My kitchen isn’t as abysmally small as I complain. It’s perfectly adequate size for someone who lives in a studio apartment and cooks every once in a while. But of course, that’s not me! Cooking and baking supplies, appliances, dishware, glasses, produce, decor, aprons, and more are spilling out of every nook and cranny of my 100 square foot kitchen and dining space. Luckily my kitchen is equipped with quite a bit of storage space and cabinets (counter space is another story) and I’ve added a shelf or two, so keeping everything neat and organized isn’t a huge task. I will have an ice cream maker and a collection of cake plates, and have space for them too, dammit! The other hurdle is that I’ve turned most of the dining space into a photography studio (someday I’ll have a designated space and won’t have to completely tear it down after each use) and storage space for light stands, tripods, and props. But this is what I’m working with, and there are some simple fixes that make a huge difference.
Tip #1: Hang stuff from the ceiling!
I’ve had aprons hanging from my ceiling since I moved in, and I just got one of these tiered fruit and veggie baskets for my birthday. It frees up space in the refrigerator and removes the fruit bowl from the kitchen/storage table.
Tip #2: Think vertical!
This is always one of the major suggestions on apartment and design blogs when covering small spaces. I have my microwave, cake carriers, cake stands, flour and sugar tins, cereal, and tea on top of the refrigerator, then stuff on top of the microwave. Although my kitchen is the perfect size for someone of my height (affectionately referred to as “Barbie’s Dream Kitchen” by a friend), I still keep a step ladder in there to reach the tallest shelves of the cabinets, the top of the coffee maker, and anything on top of the refrigerator.
If you’re interested in the cake stands on top of the microwave in that photo, I made them! There are a few tutorials on the internet with all the details, but I followed this and this and made about 9 cake stands. The only difference is that I left the tops of the cake stands white so they’d be food safe.
Tip #3: Store stuff on walls and the refrigerator!
I’ve seen magnetic spice containers online and at many kitchen supply stores, but they were always really expensive for maybe 10 or 12 tins. Let me tell you, I have way more than 12 spices and so do most people who cook regularly, and if this only frees up space from 12 little spice jars, it’s not very effective! I was still in crafty mode when lusting after magnetic spice tins, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I Googled “diy magnetic spice tins” and sure enough…here it was!
I ordered my tins from the same place mentioned in the instructions, Specialty Bottle, and got a few different sizes to accommodate each spice. Don’t skimp on the neodymium magnets unless you want to skate around your kitchen floor on paprika. I sanded the covers of my spice tins, then applied chalkboard paint. This way, I could change the contents of the tins at any time (commitment bad, flexibility good) by simply erasing the chalk and filling them with any other spice. I bought chalk markers instead of using regular chalk because they come in more vibrant colors and don’t smudge or create lots of dust, which is essential when you’re constantly grabbing at the tins.
Here’s the result! The space of 40+ spice jars has been freed up, and my dishes and cups don’t smell like curry (I was storing some spices in a drawer above them). None of the tins have fallen off or spilled yet either!
I have more space saving tips and implements in my kitchen to share later in the month if you guys are interested! I spend way too much time thinking about how to create more space everywhere in my apartment, making things that help with that, and then bringing home more clutter (repeat process!).