Make The Most Of Minimal Kitchen Storage Space

The following is a guest post from my good friend Kate, who blogs at Cooking During Stolen Moments. Kate is a stay at home mom to four little ones.

By most standards, our kitchen would be considered small. We are fortunate to have a small pantry and quite a few cabinets though. Our refrigerator/freezer is standard-sized and we do not have a chest freezer. We also do not have storage space for a stockpile. However, after years of cooking, menu planning, monthly grocery shopping and freezer cooking, I have learned how to make the most of minimal kitchen storage space.

I have heard many people say that they could not freezer cook because they do not have a second freezer. I’ve also heard people say they could not grocery shop only once a month because they do not have the space for groceries. I think it can be done no matter the circumstance or available space, if you use a little creativity. Here are a few of the tricks I’ve used.

Make The Most Of Minimal Kitchen Storage Space

Plan properly and only buy what you will really use.

I know there are times when I’ve missed stocking up on a good deal due to a lack of space. Yet there have also been times when I’ve been able to stock-up because my pantry and cabinets are not cluttered with foods we do not need or will not eat.

I use a master menu plan and a master grocery list to plan out the whole month. Experience has taught me just how many cans of tomato sauce or bags of beans we will need in any given month based on our menu plan.

Minimize bulky boxes and sloppy bags.

Whenever possible, I remove boxed items from the box and store them in a plastic bag, or in their packaging bag closed with a clip or twist tie. I also store bagged beans in glass jars to reduce the mess and clutter of so many bags. Although the jars initially seem to take up more room than the bags, the flat surface of the jars make them ideal to store things on top of them.

Not to mention, my pantry stays much neater and more organized this way, making it easier to see what I have on hand and what I need to buy.

Made from scratch food requires a lot less space than prepackaged, convenience foods.

This might seem impossible at first. Scratch cooking requires so many ingredients! But think about this…say you make macaroni and cheese twice a week every month.

What will take up more room on a shelf – 8 boxes of macaroni and cheese or 1 box of pasta, 2 cups of flour, 2 blocks of cheese in the refrigerator, 2 c. of butter and 2 cups of milk? Per serving, the scratch made food will take up less room overall, especially if stretched throughout the month.

Freeze food flat and in plastic freezer bags whenever possible.

I can fit 8 flat freezer bags full of food, one on top of the other, in the same amount of space that I can fit two aluminum foil or plastic containers.

The earth-friendly slogan “Reduce, Reuse, or Recycle” applies equally well to kitchen storage.

Reduce the number of little extras that you buy that take up precious space and are not really needed. Also, if you consistently buy a product only to throw half of it away because it went bad before you could use it all, reduce the size you purchase or the number of times purchased.

Reuse leftovers that are taking up space. Recycle small amounts of leftover into new dishes. Combine a few bottom-of the bag crumbs for a chicken coating. Again, creativity rules and really allows for maximizing of minimal space.

Each one of these small steps add up to a lot of saved space. I know there are lots of tricks I’m missing, and I know people without a pantry probably have systems even better than mine. So, what do you do to maximize the space in your kitchen?

For more Works for Me Wednesday visit Rocks in My Dryer.


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Comments

  1. Megan Spears says:

    These are AWESOME and helpful tips in the freezer. I am right there with ya on the flat packaging in the freezer. I don’t know what I would do without my vacuum sealer.

  2. Blue Castle says:

    Thank you for these tips. I could really use some help in this area. :)

  3. Oh, I’ve never thought about using bottom of the bag crumbs for chicken coating — that is genius! I throw out cracker crumbs when the crackers are gone and then crumble up crackers for recipes — crazy I’ve never thought of this before!

  4. I love the jars! I use a sealer machine and bags to help save space! Thanks for sharing your tips!
    -Kim

  5. Shanna says:

    These are some great ideas!

  6. Mo says:

    All great tips, many of which I utilize myself…but, you forgot to mention about #3 – food from scratch always TASTES BETTER too!!

    Enjoy the rest of your week!

  7. Those are really useful tips. Thanks!

  8. Sherry says:

    I make as many things as I can from scratch. We also don’t have a big freezer. I try to look at what we have, before making out our grocery list to be able to use up things. We eat the leftovers up at lunchtime or on Sundays.

  9. Sarahlcc says:

    Thank you for sharing these tips ~ I especially enjoyed the view of your dry goods stored in mason jars. It gave me an “ahha!” moment ~ why haven’t I been doing that? Have a wonderful Wednesday!

  10. Kara says:

    A woman after my own heart! I love these tips! I just realized the magic of freezing things flat this Fall (LOL). And, I love your pic. of all the jars (recycled in home is always best)! I cook almost everything from scratch and the better organized I am the easier it is to prepare and get food to the table. Thanks for the great new ideas!

  11. Heather says:

    Great tips!

  12. Tonya says:

    Great tips. I use freezer bags and freeze cooked meals flat like that for my college kid–who shares freezer space with 3 other girls.

    I really need to get a vacuum sealer too!!

  13. Amy Ellen says:

    Love it… great inspiration and tips. I’ll have to come back… frequently!

  14. louise says:

    Hi i’m new to the idea of saving space and needing to shop monthly.
    how do you go about sorting out a master menu plan and a master grocery list, i have no idea of where to start planning this

  15. Alison says:

    Instead of glass jars, I use flat Lock&Lock Snapware plastic containers–VERY efficient, stackable storage.

  16. Young Wife says:

    I love all your space saving ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Jackie Brown says:

    I just cleaned out my chest freezer, I’m right there with ya of the freezing tips, you’ve got some great ones for your readers, I’m doing a freezer party on Mondays if you’d like to contribute your delicious recipes!

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