4 Types of Items to Avoid Storing in a Small Kitchen to Maximize Space and Reduce Clutter, Say Professional Declutterers

Organizing experts tell us what items you should be stowing away for a tidier kitchen space

Small dark grey and white Ikea kitchen
(Image credit: Topology/Georgia Burns)

In a world where nifty hacks and clever organizational products are easily available, small kitchens no longer have any excuse to be cramped and cluttered. A modest kitchen can actually be the quaint, tidy space you'd like it to be. However, you may need to put in a tiny bit of effort to take it from crowded to clean. Lucky for you, there has never been a better time to tackle your kitchen and get to tidying up with spring cleaning season upon us.

We spoke to a couple of professional organizers to find out how to organize a kitchen and what you should not be storing in a small kitchen so that you can maximize space and minimize the excessive products taking up far too much space on your countertops. This cheat sheet lists out the items that you should stow away and experts tell us that strategically storing these items out of sight will make your kitchen look tidier than ever.

1. Seasonal Items

How to make a small kitchen feel bigger

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According to professional organizer Ben Soreff keeping a space spick-and-span is not as complicated as it's made out to be. 'Organizing 101 can be distilled down to this simple rule - the things we don’t use frequently, we should store more remotely. Everything can be categorized, be it baking, cooking, formal, every day, utility, and decor. And the key to cleaner spaces is to put items where they belong not where they fit,' he says.

Seasonal items are used infrequently and they tend to take up space and accumulate dust. Di Ter Avest, Founder of Di Is Organized, points out that kitchen gadgets such as bulky ice cream makers for summer treats or the special pan used to cook the Thanksgiving turkey, can consume valuable counter and cabinet space when not in use. 'Instead of letting them clutter your kitchen year-round, consider relocating these items to a designated space for kitchen items in the basement, attic, or garage. Vacuum-sealed bags or clear storage bins can help keep these items organized and easily accessible when needed,' suggests Di. Starting to declutter is always the toughest part but if you begin by sorting through your seasonal cookware, you'll make a significant dent in the process and you'll start to see the true satisfaction that comes with an organized kitchen.

2. Special Occasion Dinnerware

a small kitchen renovation

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There's nothing like a set of ornate plates and delicate glasses to add a touch of opulence to a meal but if you're like us, you prefer to bring out the makings of a fancy tablescape only for celebratory occasions that call for an elevated dining experience. A trick to reduce kitchen clutter that is often underestimated is simply clearing the space of items that aren't used on a day-to-day basis, whether that's in cabinets or by decluttering kitchen countertops. Following this principle alone will result in a virtually unrecognizable space that will make cooking an enjoyable task. 'While it's nice to have elegant dinnerware for special occasions, storing fine china and fancy serving platters in a small kitchen can be impractical. These items often take up valuable cabinet space that could be used for everyday essentials,' says Di.

She recommends investing in stackable storage containers specifically designed for fragile dinnerware. 'These containers can be stored in a closet, basement, or even the garage, keeping your special occasion pieces safe and out of the way until needed,' she says. While clearing your kitchen is essential to keeping it clean, it can also prevent any unfortunate mishaps that lead to the demise of your prized dinnerware.

3. Excessive Cookware

A small kitchen with light wood cabinets and white walls

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Have you ever wandered into a home store with no intention of making a purchase and yet you've walked out with a whimsical bread-and-butter plate and a set of colorful glasses? Well, specifics aside, you're definitely not alone. We can't help but add to our collection of dinnerware. So it's no surprise that we have items aplenty scattered around the kitchen. But we believe that stowing away unused cookware can truly make a small kitchen all the more comfortable and Di agrees.

She informs us that small kitchen appliances like juicers, bread makers, or food processors can accumulate over time, especially if they're rarely used. 'Instead of letting them clutter your countertops or cabinets, assess which appliances you use regularly and consider donating or selling the ones you no longer need. And when it comes to the appliances you use occasionally, store them in less-used areas of your home, such as a secondary closet,' she says.

4. Unused Appliances

a small kitchen with open storage

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We have all fallen victim to a good deal on the latest kitchen addition, not to mention the alluring shoppable videos that we can't seem to get away from on our socials. Lately, it's the ads spotlighting easy-to-use air fryers and multifunctional pans that have taken over our tech. We're all for a gadget that makes cooking a little less tedious but if you're looking around your kitchen and it's chockfull of appliances, it might be time for a little decluttering.

Ben tells us that reviewing kitchen items and determining which items should be stored more remotely, and which items can be donated or tossed is a key step in spring cleaning. Similarly, Di suggests paring down your collection to the essentials until you have around two versatile pots, a few pans in different sizes, and essential bakeware items. 'For items you use less frequently, consider storing them in alternate locations, such as a hallway closet or storage ottoman. Hanging racks or wall-mounted hooks can also free up cabinet space by allowing you to store pots and pans vertically,' she says. If you've wondered how the minimalists have a sparkling clean kitchen top featuring just the essentials, chances are that they have their true collection cleverly stowed away. With the help of some vertical storage and a designated cabinet (or two - no judgment), you'll soon have an immaculate kitchen that's expert-approved.

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News Writer

Amiya is the News Writer at Livingetc. She recently graduated with a Masters Degree in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London and has lent her words to beauty, fashion and health sections of lifestyle publications including Harper’s Bazaar and Women’s Health. Her experience as a research analyst has equipped her with an eye for emerging trends. When she’s off the clock, she can be found reading, listening to music or overanalysing her latest Co-Star update.