How to declutter a small kitchen

If you struggle with a messy kitchen that is cramped and disorganized this article will help. Get tips on how to declutter a small kitchen and work your way towards finally streamlining this important room in your home.

Another step towards kitchen organization you are going to love!

how to declutter a small kitchen

Nothing is more frustrating than having too much stuff in a small kitchen. The counters are constantly cluttered, the cabinets are crammed full, and you don’t even have enough room to properly prepare a meal.

If any of that sounds like you, it might be time to declutter. This step-by-step guide will show you how to eliminate the excess stuff without getting overly stressed out and make your small kitchen work for you again.

A kitchen is an important part of any family that I quite often call it the heart of the home. So many activities can take place in this room with few resembling cooking or eating. It is the social hub, where many family members gravitate, and that means there is a lot going on.

Whether you have a house full of kids or are a party of one, having a kitchen that is neat and easy to keep put away is something everyone longs for. But, with so much happening in this space, it can be a bit tricky. Partner that with having a small kitchen, and you might be in for a challenge from start to finish.

a view of a small organized small kitchen

My first home as a newlywed came with a small kitchen. Actually, it was tiny. It resembled a hallway more than a place to cook. There was hardly enough room for me to cook in it, let alone my husband, and we quickly found that opening the oven and the refrigerator simultaneously was impossible.

In those first few years, I learned quite a few small kitchen storage tricks. Many of them I was able to rely on to keep all that we needed conveniently close. A few other tips I still use today even though my kitchen is much bigger now.

One of the biggest tricks I learned was to keep my kitchen free of clutter at all times. Clutter gives such a bad vibe to a space no matter what the size; however, when a room is small, it really does a number on it.

The more you can keep put away, the more pleasant the space is. And the more pleasant it is, the more you will want to be in there cooking and baking and just enjoying some really amazing food.

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How to Declutter a Small Kitchen

The first step is to uncover the clutter. More often than not what we think is clutter is mainly things that need to be tossed or put away. I call these the 3 core steps, and they are ones you will want to do before you get busy with the clutter in a room.

  • Remove any trash you see on the counters, the table, or the floor.
  • Looking at the same areas, gather up any recyclables and take them to the bin.
  • Finally, using a basket, pick up any items you see that belong in another room. A few ideas are toys, clothes, office papers, etc. Take a few minutes to put these items away before moving on.

What you have left is clutter. The extra stuff that is lying out and about.

a man picking up toys and putting them into a blue basket

Before we get started, we first want to review what clutter is. Clutter is anything that does not have a home or a specific area where it is kept. This can be because you do not have a designated space or you have too many replicas of an item that you do have enough room to keep them all.

Our job when decluttering any room in our home is to find those extra things and get rid of them. The more you can let go of the more room you will free up and, in turn, streamline your space into one that is easy to keep clutter-free going forward.

Declutter the Kitchen Counters

This is quite possibly the most valuable part of a kitchen. And because of that, you will want to be ruthless with decluttering.

Go through every item you see that is lying out on your kitchen counters. Ask yourself if it is best to keep it permanently stored there. If the answer is yes, you can leave it there.

A few examples of things you can leave out on a kitchen counter are:

  • A tray of supplements
  • Toaster or toaster oven
  • A container of oils or spices
  • A coffee maker
a coffee maker on a kitchen counter

If, however, the answer is no, you will want to find a better place to house it.

Since you have a small kitchen, this may be where things get a bit tricky. Your space is limited, so you may not have too many other options to choose from. If that is the case, you will want to bring in additional storage.

A few examples are:

  • A bread box to hold baked goods or bread.
  • A shelf to hold cookbooks or sauces.
  • A magazine wall organizer to hold potholders and towels.
  • A file organizer to hold cutting boards.
a file organizer on a kitchen counter holding cutting boards

Your goal is to do your best to get everything put away. And remember how I said you will want to be ruthless? That means the cute little mug collection that you never use may have to go.

This will also hold true for any small appliances that you rarely use. Choose what you love and use regularly, and get rid of the rest. Trust me; the space will serve you more than having a bulky electric can opener, especially when a manual one works just as well and needs a fraction of the space.

Declutter the Cabinets

Once the counters are clutter-free, it’s time to move on to the cabinets. Again, you will want to be very selfish with what you plan to keep in these areas. I suggest just the basics so you can find quickly and easily what you are looking for.

To declutter, work on one cabinet at a time using your newly cleared-off counters to organize things into piles. Take everything out and sort through what you find. Keep separate anything you plan to keep while you sort out anything you can donate. Be sure to toss anything that is broken, chipped, or cracked.

a woman packing up coffee cups with a donation box in a kitchen

Once done, take a look at how you did. If your cabinets are still overflowing, you may want to invest in some storage solutions like shelves or stackable containers. This will help you make the most of the space that you have without cramming or overcrowding.

Where to keep kitchen appliances when not being used?

It is a good clutter-free practice to keep out just the items you use daily in a small kitchen. Mainly we are talking about small appliances such as a coffee maker, blender, or a toaster. If you find yourself using an item weekly or less, you may want to look into other storage options.

There are many options available for storing small appliances that you may have, even in a small kitchen.

The pantry floor is always my go-to suggestion, along with a corner cabinet or even a hard-to-access drawer or shelf. If your appliances are lightweight, you can look for space higher up, whereas if you have a heavy appliance, you may want to look low for storage space.

You can also invest in a shelf to hold extra appliances or even a storage cart.

The Rest

Take a look at your kitchen table and the kitchen floor. If you have anything stacked or piled up in these areas, take some time to sort through them. Do not be tempted to put things in your newly cleaned-out cabinets.

Keep it That Way

The last step is to keep it up. Always be conscious of where you put things when you are done using them. Don’t let the clutter creep back in. Put things all the way away so you do not have stuff collecting on counters as they did before. A little bit of effort every day will go a long way toward keeping your small kitchen clutter-free.

Extra Decluttering Tips

A small kitchen is short on storage, so always work to keep only the things you use often and let the rest go. I realize that it sounds easy, but it might be paralyzingly hard to do. If you are really struggling with this concept, you can purchase a few sturdy totes and fill them up with extras. Put them in your basement so they are out of the way. Test out how nice it is to have less and see if you love it as much as I know you will.

Decluttering a small kitchen can be a daunting task, but it’s definitely worth it in the end. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be able to create some much-needed space without too much hassle. And remember, keeping things clutter-free takes a little bit of effort every day, so stay vigilant!

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