Living self-sufficiently from the kitchen requires efficient organization of small spaces to work. It just does. No matter the size of your kitchen too, whether it’s an RV/camper or as large as an event hall organization is the end-all-be-all.
But do you feel like you have no space? Or maybe no way to manage the limited space you do have? I sure have!
Effectively arranging & managing our surroundings though is what creates an environment that’s ripe for stronger self-sufficiency. And what’s better is that sort of space makes learning traditional skills easier.
So, here’s how to make it happen.
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Having the Right Mindset about Organization
I’ll start by reminding you that there’s no one size fits all answer here.
Even if you have a setup that works beautifully now, it could change as your space changes (maybe you move). Or as your needs and habits change. And that’s OK!
Part of growing and expanding means reiterating our processes. Fine-tuning them until there’s a structure we can work with regardless of specific circumstances or layouts.
So, you’ve gotta approach this with some thought & patience ok? Every square inch counts and you’ll have to be intentional with the use of space. That’s key.
From using vertical storage solutions to maximizing the functionality of multi-purpose furniture. These are some of the many strategies available to optimizing space. But that efficiency usually comes by implementing clever storage solutions and decluttering regularly.
PURGING. There, I said it.
And that could be painful sometimes right? But the pruning will help you grow much better later on.
Living self-sufficiently from your kitchen happens when you start practicing lost skills like cooking from scratch, preserving food at home, practicing sustainable & ethical kitchen habits, and reducing food waste.
And you know something crazy? Organization in small spaces plays a pivotal role in each of these areas. From planning and managing a productive herb garden in limited space to effectively storing and preserving harvested food. Being organized allows you to harness your full potential.
The Importance of Organization in Small Spaces for Self-Reliant Living
Organization helps us reclaim the power to pursue alllllll the traditional skills we want to live by. But that doesn’t just mean the physical canned goods in the pantry or the recipes in your cabinet. You need to make sure there’s a place for your essential kitchen tools yes, but don’t forget to organize your knowledge & skills. too.
Listen, you may not be in love with being in the kitchen. Yet. And while that’s not my end goal here, I do hope my joy is infectious enough that you at least like being there when you need to be.
But make a mini mindset shift & start envisioning your kitchen as a sanctuary for the life you want to live.
I have to put this out there that it’s not uncommon for this vibrant space to fall into chaos periodically. Utensils competing for space, spices playing hide-and-seek, and pantry items staging a coup behind closed doors.
If you find yourself in a constant battle with clutter or kitchen anxiety and deeply desire a kitchen that reflects order and efficiency, I want to help you achieve that. THAT is one my goals.
A kitchen where every tool has its designated home, where ingredients are easily accessible, and where the act of cooking feels more like a joyous activity than a chaotic scramble.
But let me just say this too. The benefits of an organized kitchen go beyond the aesthetics. Being organized in the kitchen saves you time, reduces stress, and elevates the excitement of preparing meals. All this is ambitious, but not impossible.
How to Overcome the Overwhelm of Organizing a Small Space
Because beginning is always hardest when you feel intimidated by the task.
Break a large task into smaller subtasks
Being “more organized” is the whole feat. But this is one of the mantras of my life –
“Start small. Start now.
And start where you are with what you have.”
Feed your mind that little affirmation continuously to fuel through. As you complete small tasks, use the momentum to complete slightly larger tasks. Until one day, the entire task is complete.
Really, it’ll be just like that.
You decide to tackle organizing your kitchen. Instead of doing it all in one go (even if your kitchen is extremely tiny), work on it in stages. Maybe this cabinet today. That countertop tomorrow evening. And 1-2 of your drawers the next day.
Breaking out the tasks in this way reduces mental anxiety too. And powering through a task has a snowball effect on your to-do list.
PRO TIP: Set a 20 minute timer. Hyper-focusing on that one thing to do is more power in the engine to getting it done.
Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
So, once you’ve broken your task down into bite-sized pieces, prioritize them. Examine the areas you plan to work on then rank them based on urgency or importance. The motivation to transform or tidy up a space might be due to upcoming family visits. Or maybe it’s because new furniture or equipment is being delivered.
Either way, ranking your areas to focus on will help you stay the course. And after thinking through the motivation to prioritize, it might just be clear to you which areas to hit first.
Use a Checklist (or even Schedule!)
And while we’re talking about prioritizing the tasks within your plan to exact some organization for small spaces, writing these things down can keep you focused too. If you like checking things off a to-do list like me, then get it out your head & onto then paper.
If you need something more structured, go one step further. Take the list you just made and plug in tasks to various days of the week in calendar fashion. Totally customizable & completely based on your schedule, but then instead of overwhelm, you should feel empowered. Rather than deciding day to day what to tackle, you’ll know going in to the day that Corner A is going to be rearranged.
And that’s it, lovely. I’m serious.
If you start scheduling things, don’t cram things onto a day just because it fits on paper. Especially if it’s not truly necessary. I’m definitely a serial overachiever – always trying to fit in one more thing. But it’s OK to leave pockets of spare time in your day. It’s actually healthy.
First, things may not go according to your plan. So leave time and space to be flexible as the day moves forward.
Second, you might find that as a day progresses you could really use 5-10-15 minutes of “free”, empty time. If you have it, revel in it. Don’t push the limits.
And lastly, if you truly can’t find time to tend to yourself, leave these pockets because that’s what they’re for.
Reward Your Progress
Count these small steps as wins & celebrate!
Celebrating along the way is essential to encouraging more of the same behavior. So, if you manage to do one thing to be more organized and you celebrate that – you’re more likely to do something else again.
Just make sure the rewards are fitting to the task. The larger the accomplishment, the greater the reward should be.
5 Techniques to Maximize Organization in Small Spaces
Organization in small spaces requires creativity and strategic thinking. Small kitchen organization is no different.
The best organization hack to live self-sufficiently from your kitchen is to use items with multiple functions.
A food storage bag drying rack can also conveniently be used as a book rack for small kitchen cookbooks or magazines! Or an herb-drying stand for salve-making. Embracing smart storage solutions like baskets, bins, and drawer organizers will keep belongings tidy and accessible. Peg boards for hanging pans works too!
Listen – it doesn’t need to be Pinterest worthy. So, don’t spend hours scrolling through design ideas. Get some inspiration, sure. But more than that – just get to it!
As you work and live through your kitchen, what feels right and natural will come to life. Guaranteed.
Here are 5 practical tips to getting organized so you can transform your small space into a well-organized and functional haven. These strategies not only enhance your self-sufficiency but also create an environment that supports a traditional lifestyle focused on simplicity, efficiency, and a sense of calm.
1. Evaluate & Declutter
Start by assessing the layout of your kitchen. Identify areas that disrupt the flow of your activities. Consider the positioning of your appliances, storage, and workspaces. The name of the game here is: STRATEGY.
Understanding the dynamics of your kitchen space is the first step toward effective organization. With a clear understanding of your kitchen’s layout, it’s time to declutter.
Sort through your utensils, gadgets, and pantry items. Keep what you use frequently and let go of duplicates or broken items. Create a clean space first. Decluttering is a powerful organization technique. Practice intentional consumption & create more physical space.
Plus, as you focus on what truly matters you prevent it from becoming overwhelmed with unnecessary items. Don’t forget to use some basic kitchen inventory worksheets to track any food-related items!
2. Categorize – Build Effective Zones
Transform your self-sufficient kitchen into an efficient workspace by identifying functional zones. As much as possible, create designated areas for meal preparation, cooking, and storage. Group similar items together to streamline your workflow, making it easier to find what you need when you need it. This also is a simple yet effective way to bring order and structure to your living space and a great way to make organization in small spaces really pop.
Arrange your kitchen tools and appliances based on frequency of use. Place commonly used items within easy reach, minimizing the need for constant movement and enhancing the efficiency of your cooking process.
In a broader fashion, work to arrange your kitchen into 4 corners. This means organizing your kitchen in zones. First, you have a working pantry where you store food/resources you use frequently. Your refrigerator & freezer make up the second and third zones, but operate on the same concept. The final zone is your extended pantry area and this is where you’ll keep items for long-term storage.
3. Use Vertical Spacing
Make the most of vertical space by installing wall-mounted shelves and hooks. Display cookware, herbs, or decorative items in a way that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Vertical storage is a game-changing organizing hack especially in smaller kitchens.
Explore overhead storage options, such as pot racks or hanging baskets. These solutions not only provide additional storage space but also add a touch of style to your kitchen. Overhead storage is a clever way to keep frequently used items within easy reach while freeing up valuable floor and counter space. Because you’ll need those for your storage shelving anyway.
Labeling brings order to your pantry and kitchen shelves. So adding labels or tags to containers and drawers is a practical organization technique that brings clarity and efficiency to your space. It eliminates the chaos by making it easy to find ingredients, ensuring a smooth cooking experience. And saving you time!
Get creative with your labeling for a personalized touch too! Use adhesive labels, chalkboard tags, or even washi tape to label different sections, making it easier to find and return items to their designated places.
Stay in control of your kitchen inventory by maintaining lists of pantry items and perishables. Regularly update your inventory and self-sufficient kitchen logbook to avoid overbuying and reduce food waste. An organized inventory ensures that you use ingredients before they expire.
5. Establish Routines
Establish daily or weekly routines to maintain the organization of your kitchen. Allocate time for quick tasks like wiping down surfaces, clearing countertops, and organizing items. Consistent routines contribute to a forever organized kitchen.
Regularly reassess your kitchen organization too. Because lifestyle changes. You’ll gain new cooking habits or acquire more tools necessary in a self-reliant kitchen. That means you’ll need to tailor your organization system for your space to your evolving needs. And incorporate habits that will prevent clutter from accumulating.
The Benefits of Efficient Organization in Small Spaces
Being organized brings efficiency and saves time. With everything in its place, you can easily locate items needed for daily tasks and projects. It reduces stress and increases productivity. And the mental refresh you feel when that happens allows you to focus on learning traditional skills, managing resources effectively, and pursuing a self-sufficient lifestyle.
Organized spaces just ooze calm and balance. And this will elevate your kitchen confidence and increase the satisfaction in your self-sufficient journey. But that atmosphere will also be felt by anyone else who lives or visits your space.
It’s great to embrace self-sufficiency by living through your kitchen even if it’s on the smaller side! Effective organization creates a harmonious balance. And it’s in this sweet space that we can practice traditional skills even while living in modern times.
Organization is the best optimization of limited spaces. Getting there is what will help you cultivate a more sustainable and intentional lifestyle too. And it’s all customized to your own needs and tastes. That’s the beauty of it all. So go ahead & get to it.
You’ve got this, lovely.
🌱 Start Small. Start Now. Start where you are with what you have. The rest will follow.🌱
Is being more self-sufficient is something you’re interested in but you’re not sure where to begin?
Then check out the Self-Sufficient Living Roadmap!
I designed it to help you eliminate some of the overwhelm of starting an incredibly massive journey.