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In this post: Organizing your kitchen, for many people, can be overwhelming. Here are some quick, easy, and efficient suggestions for getting started and for getting your kitchen squared away.
These awesome kitchen organization ideas will get the heart of your home tidied up and into tip-top shape before you know it!
Your kitchen is the heart of your home. It’s where you share meals, plan family outings, and create memories with your loved ones. But as busy families know all too well, it can be hard to find time for everything – especially if you’re juggling work or school in addition to managing a household.
Table of Contents
Why is Organization Important?
An organized home is a peaceful home.
Decluttering and organizing room-by-room is a therapeutic way to cleanse your space. And that is nowhere more true than in the kitchen.
Not only does a well-organized kitchen save your sanity, but it also saves time and money! If you know exactly where everything is, you spend less time searching for it. And if you know exactly what you have in your pantry and fridge, you spend less money on last-minute grocery trips for dinner.
If you’re overwhelmed with organizing your kitchen, take a step back. Think about the essentials, about what’s important to you when it comes to having a peaceful kitchen. Then, enlist the help of family or friends, if needed. Reaching out for help when you need it is not a sign of weakness, but strength. Knowing when to call in reinforcements is a useful skill to have.
General Kitchen Organization Tips
Before I share specific kitchen organizing ideas for each zone or area of your kitchen, here’s how to get started.
1. Choose a starting point
Shining your kitchen sink, a la FlyLady, can be extremely motivating, so I like to start there. It’s kind of like making the bed in that it creates a neat and tidy expanse of space.
- If you have dishes piled up, load them into the dishwasher so they can wash while you work on the rest of the sink area.
- If you don’t have a dishwasher, make up a hot, soapy water sink and add the dirtiest dishes to it so they can soak. While the dishes are soaking, start working on another task in the kitchen.
Resist the urge to get distracted by multitasking in other rooms, though. Don’t start a load of laundry, or start putting clothes away while you’re working on the kitchen organization. One thing at a time. Right now, we are focusing on the kitchen.
2. Declutter first
If you’re doing a deep clean, pull everything out of the cabinets. While this may feel like extra work and will take a bit longer, you’ll be much happier with the results! Save the junk drawer for later; we’ll tackle it when we have more energy.
If you’re Type A, you may want to map out a plan of attack before diving right in. If this is the case, divide your kitchen into zones and tackle them one by one.
Perhaps you don’t have much time to clean or declutter daily. That’s fine! Tackling one “zone” at a time ensures you won’t spend all day on the same task.
3. Sort like with like
Once you’ve emptied out the zone or section you are working on – remember this can be a single drawer or shelf at a time – sort like with like.
Put all the pots together, all the spoons, etc. This will help you to visualize how much space you need when you put things away.
Kitchen Cabinet Organization
Kitchen cabinets can be organized in all sorts of ways, depending upon what is stored in them. Here are some ideas to make the most of your kitchen cabinet space.
4. Streamline your plastic bags
If you need several sizes or types of Ziplock bags, that’s fine. But try to keep those as organized as possible.
My favorite type of plastic baggie organization are these bamboo organizers from Amazon. They fit together like a puzzle so you can reconfigure them to fit your particular space.
5. Nest or stack pots and pans
One of the easiest and most economical ways to save space when storing your pots and pans is to stack them inside each other. This works no matter whether you store them in drawers or cabinets.
6. Use all the same type of food storage containers so they nest neatly
Another space saver for cabinets (or deep drawers) is to buy the same kind of food storage containers for all your needs. That way they should nest well inside each other to save space. Plus an added bonus is that the cabinet where you store them will LOOK neat and tidy too because everything will match!
7. Add extra riser shelves to avoid wasting space in cabinets
If you have kitchen cabinets with shelves that are quite far apart in height, add risers to help maximizes the space between shelves.
8. Corral kids’ dishes in a bin to give boundaries
If you store your kids’ dishes in your cupboards, use plastic bins or baskets to corral them and keep them from spreading out all over the place.
9. Keep small appliances together
If you can, house all your small appliances together in one cabinet. Also, keep all the attachments and parts stored inside each appliance like your mixer.
10. “File” your baking sheets and muffin tins
While it’s not necessarily the best use of space, storing your muffin tins, lasagna pans and baking sheets vertically makes them easier to find and use. Otherwise, if they’re stacked, you have to move several of them each time you want to use one that’s in the middle or on the bottom.
11. Maximize space under the sink with stacking drawers
Under the kitchen sink can be a tricky space to make the most of because of all the pipes and other things under there. But you can make the most of it with pullout bins or small stacking drawers.
Kitchen Drawer Organization
If you’re lucky you have several kitchen drawers in which to stash kitchen necessities. But if you have few drawers in your kitchen it’s even more important to make the most of them. Here are some ideas for how to do that.
12. The junk drawer
Finally, the junk drawer! This is where you’ll really want to get serious about getting rid of items you don’t use frequently. Perhaps you’ll find some junk that has another home somewhere else in the house.
If your junk drawer is more like a junk cabinet, use wire racks to give yourself extra space to organize everything. Wire racks create an extra level (or two) and literally double your storage space. You may also find that you don’t need eight cast iron skillets and are ready to downsize. If that’s the case, get a box ready for Goodwill and add to it as you clean your kitchen.
13. Utilize drawer organizers for silverware and utensils
Of course, this is the most commonly purchased kitchen organizer because no one wants to hunt for forks in a drawer full of utensils.
We use clear acrylic utensil organizers in our white kitchen drawers and bamboo organizers in our dining room buffet.
Organizing the Kitchen Counters
Yup! Kitchen counters can be organized too. Here are a few of my favourite tips for doing that.
14. Organizing your cooking utensils
Countertop utensil racks are convenient, and they save space. While you’re cooking, you don’t have to go digging through the drawer to find a spatula – you just grab it from the hanging rack on the counter. Easy peasy!
On a budget? Make your own utensil holders out of mason jars. You can stock up on mason jars for pennies on the dollar if you visit your local thrift store!
15. Pour your soap into stylish bottles
I like to use amber glass bottles. But you could use clear glass or ceramic bottles as well.
17. Use Trays to Keep Countertops Organized
One of the best ways to keep counters organized in the kitchen (and bathroom too!) is to use trays to corral similar items.
For example, in the photo above, we keep the necessary stove and cooking accoutrements next to the stove on a round tray. And on one of the other counters, we keep the coffee necessities on another tray.
18. Store Seasonings by the Stove
You can also see in the image above that we keep as many spices as possible on the little shelves next to the stove, Any other spices we need are kept in the cabinet beside the stove. (We have an unusually large number of spices and seasonings.)
19. Put up a magnetic knife holder
Another space saver in the kitchen is a magnetic knife holder. This saves drawer and counter space versus a traditional knife block or a drawer knife block and keeps your knives handy.
Kitchen Pantry Organization Ideas
Ah, the pantry. You’re either going to love organizing your pantry, or you’re going to hate it. There usually isn’t much gray area here. Head to your favorite dollar store and buy enough clear plastic (or glass) containers to hold your non-perishable items.
Amazon has can holders that can more than triple the space available in your pantry. You can also use small containers from the dollar store to organize seasoning packets, small bags of dried fruits and nuts, etc.
20. How to organize spices
There are many ways to organize your spices, and if you search Pinterest for even just a few moments, you’ll find tons of them! The simplest way to organize spices is based on the amount of space you have, along with how many spices you use on a regular basis.
Organizing spices alphabetically on a magnetic spice rack attached to a backsplash is popular and affordable and something we did years ago.
If you only use a few spices on a regular basis, have those at the front of your spice cabinet and the rest of the herbs can hang out in the back. I love the idea of organizing them alphabetically, though, so you save time searching when it’s time to use them.
21. Transfer your spices into matching jars
If you want to make yourself smile every time you reach for your spices, do this! I have kept our spices in matching jars for years – first in simple mason jars with metal ring lids and most recently in pretty little jars with bamboo lids.
22. Decant dry goods for a streamlined look
This is another easy way to simplify your cabinets and pantry. We use large mason jars as well as plastic canisters with pop lids for this.
23. Keep bigger bins on the floor of the pantry to corral bags and overflow
We bought bins with gamma seals for the things we buy in bulk like rice, pasta, and all the different flour we use.
24. Create a backup pantry in a nearby space
Our kitchen is on the larger size, compared to our previous homes. But it’s open to the living room so there’s less storage space than you’d think. And with five of us living here – especially now that the kids eat like the adults they are – we need to keep a lot of food in the house.
So we created an extra pantry space in our basement for the overflow.
Organizing the Refrigerator
Organizing the refrigerator definitely feels like a moving target because there’s always so much going in and out of it. But there are steps you can take to make it easier on yourself.
25. Clean out your fridge and add clear bins
Depending on the season and how much fresh produce we’re using, we rotate our clear bins in and out. For example, if we have to buy several heads of cauliflower and a lot of greens in one week, we remove a clear bin or two to make space. But if it’s the middle of winter for example and we’re relying more on frozen or canned veggies and fruits the bins help to keep things organized.
26. Organize the fridge using zones
This can be done whether you use bins or not. By designating zones for things, it’s much easier to find what you’re looking for. Keep the condiments all together, the fruit with the fruit and the veggies on another spot.
Bonus Kitchen Organization Tips
Need more space? If you’re running low on space, keep vertical storage in mind.
- You can easily install a pull-out shelf next to the refrigerator if there is enough room. This is usually where people store extra canned goods, but you can store anything that fits!
- Hanging racks are space-savers, too. They’re perfect to hang over an island or large countertop. Be sure to hang it high enough so nobody bumps their head.
- Stick to one color palette: Match all of your kitchen gadgets and decor for a streamlined look.
- Build a cabinet to hide the trash can or recycling bins. Or convert an existing space.
- Use kitchen storage and organization as decor.
- Build your own kitchen storage and organization.
- Buy organizers over time. This will help you save money or at least budget easier.
More Kitchen Organizing Ideas
- How To Organize Your Fridge: A Step By Step Guide to Fridge Organization
- How to Organize Under the Kitchen Sink: Organizing Ideas to Tame the Mess
- How to Organize a Junk Drawer in Just 7 Steps and 30 Minutes
- How to Organize Kitchen Counters: Kitchen Counter Organization Ideas
- Pantry Organization Ideas: How to Organize Your Pantry in 5 Simple Steps
- The Capsule Kitchen: How to Build It + Why It Will Change Your Life
A Few of My Favorite Organizing Things
Here are a few of my favorite kitchen organization things from Amazon. (If you’re from Canada check out my list for Canadians here.)
- Bamboo plastic bag (Ziplock) organizers
- Clear acrylic drawer organizers
- Vertical cupboard organizer
- Bamboo utensil organizer
- Clear acrylic utensil organizer
- Round tray
- Glass spice jars with bamboo lids
- Large glass mason jars for decanting dry goods
- Oxo Good Grips with pop lids
- Pantry and kitchen labels
- Clear plastic fridge bins
- Pails with gamma seals
- Magnetic knife block
- Cooking utensil crock and bamboo cooking utensils
- Amber glass jars with spray nozzles
- Amber glass jars with pump
- Clear stacking drawers
- Rubbermaid stacking/nesting plastic food storage containers
Moving forward, check on your kitchen once a week. Is it in tip-top shape? If not, what needs to be worked on? We all have those problem areas (like the messy island). Keeping an eye on these areas can help keep your kitchen in order.
It can seem like keeping the kitchen clean is a never-ending battle, and some days we will lose. However, if you check in on your kitchen (yes, even the pantry and refrigerator) on a regular basis, you’ll notice it’s much easier to keep up with.