15 Quick Tips for Keeping an Organized Kitchen

Organize your kitchen easily with these simple ideas.

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February 27, 2019
By: Caren Baginski and Molly Miller

Photo By: Jules Frazer, SugarShoots.com

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Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

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Curb Your Plastic Container Obsession

Toss any container that is stained, doesn't seal or has cracks. Then, stack by size. Use dividers to stash tops, sorted by size, for easy visibility. Make an effort to replace all of your plastic food storage containers with glass ones by the end of the year.

Bag It Up

Get a handle on all of those plastic bags by making a cute storage container. Using a utility knife, cut an X-shaped slit in the center of the lid. Cover the canister with brightly-colored cardstock and decorate with stick-on letters. Roll plastic bags together in a tight circle (like a sleeping bag) and place them in the canister, threading the first bag through the slit.

Clean Out the Fridge

This is one project you won't want to put off. Discourage unappetizing fridge smells by tossing last week's lasagna before it develops a moldy surprise. In fact, reassess the condition of all leftovers and check expiration dates on milk, juice and canned goods. Produce and lettuce often go bad quickly, so you may have to adjust the temperature and humidity levels on your refrigerator if you notice premature wilt. Give the fridge a thorough wipe down, then organize foods by type, with the most frequently used items in the front. If you haven't already, acquaint your fridge with a box of baking soda.

Read Our Article: It's Time to Organize Your Refrigerator

Maximize Cabinet Space

Get more mileage out of your kitchen cabinets with some creative dishware rearranging. For example, stemware glasses can be stored by placing every other glass upside down. To begin, pull all your dishes out of your cabinets to see what you have to work with. The most frequently used items should be on the bottom shelves of a cabinet that's most convenient to you. Consider rearranging the cabinet's interior shelves to accommodate your different size dishes. If your shelves are stationary, nesting bowls and casserole dishes are a great space saver.

Keep Your Coffee Tidy

Stack tea bags, sweeteners and single-use coffee pods in a clear plastic tray for visibility and quick access. Hang coffee mugs nearby to keep within easy reach.

Wrangle Your Utensils

A crowded utensil drawer, while remaining unseen most of the time, is still a crowded utensil drawer. If digging in an overloaded drawer for a potato masher is more work than mashing the potatoes, it's time to invest in a compartmentalized organizer. Found at major home stores, the drawer organizers (also called cutlery trays) come in a variety of sizes and materials. Resist the urge to pile everything back into the drawer. Instead, make sure you can clearly see and reach everything without having to dig.

Find Creative Solutions

Water bottles always waiver and fall when stood upright in cabinets. Storing them on their sides, as pictured, makes it easier to grab your favorite without knocking over others.

Organize by Use

Create zones for food storage containers, cleaning supplies, pots and pans, and cooking utensils. For example, devote counter space or a cabinet to baking. Stock it with cookie sheets, loaf pans, a kitchen mitt, flour, sugar and other baking necessities. If your mixer is stylish, leave it out on the counter with attachments inside the bowl; otherwise, stash it with the mixing bowls.

Purge the Pantry

Take 30 minutes to reassess your food storage, whether it's a pantry, your kitchen cabinets or a freestanding cupboard. Start with the obvious: Purge all expired foods. Next, sweep through your canned goods for extras you can donate to a local food pantry. Depending on the space, you may want to use a lazy Susan for spices and sauces or an over-the-door organizer to increase storage. Group remaining food by category and, if possible, alphabetically.

Hook It Up

Stop fumbling through drawers for cooking utensils. Instead, mount hooks on a skinny wood plank above the stove. Now, a spatula, spoon or whisk is never far away when you're in the middle of dinner.

Rethink Appliance Storage

Store appliances in deep drawers or pull out shelves to free up counter space. Arranging them vertically, as pictured here, allows you to quickly select the right tool for the job. Labels help, but aren't necessary. Aren't blessed with deep kitchen drawers? Take apart tall appliances, like blenders, so they fit neatly in smaller spaces.

Keep Kids in Mind

Designate a spot in a lower cabinet for lunchboxes, quick snacks and stackable food storage containers. Keeping like items together makes it easy to get everyone out the door in the morning. Plus, kids will always know where to stash their school lunch supplies at the end of the day.

Become a Repurposing Queen

Hang file folders on removable wall hooks in the pantry to save shelf space and grant easy access to reusable or paper bags.

Make a Recipe for Organization

Recipes have a tendency to overrun a kitchen, especially if there's a foodie in the house. Tackle your recipes by tossing any you haven't used in ages (or that recipe for flan that turned to mush). The size of your recipe cards can determine which system you should use. Index cards work well in a labeled recipe box or a small photo album. Full sheet recipes do well in a three-ring binder. If you want room to grow, choose the binder and simply tape your index cards to larger sheets of paper. Handy dividers make for easy organizing either by ingredient or dish type.

Find Budget Fixes

Can't splurge on a fancy pantry renovation? (Seriously, Gwyneth Paltrow's pantry is #goals.) Cheap solutions, like a shoe organizer, work just as well as fancy storage options. An over-the-door pocket organizer works like a charm for holding straws, snacks and many other miscellaneous items.

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