6 Brilliant Storage Ideas to Steal from This 210-Square-Foot Tiny House with a Makeshift Kitchen

updated Jun 3, 2021
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Credit: Emily David
The outside of Emily David's San Diego tiny house.

When Emily David moved into her tiny rental home in San Diego, she noticed that one big thing was missing: The 210-square-foot former garage didn’t actually come with a kitchen. “I built my own little kitchen area with electric appliances and makeshift counter and storage,” says David, owner of a small dog-walking company.

With a little creativity and a few clever storage tricks, David pulled together a cozy kitchen space that works well. “The little convection oven does all my baking and roasting, and I have an Instant Pot and electric wok for all my other cooking needs,” David says.

Tour the full space: A 210-Square-Foot Tiny House Didn’t Come with a Kitchen, So This Renter Made One at Apartment Therapy

Credit: Emily David

As all cooks know, organization is essential to keeping any kitchen humming, no matter the size. Here are six of the smartest takeaways from David’s tiny kitchen.

1. Create a makeshift spice cabinet.

Like many kitchens, David’s space lacks built-in storage. As a solution, David uses a compact, tiered shelving system mounted on her wall to keep spices in order, off her countertop, and within reach. We love this one, which offers lots of storage space. Feeling crafty? Purchase small jars and print labels to keep spices looking uniform and Instagram-perfect.

2. Tuck away a folding stepping stool.

Keep a foldable, lightweight stepping stool within reach, so that you can easily grab extra dishes and cooking gadgets that have been stowed away in high areas. David keeps her stepping stool conveniently located in a narrow slot next to her cabinets for quick access. Be sure to look for a stool that’s compact, yet durable — and has a handle for easy reach.

3. Fill a skinny space with a roll-out organizer.

No pantry? No problem! As long as you have a slim, rollable shelf. David keeps her everyday essentials, like cooking oil and baking supplies, next to her mini-fridge on a three-tier shelving unit for easy pull-out. You can store (and hide!) just about anything on these shelves, including snacks, bread, and condiments. Don’t let those skinny spaces go to waste!

4. Invest in a utensil crock.

A good utensil holder is a must-have for every kitchen. Short on drawer space to store her equipment, David loads up her caddy with spatulas, mixing spoons, and knives — anything she might need handy to whip up a meal. Tip: Buy a caddy that rotates, and you’ll spend less time hunting for what you need.

Credit: Emily David

5. Hang plants from the ceiling.

David adorns her space with easy-to-care-for houseplants that hang from above rather than taking up precious counter space. “Let your quirks come through in your decor,” David advises. Hang greenery from the ceiling to add an inexpensive pop of color and brighten up your kitchen.

6. Get a paper towel holder that does double duty.

David’s paper towel holder is so much more than that! It also holds spices and go-to cooking ingredients. You can steal the same idea with this magnetic rack, which also has a shelf and a bar, from which you can hang things.

Do you see any more smart storage lessons to steal from this kitchen? Tell us in the comments below!