A kitchen is one of those rooms that inevitably feels overcrowded and cluttered, no matter how big or small it is. But with a little work to reorganize, install some DIY hacks, and consolidate your gear, you can transform your day-to-day experience and take back your space. And while you might dream of the chance to do a full-scale renovation and install the kitchen of your dreams, practical solutions in the meantime don’t have to break the bank.
Here are five ways to hack your kitchen for a more streamlined, organized, and functional space:
Seriously, there’s way more space that you can take advantage of than you think. Hooks are a good place to start, but you can get really creative with DIY installations. Install a rod between cabinets, hang it from the ceiling, put it on the side of cupboards, or even fit it on the inside of doors. Then add S-hooks and hang utensils, pots and pans, or catch smaller/non-hanging items in pails hung from the rod.
Hanging equipment helps make it easier to see and grab, takes up less interior cupboard or drawer space, and expands storage options in a small area. You can also use hooks or a corkboard or pegboard, depending on what best suits your space constraints and aesthetic.
Look for accessories, equipment, and tools that do double duty or help you eliminate multiple other items. When there’s one piece to store, instead of three, you save space and reduce clutter. Stacking sets are a good replacement for ragged collections of battered bowls or basins. A few good knives can let you toss out a drawer-full of nicked and dulled blades.
Consider what kinds of things you usually prepare and cook (or what you wish you made more of) and contrast against the tools you have on hand. The As Seen on TV Store is a good resource for upgrading to newer, more effective equipment and consolidating multiple pieces with one clever, higher-functionality tool so you can cut clutter.
Flip it sideways
You’d be surprised how many ways you can make a space more functional by flipping the regular dimensions. Turn storage on its side or upside down. Unconventional inserts can help; try using file stands to separate baking sheets, plates, and other flat storage. They’re also great to install as under-cupboard shelves to keep small items within easy reach.
Wire baskets and racks are another brilliantly functional add-in when you start thinking creatively. Partition large, underutilized cabinets or drawers with baskets braced at an angle or flipped sideways for easier access.
Pull out everything in your kitchen. What do you actually use on a day-to-day basis? What do you use seasonally? What have you used once, hated, and shoved in a back corner somewhere? You know what to do; move the useful stuff within reach, the seasonal stuff into those back corners, and the other stuff into a donation bin.
Then comes the fun part: time to go shopping. What do you cook or prepare regularly? Is there a better tool out there to prep it faster or more easily? Is it time to upgrade dull knives or battered cookware? Investing in the right tools at the right frequency and jettisoning old, worn out, and ineffective pieces can boost your efficiency and enjoyment while reducing clutter and frustration. You can also shape your habits strategically: invest in health-friendly tools and reduce unhealthy equipment. Think spiralizers over cake pans, for instance.
Put it within reach
You use the tools that are visible and easy to get ahold of. Make the most of this human tendency by installing smart storage solutions. Magnetic bars are perfect to keep knives sharp and within reach but out of the danger zone. Install upside down under your cabinets or on the side of a fridge or cupboard. Countertop pails or hanging containers are good for spatulas, spoons, and other tools that may not have a hanging cord or eyehole. Magnetic or stacking spice racks are great for finding what you need at a glance. A basket or tray helps gather equipment and reminds you to put it back in an easily located location that looks tidier.
Accessorizing your kitchen and improving efficiency, functionality, and appearance can be an accessible, low-cost project. Start by taking stock of current frustrations, whether that’s challenging access, inadequate equipment, or just too much clutter. Consider what type of cooking you do and would like to do more of. Jettison excess, unused, or damaged clutter, replace with fewer, more useful accessories, and install DIY organizational fixes like hangers, racks, and bins. You’ll have a more functional, more pleasant kitchen space in no time.