Experts always see small kitchen organization mistakes

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While most of us dream of big, open kitchens. If you live in an apartment, condo, or just a smaller house, this probably isn’t the case. One of the biggest challenges of smaller kitchens is keeping these spaces organized. This means we often make mistakes when trying to find a place for everything. However, that doesn’t mean staying organized is impossible. Here are some of the small kitchen organization mistakes that professional organizers spot.

1. You have too many shelves

Whether you’ve added extra shelving to a rental or renovated a small kitchen, Sam Lund of Simply Sam (opens in new tab) discovers that when it comes to shelving, it turns out you can overdo it. “The main problem we see in kitchens small and large is too many shelves and the addition of aftermarket drawer slides,” she says. “More shelves don’t mean more space. Kitchenware often needs height and we’re removing shelves in almost every kitchen area we see.”

2. Try to fit everything into your kitchen

If you have a smaller kitchen, there might just not be enough space to keep everything in one place. Lund tells me: “Our favorite way to create more space is to add a nice bookcase or cabinets with baskets to an empty wall and create a pantry that is not only beautiful but also creates more space in the house.” See if there are other places in your apartment or house where you can store kitchen items that you and your roommates don’t use as often.

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3. Your kitchen island lacks storage space

Even if you don’t have a large kitchen, there may be enough space for an island. So if you’re installing a permanent one or buying a portable one, Lund recommends going for something with onboard storage (opens in new tab).

You can also buy a nice cabinet for the living room to store extra dishes there. Alternatively, a cupboard anywhere is a great place to store extra dishes or gadgets that you only use occasionally.

4. You store too many random items in your kitchen

Many of us use our kitchen as a dumping ground for extra things. While this isn’t a problem in a larger kitchen with ample storage space, it can be disastrous for smaller kitchens. “Limit the space you have to the items that need to be in that area and only keep kitchen items in your kitchen,” explains Jennifer Jarrett, founder of Jenuinely Contained (opens in new tab). “If you have seasonal items that are only used once or twice a year, consider storing them elsewhere, such as the garage or attic. Tools or scrap from drawers can also find a new home somewhere else. While they don’t need to be in your kitchen, your spatulas and pans do.”

5. Buy kitchen organizers without measuring first

According to Jarrett, it’s important to measure a space before buying containers for it. “One of the biggest little kitchen mistakes in general is getting overly excited about produce before you know exactly what needs to be in it,” she says. “It’s not uncommon for a customer to arrive at a home already having bought a mishmash of items that aren’t appropriate for their space or the items they need to contain.” Yes, finding the tape measure and taking the time taking, measuring twice isn’t the most fun, but will save you a lot of money in the long run. Nothing is more annoying than a drawer divider or bin that just doesn’t fit.

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6. Use of large dish drying racks

If your kitchen doesn’t have a dishwasher, chances are you have one of those large metal drying racks right next to your sink. However, these can take up a lot of space that could be used for other purposes. “Space is often at a premium in a small kitchen, and those bulky old metal dish drying racks can really take up that real estate,” says Jarrett.

She recommends using a roll-up dish drying rack (opens in new tab) instead. “Not only does it take up less valuable counter space, but when you’re not using it for the day or when you have visitors and prefer a sleeker aesthetic, you can simply roll it up and tuck it under your sink. While it doesn’t have the traditional compartments for items during drying, the ease of use and storage far outweigh the compartments’ benefits.”

7. They do not use turntables or rotating containers

When space is at a premium, using every inch is crucial, especially in corners. Turntables (opens in new tab) are a simple and smart way to do this. “Turntables give you an efficient and accessible way to use those hard-to-reach corners,” says Jarrett. “Nothing is lost in the abyss of the deep corner cabinet because you can see it and by simply turning it you can reach the tray.”

Another reason to use turntables is that they are versatile and can work in any room. “You can get trays from 10 to 20 inches in clear, white, metal, bamboo, or acacia with taller sides and even split sections — the variety of options makes it a great option for different styles and different spaces,” says Jarrett.

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