Kitchen Organization and Storage 101

How often do you walk into your kitchen and wish you had more space? Or serve frozen pizza simply because your kitchen is too chaotic to cook in? Are you struggling to find a way to neatly fit everything in your cabinets? If so, keep reading. This post will teach you how to optimize your storage space and finally be excited to go into the kitchen!

Now is the perfect time to clean out and organize your kitchen. You’re stuck at home with plenty of time on your hands, and probably bored out of your mind. Take advantage of this time and get things done! I’ve broken kitchen organization down into ten easy steps, so that you’ll be able to leave quarantine with a sense of accomplishment. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Take Everything Out of Your Kitchen Cabinets

The first step to cleaning anything is to move everything out of the area. This allows you to see exactly what you have, and gives you a chance to clean every surface before putting anything back. It also forces you to finish what you start. It’s easy to quit when everything is mostly where it was before you started, but it’s much harder when you have a huge mess of stuff sitting out.

Empty out all of your kitchen cabinets and put everything on the table. Take everything off of the counter tops, the back of the sink, and the top of the fridge. Empty your cupboards, pantries, and kitchen closets. When you’re done, your kitchen should look like you just moved out.

Now wipe everything down with a damp cloth. Consider putting mats or shelf liners in your cabinets to help keep everything clean in the future!

Step 2: Throw Out What you Can

Going through my own kitchen recently, I realized I had multiple spice containers holding the same spice, and I had a total of four wooden mixing spoons. It’s great to have extras, but they don’t belong in the kitchen. If you have five similar dishes or utensils, try keeping out the two you use the most and putting the rest in storage. Or even donating them if you know you’ll never need the extras!

Try to consolidate any ingredients you have. If you have two half-used containers of parsley, pour one into the other. Check the expiration date on everything and throw out what is past the due date. If something is near the expiration date and you know you won’t use it before then, get rid of it.

Throw out broken dishes. If there are a few things that have sentimental value, of course it’s okay to keep them, but again they don’t belong in the kitchen. Match every container with its lid. If the lid is missing, get rid of the container. You don’t need it. This part might be hard, but trust me when I say it’s worth it!

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Step 3: Use Kitchen Drawer Dividers

Before getting into this step, we need to discuss the nemesis of kitchen organization–the Junk Drawer. I myself was guilty of this until about a year ago. Junk drawers do not belong in the kitchen (or anywhere really). Throw away things you don’t need, and find a place outside of the kitchen for anything you do need.

Moving on. Drawer dividers are awesome. You should be using them in every drawer, not just your silverware drawer. Use them to organize kitchen towels, utensils, potholders, and pretty much anything else you put in a drawer. I personally prefer wooden box dividers, but there are tons of options out there. To optimize space, you could even use diagonal dividers.

Step 4: “File” Your Muffin Tins and Baking Sheets

One of worst things about the kitchen is the way everything is always stacked on top of everything else. It makes it hard to reach (and sometimes find) anything you need, and makes getting out dishes a pain. A great way to combat this is to use metal file holders.

You can use these to line up your muffin pans, baking sheets, and cutting boards in a neat, easy to reach way. Metal file holders are super easy to find and cheap to buy, making them an ideal tool for kitchen organization. You can also use them to hold pot lids and even cookbooks.

Step 5: Get a Spice Rack

Having a spice rack is essential to kitchen organization. Stacked spice racks are great because they let you see all your spices at a glance, but there are also a lot of other options when it comes to organizing your spices. You could even try making your own DIY spice rack.

I personally prefer wire hanging shelves for spices, simply because they are easier to clean in the event of a spill. These are also super handy because you can hang them on the wall of the side of a cabinet, allowing you to create more cabinet space for other foods or dishes.

Spice Rack Ideas | Kitchen Organization and Storage 101

Step 6: Create More Storage Space by Decorating with Dishes

I know this sounds weird, but stick with me. Have you ever seen those kitchens with the pans and wooden utensils hanging on the walls? Super cute, right? You can do that too to help optimize your kitchen space! No one said you can’t use the same dishes for cooking and decorating.

The key here is to not just go for functionality here. Make the hanging dishes aesthetically pleasing, or else it just becomes ugly and cluttered. An easy way to make it look cute is to put decorative wooden boards on the wall, and hang pans and spoons on the planks. This creates a neat little area that looks like it was meant for decoration! Try the link below for some more ideas!

12 DIY Pot Rack Projects to Save Space in Your Kitchen

Step 7: Store Appliances Outside of the Kitchen

We have once again come to the topic of what belongs in the kitchen and what does not. My own kitchen is quite small, so I found a unique way to store things like blenders, mixers, and crock pots. I have a closet off the entry way where I keep appliances that I don’t use super often. I even keep the toaster there.

If you are short on kitchen space, consider taking smaller appliances and putting them somewhere else. Leaving them on counter tops creates a cluttered look that makes it hard to use the kitchen. If you have a buffet piece in the dining room, try keeping your appliances inside it or neatly arranging them under it.

If you have some appliances you don’t want to get rid of, but you never use, consider putting them into a storage box in the garage or basement until you need them again. I did this with my air fryer and it freed up a lot of space in my kitchen!

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Step 8: Utilize Space Above Kitchen Cabinets

The empty space above your cabinets can be a great storage place. But again, you can’t just throw things up there. It has to be neat, organized and aesthetically pleasing. Buy some cute storage baskets to put above your cabinets , and put things in them that you don’t use terribly. Or use the space to store cookbooks in a neat line.

You can even use to space above your cabinets to store those bulky kitchen appliances. Just remember to keep it neat. To add a special touch, consider putting some pictures or a vase of fake flowers on top of the cabinet to decorate. Create an environment you’ll be happy to spend time in!

Step 9: Label EVERYTHING

Labeling is the key to kitchen organization. You can have everything neatly arranged in baskets and on shelves, but unless it’s labeled you won’t know where anything is. You can use handwritten stick-on labels or an actual label maker, just make sure you’ve put one on every unmarked container, basket, or bin.

This not only helps you too keep everything neat and organized, it also allows others to be able to use your kitchen without messing anything up. When everything is labeled, it makes it clear to everyone where each thing belongs. As my mom used to say–there’s a place for everything and everything is in it’s place.

Step 10: Add Finishing Touches to Complete Your Kitchen

Once you’re done organizing your kitchen, it’s time for the finishing touches. Add anything else that might be helpful. Here are a few ideas:

  • a magnetic strip for kitchen knives
  • a paper towel roll holder
  • over the cabinet door towel holders
  • tension rods to hang cleaning supplies under the sink
  • a kitchen sponge holder
  • hooks under cabinets to hold utensils
  • carousels or a lazy susan to organize pantry food
  • a tea bag organizer
  • a dish drying rack

Once you have everything put away and arranged the way you want it, add some small decorations to make the room look nicer. Put up a pretty wall hanging, or get a vase of flowers. Make your kitchen into a place you’ll enjoy being in!

Were these tips helpful? Of course, the list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a great place to start. Let me know in comments if there’s anything extra you would do to get your own kitchen organized!

Stay safe and stay sane!

Until next week!

–Kori Hartman

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My name is Kori and I like reading, crocheting, and walks in the sunshine. I live in Northern Wisconsin with my husband. My favorite way to spend the evening is taking a long hot bath and curling up on the couch with a cup of cocoa.

Reader Comments

  1. Hanne T

    These are such awesome ideas!! I have been trying to muster up the energy to clean the kitchen for WEEKS now and I’ll definitely be taking some ideas from this post!


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