Out of everything you learn in college, one of the most long-lasting lessons might be how to cook for yourself, even—and especially—when you’re exhausted and low on resources. If you can make something even mildly good and filling with a barebones dorm kitchenette, you can do it anywhere, so take some comfort in knowing you’re training for bigger and better things. In the meantime, grab these tools to organize your foodstuffs, even in the smallest spaces.
How to organize a small kitchen
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If you’re lucky enough to get a small kitchen space in your residence, it’ll likely be just that: small. Roommates will also likely need access to it, which decreases your space even more. Try these for space-saving:
- mDesign stackable organizers for drawers ($18.99) help you turn a single drawer into a layered storage heaven. The organizers have room for tools of all sizes, but stack on top of each other, so those tools stay separate and easy to access, and the drawer doesn’t become a total mess.
- Simple Houseware stackable baskets ($27.97) fit nicely on limited countertop space, with a footprint 16.75” by 11”. There are other, cheaper, and smaller options for on-counter storage baskets, but this one is more functional, as it has a flat top on which you can stack other stuff.
- Simple Houseweare also makes rolling shelves, which come with hooks and a handle for maximum storage and mobility. They’re three-tiered and come in a regular version ($18.87) or a slim version ($16.87). If space is a real premium, get the slim version, which is just 5.5” wide, but has a depth of 16.25”, so you’ll still get plenty on there.
- Pick up a Depaotlux under-cabinet utensil storage spinner (two for $6.99) so you don’t have to shove your spatulas and big tools in an already-cramped drawer.
- A Huggiecart under-sink organizer ($15.29) is perfect for cleaning products, big food containers, or even your flatware. The bottom of two tiers pulls out, too, so you can have easy access to your stuff.
Storage in the fridge
Whether you get a normal-sized fridge or a mini one, you need to get creative with how you store food to maximize space and keep it separate from your roommates’ food. Try these:
- The Utopia Kitchen can organizer ($16.99 for four) keeps cans stacked on top of each other and laying flat, taking up less space than if you were going to put each can on a shelf individually.
- Ginissey stackable organizers ($23.99 for seven) are ideal for small fridges, as they keep food separate, but also allow you to easily stack it, taking up vertical space without compromising on the limited horizontal space.
- A Zip n Store ($27.95) is a fun gadget that attaches to your fridge door and allows you to hang plastic sandwich bags vertically from it, so you can pre-pack snacks or store smaller items in the bags. They hang in the space at the top of your in-door storage shelves, which you weren’t using anyway, making the most of every inch of the fridge.
- A Lafulling fridge dust cover top ($27.99) is great for using all the parts of your mini fridge to store something. It has 15 pockets of different sizes that offer storage down both sides of your fridge, so you can store condiments, utensils, spices, or whatever else without using up space elsewhere.