Food Storage Tricks for a Small Apartment Kitchen

Living in an apartment has its pros and cons. Even though many people enjoy renting their apartment, it can also come with a few challenges. Most renters would agree they have limited space for their belongings, especially if you live in a studio or one-bedroom. In places like your kitchen, you’ll never run out of things to organize, but how do you handle everything in a tiny room?

Check out these easy food storage tricks for a small apartment kitchen any renter can use. You don’t need to screw holes in your wall to hang things or potentially damage the drywall for more space. With a little creativity, you’ll find a spot for everything, and your kitchen will look organized and clean.

1. Get wire shelf racks for cabinets

Apartment cabinets are notorious for being small. You might not be able to stack more than a few plates or bowls at a time, especially side by side. This places limits on the number of pantry goods you can stock alongside your dishes.

Don’t worry about leaving clean dishes on the counter when there are wire shelf racks for sale. These racks stand alone, so they don’t require any installation. Get them in any color you like and use them in every cabinet to double the storage space instantly — freeing up room for all the rice, canned tomatoes and broth you desire.

2. Invest in containers

Food storage containersFood storage containers

Over the last few years, celebrities and popular Pinterest bloggers have posted pictures of their pantries filled with clear plastic containers. It’s both a clever food storage trick and a trendy design touch — the perfect solution for renters who want their small kitchens to be stylish and functional.

They’re usually sleek and airtight, making them ideal for combining boxes of noodles, cereal or bags of flour. Find a few containers for the food you keep in your pantry and use them to minimize how many boxes and bags take up extra space.

3. Use freezer bags intelligently

Bulk food purchasing is a great way to reduce grocery spending and stay stocked up. Unfortunately, freezer space can be limited in an undersized fridge. Here are a few tricks for frozen food storage.

When you buy a large pack of ground beef or chicken thighs, you can make them last longer by freezing them. The problem is that styrofoam and plastic containers are bulky. Take the meat out, section it into usable portions and seal it in freezer bags, removing the air to condense the volume.

Are you a fan of boxed freezer goods, like pizzas, ice cream bars and burritos? Take items out of their boxy packaging and keep them in freezer bags instead. This allows you to store smaller items with less air and cardboard taking up space. If you’re worried about freezer burn, wrap these items again in plastic wrap.

Finally, keep soupy leftovers in easy-to-manage flat layers. You can lay a flat, sealed bag on a cookie sheet, and wait patiently for it to harden. Your stews will no longer create misshapen lumps that need to be maneuvered into whatever space is available.

4. Hang temporary hooks

Command hooks help people who need storage solutions without causing permanent installation damage. Press them on the inside of your cabinet or pantry doors to hang your cooking utensils and bags of food, then store the rest for other hanging needs around the apartment.

5. Use more drawer dividers

kitchen drawer dividerskitchen drawer dividers

Kitchen drawers get messy when you toss in whatever you can find. Even if you keep everything in the drawer, it doesn’t have to stay a mess. You can find and use extra drawer dividers to organize everything from silverware to measuring cups.

Use some of the dividers to combine pens, bread bag ties and bag clips, which often get lost in the back under mail and instruction manuals.

6. Store things above cabinets

Don’t forget that you can always use the space above your cabinets as storage, too. If your cabinets don’t extend to the ceiling, it’s available space waiting to help. Dutch ovens, small appliances and any other kitchen supplies you don’t use every day can make a home up there.

Just be aware that they may collect more dust and require a quick wash before you bake with them again.

7. Label everything you buy

Americans are notorious for food waste, throwing away 165 billion worth of food each year. If you’re someone who stores leftovers and never eats them — or has no idea what’s sitting in the back of your cabinets — labeling can help organize food and remind you when it’s time to dive into your stored meals.

One label maker will go a long way in organizing your kitchen and other rooms in your apartment. Create labels for expiration dates so that you can toss out what’s expired instead of leaving it in your pantry or fridge. You can also label foods with what recipes they go with, so you always know what you can make and when you should throw food away.

Clever food storage ideas for small apartments

Before you can organize your kitchen, you’ll need to start spring cleaning to get rid of everything you don’t need. Organize whatever’s left with tricks like drawer dividers, wire shelf racks and command hooks. You’ll find the techniques that work best in your apartment, depending on the shape and size of your kitchen.