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We’ve been living in our new house for a whole month, and a lot of the focus has been on getting the kitchen in order. Before we got started, I was planning a few organizational purchases to help make it function. Here’s a breakdown of what I actually did in the first month, with six small upgrades that are already making a huge difference. 

serving bowl | teapot | Cake Mix Doctor | fridge

Open Up Spaces

The first thing we did was buy a new fridge, and that fridge just fit (barely!) in the space provided. However, we couldn’t open the cabinets above it without smacking into the hinges. I wasn’t willing to give up that extra storage space, even if it’s rarely used since it’s tough to access.

Instead of sacrificing the cabinet, we took off the doors, and created an open shelf. I put a couple baskets filled with items like appliance manuals and take-out menus on the bottom shelves. On the top, I added some pretty display pieces that are also functional, but not used often.

over door storage | blue pans | wok

Expand into Gaps

I’m horrible at pantries. When we moved out, we threw away more expired items than I’d care to admit, and it’s because they got stuck in the back of a deep pantry cabinet. I knew we needed a big change in the house so we didn’t lose and forget our purchases.

We added an over-the-door shelving system. These are specifically made for pantries, so I was able to find one that fit on the narrow doors, and was the perfect height and depth to work with the shelves already in place. It’s already easier to have quick access items like chips and candy separated out.

mug hooks | tea box | wine glasses

Hang Items Vertically

It’s really easy to waste vertical space in kitchen cabinets and pantries. For me especially, as someone who is only 5’3″, I knew that I needed to maximize the space that I can reach within my upper cabinets. To solve that problem in one place, I added these mug hooks right near my coffee maker, to create a condensed coffee bar.

In the pantry, we took out on of the middle shelves to create a space for hanging pots and pans. I’ve always been a fan of this, and having them tucked away right in the pantry is proving to be an accessible place to store those.

double decker turn table

Spin to the Back

This is another place where being short is not always helpful. Even on the lower shelves, I have trouble reaching into the back corners of my upper cabinets. And when it comes to items that I always want within reach, I needed a way to grab and go.

Turntables and lazy susans are the winner here. I use a double decker one in a cabinet next to my stove for spices. This way, I can quickly grab what I need to fix up a recipe without crossing the kitchen. I also utilize these within the pantry, for things like vinegar and sauces.

tea box

Transfer to Compress

The original boxes from the store have lots of helpful information, like nutrition facts and instructions. But in many cases, I found they were just taking up too much space, holding similar items, and difficult to tell at a glance how much is left.

Transferring items to more suitable, reusable containers can solve that problem, and create a countertop display piece. This tea box is fun to show off to guests, and keeps my teas organized. Transferring baking ingredients to canisters makes it easier to see how much is left, but it also keeps them fresher.

square dishes | tapas plates | pinch bowls | tapas dishes | wire shelf

Stack for Height

Let’s throw back to hanging items to use the vertical space. I wish I could hang everything, but with smaller items like tapas plates and bowls, that’s just not an option.

Instead, I like to added mini shelves to create more designated spaces within a single cabinet. This makes it easier to reach the bowls on the bottom as well, without always moving pieces out of the way. In one of my lower cabinets, I use a similar shelf to organize reusable plastic containers, keeping the lids underneath their matching pair.

These six minor differences didn’t cost me much, but each one has made our kitchen a more enjoyable and efficient place to cook. What are your little kitchen storage secrets?

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11 thoughts on “6 Small Kitchen Upgrades for a Big Difference

  1. These are so easy and such perfect tips for an apartment dweller like me! Our kitchen is literally one wall in our living area…will never take an apartment like this again lol, but for now these are some awesome ideas to help me store things like our mugs and wine glasses!

    1. Oh yeah, these are great for tiny kitchens, for sure! It’s all about using the space you do have efficiently.

  2. My favorite things about your kitchen are the baskets in the cabinets above the fridge (how creative to just take the doors off and put storage there), and the tea box! I want something like that for all my teas as well, because I have sooo many of the boxes cluttering my cabinets right now!

    1. Thanks! I love that cabinet over the fridge now, and everywhere else I’ve lived it’s been so useless, so it’s a great improvement. The tea box is amazing, and looks really impressive to guests too!

  3. These are some good ideas. We have a tiny kitchen so we have to make the most of our space. I want to see if there’s a way we can hang our pans because right now they are not organized very well in the cabinet!

    1. Thank you! Hanging pans is a total game changer. Before we had the built-in pantry, we used to hang them on one of those wire shelving systems in our mud room! Anywhere you can find the space, use it.

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