A collection of kitchen organizing products on a designed background
Credit: Courtesy of the Merchants

I'm a Dietitian & These Products Help Me Maximize Space in My Super Small Kitchen

Plus, they are budget-friendly and you can buy them all online.
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Welcome to Thrifty. A weekly column where associate nutrition editor and registered dietitian, Jessica Ball, keeps it real on how to grocery shop on a budget, make healthy meals for one or two and make earth-friendly choices without overhauling your entire life.

When I went from sharing a big house with several roommates to living alone, there was definitely a learning curve. Not to mention, there were several mistakes I learned to avoid in the kitchen. I love my tiny apartment, but it took me a while to get it set up in a way that best suited my needs. I cook a lot, sometimes for work and oftentimes for fun. Needless to say, I try to utilize the small kitchen to the best of my abilities. Whether it's going vertical with storage or getting creative in your cabinets, these are six products that help me make the most of my limited space.   

1. Magnetic Knife Rack

Schmidt Brothers ® Acacia 18" Magnetic Wall Bar
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Crate & Barrel

While $50 might seem like a lot to spend on a knife rack, this is easily my favorite storage piece in my kitchen. It helps keep knives dry to prevent any rusting. Most importantly, it makes them easily accessible, especially since they are the tool I use the most. Plus, hanging up your knives spares them from bumping into things in your drawers, which can help keep them sharper for longer. Check out the best chef's knives, according to our Test Kitchen, to fill up your rack.

2. Lazy Susan Turntable

16" Not So Lazy Susan Turntable

This might not necessarily give you more space, but it makes the space you have much more usable. I have two of these 16″ Not So Lazy Susan Turntables by OXO in the cabinets where I store oils, vinegars and spices. Instead of having to push things out of the way like a high-stakes game of Jenga, I simply spin the turntable until I can easily access what I need. Then you don't run the risk of something falling and breaking, which is a waste of money and can be dangerous. For less than $20 a pop, this is a worthwhile kitchen upgrade.

3. Cabinet Shelves

SALT™ Large Cabinet Shelf in White
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Bed, Bath & Beyond

Much like a turntable, adding shelves inside your cabinets can help increase the space you have. Personally, I use this for small items that I have a lot of, like jars of spices. It is safer and more organized than stacking jars on top of each other and hoping they don't fall over. Plus, it makes it easier to see what you actually have and get it out, even if it's in the back. You can use them to store plates, mugs and bowls as well.

4. Drawer Organizers

Expandable Bamboo Gadget Tray
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Crate & Barrel

The idea of various measuring cups, utensils, whisks and other gadgets getting tangled together in a drawer is anxiety inducing. Instead, get yourself a drawer organizer. When everything has a place, it is easier to find what you need and helps extend the life of your tools by avoiding things getting caught on each other or damaged. I love this Expandable Bamboo Gadget Tray because it can be extended into four different widths to fit virtually any drawer. If you are a person who is in college or moves often, this is the safest bet so that you don't have to buy a new one every time.

5. Bar Cart

Lex Bar Cart
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If you have limited counter space or love wine and nice glassware (I'm with you), a bar cart is a great way to upgrade your space. Though it is a little more of an investment, it gives you a safe place to store bottles, glasses and other things that are too fragile for a shelf or cabinet. I like this Lex Bar Cart by Williston Forge because it has slots to hang wine bottles so you know they will stay in place and not get knocked over. The top level can double as a work space for making cocktails, prepping dinner ingredients or even holding snacks. Plus, the cart is an aesthetically pleasing addition to any room, even if you can't fit it in the kitchen. I even have a plant on mine, so the world is truly your oyster.

6. Small (But Sturdy) Step Stool

Cosco 2 Step All Steel Step Stool
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You might be thinking, "Jess, a step stool has nothing to do with cooking" and you would be right. But I am not a tall person…in an apartment with very high ceilings. One way I make the most of my tiny kitchen is by going up when storing things. The top shelf or tops of cabinets are easier to access with a step stool on hand. I can even store my cleaning supplies in those cabinets above the fridge that are notoriously difficult to get to. When I'm done using my trusty step stool, I can fold it up and slide in alongside my fridge so it takes up minimal space.

Bottom Line

I've found that the key to making the most of a small apartment or kitchen is getting creative with your space. These products allow you to easily access things when you need to without cluttering up your counter. Plus, when everything has a designated place, it is way easier to stay organized. For more, check out these things I learned about cooking for one when I started living alone.