Keeping your kitchen organized is the key to keeping it running smoothly and the best way to make sure you’re getting lots of use out of everything. A disorganized kitchen might even cost you money if you end up with food waste time after time, so it’s best to give yourself a routine to stay looking good. There are so many tips and tricks you can use to keep your kitchen organized, so let's look at some of the best ones.
Your kitchen might be a larger room with pantries and multiple fridges or a smaller apartment-style kitchen with a smaller area for food storage. We’re going to tackle every type of kitchen style and every area of your kitchen, so you can use as many or as few tips as you need. First, we’ll talk about the steps you should take before you start to organize, then we’ll look at a few common problems, and finally, we’ll show you a few ways you can manage your own kitchen to help out your day.
Clean the Non-perishable spaces
Cleaning seems like a pretty obvious step when it comes to getting your kitchen organized, but you need to make sure you’re doing it correctly. Take everything out of the non-perishable areas like pantries or cupboards and clean out the insides with a gentle cleanser (nobody likes bleach-scented pasta!) so you aren’t putting your good food back onto old crumbs.
This is also the best time to throw out anything that has gone bad, is past its best before date (which, as many point out, is just a guide from the company on how long your food will be at its prime. You can keep some items like spices for years) or food that you know you likely won’t end up using. Use your own judgment when it comes to throwing things out, but be honest about whether or not you will actually end up using them again.
Clean the Perishable Spaces
Your fridge and freezer should be the next spots you start cleaning out, but you can do it in steps if you are worried about your food spoiling. Work at one shelf at a time, and make sure you get at all of those Tupperware containers in the back. Wipe the fridge and freezer down and clean up any spills before putting your food back inside.
Different Ways to Organize
Every kitchen is different, and there are so many different ways you can organize the space. Check out some of these great organization tips and see which ones will work best for your kitchen.
1. Open it up
If you have a problem with things like lost food, buying duplicates, or discovering your food has gone bad, then maybe it’s time to stop keeping your food hidden. You can easily remove your cupboard doors or replace them with a clear version to have everything in your eyesight. You can take the extra step and look into investing in a clear-faced fridge to see all of your food at once.
2. Decant it out
We all love seeing those Pinterest-worthy pantries that have everything in clear and well-labeled bins, but there are plenty of reasons beyond the beauty to decant your food. It’s the easiest way to see how much is left of each item, and it can also keep them fresher for longer. Some containers aren’t necessarily the best for long-term use (looking at you, flour bag), so pouring it into a new container will save you from a spilled mess down the line.
3. Look for unused spaces.
There are so many places in your kitchen where you can add some extra storage and get things out of the way. Look inside your cupboards for spots near the top and add some hooks to hang things like measuring cups or large utensils. You can also break larger cupboard spaces down into smaller ones using shelves so that you can store more in those taller areas.
4. Keep it uniform
After years and years of collecting, we all end up with the same mish-mash of plastic containers and lids that barely belong together. If you are tired of playing “what does this fit?” then consider investing in a new set of matching containers. You don’t have to get fancy for this one, and the dollar store is the best place to get a ton of smaller containers for a great price. You can also invest in a large set with stackable lids to save space.
5. Get high tech
If a grocery list is your kryptonite, then try using a high-tech upgrade to help you make your list much easier. Installing a smart speaker in your kitchen is a great way to play music, give you some help (“Alexa? How many grams are in 5 cups?”), or even make your grocery list with no pencil required. Most smart speakers have a shopping list function that requires your voice, so you can add whatever you need to your list by yelling it into your kitchen.
6. Get creative with containers.
Kitchen storage items can sometimes be a little pricey, and there are usually less expensive options. Sometimes you have to get a little creative if you have some awkward things that need to be stored, so it’s time to start looking at things from a new angle. Turn to Pinterest for tips on storing things like aluminum foil and plastic rolls (try a small folder rack) or pouched food (a shoe rack on your pantry door? Who would have thought?) if you are looking for unconventional storage ideas.
7. Purge your appliances
This might not be what you want to hear, but if you are only using that giant Mickey Mouse waffle maker one day a year, maybe it’s time to replace it with an appliance that can do more. Many people have been subscribing to a minimalist lifestyle, so things that only perform one task in the kitchen (like the aforementioned novelty waffle maker or a barely used juicer) have started to become a thing of the past. Start gravitating to items that can help you in more than one way, like a small toaster oven over a toaster or a blender over a juicer, to save some of that precious space.
8. Keep it within reach.
If you have to reach far into the cupboard to cook your favorite meals, why not make it more accessible? Leaving your most-used appliances and pans out doesn’t need to look messy, and there are so many ways you can make things look neat while keeping them accessible for you. Use plastic command hooks to hang your most used items cleverly around your kitchen so that you don’t have to keep digging for them in your cupboards.
9. Create meal bins
Some people have a tough time figuring out what to make for the day so creating some meal bins in your fridge or pantry is a great way to keep your kitchen organized while using up ingredients. They don’t have to be complex, and it’s an excellent way to let your family know what the next meal will be. It’s also an easy way for you to use up items that might be going bad soon or prevent things from going bad in the first place.
10. Make a snack bin
If you have younger kids in your house that are constantly bugging you for a snack, then try making a small bin full of healthy snacks in a space they can reach. You can have one in your fridge with sliced fruit, cheese, and some meat sticks, along with keeping one in the pantry with some granola bars, baggies of crackers, and dried fruit. This teaches independence, promotes healthy choices, and gets them off your back for a few minutes.
11. Take it out of the kitchen.
If space is a significant issue for you, then consider getting a small pantry and placing it near the kitchen so you can save some valuable cupboard space. Your garage is a great place but for apartment dwellers, try an unused closet or even your living room. You can buy pantries that look identical to fancy cabinets, so it’s easy to disguise your food stash as a piece of furniture.
12. Bin there, done that.
Bins are the most used organizational item, especially in recent years with the rise of the “Pinterest Pantry''. Measure the space you want your bins to go before you start to buy them, and look for bins with an area where you can easily label them. If you prefer a cleaner look, use baskets instead of bins to hide loud packaging.
13. Add extra storage using raised racks.
If you have tall dish cupboards and a small number of dishes, consider using some raised racks to allow for two tiers of storage. These racks go over your plates or glasses to create another shelf above it to use the rest of the cupboard for whatever you’d like! You can also look for stair-style storage with three tiers to display all of your glasses at once using different levels.
14. Make it safe
If you are taking some time to organize your kitchen, you should also take this time to do a quick safety check. Look at your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and check for leaks under your sink. One small leak can cause quite some damage if left alone, so it’s a good time to check under your sink and around your dishwasher while you have everything out. One good way to prevent any flooding is by attaching a water sensor around the area connected to your smartphone to let you know if any water damage has started to occur.
15. Create an ingredient drawer
If baking is your thing, you’re probably tired of pulling out your flour, sugar, and baking powder, so why not reserve a drawer just for your baking ingredients. Use deep plastic bins to separate the drawer and pour your ingredients directly into the containers. Add lids with labels to keep everything fresh, and some cute scoops so you can access your dry ingredients in a flash.
16. Display your best appliances
If you happen to have some fancy-looking appliances (like a gorgeous crockpot or a coordinated color mixer), then displaying your appliances is a great idea. Try displaying your favorite-looking items on a tiered shelf, wooden hutch, or even just above your kitchen cabinets to show them off in a fun way. You can add some extra themed décor while freeing up some storage space.
17. Don’t forget about your cleaning supplies.
Many people store their kitchen cleaning supplies under the sink, so you should think about taking a few tips and applying them here. Use bins with lids to store things like dishwasher tabs, sponges, and other cleaning supplies to save a bit of space. Use a pressured shower rod under your sink for spray products to easily hang them above everything else.
18. Get lazy with it
Anyone who has a cabinet in a corner understands the hassle of dealing with storing things in a tricky way. Using a Lazy Susan for corners (or by themselves on a counter) is a great way to have access to a few things with the flick of a wrist. It’s much easier than digging far back into your corner cupboards and they can be used on counters to give you easy access to large utensils.
19. Hang around
Hanging baskets are a great way to put your fresh produce on display while keeping it out of your fridge. If it’s out and about, then it’s more likely to get eaten, and if you choose some citrus, you’re adding some delicious smells to the room. You can also use a small “fruit hammock” under your counter to keep your fruit out too.
20. Knives out
A knife block is an easy way to keep your knives handy, plus it saves you from reaching around for them in unsafe drawers. There are plenty of unique and exciting knife blocks on the market that fit perfectly on your counter, or you can use a magnetic knife block that hangs on the wall.
21. Shelf it up
If you have some space between your fridge and countertop, then look into a small sliding shelf that you can pull out. These come in all different widths, and you can use them to keep things like dry goods, pantry items, or even large utensils nearby. You can also use them at the side of cupboards or appliances in small spaces.
22. Wine time
Wine bottles take up quite a bit of space in your fridge and pantry, so look into installing a small hanging wine rack below your cupboards to keep them nearby. You can find these online, and they’re effortless to install.
While we’re on the topic of wine, let’s look at how to store your wine glasses. If you are constantly using your wine glasses, this is a fantastic idea to keep them nearby and give you some extra space. These can also be hung bar-style under your cupboards with a simple wine glass holder.
24. Use your fridge
The outside of your fridge is a fun space to use for storage, and all it takes is a few solid magnetic hooks. You can easily use these to hang mugs, baskets, and other items on your fridge to have them right at your fingertips. You can even get magnetic spice jars or sets of magnetic measuring cups to keep them out and about.
25. Look for nests.
There are plenty of different kitchen items that come in a nesting form, so you can quickly pile them into each other and save space. Look for measuring cup sets, pot sets, and storage containers designed to be stored inside each other, and you’ll find that you have a ton of extra storage space.
26. Rack your pans
If you need to find the right-sized frying pan fairly quickly, then it’s tough to drag out the whole pile. A pan rack is a tall rack that allows you to stack your frying pans on top of each other so you can easily see and grab them. This is also a great way to store your pans without worrying that they will end up scratching each other.
27. Contain the clutter
For most families, kitchen counters can end up becoming a drop zone for things like water bottles, car keys, and whatever bits of outside our kids have deemed to be super important. If you know the clutter is inevitable, then you can at least try and contain it with some clever-looking baskets. A nice set of catch-all containers will allow you to place these bits in one stop and file them away later.
There are so many great tips and ideas you can use to keep your kitchen looking, smelling, and feeling in the best condition. A well-organized kitchen can save you time and money, so it’s a good idea to do as much as possible to keep up with it. Plus, you’ll feel so much happier in a kitchen that works for you, so why not take the time to organize your kitchen today!