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How to make the most of your small kitchen space, according to an expert

These gadgets and expert tips will help make your space work for you.
Vivian Le / TODAY

If you're limited in square footage — whether that means you live in a big city, or just happen to have a small kitchen — you likely understand the struggle of sacrificing style for functionality. Luckily for you, there's a way to have both.

Shop TODAY consulted interior designer Natalie Manima for her tips on how to organize and style a small kitchen to suit your needs.

Organization tips | Benefits of keeping things neat | Space-saving products | Meet the expert

How to organize a small kitchen

"People think you can't have style if you don't have space," says Manima. "You just have to be more clever with how you use your [square footage]."

Here are her three key tips for balancing both.

Think about how you move throughout your space

Manima says a great first step in organizing your kitchen is assessing how you move throughout it. "Think about how you use the space," she advises. "Where do I gravitate to if I'm going to cut vegetables? If I'm more likely to cut my vegetables in one area, I'll store the chopping boards in the cupboard above that area."

Be intentional about your storage and make it both functional and practical for your needs.

Use wall space

Utilizing the wall space for storage can also make a huge difference in a small kitchen, Manima harps. "Take your storage up[ward] to make as much use of the wall space as possible," she suggests. Things like kitchen racks, magnetic knife holders and shelving are great (and stylish) ways to accomplish this.

Add layers

Adding layers to your countertop and drawers is also a great space-saving organization tactic. "There are organizers [made specifically] for deep drawers. That way, you can separate things and make it look more organized," says Manima. You can add layered shelving to your cabinets, countertops and even in your fridge.

Benefits of keeping your kitchen organized

Manima points out that in a home with less square footage, seeing the kitchen is typically unavoidable. "People walk past my kitchen to get to the living room, so it's really important that the kitchen is clean and tidy," she emphasizes.

Since Manima is also a trained cognitive behavioral therapist, she knows how much home organization can impact the way you feel, too. "You don't have to be a minimalist, but there's always a way to organize a lot of things where it doesn't feel like they are going to pop out of the cupboard," she says. "It gives people a certain level of calm."

Based on Manima's expert advice and glowing customer reviews, we've gathered the best kitchen organization products to get you started on your next organization project.

Best space-saving and organizational products for kitchen

MyMini Single Slice Toaster

This mini toaster is only five inches wide, making it perfect for small apartments, dorms or even traveling. According to the brand, the toaster features a single wide slot and adjustable temperature dial to evenly toast your bread or bagels. It even features cord storage to keep your counter tidy.

Aozita 3-in-1 Sponge Holder

Don't leave your wet sponges laying around on your already limited counter space. This sink caddy is only two-and-a-half inches wide and will hold (and dry) your sponges, dish cloths and brushes.

Suntech Paper Towel Holder

If you always end up throwing paper towel rolls in the most inconvenient spaces, this sleek holder is the perfect solution to keep them accessible without the clutter. Coming with an adhesive sticker for application, this towel holder can be placed under a cabinet, on the wall or fridge. According to the brand, it works best when applied to a smooth surface such as wood, glass, steel and ceramic.

Joseph Joseph DrawerStore Cutlery Organizers

This cutlery organizer allows you to follow Manima's advice of taking advantage of deep drawer space. Its slanted design allows it to take up less space in a long drawer and it's also non-slip, so it won't slide around every time you grab a fork.

Ouddy Magnetic Knife Holder

Free up some cabinet space by displaying your large knives and other metal kitchen tools on a magnetic strip. This one from Amazon has an almost-perfect five-star average rating from more than 10,000 shoppers and is extremely easy to install.

Ohuhu Roll-Up Dish Drying Rack

Coming in four different sizes, this stainless steel roll-up dish rack has over 6,000 Amazon reviews and one verified reviewer loves the extra sink space she's given back. She wrote, "ditched the old stainless steel in sink drainer, so now I have access to both sinks when dishes aren't drying. Also love that I can rinse and dry veggies on it and set hot things down."

Metaltex Small Undershelf Basket

To help create space for your favorite plates and mugs, this basket hooks and slides easily into that wasted under-the-shelf space. You can choose from three different sizes and three colors.

Toolf Expandable Dish Rack

For a more traditional dish rack, this slim holder is under eight inches wide and expands to 19 inches long. Shop TODAY editorial assistant Shannon Garlin loves this for her small studio apartment kitchen and says you can fold it up and store it inside the sink. Not to mention, by just sitting there, it reminds you to do the dishes! There's enough room to store up to nine plates with space for bowls, mugs and more.

Kes Cabinet Door Organizer with Towel Bar

Over-the-door storage racks allow you to squeeze in extra essentials, as well as keeping them neatly tucked away. This multifunctional cabinet door organizer will hold your pans, cutting boards and even has a handy towel holder.

StoveShelf Magnetic Shelf for Kitchen Stove

This clever magnetic shelf sits neatly above your stove and holds all of your cooking essentials, such as spices and oils — which frees up cabinet space. Choose from the 20-inch apartment size to a 30-inch shelf for a standard stove.

Elite Gourmet 2.1-Quart Air Fryer

Don't let a small kitchen keep you from owning your must-have kitchen gadgets. This air fryer is only eight inches wide and holds up to two quarts of food. With over 10,000 Amazon reviews, you'll be able to fry, bake or roast your favorite snacks and side dishes.

Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Blender

For your favorite smoothies and blended drinks, this compact and single-serve blender saves space and can be easily tucked in a corner when not in use. The blender jar functions as a to-go cup and the brand says it fits most cupholders. It also has an impressive 57,000 five-star ratings on Amazon.

Home Basics Over-The-Sink Dish Rack

If your kitchen doesn't have a dishwasher, you can free up that much-needed counter space with an over-the-sink dish rack. Featuring a handy paper towel holder, this stainless steel rack organizes all of your cleaning essentials with a mug rack and dish holder.

Tiyafuro Kitchen Hanging Trash Can

When cabinets are full and space is limited, this two-and-half gallon hanging trash can is the perfect hack to free up under-the-sink space. According to the brand, the wall mount fits over most cabinet doors, or there is an option to mount it with adhesives.

Branway Magnetic Spice Rack (Set of 2)

To get the most out of your kitchen surfaces, magnetic racks might be a genius, multifunctional hack. These spice racks attach to any metal surface and holds up to five pounds of your favorite kitchen products, from spices to condiments.

Squared Away 2-Tier Expandable Storage Shelf

To declutter and maximize shelf space, this two-tier shelf is designed to fit any cabinet. What makes this one different from your usual storage shelf is that it expands up to 27 inches long. Plus, it features adjustable panels that make it easy to fit around drain pipes.

Joseph Joseph Under-Shelf Pullout Drawer

Whether you've run out of drawer space or don't have them at all — yes, drawer-less kitchens exist — attachable pullout drawers can store all of your small items in one place. Amazon reviewers said that it's easy to install and one verified reviewer wrote, "I was shocked at the amount of weight it can hold and I've currently got it crammed full of marinade and sauce seasoning packages."

Brightroom Skinny Storage Cart

Whether you're looking to elevate your kitchen with a bar cart or simply need a place to keep your essentials, this skinny storage cart adds some much needed storage space. Garlin loves that it fits snugly next to her oven and becomes an instant kitchen island for food prep. It's only six inches wide so you can easily store next to cabinets or between small spaces.

Mind Reader Storage Drawer Coffee Pod Holder

This mini storage drawer allows you to keep all of your coffee pods tucked neatly under the coffee machine. It holds up to 36 pods and has a simple design that blends well with most decor and coffee makers.

Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker

For caffeine lovers, coffee makers are a nonnegotiable kitchen must-have. Coming in under five inches wide, this single-serve Keurig slides perfectly between your other essentials or fits snugly in a corner. Plus it comes in eight different colors, from neutrals to a pastel pink.

As Seen on TV Spice Spinner

If you're low on cabinet space, you're going to love this spinning spice rack with adjustable heights and enough space for 40 condiments. This product has gone viral on TikTok in the past for good reason!

Brightroom Wire Storage Pan Organizer

One simple product, like this rack, can turn your cabinets from drab to fab. Organize pots, pans, baking sheets and other kitchenware vertically or horizontally. You'll be thankful for how much space this frees up!

Joseph Joseph CupboardStore Expandable Tiered Organizer

Increase the surface area of your cabinetry with this compact organizer. It's adjustable, so you can fit it inside virtually any space. Shoppers particularly love this shelf for organizing spices and condiments.

H&M Metal and Wood Wall Shelf

What better way to utilize your wall space than with clever shelving? These affordable and cute wooden shelves from H&M are not only useful, but they're also aesthetically pleasing.

Prep & Savour Wall Mounted Pot Rack

Take your pots and pans out of the cabinet and display them out in the open instead! This set of two rods comes with over a dozen hooks and each rod holds up to 30 pounds, according to the brand.

Casual Home Breakfast Cart

This multifunctional breakfast cart does it all. If you can't fit a full kitchen table in your space, this cart features a drop-leaf top and two stools to serve as a dining table. It comes with lockable wheels and a place to store the chairs, so you can roll it around as a portable kitchen island. If that wasn't enough, there's also additional storage drawers and towel racks on both sides.

Meet the expert

  • Natalie Manima is an interior designer, cognitive behavioral therapist and founder of Bespoke Binny, an African-inspired homeware brand.