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  • Writer's pictureAnita Chastain

Easy Tips for Organizing Your Kitchen

Put these five tips into practice before you spend more money on baskets and bins.

White kitchen with butcher block counters

Key Takeaways for Organizing Your Kitchen

  1. Assign every item in your kitchen a permanent home.

  2. Reclaim counter space by removing any items that don't belong there.

  3. Get rid of anything in the kitchen you don't need, want, or use.

  4. Think about ease of access when organizing kitchen cabinet space.

  5. Curate your counter space by adding items that are functional and beautiful.


There's nothing wrong with corralling things in baskets and bins, but getting these kitchen organization basics in place first helps solve storage and function problems, rather than contain them.

If you want to simplify your life, the kitchen is one of the best places in your home to start decluttering and organizing. When you're finished, you'll love that your kitchen finally looks neat and organized.

In this article, you'll learn how to maximize your kitchen storage space while keeping the entire kitchen neat and tidy. Let's get started.

1. Assign every item in your kitchen a permanent home.

Kitchen organization tip 1

This is the golden rule of kitchen organization: Everything in the kitchen needs its own space to call home. Without this rule, the other rules of kitchen organization won't work well.

The only time something doesn't belong in its home is when you're using it. When you're done using it, return it to its permanent home.

Things abandoned on countertops become visual clutter. Clutter attracts more clutter. When a space is already a mess, it's easier to add to the mess than to clean it up. It only takes a few days of ignoring clutter to turn the kitchen into a disorganized and dysfunctional mess.

A cluttered kitchen doesn't look good or function well. Clutter creates unnecessary stress and needless work.

The best strategy for maintaining a beautiful and functional kitchen is clutter prevention:

Assign every item a permanent home and return the item to its home after every use.

2. Reclaim counter space by removing any items that don't belong there.

Kitchen organization tip 2

Take a moment to stand in your kitchen doorway and look at the entire space. What do you see that doesn't belong there? What items make your counters look cluttered and awkward?

Identify what doesn't belong and remove it.

Lots of things don't belong on kitchen counters. This includes mail, backpacks, keys, toys, and laundry. Move those things to their permanent home or create a new home for them.

Keeping kitchen countertops clear also maximizes the counter space in your kitchen giving you more workspace. Having more workspace makes food prep and cooking easier.

There's one more thing you should know:

All countertops, no matter their age or cost, look better when they're clean and uncluttered. Regularly purge kitchen surfaces and keep them squeaky clean.

3. Get rid of anything in the kitchen you don't need, want, or use.

Kitchen organization tip 3

One of our most distinctive human traits is our desire to accumulate things. Lots of things, especially kitchen things.

We fill drawers and shelves with cheese graters, melon scoopers, gifted coffee cups, and chipped bowls and plates. We squirrel away fast food napkins and extra sauce packets, just in case. Our cabinets and closets are stuffed with dusty pasta makers, egg poachers, and salad spinners.

Here's the thing:

A lot of this stuff almost never gets used. But we keep it anyway.

For many people, it's hard to let go of things, even when they don't get used. Whether you don't want to let something go because it was expensive or the idea of using it seems fun, if you don't actually use it, it's wasting valuable space in your kitchen.

The bottom line is that if you don't need it, want it, or use it, you can get rid of it guilt-free.

4. Think about ease of access when organizing kitchen cabinet space.

Kitchen organization tip 4

Following a few basic rules when putting things in cabinets will make cooking and cleaning up a lot easier.

Instead of putting things in whatever cabinet or drawer you see first, think through where items should be placed. You'll end up with easier access to the items you need while also maximizing the storage space inside your cabinets.

Where to Place Items in Kitchen Cabinets

Place spices and cooking oils in the upper cabinets next to the stove. Organize spices by type - herbs, specialty seasonings, salts, peppers, etc. - for easier retrieval. If you have drawer space, you can also place spice jars in a drawer instead of a cabinet.

Place dinnerware and glasses in upper cabinets that are closer to the dishwasher. Store infrequently used serving pieces on the top shelves of cabinets farthest from the dishwasher. This will maximize space for the items you use most often.

Store pots and pans in lower cabinets or deep drawers, if you have them. Position the pots and pans you use most often near the front of the cabinet for easy retrieval.

Carve out shelf space for baking sheets, cake pans, muffin pans, and similar items.

Organized kitchen with an island

Put food storage containers and lids in an easily accessible cabinet or drawer. Donate or toss any containers that you no longer use. Separate the lids and containers to maximize storage space.

If you have wasted space above your cabinets, use that area for bulky serving pieces and pots, kitchen collectibles, cookbooks, or baskets for extra storage space.

What to Put in Kitchen Drawers

Place kitchen utensils in pull-out drawers. Eating utensils go in one drawer and cooking utensils go in another. Place your most frequently used cooking utensils in a container on the counter.

Place clean dish towels and sponges in their own kitchen drawer. Place cloth napkins in a separate pull-out drawer. This will make it easier to grab what you need without digging through one drawer.

Controlling the Junk Drawer

Allow yourself one junk drawer in the kitchen. Use it for miscellaneous odds and ends that you need periodically and are convenient to have in the kitchen, like a small notepad and pen.

Don't let the junk drawer get out of hand. Periodically purge the excess junk in your junk drawer. Throw away any items you'll never use and move stray items back to their permanent home.

Kitchen with white cabinets and drawers

Pantry Storage Tips

Don't use up valuable cabinet space on items that could be easily stored in a pantry. Whether your pantry is a separate closet or an open shelving unit, having separate pantry storage for certain items will make your kitchen more functional.

Place canned and dry goods and other pantry staples on shelves. Group like items together. For example, set up a staples zone for flour and sugar, a vegetable zone for canned beans and other vegetables, a cereal zone for hot and cold cereals, and so on.

Grouping pantry items together makes it easy for you to see what you have on hand and what's missing.

If you have the pantry storage space, store small appliances that you use infrequently on pantry shelves. If you're short on pantry space, store those items in a nearby closet.

Under the Kitchen Sink Storage Tips

Many people neglect the space under the kitchen sink. This neglect allows it to become a catchall for everything from plant food to dishwashing supplies and more. An odd assortment of twist ties, light bulbs, and other miscellaneous items seem to migrate there.

Be intentional with space under the sink. Instead of allowing stuff to accumulate randomly, reserve this space for kitchen-related cleaning items. This includes dishwashing liquids and dishwasher supplies, sponges, scrubbing pads, kitchen cleaners, and gloves.

Because things sometimes go wrong, it's also a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher under the sink.

For safety, add a child-proof cabinet lock if you have little ones in the house.

5. Curate your counter space by adding items that are functional and beautiful.

Kitchen organization tip 5

We all want a beautiful kitchen, but it needs to be functional too. A beautiful kitchen that doesn't function well will frustrate even the most enthusiastic cook.

Your first decision is to determine what stays and what goes. This is based on functional priorities based on how you actually live.

For those who enjoy a cup of coffee every morning and a smoothie for breakfast, a coffee station and blender are must-haves. For others, their kitchen essentials include a neat stack of wooden cutting boards, a bagel toaster, and a stand mixer.

Your next decision is to determine how much space you'll allocate to aesthetic items. This includes things like plants, vintage kitchen accessories, and even art prints.

You'll need to find a balance between displaying functional items you use for food prep, cooking, and clean-up and objects that are purely aesthetic in nature. This line will be different for everyone.

Avoid the temptation to overdo it, though. Keep frequently used workspace areas of your countertop clear. This will keep you from moving items around during food prep. Plus, these empty spaces give your eyes a place to rest and keep the kitchen from looking busy and chaotic.

Kitchen drawer with utensil dividers


9 Inexpensive Bonus Kitchen Organization Ideas

Here are nine more ideas to maximize the space in your kitchen:

  • Use wall space to free up counter or cabinet space. For example, hang knives on a magnetic knife strip and display wine glasses on floating shelves.

  • Take advantage of the sidewall of kitchen cabinets. Add hooks for extra storage of cleaning supplies inside the cabinet or utensils on the outside of the cabinet.

  • Place hooks on the inside of a cabinet door for storage of dishcloths.

  • Add a tension rod to the cabinet under the sink and slide a paper towel roll on the rod. You can hang spray bottles with cleaning solutions on the rod too.

  • Use a lazy susan to make items inside cabinets more accessible.

  • Buy a magazine or folder organizer for storing baking sheets and cutting boards.

  • Add drawer liners to protect the inside of drawers and make cleaning easy.

  • Use shelf risers to take advantage of vertical space inside cabinets.

  • Group and separate utensils with drawer dividers to make finding utensils easier.


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