In theory, small kitchens are cute, cozy and warm, and perfect for whipping up quick dinners while never having to reach too far for anything. In reality, they can be kind of a hassle. Luckily, with a few hacks, tips and DIY projects, you can be well on your way to a perfectly efficient space that’s every bit as sweet in real life as it is in concept. Heck, throw in a few multi-tasking kitchen tools and you may as well open a five-star restaurant in your own home. Well, maybe not, but still, you’ll definitely bump fewer elbows, save a bit of sanity and never spend 10 minutes looking for that spatula again.

1. Make Decorative Pantry Jars: If you’re tight on pantry space and don’t have room for all those boxes and bags of staples like flour, sugar and oats, an old-fashioned countertop display can clear out some space. Do this DIY with a set of mason jars or SLOM jars from IKEA and you’re in business — plus, how cute are these? (via This Little Street)

2. Invest in Nesting Bowls: Taking a page from Russian matryoshka dolls of yore, nesting bowls are a godsend in a small kitchen. A set of three, for example, takes up a third of the space of three ill-fitting bowls would. A perfectly matched set like this on from Lee Wolfe Pottery ($70) isn’t just practical, but it’s also pretty. (via Lee Wolfe Pottery)

3. Add Kick Drawer Storage: Depending on your level of woodworking prowess, this sort of last resort might require some outside help. But in the end, you’ll have someplace to store all those placemats, tablecloths and oversized serving platters that only come out once or twice a year. (via BHG)

4. Open Everything Up: Removing cabinet doors creates a high level of exposure and keeps us honest in the organization department. Choose a single accent color to pull a neutral space together and your kitchen will be ready for its close-up before you know it. (via The Shabby Creek Cottage)

5. Hang Up Your Mugs: Everybody’s got one: That cabinet spilling over with mugs of every size and shape. Whether you’re a minimalist who likes things streamlined or a fan of mix-and-match everything, hang half a dozen mugs from hooks on the bottom of your cabinets and say goodbye to those pre-coffee moments when the whole overhead stack tries to crash down on you. (via Design Sponge)

6. Make a DIY Drawer Organizer: You know those plastic drawer organizers that never seem to quite accommodate your knives? It’s amazing what $10 worth of poplar and glue can do to maximize your utensil drawer, even making way for extra tools and miscellaneous items. Plus, most hardware stores will cut the wood to your specifications at no extra cost. (via Kevin and Amanda)

7. Go Vertical: If you’ve got even the smallest of walls to spare, a hardware store pegboard and a set of tiny hooks will open up a world of storage. Paint it in your color of choice and arrange pots, pans, utensils and tools in whatever way is most functional. (via Refinery29)

8. Try a Rolling Storage Cart: When all else fails and you still need more storage, why not call in some reinforcements? A sturdy storage cart on wheels can be moved around at will and might even provide extra countertop space, depending on its design. This cart from IKEA is great for storing quick-to-grab items with baskets and canisters. (via Cozy Cottage Cute)

9. Use Countertop Storage for Big Utensils: As for that other utensil drawer — the one with the cooking spoons, spatulas, tongs and wire whisks — you can eliminate it entirely just by bringing everything above. Choose a spinning wire container in your favorite color for easy (and attractive) access, and over time you’ll notice which pieces are and aren’t being used, making it easier to thin out the herd. (via The Shabby Creek Cottage)

10. Get Crafty With Cabinet Interiors: If you’re constantly rifling through a drawer full of miscellany to find the right measuring cup, this ingenious hack is just what you need. Chalkboard paint, wood scraps, hooks and a quick bit of DIY will assure nothing but swift half-cup recovery in the future. (via Tidbits From the Tremaynes)

11. Make Pantry Storage Containers: Just like your inbox, your office, your closet and your life, sometimes compartmentalization is the ticket to contentment. Use whatever containers strike your fancy, whether they’re a basket-and-mini-chalkboard combo like this one or sleek, brightly colored plastic boxes. Then label them as appropriate, arrange them by size, utility, level of deliciousness or whatever other system you’d like, and tada! You’ve got yourself a perfect pantry. (via Eleven Gables)

How do you make the most out of your cabinet space? Share in the comments below!