12 Savvy Storage Tricks for Your Skinny Kitchen Cabinets

If you have a galley style or older kitchen, you may be dealing with narrow cabinets that offer limited storage space. While these skinny cabinets maximize the kitchen layout, they present a host of organizational challenges. Fitting pots, pans, appliances and all your essential kitchen items into narrow confines can be a daily frustration.

From constantly rummaging to find what you need to things getting lost in the back, narrow cabinets contribute to clutter and make kitchen tasks more difficult. The lack of storage space and inability to see contents easily leads to wasting time searching for ingredients and tools. Unorganized cabinets with stacked pots and overflowing shelves only compound the problem.

Why it’s important to maximize narrow cabinets

While you can’t magically expand your narrow cabinets, there are many clever ways to optimize the existing space. Taking the time to implement some of these narrow cabinet storage ideas can make your kitchen significantly more organized and efficient.

Maximizing your skinny cabinets helps avoid clutter, keeps essentials easily accessible and simply makes preparing meals less stressful. By creatively using every inch possible, those narrow cabinets can become functional storage that meets your kitchen’s needs.

Clever Decluttering Tips

Before optimizing your narrow cabinets, it’s important to declutter and weed out unnecessary items taking up precious space. Here are some tips to help pare down:

narrow kitchen cabinet storage ideas

Assess what you actually need

Take everything out of your narrow cabinets and assess each item. Get rid of duplicates, old containers missing lids, chipped dishes, and any gadgets you never use. If you’re holding onto items for sentimental reasons, consider displaying special pieces elsewhere in your home.

Be ruthless about removing unused kitchen tools, gadgets and appliances that just take up space. Donate gently used items to charity so others can benefit.

Use vertical space

Rather than stacking plates horizontally, store them vertically to optimize narrow cabinet space. You can fit around 20% more dishes by standing them upright in plate racks designed for narrow spaces.

Store canned goods and other tall, narrow items vertically to maximize vertical real estate. Use adjustable shelves or vertical dividers to neatly separate contents.

Employ temporary storage

Seasonal kitchen items like extra baking pans or holiday serveware only need to be accessible part of the year. Store these in sealed bins and keep them in a temporary overflow area like the garage until needed.

Designate one lower cabinet in your kitchen as a holding area for bulky appliances you only use occasionally, freeing up everyday storage space.

Smart Cabinet Organizers and Storage Ideas

Once you’ve decluttered your narrow cabinets, it’s time to add organizational systems to maximize the available space. Here are some of our favorite storage solutions:

Install pull-out shelves

Regular cabinets with fixed shelves make it hard to access items in the back. Pull-out shelves allow you to access all contents without having to move everything up front.

Install pull-out shelves to instantly double your usable space. Look for narrow versions with side mounting brackets to work in skinny cabinets.

Use sliding shelves and trays

Slide-out trays and shelves are similar to pull outs but don’t extend as far. They allow you to view contents at a glance and pull items you need towards you.

Use sliding trays to neatly corral all your spices, oils and condiments. No more digging to find the right flavor.

Add tilt-out racks and tip trays

Tilt-out racks rotate forward when you open cabinet doors, providing easy access without having to open doors all the way. They’re great for storing oils, spices and other kitchen essentials you reach for constantly.

Tip-out trays offer similar easy-access functionality. Use them for knives, utensils, measuring cups and other small but oft-used tools.

Optimize cabinet corners

Take advantage of wasted space in corners with vertical holders, lazy susans or tiered shelving. This allows you to neatly organize pans, baking sheets and appliances while keeping them accessible.

For a narrow corner cabinet, install a vertical holder with staggered shelves or opt for corner shelves that extend from the back at diagonal angles.

Creative Solutions for Deep, Narrow Spaces

While most kitchens have lower cabinets a standard 24″ deep, some older homes have narrower 18″ depth cabinets. Here are some great storage ideas to maximize these extra slim spaces:

Install interior shelving

Traditional cabinet depths easily fit interior shelves, but shallower narrow cabinets don’t allow for this. Have custom shelving built in to create storage layers and better organize contents.

Even just adding one interior shelf doubles storage capacity. Optimize shelves to fit your specific items like dinner plates, large cookware or baking sheets.

Use vertical dividers

It’s tempting to stack items in narrow cabinets, but this leads to disorganization and difficulty finding what you need. Add vertical dividers to neatly separate contents.

Look for narrow, slotted dividers that securely store taller items like cutting boards, trays and cookie sheets upright. This prevents slipping, sliding and flipping.

Add multi-level organizing racks

White metal racks with adjustable shelves are ideal for narrow spaces. Install one to triple or quadruple your vertical storage.

Cleverly designed slim racks have stairs, lips and railings to hold items in place. The various shelf levels keep categories neatly separated.

Maximize space with a cabinet carousel

A lazy susan is perfect for standard cabinet corners, but a vertical carousel maximizes narrow spaces. Spinning shelves bring even the back items into easy reach.

Look for narrow carousels with widths around 16 inches. Install at the back of a cabinet to utilize all available depth.

Final Tips for Maximizing Your Narrow Cabinets

A few more tips and tricks to round out your narrow cabinet storage makeover:

Consider custom cabinet inserts

For a tailored solution, have a carpenter build custom inserts with handy hooks, pull-out trays and slide-out shelves designed for your specific items and cabinet dimensions.

Label everything

Labels ensure you’ll always quickly find what you need, even in jampacked narrow cabinets. Clearly label shelves, baskets and storage containers.

Continuously reassess and declutter

Make decluttering and removing unused items an ongoing process. Don’t let new unused gadgets or extra pans and bakeware accumulate.

Continually optimize storage as you add new kitchen tools. Frequently used items should get prime real estate.

You can transform your skinny kitchen cabinets into incredibly functional storage with a few tricks. Use every inch available to its full potential and get ready for a clutter-free, organized cooking experience.

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