Clever storage solutions for small, "two-butt" kitchens

Updated Oct 12 2015
meggyfin

510zV1ayNXLI have a small kitchen, or as my dad refers to it — a "two-butt" kitchen. It's just a galley kitchen with appliances on one side and a couple cabinets and drawers on the other. Therefore, I've had to get creative with my storage solutions. If you're currently suffering from a bad case of two or one-butt kitchen, you might want to invest in some of these small-space storage helpers.

First of all, magnets are your friend. A magnetic knife holder can do more than just store your knives — they can hold spices, crafts, and even help you out with your tools.

712B5tMJOG1L._SL1500_Speaking of magnets being your friend… aren't these magnetic measuring spoons an incredible invention? Store 'em on your stove or on your fridge — they'll always be easily within reach and not taking up cabinet space.

411QTbRLHPLThese under-shelf wrap rack are awesome for things like Saran Wrap, foil, and garbage bags. They can also work well in a pantry for extra food storage.

41kJImYfeTLI rock these under-cabinet mug hangers HARD. And these guys slide back and forth so my short-ass can easily reach the ones hanging in the back.

51Q89s2aQDLA bookshelf pot rack does double-duty. It not only holds all your pans, but provides extra storage with a shelf!

51HoZmPBBpLI have these under-counter pull-out shelves. I happen to store my pots on one, and cleaning supplies on the other. They are freaking awesome! You can even get more sturdy with the shelf on wheels expandable kitchen cabinet shelf in wood.

41piBE7AufLI don't often use storage bowls, so the collapsable kind work especially well for me.

PolythermGridSystemUtility_xSlatwall is not just useful for Nerf gun storage, it can be a life-saver in the kitchen. I use a metallic grid version of a slatwall. Hang your pans from it, hang bags, add shelves and storage baskets. The possibilities are endless.

photoSometimes you can go super-simple with it, and use a hammer and a nail as a storage solution. I couldn't fit this bulky dish-dryer anywhere until I just used a nail on the side of pantry.

So tell me, fellow two-butt kitchen-havers: what are YOUR clever storage solutions for your small spaces?

  1. My little kitchen has oft been referred to as a "one-butt" kitchen. 🙂 Magnets are SO my friends – especially because all my cabinets are steel. Magnets everywhere!! I'm still hoping one day to get those cool magnetic spice containers, but at $2 each I'm still debating.

    Otherwise, the biggest helps for me were (1) prioritizing what I use the most and putting it where it can be easily accessed, and (2) getting rid of the stuff that was rarely used or unnecessary duplicates of what I already had – e.g., just one set of measuring tools, and no more than six of each dish/cup (if lots of people are coming over I break out the disposables). Now I find I actually have some "extra" space available!

  2. I also have a 2 butt kitchen (but I had never heard anyone else use that phrase before!). Wondering how you like the Under Shelf Wrap Rack? I had purchased something similar that just wasn't strong at all for our tortillas…

  3. LOVE the gridwall! The biggest waste of space in my two-butt kitchen is the side of my fridge! We've been planning to hang two grids on the side of the fridge (maybe with Command hooks?) to create a ton of extra hanging and storage space!

  4. My husband and I moved into a two-butt kitchen 2 months before our wedding, and some mornings it is the nightmare I wake up to! Other days, I'm so happy with the simplicity we've managed. Strategies that have worked for us have been truly utilizing what space there is. Such as: instead of using the large cupboard under the sink for just a garbage can and cleaning supplies, we put the garbage can in the attached furnace room (we have to leave that accessible anyway because the litter box is in there, the door is right beside the stove) and put large items in there like all of our pots and pans, mixing bowls, electronic appliances, drying rack, and even stashes of snacks. We've also started leaving items we often use in the oven left in the oven when it's turned off. Like a cookie sheet and pizza stone. They're usually the items we need when we turn on the oven anyway. We only have one sink, so we've started to be diligent about doing dishes daily (if we bought a portable dishwasher it would become a one-butt kitchen!) Something I had wanted to do was put up shelves above the table for flatware but since all the snows melting we've gotten a bit of water intake and I'm terrified if we put up shelves the walls will crumble or let in more water. We've also gotten a little creative about some of the larger electronic appliances we never use. Two sit on our kitchen table since there are only two of us, we don't need the entire table. A few sit on the counter near the sink but we try to keep the rest of the space free for cooking prep. So the slow cooker might currently be under my husband's bedside table, and the old coffee maker in the bathroom closet. This may bother other people but we used what little space there was when it doesn't effect our day to day. We also have an old nightstand with K-Cups stored in the bottom, sharing the space with bulk printer paper, the drawer in the nightstand full of basic office supplies (scissors, calculator, envelopes) which the microwave sits on top of. On top of that we keep my "tea altar" and two-tier stand for fresh fruit. We make the most of the little space, having no free wall space for magnet boards or racks, but have altered the few cupboards when possible. Adding an extra shelf in some, and hooks with all the cups and glasses to hang teacups from.

    • You can leave your pizza stone right in your oven (although double check the instructions that came with your stone – just in case). And it actually helps with even-heating and energy savings when you're baking.

      • But it does notable lengthen cook times so take that into account. Bake for 45 minutes in the instructions is going to be Bake for 1hr if you've got a pizza stone in there with your casserole dish.

      • I sell Pampered Chef products and one of our top sellers is the pizza stone… We actually advice aganist that because too much heat weakens the stone. Also, they should not be used at temps over 400 Degrees and never with the broiler… so it should prolly be stored on top of the fridge or in that little drawer on the bottom of the oven, just incase you forget to take it out when using those settings.

  5. I love these ideas because they mean I can have everything (or more stuff) out on display, so I never forget what I have around, or have to go digging through drawers.

  6. My great-grandmother used to call her kitchen a "one-fanny kitchen" — same concept, but older language, I guess! 😀 Our kitchen is probably about a two- or three-butt kitchen, although we were lucky that there's enough space at the one end for the kitchen table — I like having that extra workspace!

    My best advice for working with a tiny kitchen is to put as much on the walls as you can! Spice racks, knife racks, nails for frying pans, big utensils… Also, use cupboard space efficiently. Extra shelves are a huge plus. Hang your mugs from the bottom of a shelf using cup-hooks. Find ways to use the vertical space available to you, especially if you don't have much horizontal space!

    We have a weird-shaped pantry (it's basically a long-ish rectangle with the door at one end of a long side, so that there's this really awkward bit off beside the door that isn't accessible unless your basically walk into the pantry), and we used narrow shelves to increase the usable space! We've probably at least doubled the usable space by putting in shelves that are about 4" wide.

    I'll also second the comments about putting things where they make sense, not where they're "supposed" to go. Our microwave and chest freezer are both in the room across the hall from the kitchen; the toaster-oven is on top of the fridge, along with the tea kettle.

    We keep pretty much all our serving utensils and a bunch of our prep utensils in cans on the counter — I glued pretty fabric to the cans, so that they aren't just ugly aluminum.

  7. it's been a while since i've had a two butt kitchen (how did i not know that phrase?), but my favorite storage solution was when we finally figured out where to store our pot lids: behind the stove. That is, because they are mostly flat they slide behind the stove, but the handles keep them from falling into the tiny abyss – and they're always right where you need them.

  8. I have a bookshelf with adjustable shelves (from IKEA – IVAR), 11 inches deep, that I use. I move a lot, so having these adjustable pieces (I have different heights and different widths) is super helpful for creating an instant cabinet wherever I am.

    • THANK YOU for naming the specific kind of IKEA shelf you have used. That is a huge help! It is daunting to go into the IKEA nearest us in Houston or online and choose the right shelves. I'm trying to make use of the wasted space in our weird kitchen. Our kitchen is not a two – butt, but instead is an odd 8"x14" "shoe box" with cabinets and all of the appliances crammed along the 14" length with only about 8" of it useful counter space for food prep. Our sink and barely any counter space goes across 5" of the 8" width of the kitchen because about 3" are taken up with the fridge. So basically its' an "L" shape of sorta – useful but very crowded space. The other end of the room without the "L" of weird food prep and storage space has an odd window and a doorway leading into my husband's office/studio which has made it awkward for a decent table for 4 people. So, I have been searching for ways to creatively use what leftover wall space there is and not spend a fortune on shelving. Thank you for your shelf help!

  9. We redid our one-to-two-butt kitchen recently. We replaced the old range hood with an all-in-one range hood/microwave, which freed up a lot of counter space. We also replaced quite a few cabinets with drawers, including one that's big and deep enough to hold all the pots and pans, as well as the toaster and the rice cooker.

  10. We use the side of our fridge to store our magnetic spice containers. They also stick to the stove vent which is super helpful when cooking, since the prep space is aaaalllll the way on the other side of the kitchen. We also invested in a small chest freezer that lives next to the couch in the living room.

    • Huh. My fridge abuts my stove and yet I never thought of taking all the photo magnets off and doing that. Total baskets moment here. Thanks!

  11. I'm amazed no one else mentioned this (so maybe it's a bit over-played) — over-the-door pocket shoe racks for holding small items in a vertical space. I've seen these used for spice racks, holding kitchen cleaners, plastic container & lid organizer, and holding kitchen wraps & plastic bags.
    And you don't even really need a door! With wall-hooks or nails, you can just tack the organizer to a wall.

    • We have TWO Of these attached to the pantry door, one outside, one inside. We saw it in some sort of home making magazine (along side of those resealable stacking bulk containers), and it was a major baskets moment.

  12. One thing I always wondered about storing your pots/mugs/utensils out in the open: don't they get dirty? I mean, there's dust and pet hair and bugs and that greasy residue that settles on surfaces near the stove. If you're using something often it will stay relatively clean but what if you don't?

    • I keep all my pots and bowls and smaller appliances (food processor, etc – lowest shelf) on open wire shelving in my kitchen and it works *great*. If it is something i don't use often, sure, i rinse it off before I use it.

      But everything is accessible and the items are large and distinct so it doesn't get 'messy' looking.

  13. I have that pot rack in silver hanging over my trashcans. House also had it in one of his apartments 😉

    I also have tiny grids on each of my end cabinets by the sink (my cabinets break for a window over the sink kind of like these: http://artisanspecialties.com/kitchen_cabinet_pictures/Stained%20Kitchen%20Cabinets%20With%20Pocket%20Doors%20Over%20Fridge%20Closed%20Corner%20Cabinet.jpg). One holds all my measuring cups, measuring spoons, apple corer and other kitcheny do-dads that used to be shoved into the tiny cabinet. The other holds my large cutting board that never fit any where else.

    My personal recommendation would be these screw in hooks (http://www.buildingmaterial-china.com/Utp/2010927151815152.jpg) that are super useful all over the house. In the kitchen, I have six of them screwed in under one of the cabinets/shelves right by the stove with tools like mixing spoons, spatulas, and ladles hanging from them. However, I have also used them to put up hanging lamps and other things elsewhere.

  14. Does having a pile of junk on top if the fridge count? No?

    We recently downsized our apartment to save money. The kitchen is challenging, so we decided to move the table out and put my desk in there instead. Not only can I take advantage of the sunlight, my desk is smaller and only used one chair, as opossed to a four person table with chairs. Sometimes, you gotta get creative.

    Now, I need some of those under shelf things.

    • I used t0 keep breads and cereals on top of the fridge but I recently found out that the little bit of heat that my fridge was generating actually was shortening the shelf life of my baked goods. I took them down for some reason and they lasted SOOO much longer on the counter then on the fridge.

  15. I have a 2-butt kitchen, and storage solutions are challenging. The house was built with as much cabinet space as possible, though it's really not enough for our 2-person household. And there wasn't much room left for hanging things on the wall. I've been contemplating hanging my cooking utensils on the wall next to the stove, but I was afraid they would get nasty too quickly, since the stove is only about 4 inches away from that wall. Heat and steam does a number on that wall to begin with – I can only imagine what any unused spatulas would look like after hanging there for a week or two.

    But I wanted to share some things that we've been doing for several years to conserve space. Mainly food storage. I keep as much as we can in the refrigerator. Bread will last about a MONTH or more in the fridge. We started keeping it in the fridge after living in an apartment, and we always had ants coming in. I don't think the people living next to us kept things very clean… Anyway, cereal also stores nicely in the fridge. We take the bag out of the box and use a chip clip to keep it sealed, then stuff it in the fridge.

    There was some wasted space between the cabinets and the fridge when we moved into this house, and we had previously purchased a metal closet organizer, similar to this one: http://www.lowes.com/pd_95259-80752-LO-15141872ZL_0__?productId=3099053&Ntt=metal+closet+rack&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dmetal%2Bcloset%2Brack&facetInfo=
    So we used just one side of it between our fridge and cabinet. This made the perfect space for storing bulky appliances that won't fit in the cabinet under the counter – like an oval-shaped Crock Pot, turkey roasting pan/lid, pressure cooker, blender, stand mixer, etc.

  16. I know that it takes up precious counter space, but I *love* my countertop dishwasher. It could also fit on a small cart. The space it took up was similar to the dish drying rack (which I never put away), and my hands are happy that they aren't soaking in hot water daily. For my two-person choice mom family, this is awesome: SPT Countertop Dishwasher

    I can fit the dishes from 4-year old breakfast, dinner, and my breakfast, lunch and dinner in here for one daily run. I am not a huge cook, and can often fit in my corningware from my microwave dinner heating as well! The cycle is long because it is an energy saver and will heat water itself, but I can turn it on at night, let it run a cycle without drying, open it when done and let the dishes dry overnight and put them away in the AM.

    It blocks a little of my window, but I won't go without one ever again! And it is very quiet and works great even with my super, super hard water.

    You can also consider a smaller crockpot/slow cooker if there are only two of you. I can fit a pork tenderloin or 1.5 pound roast in this, believe it or not, and it is about half the size of a regular slow cooker: Proctor Silex 1-1/2-Quart Round Slow Cooker

    Takes some adjustment of recipes/timing as it heats faster and cooks faster, but also a wonderful investment and I use mine far more than the larger one I had.

  17. I find that the best storage solutions for small areas in the home is wall storage or high shelving! And this works not just for the kitchen but everywhere, even in the bathrooms!

  18. My last apartment was literally a half butt kitchen. I was living in a converted second floor apartment in a historic district in Florida. It was maybe 18 sq ft.

    I used an in sink dish rack. It hung out on one side and just stayed there. I used a bakers rack in what was suppose to be the "dining area". It was open concept so the living room,dining room and kitchen were all open space. That's where I kept my microwave, and baking utensils, bowls and my coveted stand mixer. The fridge was in the utility room right off the kitchen with my water heater and washer and dryer so I utilized the top, sides and inside for storage. Magnetic strips, command strips, recycled soda boxes in the fridge to hold things.

    I literally only kept 4 of every style of dishes. And if things didn't nestle then they didn't have a home. I also used an old desk as prep space as I was baking out of my home and just kept it decluttered when not in use.

    It was liberating to know that I didn't really need all the "extras" I thought I needed.

  19. My kitchen is like a… three-quarter-butt kitchen, maybe (our microwave is in the living room if that tells you anything). I just bought a 3-ft-tall bookshelf–to put the microwave on–and have been storing some of the bigger stuff there (crock pot, spaghetti pot, etc.). No nails, screws, or thumbtacks allowed of any kind, so we use the Command hooks to hang things. They're not cute, but I have 3 drawers in my kitchen, and the measuring cups gotta go somewhere.

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