Organize Your Kitchen with These Cabinet Storage Tips

An organized kitchen is not only a joy to cook and eat in, it’s far easier to keep clean and tidy! But with the kitchen so often being the home’s central hub of activity, with kids, adults, and pets tramping through several times a day, it can be a challenge for things to stay organized.

After working on countless kitchens (and living with our own), we’ve gathered the inside scoop on how well-functioning kitchens manage to keep things in check, no matter how much action they see. What we discovered is that in order to stay organized day after day, week after week, your kitchen needs a system. It’s not enough to just keep things clean, there has to be thought behind what items belong in the kitchen and where and how they get used and put away.

Sounds complicated? It’s really not! All it takes is a little thought, planning, and decision-making (plus, top-notch cabinet storage) to make your kitchen into a well-oiled machine.

Here’s how you can get started.

Plan ahead

We recommend organizing your kitchen all at once since it’s too easy for chaos to take hold during the downtime between stages of cleaning and organizing. Enlist the other members of your household if you have to, and you can even make it a fun family activity to do together.

Declutter

Even the best system of organization won’t be sustainable if you have too much stuff and not enough space to put it in. That’s why decluttering is an essential part of organizing.

Marie Kondo is the reigning queen of decluttering and we appreciate her approach to deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. According to her KonMari method, only those objects that “spark joy,” that you really enjoy using, deserve a place in your kitchen.

Holding on to outdated dishware as a backup, or just-for-special-occasions platters that never end up getting used is a surefire way to keep your kitchen in disarray. So be rigorous about deciding what stays and what goes. Those items can be given away to family and friends or donated to local charities so they can find homes that will actually use them. We guarantee you won’t even miss them once they’re gone.

Start with a clean base

It is amazing how much stuff can collect in your kitchen cabinets. Old appliances and dishware, odds and ends, crumbs and dust…somehow it makes its way past the cabinet doors and builds up out of sight until the day you decide to re-organize.

As part of your decluttering, you’ll have to take everything out of your kitchen cabinet storage areas for sorting purposes. With the cabinets empty, this is the perfect time to do a deep clean of these areas, both inside and out.

While you’re at it, you may consider whether you’re happy with your current cabinet storage. The difference between frameless and inset kitchen cabinets is remarkable, and if you have the latter, you could be missing out on a world of benefits (more space and less upkeep, for starters) that come with frameless kitchen cabinets.

Choose your organization solutions

Another thing we’ve noticed after working on dozens of kitchens is that good organization requires solutions. A small example of this is your cutlery drawer. It would be impossible to keep your knives, forks, and spoons sorted and organized on their own, no matter how much time and effort you put into it. A simple divider that has dedicated space for each of those utensils is an absolute must and makes all the difference in keeping things organized.

The same is true for your other kitchen areas, including your cabinet storage. A few simple organizational solutions, such as baskets and dividers, will do all the work for you. Best of all, there’s an entire world of organizational accessories for you to explore, so it’s easy to find the right solutions for your kitchen.

Designate homes for your kitchen items

When everything in your kitchen has a designated “home” where it lives, it becomes much, much easier to keep things organized. So once you’ve cleared out your kitchen cabinets and given them a thorough cleaning, it’s time to determine what goes where. Some families go so far as to mark the areas with fun stickers or printed labels so that even little ones can see at a glance where things should go.

Pots and Pans

One good rule of thumb to follow is to establish different zones for your kitchen items by their function. Pots and pans are cooking appliances, so they all belong together, naturally. As for where to put them, our favorite spot is the lower kitchen cabinets, right by the stove. This is the safest place for heavier items since you don’t want to be juggling bulky items above shoulder height. It’s also closest to where you’ll be using them, saving you time carrying pots and pans back and forth from where they’re stored to the stove.

Tupperware and Containers

Tupperware and other containers are also great for your lower storage areas, and here’s why. Keeping the containers and their lids organized is enough of a challenge on its own—don’t make it harder by storing these items in overhead cabinets where it’s difficult to see right to the back. A lower cabinet lets you reach in easily for what you need, without risking an avalanche of plastic raining down on you.

Plates and Bowls

Plates and bowls can be stacked neatly in the upper cabinet storage areas of your kitchen. Keep your most-used items upfront, with the less frequently used items filling out the deeper areas at the back of the cabinet.

If you have open shelving in your kitchen, it can also function as an attractive display area for your dishes. Choose your prettiest ones and arrange them artfully so they double as kitchen decor.

Drinkware

Drinkware can also pull double duty as functional kitchen accessories and decoration. You may wish to keep more utilitarian items, like water glasses and mugs, stowed safely inside your upper cabinets. The eye-catching stuff, like wine glasses, can take a place of prominence on open shelving or in a glass-fronted display cabinet.

Key takeaways on kitchen organization

The kitchen is often the heart of the home, and keeping it organized is the best way to make it warm, welcoming, and inviting. With a little planning and some handy organizational accessories, you can keep it in tip-top shape without too much hassle.

For more tips and tricks on building and enjoying the kitchen of your dreams, check out our blog.

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