Small Kitchens

I have a small kitchen, and have had to do various things to maximize my space. One of the things I have done in order to make the most of my food storage, while also looking attractive is to store many staples in different glass containers. Some are stored in traditional cannisters, while others, like my dried beans are stored in less conventional containers. When looking for something to store my beans in Lindsay came up with the idea of using juice pitchers. I loved the idea and we have 7 of them each holding a different type of bean. They will hold close to 3 lbs of beans. I have them on top of my refrigerator as a type of storage art.


Last summer Gene worked on a set of shelves to be used as a pantry. They are 18 inches deep, 6 1/2 feet long and close to 7 feet tall. I spent yesterday and today re-organizing them, and boy were they a mess! It felt so good to have them all organized and neat again. I had considered making a curtain to put across the front, but decided against it. If it had a curtain, it would constantly be getting in the way, which would be frustrating to me. My kitchen is the heart of our home, where real work is accomplished. Why do we try to hide that fact and make it a showplace? Here are some pictures of the pantry. It will be fairly obvious that I can display OCD tendencies when it comes to organizing things. In my mind there are ways I could organize it a little better, but the space doesn’t seem to work with that, so I can handle having breakfast foods on more than one shelf. At least I think I can.

pantry 1

On the top of the shelves you will see my cracker jars which are holding (from left to right): egg noodles, potato flakes, pancake mix, whole wheat flour, oatmeal & brown sugar.

On the shelf below that I have more baking supplies and dried fruit.

The shelf under that is spices, seasonings, oils & vinegars.

The last shelf that you can see in this picture holds teas, coffee, sweeteners & syrups. You may ask yourself, how can that take up so much space. Well, there are 50 different types of teas on that shelf… o.k. I have a compulsion for teas.

pantry 2

The top shelf in this picture is a mixture of things. In the jars (there are more behind the one you see) are tapioca, barley & grits. Next to that there are hot cereals, and granola. Then a basket with items that are in packets, such as taco seasoning and chili mix. In front of the basket and to the right of it are miscellaneous staples.

On the next shelf there is canned fruit, canned milk, a basket with more dry beans, then canned beans. I promise we do eat more than just beans around here.

On the bottom shelf there are canned soups, ramen noodles, canned veggies (that aren’t beans), canned meat and then tomato products.

If you will notice under the shelves there is a box, which contains potatoes and onions. Beside that is a box that contains jello and Vietnamese noodles.

pantry 3

On top of this side you will see an enamel ware kettle, platters, and a ceramic box.

On the top shelf is stored some of my glassware that is used often. I have about 6 glass bowls that are stacked with the no-slip shelf liner between them for protection. There are several glass vases, in addition to a cake plate. I have also stored many candles and candle holders on this shelf.

The next shelf holds many of my dry staples. From left to right: prairie gold flour, unbleached flour, sugar, Dyno-bites cereal, and bran flakes. Behind these there is a basket with extra bags of flour, cereal, and then a jar with Rice Crispies and a jar of brown rice.

The shelf under that holds pasta, potato mixes, crackers, bread & chips (in the basket).

pantry 4

One of the things the pantry did was to help create more storage space for my bigger kitchen items. On the shelf under the pasta I have stored my roaster oven, a small crockpot and a my large crockpot.

On the next shelf I have pots, pans, skillets and a rice cooker. In the back there is an electric kettle.

On the bottom shelf I have bowls, a salad spinner, an ice shaver, blender base, another electric kettle and usually the food processor is there. It’s still out from soup making.

Under the bottom shelf we are storing soft drinks, and ramen noodle cups.

Here is a picture of the pantry as a whole.

pantry 5

I hope this will give you some ideas on how to organize your kitchen, even when space is limited. I will be posting some more on this topic in the next few days.