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Simple Ways to Bring Order to a Small Kitchen

It can be tricky keeping a compact cookspace tidy, but here are some ideas to help you crack it

Houzz Contributor. I’m a London-based journalist with years of experience writing… More

Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need acres of worktop space or dozens of drawers and cupboards to have an organised kitchen that’s a joy to cook in. If anything, a smaller kitchen can encourage you to streamline your stuff and live more simply. Who wants cabinets chock-full of unloved pasta machines and dusty bread makers anyway? Check out these easy ways to restore order to your less-than-enormous kitchen.

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Start with a utensil rack…
Not only will it provide somewhere to hang slotted spoons and ladles for easy access while cooking, it will also free up precious drawer space.

Even in the titchiest kitchen, you can usually find somewhere to squeeze one in – under a wall-mounted cupboard or shelf, or above the cooker. Stainless-steel models work in most styles of rooms – and are easy to wipe down.

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…and a knife rack
A knife block or magnetic rack is one of those simple pieces of kitchen kit that really does make a difference to how functional your space is. After all, scrabbling around in drawers for a piece of kitchen gear we use frequently is time consuming and dispiriting.

A wall-mounted rack like this one keeps things orderly and neat without swallowing too much space. Buy decent kitchen knives if you can afford it, as they should last a lifetime. One advantage of a magnetic rack is that you can slowly build up a collection of knives, buying one at a time, rather than having to invest in one large block complete with knives, which can be pricey. If you’re starting from scratch, a bread knife, paring knife and chef’s knife are all basic essentials.

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Mount a microwave
Staying organised in a small space can mean just one or two simple ideas. In this compact U-shaped kitchen, the built-in microwave helps keep the countertops clear (remember only integrated microwaves should be built in – freestanding models aren’t designed to be integrated).

Kitchen clutter can easily build up, so in general it makes sense to assign different cupboards a specific purpose and stick to it. And dedicate a few minutes every couple of weeks to returning stray plastic lids or pan lids to their homes, and sweeping out spilled spices and coffee grounds – it really will make a difference to how pleasurable (and easy) your kitchen is to use day to day.

13 other ways to store your microwave

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Reduce your numbers
If your kitchen is really mini, or even if it isn’t, think about doing a good edit of your kitchen paraphernalia. Be honest, do you really need more than a handful of plates, mugs or glasses if there are only one or two of you?

Having less stuff can be immensely freeing – and will significantly reduce the amount of time you spend washing up and drying, which is a big bonus.

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Gather and display
This cute kitchen demonstrates how you can be organised and chic at the same time. A characterful jar to prop wooden spoons in, a wall-mounted crate or two to provide a home for vintage-style scales and jugs, a small wall-mounted spice rack, all add a pretty touch as well as having a practical function.

More ideas on how to style out your open kitchen shelves

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Be clever with your cupboards
Use every spare centimetre in a small kitchen by building recessed shelves around existing units. Here, they surround an integrated fridge-freezer. This design solution means wall space that is too skinny or awkwardly shaped for extra cabinets can still be utilised for storage. In this kitchen, it helps open up the room and leads the eye to an appealing feature.

The other clever feature in this kitchen is the niche for cookery books above the doorframe. It’s another neat storage trick that won’t take up too much room. Ask a builder if one can be carved out from an existing wall.

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Go minimal
In the process of picking new units for your compact kitchen? Consider this look. Ultra-plain handleless cabinets in a nude hue are soothing to look at and will give a sense of ‘visual order’. Also pick a splashback without joins, such as this slab of marble, as tiles with grout can look busier to the eye.

How to choose the perfect splashback

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Get in a tight corner
When space is tight, a trio of pull-out corner drawers is an ingenious design solution. It can help solve the problem of ‘lost space’ in awkward-to-access base units that invariably become neglected.

Again, if you are in the process of redesigning your kitchen, it could be worth considering. Think how you will use the trio – for cutlery, linen, pans and crockery or something else? Here a slimmer top drawer is complemented by the two deeper ones, so all bases are covered.

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Put the pans away
Similarly a pull-out pan rack can be a gift in a small kitchen, providing an organised home for frying pans and saucepans, and one that won’t leave you tearing your hair out as you hunt around in the backs of cupboards. Also try using racks for items such as steamers or large, unwieldy casserole dishes.

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Organise inside
It’s a no-brainer, but what makes a kitchen organised, big or small, is often about how we arrange the insides of our cupboards. Shelf and drawer dividers, hooks, racks and other storage devices are the key to keeping order. Consider what works for you and go bespoke if you can. Are you a Kilner jar and clip-close Tupperware kind of person? Do you prefer mugs on hooks, shelves or in drawers? Storage is often about personal preference. Here, the slim slots for chopping boards and placemats are a brilliant idea, as is the slimline pull-out spice rack.

How have you organised your small kitchen? Share your ideas in the Coments below.

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