Kitchen Necessities + How to Organize a Smaller Kitchen

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Tulip Table: Overstock | Ghost Chairs: Amazon | Rug: Overstock | Drapes: Pier 1 | Light Fixture: PB Teen [old] | Mixer: KitchenAid | Black & White Kitchen Items Linked Below!

Photography by: Carmen Evans

One of the “negatives” about our home when we moved was the fact that it had a pretty tiny kitchen. It wasn’t the most well-thought out space in the home while it was built and renovating it wouldn’t work. We brought in a contractor and he laughed and said to even reconfigure the space to make it work we might as well just go buy a new home.

And honestly? I’ve kind of loved it. Granted, there are plenty of days that I wish Paul could be in the kitchen to cook with me or I wish we had space to actually set out ingredients on the counter while we make cookies, but it is what it is! And I think it’s so funny how accustomed to space we are in Texas. Homes here are just so large and I always joke with my friends and say, “People grow up in Manhattan just fine! We need to learn from them!” I’m secretly a minimalist, I swear! 😉

I’m just thankful we have a kitchen and a cozy little home for it to sit in! But I have definitely learned some tricks on organizing and making the space work. Seek the services of remodeling contractors Chicago if you are planning to renovate or remodel you kitchen.

Here’s a few tips I have for making a small kitchen work as well as my kitchen must haves!

1. Cut The Clutter

Toss things that don’t match. Have a plastic to-go cup from a restaurant? Toss it. Have a bunch of restaurant take out times like ketchup packets, get rid of it! Don’t have anything in your kitchen that isn’t part of a set. For example, when we moved we tossed all of our plastic cups and just use our glass cups we registered for. We use water bottles and Yeti cups to not waste water bottles, but we only have a few. The reason you don’t want lots of mismatched plastic items is because they all take up different amounts of space. It creates a mess. So putting them inside kitchen cabinets can help make your kitchen look more organized and clean. Also, instead of plastic cups and utensils, you may consider purchasing eco-friendly kitchen tools such as sustainable bamboo chopsticks.

2. Don’t Decorate

My old kitchen had picture frames, cookbooks and plenty of candles out and about. However, a small kitchen only needs the basics. You can make your kitchen beautiful by keeping it more minimal and doing things like painting the kitchen cabinets white. White makes spaces seem brighter, so we also installed white subway tile as backsplash and have lighter countertops. I love Mackenzie Childs because you can get beautiful functional pieces like a utensil holder in a pattern that helps decorate. I love her courtly check pattern [the black and white] in my kitchen because it adds a pattern but keeps it more minimal.

3. Use a Magnetic Spice Rack

We don’t buy a ton of pantry items like snacks, but I have spices for days and this tutorial is something I need to do! I saw a friend have a magnetic spice rack and you can put it inside your pantry or on the side of your fridge! It’s so smart because by repurposing jars that are all the same size you’re taking up way less space and keeping it off shelves! See the tutorial here.

4. Magazine Holder for Foil/Plastic Wrap

Aluminum foil and plastic wraps can take up a lot of space in your drawers! We only have 2 drawers so we can’t use up that space! Keep a magazine holder like this in the cabinet under your kitchen sink and vertically place your foils and plastic wraps.

5. Curtain Rod Under Sink

Add a curtain rod under your sink and hang cleaning supplies off of it! I’ll be sure to do a cleaning post soon and share what I use so I’m not cluttering up my cabinets with supplies!

6. Keep 2-3 Items Max

Unless you are cooking for a large family, try to keep only 2-3 items max of cookware or bakeware. For example, we have one sauté pan, two pyrex dishes, two tupperware containers. It can be so annoying having to constantly wash dishes, but a running dishwasher is much better than an overstuffed cabinet. If you aren’t sure what to do with leftovers, use Ziploc bags! I always forget I can put old vegetables, and sides or even meat in them!

7. File Plastic Containers

Keep Tupperware tops together and then stack your plastic tupperware on top of one another, as opposed to stacking tupperware bins on top of one another. That takes up so much more room.

8. Mason Jars

Use Mason Jars in your pantry or cabinets to store items like baking soda, brown sugar, teas, coffee beans, etc. This way you can see what you are low on, but you also aren’t cluttering your kitchen with bags of all shapes and sizes! I use a label maker to label the jars and it feels so much more organized. Light, bright and organized spaces always feel larger!

9. Mixer Out

I do keep my mixer out, and many would say that’s a waste of space! But I use it for everything! From making mashed potatoes to baking, I’m constantly working with it. Plus, if you get one in a fun shade it also counts as a “decor” items that is still functional. Make sure that everything you use to decorate your kitchen is functional and it won’t feel cluttered.

10. Backsplash Trick

If you aren’t a fan of your backsplash, lean cutting boards up against your backsplash to cover it like this. I also used a marble serving tray when we had our old backsplash and it made the space seem brighter!

Below are my favorite kitchen necessities!


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  1. Brittany wrote:

    Your space is SO cute!! xx


    Published 08 Jul 16Reply
  2. Morgan wrote:

    My cabinets are pretty clutter free ((I’m definitely a minimalist!)) but one thing I’ve had trouble organizing is the “snack and spice” cabinet. I love your idea of using mason jars!!!

    How 2 Wear It []

    Published 08 Jul 16Reply
  3. Thanks for sharing!! This is so relevant in my life right now! I just got married & we live in a 1 bedroom apartment. So putting wedding gifts away has been a process to say the least. But I’ve found that there are so many better ways to store things than we were before.

    Hope you have a fabulous weekend!


    Published 08 Jul 16Reply
  4. Lauren wrote:


    They are perfection! <3



    Published 08 Jul 16Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Lauren!

      They are from a boutique called Lawrence’s by my home!



      Published 08 Jul 16Reply
  5. Alex wrote:

    Where are your blue chargers from? Love them!! Love your blog! Thanks.

    Published 08 Jul 16Reply
  6. Love your copper pieces and the cute pink Kitchen Aid Cake Mixer! <3

    Published 08 Jul 16Reply
  7. Hannah wrote:

    These are great tips! My kitchen is a little bigger, but I have no pantry space! I think the key is definitely organization like you said. I love the mason jar idea!

    Published 08 Jul 16Reply
  8. Torey Beerman wrote:

    Sometimes having a smaller space is better! It keeps everything more organized and simplified which is the best type of life to live 🙂

    Published 08 Jul 16Reply
  9. LOVEEE the napkin rings!

    Published 08 Jul 16Reply
  10. Priscilla wrote:

    Love the mason jar idea. And thanks for the extra nudge on tossing out things that aren’t a set. Mix match sizes of bins and cups totally take up space.
    I noticed your beautiful white record player. Where from? Love it!

    Published 10 Jul 16Reply
  11. Claire wrote:

    Would you please do a post on favorite things to make in your kitchenaid mixer? We recently received a bright red version off our wedding registry and love it! However, I’d like to make more substantial food than cookies and pizza dough. The waistline can only take so much!

    Published 10 Jul 16Reply
  12. Kathryn wrote:

    I’m currently in a rather small apartment so these tips are much appreciated! I’ll have to put them to use!!

    xx Kathryn

    Published 11 Jul 16Reply
  13. christine wrote:

    Where are your Blue Chargers & Napkins Rings from?! LOVE this post & your blog


    Published 13 Jul 16Reply
  14. Jazzmine wrote:

    Love the mason jar tip!

    Published 14 Jul 16Reply