How To Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets in 11 Easy Steps
Getting your kitchen organized in a way that makes sense for your life will make a big difference in how you use the space and how much time you spend in it. Here's how to organize your kitchen cabinets so you'll love being in the kitchen!
1. Remove everything from your kitchen cabinets
To organize your kitchen cabinets, you'll want to start by taking everything out of the drawers and cupboards — absolutely everything must come out.
You want to start with empty, clean places for everything. Don't try to shuffle things around between them — this usually results in a bigger mess than when you started.
2. Clean the drawers and surfaces
Wipe down and disinfect all of the drawers, cabinets and shelves in your kitchen. Even a few crumbs in the bottom of a drawer can make it look gross and unorganized, so get everything looking as clean as possible.
3. Take inventory of everything you have
Get a good idea of what you have. Sort items into categories, such as:
- Pots and pans
- Food storage containers
- Bowls and plates
- Eating utensils
- Cooking utensils
- Baking tools
- Small appliances (electric mixer, waffle maker, toaster, etc.)
- Dry foods (cereal, pasta, oatmeal, etc.)
- Baking ingredients (flour, sugar, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, etc.)
Everything sorted? Now, you can see what all you have and how much of each item you'll need to store.
4. Get rid of the items you don't need
More isn't always better, especially when you're working with a finite amount of kitchen storage space. With everything sorted and you know exactly how much of everything you've got, decide what you need and what you don't need.
Over time, you may have collected various kitchen items and you may not realize just how much you actually have. While it's nice to have lots of pots and pans for cooking dinner for a group, you may find that you have three pots all the same size when, realistically, you only need one. The same thing goes for everything else — you may have accumulated 12 wooden spoons and you only need to have two. And that turkey baster collection? One will do — you get rid of the other two.
Get rid of things you haven't used or have too many of — so fitting everything in your kitchen cabinets won't give a game of Tetris a run for its money.
5. Group similar items together
Now that you've gotten rid of the extra stuff, you've got less stuff to fit into your kitchen. Woohoo!
Start by keeping similar items together and match them up with cabinets and drawers relative to their size and quantity. Pots and pans are bulky, so they'll probably need a bigger cabinet. Spice jars are small, so they can go in a smaller cabinet.
Keep similar items together in the same place so they're easy to find and you won't end up opening every single cabinet and drawer in the kitchen each time you need something.
6. Put open items in bins and containers
When you're limited on drawer space, using bins to store things can make it much easier to find what you need and keep things from falling out of cabinets when you open them.
Clear bins are best since you can see exactly what's inside of them. You can store all of your baking ingredients in them — creating one for your sugars (regular sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, etc.) and one for chocolate chips (semi-sweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate, white chocolate, etc.).
Don't forget to dedicate a bin or two for your snacks (granola bars, fruit snacks, etc.). Make bins for any items that make sense to keep together.
You can also store dry food items in clear, airtight containers. This allows you to see how much of everything you have, plus containers are stackable, resealable and won't get smashed or lost easily in your pantry. Even Marie Kondo supports putting food into matching containers for organization!
7. Use drawer organizers for utensils
Putting dividers and organizers in drawers will help keep things sorted out and easy to find. Rather than a jumbled mess where it takes forever to dig up what you need, sort your regular utensils — forks, knives and spoons, as well as bigger cooking utensils like ladles, cooking spoons and spatulas.
8. Match up your food storage containers
It's easy to throw all of the food storage containers and lids into a cabinet once they're clean, but tale as old as time — when you need it, you end up having to dig through everything just to find a matching lid.
Put the lids on your food storage containers before putting them in the cabinet so you're guaranteed to find a container and a matching lid each time you need it. You can nest them to save cabinet space while still keeping matches together.
No more digging through and trying to fit 12 lids on the same container before you find a match!
9. Keep frequently used items within easy reach
Put all of the items you use frequently in the easiest to reach and access places and keep the seldom-used items in harder-to-access places.
It doesn't make sense to keep the drinking glasses you use every day on a high shelf that's difficult to reach, nor it makes zero sense to store the electric mixer you use once a month in an eye-level cabinet right by the sink.
Your kitchen's organization should make sense for your life and what you use often.
10. Store items in places that make sense
Store things in the most practical of places! Keep your cooking oil and spices near the stovetop, since that's where you will use them the most. Put your eating utensils near the plates and bowls since they go together like peas in a pod. Put pots and pans near the stove because they're always used on it.
11. Eliminate a junk drawer
Many people have a drawer for the miscellaneous items in their kitchen, often dubbed the "random" or "junk" drawer. It turns into a black hole where you end up placing small items you're too lazy to find the correct spot for and once you need that item, you can't remember where you put it.
This drawer defeats the purpose of organizing your kitchen— you should find everything quickly and easily without having to dig through a bunch of random stuff in a drawer. Don't leave room for a junk drawer in your kitchen at all!
Other kitchen cabinet organization tips
Here are a few additional tips and ideas for organizing your kitchen cabinets.
- Use hooks on the inside of cabinet doors to hang things like scrub brushes, pot lids and large spoons
- Use shelf risers to give yourself extra stacking space in cabinets
- Most cabinets have movable shelves, change the shelf placement to accommodate the items you're putting into each cabinet
- Add a magnetic knife strip to the wall above where you normally chop fruits and vegetables so you can keep your favorite knives at the ready without taking up drawer space
- Store your cutting boards and baking sheets vertically instead of horizontally —that way, you can simply slide which sheet you want out on its side
- Label containers and bins, especially if they're opaque and not clear so that you know what's stored inside of them without having to check
- Add a lazy Susan to awkward corner cabinets with a small opening, so you can store things like spices and oils without needing to reach far into the cabinet and you can see everything easily
- Limit your kitchen gadgets — yes, the banana slicer looks cool and helps you cut a banana in five seconds rather than 30, but do you really need it? Sparingly purchase gadgets to prevent clutter.
These aren't necessary for keeping your kitchen cabinets organized, but they can certainly help make your kitchen all the more functional.
Staying organized requires discipline
Once you figure out how to organize your kitchen cabinets, your work isn't completely done — you need to make sure they STAY organized. That means putting everything back into its proper place whenever you're through using it. It's easy to slip out of that habit, but once you do, your kitchen cabinets and drawers may end up a mess again.
Put forth a special effort to keep things where they belong!
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