Tara M Stewart
Seven Ways to Increase Function & Reduce Fatigue in Your Small Kitchen
Updated: Apr 7
If you have a small kitchen, you know how important it is to organize it in functional way. Lack of storage space means limiting the number of items you use "once and awhile” and choosing organizational products for function versus “cute” is vital.
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Today’s project has some great ideas for you if you..
Don’t have a pantry
Have a very small kitchen
Have kitchen items that have become too heavy to use
Have a limited budget for organizing project
This kitchen had:
four upper cabinets
one annoying upper corner cabinet
three lower cabinets
Creating a functional space for this client was about so much more than convenience. It was about helping her with her physical limitation. Our home owner has an autoimmune condition in which the top symptom is fatigue. She also becomes dizzy very easily when bending over, which makes the lower cabinets almost unusable. Therefore, decluttering wasn't even up for debate - it was a "must" because of the small size of the kitchen and physical restrictions my client is dealing with.
Here are SEVEN changes we made in her kitchen showing you how we set it up, and why. We hope it helps you rethink your small kitchen and offers up some ideas for those of you who might have some physical limitations that make cooking a challenge. All of the items are budget friendly and light weight.
Oils are large and can be very heavy, so we used clear turntables * from Walmart by The Home Edit so she can access the heavier itemsAlso, she can easily see what she has by spinning each turntable and won’t have to pull oils out to get to the ones in the back.
Smaller (10" x 5" x 6") clear containers * with handles were used for light items, and a larger container * with an opening for easy access via the front OR using the handles was used for dinner items. You can purchase each of these items separately. However, to save you some money, you can get The Home Edit 5 Piece Laundry Edit, * that set includes 2 : Stacking Bins (10" x 10" x 6"), 1 10" Turntable, and 2 Narrow Bins (10" x 5" x 6").
We took down the "spice holder" from the kitchen wall which was magnetic and hard to access. The containers of spices were so small they didn't hold much so she was also having to store “backstock.” We stuck with turntables for spices to keep the counter space clear for cooking. When short on space, just stick with the original spice containers and just replace when you are out.
Our client only had four drawers and those really needed to be used for silverware and cooking utensils, which left her nowhere to put her plastic wraps and plastic bags. Since her laundry room was right beside the kitchen and had a great empty wall, we used the plastic wrap holder by mDesign. * It comes with double sided tape AND screws if you’d rather install it with tools!
Pro Tip: Get extra command tape * for this item. The tape it comes with isn’t great and it’s easier to do that than get out the drill! Use the wall in a nearby closet or laundry room for plastic wraps and bags. Check out my IG Reel on this exact product!
She loves tea and products that flavor her water. So we grabbed the Kitchen Cabinet Pantry Organizing Bin * by YouCopia to organize her drink supplies. It also has adjustable dividers if her needs change and it is tiered so you can see what is in the back. Again, it is light and has handles so she can pull the whole thing down and set it on the counter before putting it back in the cabinet. Watch it come together HERE!
This cabinet above used to store glasses but the reality was those had become too heavy and hard to grip, so out of the house they went and we turned this into a drink cabinet! Everything we used either had a handle to pull it down OR was small and light.
If you have a deep corner cabinet you know how hard those are to use! Since she did have a couple of keepsake items that she wanted to look at but not use, we put those at the top (as it’s not a functional shelf for her anyways since it’s so high and deep. THEN we added a 15” turntable from Target to make this corner cabinet a breeze to use! She can spin to grab the cans she needs. We also put her dishes here as it is close to the dishwasher.
95% of the cabinet shown above contained items that were just too heavy for her to hold. She used to have a free standing shelf in her kitchen that held food, however, it was blocking the clear pathway to the kitchen so our goal was to get it out of the house. This meant we had to make more room for food in the cabinets. Which is what we did here! PLEASE consider going through your mugs to make room for items you do need and do use.
This cabinet did NOT have a shelf like most do. It was long gone. So we used this space to add a rolling container from The Container Store, this one is called the "Long Deep STAK Bin W/ Wheels Clear" as we all have the pots she uses the most stored here. While I wouldn't put these rolling bins in the "budget friendly" category they are worth the splurge!
Pro Tip: If you don't can vegetables, jams or jellies, please stop collecting all the mason jars, and jelly jars and any “oh this is a good jar” that comes into your home. Donate them, or pass them to a friend who does can! Trust me it won’t be the last jar you see.
Rarely used items towards the back and then all the pieces to her food processor in one simple basket she can pull out with a handle. This basket comes in various colors and is from Target. While Target no longer sells this exact item, I've put a link HERE * to a similar and affordable option.
Heartwarming story for the day:
THIS drawer has a beautiful story - I had another client that messaged me saying she had accidentally overbought organizing product and instead of sending it back to Amazon wanted to gift it to someone! This was just three days before I was heading to someone that really needed a "gift." So here you will see us using the SpaceAid drawer dividers with inserts * that was gifted to our new client!
You'll notice we move a LOT of items around the kitchen to make it super simple for her to grab what she uses most - depending on where the cabinet was in the kitchen. I challenge you today to take a second look at your kitchen. What do you no longer use? What can be downsized in amount (i.e. water bottles, coffee mugs) to create a cabinet that gives you easier access to the items you use most? What “single use” kitchen appliances do you own that could be donated because you have a Vitamix, or food processor that already does that one task PLUS more?
Take aways to help you declutter:
Stop hanging on to items that are physically hard to use. Those items are taking up primary real estate in your kitchen. It can be very hard to let go of items you love and were able to use at one time, however, when you can easily access and USE everything in your kitchen it can be a game changer!
Ready to tackle your kitchen? We would be honored to be invited into your home to work our magic so you can start to enjoy your kitchen again! Head HERE to fill out the Contact Us form to get the ball rolling with a free phone consultation to see how we can help you reclaim your home!