Introduction: Dorm/Apartment Kitchen Hacks!


Do you live in a dorm or apartment with a kitchen? Do you find yourself jamming pots and pants further back into cabinets to save space? Do you never have enough space to prepare food on your counter?

Well then this instructable is for you! I'm going to show you a couple space/time/money saving hacks that will make operating in your kitchen more efficient and spice up the atmosphere within!

NOTE: Please ignore the things scattered around the pictures of my kitchen that seem counter-intuitive to my hack ideas as they are my roommate's mess, not mine.

Step 1: #1 Dry Good Storage

We all have the cans of coffee grounds, sugar, and flour containers sitting around or in cabinets. I took a couple of mason jars and used them to store all of my frequently used dry goods for easy access. This is a great solution because it mitigates having several different size containers lying around the counter, saves you from going into the cabinets every time you need a cup of sugar, and in my humble opinion, looks pretty darn good along the back wall of any counter setup!

Step 2: #2 Top O' the Cabinet Storage

I guess this one only works if you're tall like me (6'8") and/or have lower cabinets. Cereal boxes and other containers like that take up so much space and usually don't fit into smaller cabinets. Why not just store the boxes/bags on top of the cabinets? It may look unsightly, but it's much better to have them up there than sitting on the counter!

Step 3: Fridge Organizing

Don't have a space anywhere to keep a good reminder for yourself? A small, simple whiteboard with some sticky tac is all you need for a reminder zone that you'll see everyday.

A magnetic chip clip serves a dual purpose by being a great dry-erase marker and a clip for important documents that need to be on the fridge, or a nice drawing :) (magnets of any kind work for this)

Don't forget the top of your fridge! This is a great place to put frequently used cookware like drink pitchers. I have a small stereo system i built myself up there, as the extra height gives it great sound projection.

Step 4: Drawer Use

In the first image, you can see that I have a ton of plastic grocery bags in a bottom, thin drawer. These are always hard to store. Jamming them into a single bag is a hassle because its an awkward thing to store. Every time i shop and come home with bags, I run them through my hands and flatten them into a "string" I then lay them out in the drawer. I was able to fit up to 42 bags in this one space!

In the second picture, I have taken the bottom of a pringles can, and cut it into a small cup for organizing small bits within my drawers. I keep rubber bands and dog ear clips in this one for securing bags and food containers. You could use the bottom of virtually any cardboard food box or tin. Cut it a bit below the height of the drawer and place it in. You could even tape a few together to make your own recycled organizer!

Step 5: Cork, Cork, CORK!

I cannot say enough about how great this material is. You can get it anywhere and cut it yourself, but I chose to buy some premade cork discs for about 75 cents a piece. They advertise them as a drink coaster, but they can be used for so much more!


Drink coaster

Hot beverage or pan holder

Plant pot base

Bulletin board (mounted vertically)

Pincushion (I actually use one as my pincushion when sewing, it works well!)

Not only does this material have many practical uses, it looks great in any kitchen theme or setting.

Step 6: Dish Drying

For drying, I like to have my dishes dry on a towel beside my sink. It saves me money, as I don't have to buy a dish rack for my sink, don't have to use a towel to dry every time, and I now have two times the space in my sink to wash dishes!

Any towel will do, so I used an older one. Cleaning is easy! I just throw mine in the wash every weekend and voila!

Step 7: (Mood?) Lighting on the Cheap!

There are many expensive and space consuming ways of lighting your kitchen differently. I have studio lights that came installed with my apartment, but I was looking for a way to have softer lights for a better atmosphere instead of full blast fluorescent bulbs.

Some options include under cabinet (string) lighting and floor lamps. Both of these are expensive, under cabinet can be a hassle to install, and lamps take up considerable space.

I chose to buy a 10 foot string of white christmas lights which I plugged in to a fairly unused outlet and routed through the cabinets to the top. I then simply laid them out along the top of the cabinets. No tools, no hassle, and cheap! Here's a couple photos of how they compare to the normal lighting.

Great for low light situations such as parties/gatherings or late night cooking!

Step 8: The End.

Thanks for tuning in! Please comment and let me know what you think of these college/appt. kitchen hacks. They may not be practical solutions for larger kitchens in bigger apartments or homes, but for the compact kitchens found in most student's lives, I believe that these easy hacks will keep your kitchen cleaner, more efficient, and better looking than before!

DIY University Contest

Participated in the
DIY University Contest