Kitchen cabinet organization needn’t be complicated—in fact, by following some simple tips, it can be easy to create tidy and functional kitchen cabinets.
We all live with a certain amount of everyday kitchen chaos. But, if you’ve reached the stage where finding a baking tray is a frustrating 10-minute mission, it’s impossible to clean your kitchen cabinets, or packets of food are tumbling out of open cabinet doors, it’s definitely time you dedicate some time to organizing your kitchen cabinets.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to make a mess before you declutter your home and can achieve the lovely picture of kitchen cabinet organization you envision. “Initially clearing your cupboards can, and will, take a while to complete,” says Rachel Burditt AKA The Declutter Darling. “You need to make a mess to clear a mess. You’ll need to take everything out of the cupboards, go through each item, and clean the space before putting anything back in.”
But there is a way forward! “Keeping the end goal in mind will help to motivate you,” says Rachel. “Once you have decluttered and organized your cupboards, it will be so much easier for you to maintain as everything will have its place.”
Good kitchen cabinet organization requires two things
Having beautifully-organized kitchen units comes down to two simple things—good planning and genius storage ideas. You may find the thought of planning the organization of your kitchen cupboards overwhelming, and find it hard to get started. It’s common for kitchen cupboards to be stuffed full to the brim with gadgets (like food processors and hand blenders), foodstuffs, cans, and kitchen utensils.
But there’s no need to fear. To help you with your kitchen cabinet organization, we’ve gathered some clever tips together—many of which are used by professional organizers—to help you take control. Like with most things in life, preparation is key. We recommend setting aside some time to work out an organization plan.
How to plan your kitchen cabinet overhaul
In order to properly complete your kitchen cabinet organization, it’s important to really consider what you want to achieve before you dive into the task. It’s also vital to properly prep your kitchen cabinets for organization, by decluttering and cleaning—after all, you don’t want to organize items you don’t plan on using again, or be putting back your organized items into dirty cabinets.
- Decide how much time you have to dedicate to the task
Decide how you’re going to tackle the project, and how much time you will dedicate to your kitchen cabinet organization before you launch into it. You could spend a weekend sorting out all the cupboards at once, or one cupboard at a time might be more realistic if you only have a few hours to spare at a time. Consider what best suits your schedule before you get going—or you could be left with a messy kitchen you’re unable to get sorted in time!
- Take everything out of your cabinets and decide what to keep
Ahead of the organization, it’s really important to decide what to declutter your cabinets. ake everything out of your cabinets and look at what you have. You might find you have lots of items you don’t need/want/use anymore. Throw out any food that’s out of date, then donate unopened, in-date store cupboard ingredients to a food bank. Take unwanted pots or plates to charity (or list them on Freecycle), and consider selling any rarely-used appliances that still have value.
- Clean the cabinets!
You don’t want to put everything back in a neat, organized way, but into a dirty cabinet. So before you get started organizing, use a cloth soaked in diluted washing-up liquid (adding vinegar if there are any lingering odors in the cupboard) to give everything a good wipe. Leave to dry before restocking. Vinegar is also a great ingredient to use when figuring how to clean your washing machine—so make sure you have it in your cupboards!
- Think about where to store things based on how often you use them
Store frequently used items (for example, tableware and glasses) in easy to access upper cabinets, and less frequently used bakeware, etc in lower cabinets, so you’re not bending down too frequently. Keeping cookware near your oven, and crockery near your dishwasher or draining rack will make cooking and tidying quicker and easier.
- Organize your cabinets by ‘activity’ If you’re trying to get your kitchen cabinets in order, it can be a good idea to consider each one of them based on the kitchen ‘activity’ they might help to support. For example, if you have your kettle or coffee machine on the counter, consider putting all of the necessary items to make your morning tea or coffee inside the cabinet directly above your machine. That way, everything is close by when you need it. The same could be applied in other areas of your kitchen too. For example, you might want to place your saucepans directly underneath, or next to, the hob, considering that this is where you use them the most. Or, be sure to place your best blender by your fridge, considering that this is where your fruit is kept. By employing this method of kitchen cabinet organization, you’ll make life moving around your kitchen so much easier and more straightforward.
Genius kitchen cabinet organization ideas
1. Consider clear containers for bulk food items
There’s no doubt that storing pasta, grains, cereals and other food items in clear containers looks great (just check out our guide to organizing your pantry), and there are other advantages to using this system during your kitchen cabinet organization, too; it keeps your food dry and fresh, and safe from pests. However, it does involve a lot of decanting, labelling and ongoing maintenance. If you choose this system and have limited space, look for upright and straight-sided containers that will make the best use of every inch available on your shelves. This is one of our top tips for organizing a pantry too, if you want to tackle that section of your kitchen later on.
2. Use shelf inserts to create extra space
If you have a cupboard in which you need to store items of different heights (eg. cereal boxes and jars), consider splitting the vertical space as needed with shelf inserts. These are also useful for separating different sizes of plates, bowls, and glassware, and come in a variety of materials to suit all styles of kitchen cabinet organization. There are a variety of options available out there to suit all-size cupboards, or whatever it is you’re looking to store. Shelf inserts are brilliant for creating space in your kitchen cabinets as they allow you to store items on multiple levels. They are also fantastic at creating a more organized space – shelf inserts will allow you to see every item you have clearly, without having to scramble around in the back of the cabinet.
3. Use hooks or baskets on cupboard doors
In order to use every inch of space your kitchen cabinets have, and prevent the need to stuff them full, why not use a hook or a basket to store any kitchen essentials? If space inside the cupboard allows, you could use the cupboard doors for hooks or baskets. This is a good place to install hooks for measuring spoons, tea towels, or maybe even bottles of cleaning products, for example. Once again, there are plenty of options available to buy which it comes to cabinet hooks, so take a look around and see which ones work best for your space.
4. Use spinning organizers
Spinning organizers—or lazy susans—are the unsung heroes of kitchen cabinet organization, as they can help you see what you have at the back of your cupboards. A lazy susan is great for spices and other small items, as well as storing oils and condiments together. With a spinning organizer, you can your foodstuffs around from the back to the front as needed. These will make your kitchen cabinets appear much more organized, and—like the shelf inserts—will save you from reaching around in the back of the cupboards for the right container whilst mid-cooking! Store your best cook books right next to this cabinet and you’ll be good to go when it comes to cooking your next meal.
5. Use pot racks and protectors for pots and pans
If you struggle with keeping your pots and best induction pans organized in your cabinets and instead find yourself battling with them every time you need that big saucepan, look no further than pot racks. An incredibly handy kitchen gadget, you can nest similar sets of pots and pans together using pot racks, that keep your utensils separate (and easy to grab) while making good use of space. Keeping them organized this way also means that they are less likely to scratch one another, guaranteeing that yours will stay in tip-top shape for longer.
With thanks to Rachel Burditt AKA The Declutter Darling for her expert opinion and insight.