How to Maximize Cabinet Storage Space in a Small Kitchen

Small kitchen? We've got you covered. Maximize your cabinet space with these ideas

Make the most of your cabinet storage with these tips

If you live in a studio apartment, share space with roommates, or skimped on kitchen size to make room for a pool table, you're probably wondering how you're going to fit all your cookware and cereal bowls in those tiny cabinets. Luckily, the DIY era makes it easy to transform even the tiniest kitchen space into something usable and convenient. While you're at it, you can even give those cabinets a fresh coat of paint that'll help detract attention from a cluttered kitchen!

These tricks will help you maximize those mini cabinets. Now we're cooking with gas!

Upgrade your inside shelving

Many cabinets have a "one and done" approach to shelving. At most, there will be one or two badly-placed planks that split your cabinet in half or thirds. Some cabinets have built-in notches that allow you to raise or lower these divider shelves, but it may be more helpful to install a custom shelf yourself. You can even add shelves that rotate or pull out, to help make hard-to-store items like pans and spices easier to access.

Take advantage of outside space

If your cabinets have any space around, under, or above them, you can turn that open space into extra storage. Store bulky items on top of cabinets, or install an additional shelf underneath to display your coffee mugs and wine glasses.

Turn wall space into an "open concept" cabinet

If you don't have enough space for an entire shelf, or you live in a rental where you can't make permanent changes, you can create an "open concept" cabinet of sorts with temporary hooks, magnetic strips, or other storage solutions. Instead of taking up valuable cabinet space with mugs, hang them on wall hooks. This way, your collection doubles as decoration!

Hang objects on the sides or doors of cabinets

Depending on the layout of your kitchen, you may not have space to hang coffee mugs or bulky pots and pans from the walls. But if the sides or doors of your cabinets have space, you can hang flat things like cutting boards and cooling racks so they lay flush against the doors.

Make tension rods your new best friend

Tension rods use, well, tension to act as hanging stations for various household objects. Their versatility and adaptability make them great for tiny kitchens—create a mini towel rack in that tiny space between your cabinets and fridge, or use layered tension rods and a wood plank to create removable shelving inside a cabinet. You can also use them as organizational tools: when arranged vertically, tension rods can keep things like cutting boards, baking sheets, and cooling racks from becoming a disorganized pile.

What's up on the ceiling?

If the answer is "nothing," you're not optimizing your space. Your ceiling is another Wild West ready for settling—or in this case, ready to hold a pot rack or hanging shelving unit. Hoist your bulky or lesser-used items above to save precious cabinet space for the things you'll use every day. Plus, with a little interpretive dance, your pot rack can double as an indoor wind chime! (We're kidding on that, but feel free to make kitchen music as often as you like.)

Strategize (and organize!) your storage

The best storage system is one that is strategically and carefully organized. If you own an Instant Pot that you only use twice a year, why give it a prime space right at the front of your cabinet? You can maximize storage space by storing bulky items first, then filling in empty space with smaller items. However, this can also make it difficult to retrieve those bulky items, so be sure you're putting items away according to how often you typically use them. For example, it makes sense to store your water glasses, cereal bowls, and dinner plates in the same cabinet. They all stack, and you're probably going to open that cabinet at every meal. On the other hand, it wouldn't make sense to store that Instant Pot on top of your dinner plates, even if it looks like it will fit nicely—you don't want to have to move something large and annoying out of your way every time you want to make a sandwich.

When it comes down to it, maximizing kitchen storage is all about thinking outside the box—or in this case, outside the cabinet. By reducing clutter, optimizing shelving space, and strategically planning your organization system, you can make the most out of even the tiniest of kitchens.

Resources — The KitchnMartha Stewart,