t fix, YOU must be flexible and adjust your way of doing things to make it work. That principle applies to those living with small, rigid kitchens.
As you have probably guessed, being flexible is going to cost you something. Yep! That means it’s time to purge. BUT we’ll only deal with the plastic food storage, pots and pans. Food and pantry organization will be addressed in a separate post.
What You Will Need:
Large baskets that fit the size of the cabinets where you store skillets, pots & pans and food storage containers
Trust and Follow the Process
1. EMPTY your space. Pull out all of your food storage containers, pots and pans
2. SCRUB the area clean.
3. PURGE unnecessary duplicates. Toss damaged, broken and unusable items and things you haven’t used in more than 1 year.
4. GROUP remaining items according to kind.
5. MEASURE the insides of the cabinets before purchasing organization systems.
6. RETURN items to the cabinets with your new system(s) in place.
Addressing Common Problems in Small Kitchens
#1 The Blind Corner Cabinet and the Lazy Susan
I can’t imagine a cabinet that causes more frustration in a kitchen than the blind corner cabinet. It is designed to make better use of the dead space created when two cabinets meet at the corner of the room. But one practically has to crawl inside of it to retrieve the items stored in the back.
One solution would be to install a two-shelf rollout kit (like the one featured below) that is designed to make great use of an otherwise hard to get to space. This solution can be a bit costly. Prices range between $160 to nearly $800.
Any of the solutions linked above would be a great investment. But if that’s out of your price range right now, using baskets might be a more practical solution. They’re a great way to corral food storage containers and even pots and pans. Notice how I’ve used them below.
Notice how one of my clients uses her Lazy Susan to store her pots. I use the same method in my home too.
#2 Not Enough Drawer Space
If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I have only 2 drawers in my kitchen. Yep, that’s it folks! So where do I keep the rest of my things? In my previous post, I revealed my kitchen gadget jar. That is one solution. My other work-around includes a combination of open wall shelves, trays, and vases for things like utensils, cutting boards and cooking essentials.
#3 No Cabinets at All
Believe it or not some condo and apartment dwellers find themselves with no cabinets at all. Organizing a functional kitchen can really seem impossible. For situations like that I recommend making good use of a bar cart and of any existing walls.
A bar cart could serve as a movable kitchen station, while the walls can be used to house fruits and veggies neatly. Although I don’t use this method in my own kitchen, I styled a bar cart with items that would usually be on my counter to show you how this could work. Check out this idea in action below.
The bar cart featured above was purchased at IKEA a couple of years ago for a mere $29. And as you can see, it can house cooking essentials, dinnerware and even a couple of pots at the bottom. Now are you starting to get the hang of this? No matter what the challenging situation is in your small kitchen, being flexible and thinking outside the box a bit, can help you to overcome it.