As a bonafide New Yorker, I’m all too familiar with the perils of fitting a lot of stuff into a little space, especially when it comes to the most important room in the house: the kitchen. And while wealthier urban dwellers might be able to design their dream culinary workshops from the ground up, filling up every inch with pop-open pocket drawers, flip-down sponge holders, and $500 modular islands, those of us relegated to the standard closet-sized apartment galley have to hack our way toward organizational bliss.
That’s where these nine ingenious products come in, each handier than the last, ensuring that you can have that coveted new gadget and store it too.
Unless you’ve made the ultimate trade-off and sacrificed precious square footage for a real grown-up dishwasher, you probably know your way around a dish rack. And most of them, truth be told, are pretty darn gross: smelly, waterlogged, and cramped; leaving strange, discolored marks on your countertops; and taking up way too much valuable real estate.Enter PremiumRacks’s over-the-sink alternative, an ultra-customizable powerhouse made to straddle your sink on four sturdy, slip-proof legs. It’s got all sorts of moveable nooks and crannies for utensils, cutting boards, and other awkwardly shaped items. And because it drains directly into your sink, you’ll never have to worry about that gnarly drip tray griming up your kitchen aesthetic again.($59.99; amazon.com)
Lacking in the drawer department? Stop rooting around in that jam-packed slider and invest in a heavy-duty hanging magnet like this multifaceted number from Eco Kitchen. The twin double-sided Neodymium magnets are slim yet powerful, screwing directly into your backsplash and holding heavy knives and other metal utensils securely in place.And unlike those simple magnetized strips, this contraption’s two-bar design allows for extra hanging space beneath and arrives with a handful of hooks for dish rags, plastic tools, or whatever else needs a new home.($16.95 – $18.95; amazon.com)
If you’re trying to make do in a tight space, every member of your kitchen staff—a.k.a. your beloved appliances—has to pull its weight. Help your stove top or sink achieve double-duty status with this ingenious cutting board, designed to sit atop unused surfaces and take your meal prep game to the next level.Its generous length and slight elevation mean it can fit easily over most sinks and stoves. And once you’re done with all that slicing and dicing, wipe it down, and voila, you’ve got a lovely bamboo serving tray ready to go. ($18.99; bedbathandbeyond.com)
Avoid cupboard crowding and upgrade that dusty old spice collection in one fell swoop with this sleek magnetized wall rack. The futuristic-looking canisters are fetching and functional, equipped with a rubber foot for counter- or tabletop stabilization, a three-setting pour-control top (closed, sprinkle, wide mouth), and self-adhesive labels so you can tell what’s what. They’re also able to cling tightly to any magnetized surface, not just their own stainless steel shelf, giving them a versatile edge over similar products.($24.98; homedepot.com)
What happens when a cookbook addiction meets a cramped kitchen with limited shelfspace? These magical inventions swoop in, ready to showcase your prized collection while keeping things neat, orderly and, most importantly, not heaped in a pile on the floor.They’re actually fairly invisible—once the L-shaped metal is securely nailed into the wall, you slide a larger, hardcover book on top of the protruding shelf so that the back cover is hanging down, swing the cover up and tuck it securely into the built-in clip underneath, then stack the rest of the books on top of that one—which makes for a great party trick. And assembled correctly, these puppies can hold up to 20 pounds. Bring on the Julia Child!($14.99 each; containerstore.com)
It might seem like a mundane purchase, but a good slide-on hanging shelf is one of the fastest and easiest ways to double your storage space, whether you’re storing produce, utensils, dish towels, or dry goods.This particular model throws in a little more bang for your buck, affixing the durable rectangular shelf with a variety of useful hooks, bars, and hangers perfect for organizing cleaning supplies, cooking tools, keys, and more. ($28.99; wayfair.com)
Tiny kitchen hacks 101: Get yourself a pegboard. Tacking up one of these trusty pieces of fiberboard transforms a useless wall into a massive and completely customizable storage space for pots, pans, cleaning stuff, cooking tools, artwork, offices supplies, you name it.And while you can pick one of these up at just about any hardware store, Ikea (once again) makes your life even easier by offering readymade combination packages complete with hooks, shelves, baskets, blocks, rods, and other hanging fixtures to get your organization juices flowing right out of the box.($16.99; ikea.com)
Never underestimate the power of a good rolling utility cart. This one is especially helpful for the square-footage-challenged among us, as its unique dimensions (21.5-inch width, 6-inch depth, and 41.5-inch height) allow it to squeeze into the narrowest of spaces without sacrificing storage capacity.Stock it with baggies, spices, bottles, jars, and other pantry items and give the odd little dust-collecting gap between the cabinet and the fridge an entirely new purpose.($34.99; amazon.com)
Wine glasses are one of life’s more delicate necessities, so being forced to shove them into an already overcrowded cupboard is never an ideal scenario. Keep your dainty sippers intact by slipping them into this under-the-cabinet stemware rack, capable of holding six to nine full-sized glasses in perfect shatter-free harmony. You’ll never resort to pouring a pricey Gamay into jelly jars again. ($17; wayfair.com)