Organization Tips for a Small Kitchen Island

A kitchen island of any size can be a great addition to a functional and beautiful kitchen. However, it can also easily become a mess when cluttered with many items that are not neatly arranged. Here are some organizational tips to help you get the best out of a small kitchen island.

Capitalize on the space underneath the countertop

kitchen island


If your small kitchen island features some space underneath, experts recommend using it for storage. Consider shelves, baskets, and drawers to keep items neatly stored and out of sight. Many people have chosen to have pull-out spice racks under their kitchen islands, in addition to utensil drawers to keep everything organized well.

Deep drawers built into your kitchen island can provide a good space for dishes, kitchen linens, large pots, pans, and any other heavy items used on or around the kitchen island. Make sure that the drawers are built well enough to bear the weight of what you intend to store in them.

If you need more storage to help you prepare meals on your kitchen island, consider installing some high shelves nearby to maximize the headroom while leaving some space on the countertop. Open shelving is ideal if you intend to display beautiful kitchenware and items like recipe books and intricately designed oil containers and grinders.

To manage your storage well, visualize what you intend to store on your island to help you create a valid plan. This may help you anticipate the space needed for small appliances and large cookware items, which often require deep spaces and wider shelf clearances.

Remember to keep everything functional

dish rack

A small kitchen island means every square inch of the feature is valuable. Thus, make sure you have all functional elements in place before trying out any decorative items. Rather, you can forego decorative items to make sure you have a little extra counter space, extra storage, or seating.

Experts recommend skipping large or fragile decorative items on the top of a small kitchen island. While it can be tempting to add some elements for the sake of flair, too many decorative items can crowd the space. Set aside the items and keep them in other areas designated for decoration, such as shelves and wall hooks.

Be very selective about what you want on your kitchen island. Prioritize only the items used regularly that need to be easily within reach. This is a good way of preventing unnecessary clutter and making your kitchen island stay organized.

For convenience, it is generally a good idea to leave out the appliances, spices, and tools that you use regularly. This is advisable for items that look beautiful and those that have been transferred into vases and jars. This is a small but handy storage solution that allows you to maximize the use of your counter space in an efficient and cost-friendly way.

Find and use organizers

The best way to make use of a small kitchen island is by fitting organizers like trays, dividers, baskets, and hooks. These will help you keep items neatly separated from each other, in turn making it quicker to find what you need while preventing clutter from piling up.

One creative idea is to have a wire rack fitted into an open space within your island. This can help you keep fresh produce like potatoes, fruits, and onions in a cool dry place that offers easy access.

Set aside designated spaces

Try to designate different spaces for all items you intend on keeping on and on your kitchen island. Visualizing the space in this way will help you put things in their rightful place to prevent a mess from building up in the small space.

This is only possible after establishing the main use of your kitchen island since this decision will help you get your storage and utility requirements right. Knowing whether the island is purely for meal prep or for entertaining significantly affects how you organize it and the rest of your kitchen.

Regular clean-up:

home cleaning

Take a few minutes each day or immediately after using the kitchen island to clear used items, spills, and any other clutter. Put away any items that were used and left out, wipe down the surface with soap and water, and return kitchen items to their respective spaces.

Label everything:

Get a label maker or a few blank labels for your jars, containers, shelves, cabinets, and drawers. Placing clear labels neatly on your kitchen island creates a clean look and reduces the chances of confusing one cooking ingredient with another. This is especially important if you store your condiments and cooking ingredients in clear jars and containers.

Build in appliances where possible:


Just because your kitchen island is small does not mean it cannot be sophisticated. Depending on your budget, you can build some kitchen appliances into the island, such as a dishwasher, stove, or refrigerator, that can neatly fit into the space. With these bulky appliances out of the way, you will have more space left over for other needs like storage and seating.


Despite the size of your kitchen island, you can maximize it in many ways by properly organizing the items kept on and stored within the feature. Storage underneath the island countertop is the most popular and effective way of organizing items within a kitchen island. 

Some open shelving, deep drawers, and wire racks can complete the vision, allowing you to have a small but practical and well-organized kitchen island. Consider building appliances into your kitchen island to make the space more usable and have important kitchen appliances within reach when prepping meals. 

When designing a small kitchen island, do some research on the internet to visualize what you would like to implement, and contact a seasoned expert to help you bring your ideas to life.