How to Store Small Appliances Inside Kitchen Cabinets
Some of the trickiest items to store in the kitchen are small appliances. The various sizes and shapes of mixers, blenders, crockpots, waffle makers, pressure cookers (and more!) make them difficult to store in a way that is neat and accessible. Sure, I love the idea of speciality cupboards and cabinets for these clunky items; but if you’re a renter or just can’t renovate the kitchen you have, standard kitchen cabinets can actually be your next best option. I just cleaned out our kitchen appliance cupboard and finally created some much-needed order. Let me share my very best tips for storing small appliances inside kitchen cabinets!
Our Small Kitchen Appliances | Before & After
Every time we move into a new kitchen, figuring out the best place for our small kitchen appliances is always a challenge. I love a clear counter, so my goal is usually to store them out of sight. Our kitchens never seem to have expansive pantries or dedicated small appliance storage, so resorting to kitchen cabinets is usually our only option.
When moving into our current home last summer, we were pleasantly surprised at the wide expanse of cabinet space underneath the small island. I simply loaded all our appliances in without much thought, and we’ve been living like this (below) for the last year or so.
While everything generally fit, getting items in/out was a bit of a nuisance. We were constantly fighting with cords and maneuvering appliances out of the way just to get one item out.
I knew with a bit of thought and effort, I could improve our kitchen appliances storage to not only make it look better but function better too.
With a bit of purging, re-arranging, and cord corralling, our appliances now fit so nicely on these lower cabinet shelves, are easier to get in-and-out, and this cabinet looks mighty fine too!
This was not a long or super-involved organization project. In fact, it’s the perfect example of how an hour of effort can totally improve an area you use all the time. Let me show all the savvy kitchen appliance storage ideas I implemented here to make these cabinets work just right!
If you’d like to see this kitchen cabinet makeover from start-to-finish, watch this short video! (Video not loading for you? You can watch it HERE!)
Best Tips & Tricks for Storing Small Appliances Inside Kitchen Cabinets
Gather & Purge First
Before you even begin organizing your small appliances, I very much recommend you gather them all up. Maybe you have them spread across several cabinets. Perhaps some are in the basement or garage. You might even still have appliances in boxes since you had no where to store them.
Gather all your small appliances into one spot and spend some time determining what you actually need to keep:
- Do you use the item?
- Does the item work and work well?
- Do you have any duplicates?
This is a great chance to declutter random tools and gadgets you’ve accumulated over the years but just never use. I chose to get rid of our bulky rice cooker since I haven’t used it in ages.
Determine What Should Sit Out vs. What Can Be Stored Away
You likely have small appliances that you use every day and others that are good to have but are rarely used. These items will be different for all of us.
My friend Flavia recommends sorting your appliances by “use” first, which is a really brilliant way to categorize your appliances into more manageable groups, especially if you’re short on storage space or have small cabinets:
- Daily Use Items: Find spots for these on countertops or open shelving.
- Regular Use Items: Store these item in the kitchen inside easy-to-access cabinets or a pantry/closet.
- Rarely Used Items: If you don’t have kitchen space, move these items to overflow storage areas like the garage, basement, or hallway closet.
For us, the coffee pot(s), microwave, kettle, and toaster are very much “daily use items,” so we have these sitting on our dedicated coffee station and the kitchen counter.
Conversely, the food processor is used “weekly” and the ice cream maker is used only on occasion, so these items are perfect candidates to be stored away.
What Cabinets Are Best for Small Appliances?
These days, there is a huge variety in kitchen cabinetry. So it’s really difficult to say that a specific cabinet is the “best” solution for appliances; especially since, with some creativity, almost any size cabinet can work.
That said, I do think there are two important factors to consider when choosing a cabinet(s) for your small appliances:
- Upper versus lower
- Deep versus shallow
If you have heavy appliances (e.g., stand mixer, crockpot), having these in a lower cabinet is usually ideal. However, lower cabinets tend to be quite deep; and burying items in the back is usually problematic.
Conversely, upper cabinets tend to have wide shallow shelves, but getting items up and down can be challenging.
In analyzing why our current island cabinets work so well for our small appliances, I realized it’s because these cabinets are both both lower AND shallow. My heavy items are easy to retrieve, but the wide expanse of shallow shelves (12″) keep everything visible and accessible along the front (nothing is stacked two deep).
Only you can determine what works best for your cabinets, your kitchen, your appliances (and your back!), but I personally recommend choosing wide shallow cabinets over deep ones (regardless of whether they are uppers or lowers) for the main purpose of easy retrieval.
Give It a Neutral Backdrop
Kitchen appliances come in all shapes, sizes, and now colors too! And if you have a sizable collection, these items can easily look like clutter when they’re placed all together inside a dark cabinet.
To create a neutral backdrop and provide some cohesion, consider lining the shelves (and maybe even the plywood cabinet backing) with some decorative shelf liner. I’d personally avoid large patterns, as small patterns and solids will be easier on the eyes and help the entire cabinet look tidier.
Corral the Cords
One of the biggest nuisances of small appliances is their cords. Some appliances have a way to wrap and tether them, but most don’t. And as a result, they often get left undone or haphazardly wrapped around the appliance itself (which eventually comes unraveled).
I wanted to eliminate the strings of cords snaking around the cabinet, but in a way that was really easy to maintain. I ultimately determined that magnetic cord ties allow me to quickly secure the cords to the appliance (or themselves).
This doesn’t need to be complicated. Wrap the cord around itself or the appliance in whatever way fits and makes the most sense. Then use a tie to keep the cords tightly together so it doesn’t (inevitably) un-wind!
Side Note: Of all the tips I share in this post, this is by far the best one! It’s a real game changer to have all the cords cleaned up!
Adjust Shelf Heights to Create Clearance
One of the trickiest aspects of using kitchen cabinets for small appliances is the shelf height. Some appliances can be quite tall, so it can very much be worth the nuisance of adjusting the shelves in order to accommodate taller items.
We positioned our shelf so that the taller items could sit on the shelf and the shorter items lined the base. This made the most sense because of the added clearance up under the countertop for the taller items.
Prioritize Easy In/Out When Picking Spots
Finding the “just right” spot for each and every small appliance can be very tricky and can definitely take some time. Don’t hesitate to play with lots of different options until you find the best layout.
When experimenting, your top priority should really be how easy it is to get the item out and then back in. Whenever possible, avoid packing items too deep or tight. Ideally, you don’t want to have to remove other items just to get out the appliance you need (this is precisely why I prefer shallow cabinets over deep ones).
Add Labels for Accountability
When it comes to kitchen appliances, you likely don’t need labels to help you identify what’s what. However, it can become all too easy to just to throw items back inside (and not in their proper place), once the excitement of your newly-organized cabinet fades.
Giving each “parking spot” a label will be your gentle reminder of where each item goes and all-but-ensures your cabinet(s) will stay tidy for the long haul!
Other Great Kitchen Storage SolutionsReady to organize the rest of your kitchen? I’ve got you covered with more easy solutions!
- How to Organize a Pantry
- How to Organize Baking Pans
- How to Organize Kitchen Drawers
- How to Organize Corner Kitchen Cabinets
- How to Organize Upper Kitchen Cabinets
- How to Organize Cabinets Under the Kitchen Sink
- How to Organize Small Appliances Inside Kitchen Cabinets
- How to Organize Spices
- How to Organize Coffee Mugs
- How to Organize K-Cups
- How to Organize Recipes
- How to Organize Ziplock Bags
- What to Do with Dirty Dish Towels
- How to Make Pantry Labels
For the last year, every time I opened these cabinet doors, I’d say “Man, I need to tidy up this cabinet!” And now that it’s done, it’s made a huge difference in getting out what we need, when we need it. While kitchen cabinets may not be the most ideal for small appliances (compared to walk-in pantries or appliance garages), with these strategies, you really can make it work…and work well!