Organizing in Small Spaces: Kitchen Cupboards

by Katie on January 31, 2013

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, paring down our kitchen items to those that we use most often has been one of the essential keys to keeping our kitchen organized and manageable.  When we first got married, we registered for two sets of dishes, only to discover that we never used both sets.  So, we scaled down to one set of very family-friendly dishes.  Since we use bowls frequently, we bought an extra set of smaller Corelle bowls to fill in so we wouldn’t run out of bowls each day.

The rest of our everyday dishes are similar in nature.  We have an odd assortment of cups, glasses, and mugs that we’ve bought or acquired through the years – enough for each day and for company, but not too many that we have glasses falling out of the cupboard.  Likewise, since we tend to use more small forks and spoons than any other cutlery pieces, we simply purchased extras of those two utensils, and have the standard amount of large forks, spoons, and knives.  It may seem unconventional, but it works for our family, and allows us to have what we need without excessive amounts of items that we don’t use.

Now, I have to say, I come from a very large family (I’m the youngest of 7), and there are times when our house is overflowing with people for a family meal.  However, I would rather break out the good china (ahem…that translates to paper plates and cups for me) for the few times a year that I have that many dinner guests than try to accommodate all the dishes, cups, and cutlery I would need to store in cupboard for those occasions.

I have the same mantra for storage containers, cookware, and bake ware.  I typically pick up a pack of inexpensive Rubbermaid each year on Black Friday to utilize for the upcoming year.  That way, if the containers get lost or stained, I don’t feel as wasteful as I would if had I spent more money on them.

As for cookware, I absolutely love my glass pans for cooking and baking.  I have a half dozen pans that I use on a routine basis – enough that if I want to do a batch of freezer cooking, I have enough to work with, but not too many that they take up excessive space.  I also have a small assortment of pots and pans.  Through the years, I’ve decided which sizes work best for the items I cook most often, and limit myself to a small variety.

Baking utensils would be the one area where I tend to splurge in terms of storing items.  I have a cabinet above my refrigerator that is not the most practical to access on a routine basis.  That being said, it is the ideal nook to store pie plates, cheesecake pans, cake pans, a crock pot, and other items that I don’t use every day.  My more heavily utilized items – cooling racks, mixer, hand mixer, chopper, muffin pans, and the like, have found their home in a small cupboard next to the oven.

The remainder of the items in my kitchen – serving utensils, measuring cups and spoons, dish cloths, dish towels, pot holders, cleaners, etc. are all limited to those items that I love and use very frequently.  If I’m working in the kitchen and I find that I have a very unorganized or overflowing drawer or cabinet, it’s always a sign that something needs to be reorganized or pared down.

I try to keep in mind that while I can’t create more space in my kitchen, I can always decide how that space is utilized.  It might sound like an over simplified solution, but by choosing to keep only those items that I truly use, I have the ability to function most efficiently with the space that I have.

Stay tuned tomorrow for part three of kitchen organization – a daily routine to keep everything in order.

Have you missed any other posts in the Organizing in Small Spaces Series?  If so, you can catch up with these posts:


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