I have a very old kitchen and a small one at that. The combined kitchen/dining area is just under 4 x 4 square metres and anyone who has ever been to my house for dinner will attest to how squeezy it can get. And whilst I have a nice high ceiling, the downside is that the cupboards are so high that I need to stand on a chair to get to the top ones.
As a renovation is beyond reach for now, I’ve had to get creative with my use of space.
I thought I’d share with you some of the kitchen space saving solutions I’ve put into place. They really have made a difference.
1. Knife Magnet. This has the combined benefit of saving precious drawer space, and making knife storage safer if you have children around. You can get these at chef’s stores, or Ikea have plenty of kitchen magnet options.
2. Magnetic spice storage. I love these Ikea storage solutions for my spices, because they tick two boxes for me – first, they are see through, which is essential (otherwise you will never use what is stored) and second, the magnet attached to the back means they can be stored on the fridge, or a wall mounted magnet. I keep mine just above my knives. Perfect.
3. Shelf within a cupboard (below). I love these little shelf inserts that you can get at storage or Chinese import stores. They can instantly double the storage space in a cupboard. Here I have used them to make a shelf in my tea/coffee/hot chocolate nook, but I also use them in several other parts of the kitchen.
4. Tray as lazy suzan. I use this metal tray – bought from an Asian grocery store – to keep my smaller bottles of sauces, vinegars etc, which are on a higher up cupboard and hard to get to. Now I can just spin the tray around to find what I’m looking for, or easily lift it down. Sweet!
5. Using the inside of cupboard doors. Providing whatever you put on the inside of the door will fit with the contents of the cupboard, this is a great use of space. I use these little storage tubs on a rack (from Ikea) to keep candles, matches and light globes (below right). On the other door, hooks hold rubber gloves and cleaning cloths that I put grommets in (you can get a grommet maker from hardware shops for around $15 and it is a very handy device to own). This was a great tip from Martha Stewart home organising!
6. Kitchen items as art. Instead of useless, space-sucking framed things, I like to hang large or awkward to store kitchen items on kitchen walls and the sides of cupboards, such as cake cooling racks, a pot drainer, and an in-sink food rinser.
7. See through storage. I have learnt my lesson and will never again buy storage containers that you can’t see through. Too many times I have come across a lovely but quite impractical non-see through storage tin, only to toss out the 3 year old contents. And how many times did I need the contents of those containers, and just went out and bought more?! Labelled or not, in my experience you just don’t use it if you can’t see it.
8. Hanging pot holder. I really had no choice in this one. The combination of a very high ceiling and absolutely no room to put my pots made it a no brainer. If you don’t have a high ceiling, you can still use one of these and sit the pots and pans on the hanger, instead of hanging them. I got this one, and the hooks, at Ikea. But you do need someone who knows what they are doing to hang it for you. You don’t want this baby crashing down on your head.
9. In-cupboard wine rack and potato/onion storage. This was a good use of a dark, low cupboard that gets very cold in winter as it is not well insulated. Keeping onions and potatoes in bamboo steamers is ideal as it is cool and dark yet air can still circulate (another Martha tip!). And the wine storage is perfect for a low, deep cupboard.
10. Long opaque plastic carriers. I got these at a storage shop and they are meant for fridge door shelves, but I couldn’t imagine why this would be useful when you can see easily into your fridge doors, but they are great for a high cupboard shelf that is hard to see into. I keep baking odds and ends like baking powder, patty tin liners, sprinkles, different types of salts, yeast and other sachets in them. They are easy enough to pull down and check to see if what you need is there.
11. Cutlery holders. To stop clutter in my kitchen drawers, I keep my every day cutlery in the drawer, and the cutlery I use on less regular occasions out of the way in these Ikea cutlery drainers in a high up shelf. When people come round for dinner, simple to just grab them down and put them on the table.
12. Behind the door plastic bag storage. Using the back of doors is another great space saver, I just wish the door didn’t have glass panes so you couldn’t see the Ikea plastic bag holder. Oh well.
13. Hanging gadgets. If you have something you use all the time, and it is not an ugly plastic eyesore, why not hang it somewhere handy, like with these measuring cups which I use nearly every day. I bought these metal ones for $10 from an Asian kitchen supplier, but I’ve seen them at posh kitchen stores for about $60!