Jessica Sommerfield on October 14, 2015 3 Comments Small living comes with all sorts of space challenges, and the worst is arguably the kitchen. Even after condensing down to only what’s essential, you still need space for the things you use, and you need them to be accessible. Four of the most troublesome small kitchen storage problems are: Pantry items Pots and pans Bakeware Utensils If you don’t have many cupboards, or a dedicated pantry, storing these items can prove to be particularly challenging. According to architects and home design gurus, large pantries are one of the most sought-after features in new homes. I’ve had to improvise for lack of a pantry, and sometimes it’s taken a great deal of creativity! When it comes to pots, pans, and bakeware, cupboards are troublesome because nothing ever goes in or out smoothly, and each item takes up way too much space. And then there are utensils. Who hasn’t been frustrated by not being able to find the right tool for cooking because the drawer is too crammed full of gadgets? There are numerous ways to creatively store kitchen necessities without giving the impression of a cluttered or tacky kitchen area, no matter how small it may be. Here are four main strategies for these small kitchen storage dilemmas. Solution #1 — Get to It Cupboards are deep, dark, difficult places to store bulky items like pots, pans and bakeware, as well as small items like spice jars. Improve the accessibility of items in your cupboards with these helpful tools. 1. Plate organizers: Plate organizers aren’t just for plates. The best way to store frying pans and baking sheets is vertically, and these organizers will help you quickly locate and grab exactly what you need. 2. Small tension rods placed vertically between shelves Using small tension rods is another great way to separate and organize bakeware and cutting boards in your cupboard. Not only does this keep it organized, but it also makes it easier to find what you need, when you need it. 3. Lazy Susans aren’t lazy at all These are great to use in small pantries. Use them for spices, pantry items, and other small, hard to reach items. With a Lazy Susan, nothing in your pantry is hard to reach. 4. Pull-out plastic bins Newly-designed kitchens often feature pull-out trays in cupboards for easy access to cookware. Never mind if you don’t have these – you can make your own! Shallow, sturdy plastic storage bins slide in and out of cupboards easily, performing the same job on a smaller budget. Solution #2 — Conceal It Your cupboards are full, counter space is premium, but items like canned goods and other groceries, scruffy cookware or cutting boards, and plastic storage look tacky sitting out in the open. Hanging items on the inside of cupboard doors solves this problem nicely while using otherwise wasted space. 1. Hanging storage systems Pantry organizers fit with shelves or pouches hung inside cupboard doors keep items neat and visible. Choose lower cupboards close to food prep areas for the most convenience. The key to coming up with food storage solutions is to open your mind to the concept that your food doesn’t have to be in one place. 2. Cork board Office supplies work great in the kitchen! Tack up some cork board inside a top cupboard near a prep area, and use it to hang measuring spoons, small utensils, and even recipes or grocery lists. This will keep it out of sight, but within reach when you need it the most. 3. Metal magazine holders and adhesive hooks Magazine holders mounted inside open cupboards keep cutting boards, cookie sheets, muffin tins, plastic wrap, and other items neatly organized and easy to find. Also, adhesive hooks can go pretty much anywhere you need to discretely hang utensils, hand towels, or oven mitts. 4. Baskets Baskets conceal unsightly items while keeping them accessible and organized. Place them on open shelving, the top of appliances, or even on the counter. Solution #3 — Hang It Air space is very underestimated in kitchens. With simple hanging devices, you can alleviate the dwindling amount of cupboard space and gain a functional kitchen resembling the set of your favorite cooking show. 1. Ceiling-mounted pot and pan racks They aren’t just for designer kitchens, anymore, nor do they need to be elaborate. Just make sure they’re located high enough to not get in your way. I’d suggest hanging them over your countertop. 2. Wire hangers and utility bars Consider stringing heavy-duty wire (there are numerous ready-made versions of this) above the sink, cooktop, or anywhere you have a spare wall. Utility bars with simple s-hooks are perfect for mounting pans directly above the stove or from the side of a cupboard. 3. Magnetic organizers The wonder of magnetic storage is that it works on many surfaces in your kitchen, and requires no installation. Attach magnets to metal cups and hooks to hold or hang cooking utensils, pans, and mugs. My favorite idea is magnetic spice containers stuck to the back of the stove or the side of the refrigerator for cooking convenience. Solution #4 — Display It In the effort to keep everything put away, you might be missing the dual advantage of more cupboard space and a homey, artistic look. The following items are increasingly trendy to put on display in your kitchen. 1. Produce and bulk foods Non-refrigerated produce can look quite attractive in stackable wire or plastic bins, in wicker baskets attached to pegboard, mounted underneath cupboards, hung on the sides of end cupboards, or placed in stunning bowls. Bulk foods lined up in matching glass jars show culinary class, add color, and increase convenience. 2. Pots and pans If you want to give the impression you’re decorating with your cookware on purpose, coordinate and balance the location and colors of hanging pots and pans with the theme of your kitchen. In this way, function doubles as décor! 3. Utensils Many people have decided that a tall vase or mug for their most-used utensils is both appealing and convenient when placed right next to the stove for easy access. You can also store silverware this way. 4. Dinnerware It’s in good taste to have a visible presentation of dinnerware so guests don’t have to look for it (and you don’t have to keep getting it out every time). Creative ways to display your everyday dinnerware include two-tier racks, vintage wooden crates, or corner shelves. Small Problems, Many Solutions Whatever the problems in your small kitchen, these storage strategies will help you determine the perfect solution – something that meets your unique needs, utilizes the space and structure you have to work with, and infuses your unique, creative touch.