Charlotte Hannah
March 05, 2013

Save Space and Get Organized With These Pinterest Kitchen Hacks

At some point during your 20s, you’ll live in an apartment the size of a large shipping container – if you haven’t already. It’s a rite of passage.

During this time, you’ll pick up lots of neat tricks for making it seem as though you have more space than you actually do. Things like:

  • Keeping most of your stuff piled up in your bedroom so the rest of your apartment looks relatively tidy.
  • Using one piece of furniture for multiple purposes (for example, the couch/bed, or the coffee table/dining table or the top of the microwave/food prep surface).
  • Arranging and displaying junk as though it’s a piece of art that’s supposed to be there.

None of these things will actually save you any space. And none of them will be of any help to you in the kitchen – which is probably the smallest and most cluttered room in your whole apartment.

Whether you’ve already picked up these bad habits or you’re looking to avoid them in the future, you can certainly benefit from an organization intervention. Luckily, with the help of the Internet and those of us who have already been there (or are still there – ahem), you can employ some creative space-saving solutions to help maintain both your surroundings and your sanity.

Say goodbye to cluttered cabinets and covered up counter space and hello to creative organization with these five space-saving kitchen hacks, curated from Pinterest.

Save counter space by hanging stuff

As anyone who’s ever lived in a tiny apartment knows, having an adequate amount of kitchen counter space is a blessing most people take for granted. For the most part, the average apartment has enough counter space to maybe fit all your necessary appliances. If you’re lucky, you might be able to eke out enough unused space to have room to prepare a sandwich.

As a seasoned veteran of shoebox apartments, I have this to say: when you run out of space, the only way to go is up. This is extremely relevant in the kitchen, where space is at its scarcest. Luckily, Pinterest has some great ideas for using walls, ceilings and the undersides of cabinets to your advantage.

Organize everything with a billion baskets

If you’re making your home in a small space, buy, make or otherwise procure a ton of baskets. They will never go unused. In the kitchen, you can use baskets just about everywhere.

A few ideas:

  • Use baskets and rotating trays to keep spices and small packages together in your cupboards. Grab some baskets with lids and stack them for maximum use of space.
  • Get some small, shallow baskets of varying shapes and dimensions and arrange them in your drawers. This will keep everything organized, easily accessible and separate.
  • Put baskets in your fridge to keep things that are alike or used at the same time together. This will keep everything looking neat and help you avoid having to deal with the dreaded “mystery thing that got shoved to the back of the fridge and forgotten about for six months.”

Increase storage and workspace with a DIY island

If you have a galley kitchen (that’s what your landlord calls it, anyway – we renters know it by its true name: tiny ass kitchen), a kitchen island might not work for you. But if your kitchen has at least a moderate amount of floor space, adding an island can seriously increase both your storage space and food prep surface area.

There are a few ways to add an island on the cheap. First, you can start with a plain, portable kitchen cart like the Ikea Bekvam (I have this and can attest to its suitability for small kitchens). You can either leave this as-is or customize it to your heart’s content by adding hooks for hanging utensils or mugs, a bar to keep your paper towel on and whatever else you want.

Or, if you want to go full DIY, transform a piece of furniture like a side table or a small dresser into an island with the addition of some hooks, wheels, drawer organizers, and a fresh coat of paint. You could go all-out by attaching a countertop or butcher block to it.

Clear clutter with a kitchen “command center”

Many would argue that the kitchen is the center of a home – it’s a place where we spend a fair bit of time, and for many of us, it’s the first place we go when we get home from a long day at work. It’s also a room that boasts plenty of flat surfaces like countertops and kitchen tables, upon which things like unpaid bills, junk mail, catalogues, forms, trinkets and all manner of assorted junk tends to accumulate.

You can keep this stuff off your counters by creating a kitchen command center. Customize your command center to suit your needs by including pieces like hanging baskets for sorting mail and corralling junk, a DIY chalkboard or whiteboard for planning your menu for the week or a key rack for keeping track of your keys.

Repurpose items for stylish storage

Store your kitchen crap while adding some serious design flair by repurposing thrift store or antique market finds. With a little bit of outside the box thinking (or, alternatively, an afternoon on Pinterest), you can easily give new life to a vintage rake by turning it into a utensil rack, paint a cheap pegboard from the hardware store and end up with some convenient pot storage, or transform an old fence into a dish drying rack. The possibilities are endless, and Pinterest is a treasure trove of ideas to get you started.