25 Quick and Easy Tips for Organizing Your Entire Kitchen
Straightening up has never been so satisfying. See our best kitchen organization ideas, plus our favorite products for tidying the fridge, island and pantry.
I hate to admit it, but I'm one of those people who puts off cleaning the kitchen until the very last minute. (Read: Right before bed, when I lack all energy and motivation to unload the dishwasher or wipe down the counters.) So when I do finally get around to tackling those chores, I like them to be as easy as possible.
Luckily, there are a ton of handy products out there that take the work out of tidying up, so I can put things away quickly and still wake up to a sparkling-clean household. Scroll on to see my go-to tips and top items that will help you get the job done in every corner of your own kitchen.
1. Divide and Conquer Your Plastic Containers
There's nothing worse than opening a cabinet door and unleashing an avalanche of plastic food storage containers. If your collection is out of control, try tossing any container that's stained, cracked or doesn't seal properly. Then use one of the specialty dividers below to separate your lids and containers by size, and quickly tidy up your cabinet or drawer.
2. Put Your Essentials Front and Center
Spend less time searching for spices, paper towels, clean sponges and more, and use magnetic caddies to keep your supplies out in the open. (But conveniently out of the way.)
3. Streamline Your Plastic Bags
Plastic bags can turn into clutter pretty quickly. Our advice? Stop the problem before it begins with a sleek, stainless steel dispenser like this. The unit can be mounted to the inside of your cabinet or pantry, and it can hold up to 30 plastic grocery bags.
4. Clean Out Your Fridge and Add Clear Bins
It's always a good idea to clear out your fridge, check expiration dates and wipe everything down regularly. Produce and leafy greens tend to go bad pretty quickly, so you may want to adjust the temperature and humidity levels if you notice premature wilt. Then, use clear bins and drawers to corral similar items (like juice boxes, cans of sparkling water or condiments) and label each container with a sticker or dry-erase marker.
5. Rock a Rolling Cart
If your kitchen is tight on storage, consider investing in a rolling cart or island. Something thin like this would fit neatly against the side of your fridge or stove, and give you a little extra room for bottles of olive oil or bags of produce.
6. Rethink Your Storage Situation
Get more mileage out of your kitchen cabinets with some creative dishware rearranging. To begin, pull all your dishes out of your cabinets to see what you have to work with. The most frequently used items should go on the bottom shelves where they're more readily available. Meanwhile, special occasion items like servers and salad bowls should go higher up, where they're out of reach of little ones.
Repurposed Open Shelving Adds Storage to Remodeled Kitchen
Rather than upper cabinets for wall storage, designers opted for open shelving that was crafted out of materials that were repurposed from the home's original kitchen.
7. Install Cabinet Racks
Here's another easy way to double your cabinet space: install stackable wire racks. They come in different heights, widths and styles, so you can find the perfect ones for your kitchen, and they'll act as shelves, too, so you can store more cups and plates together.
8. Keep Your Coffee Supplies Organized
Some people like to toss all of their single-use pods into one bin, but that can actually make it more difficult to find certain flavors. Instead, try arranging your pods in a clear plastic tray for easy visibility. The tray below features a lid, so you can buy two (one for coffee pods and one for tea bags) and stack them neatly on top of each other.
9. Declutter Your Utensil Drawer
No one likes a crowded utensil drawer. If you're tired of digging through spoons and forks, invest in a modular drawer organizer like this. You can purchase each compartment separately and essentially create the perfect solution for your space, with a special spot for your cheese knives or corn holders.
10. Opt for Open Shelving
Floating shelves are a great place for extra dishes, cookbooks or even plants and decorative artwork. Plus, you can position them any way you want, which makes them an ideal choice for tiny kitchens.
11. Find Creative Solutions
Water bottles tend to fall over when placed upright in a cabinet. Storing them on their sides, as pictured below, makes it much easier to grab your favorite container without knocking others over. You could also use this clever YouCopia bottle stand to corral sippy cups; just put it on a lower shelf where your little one can reach it.
12. Create a Kid-Friendly Cabinet
On that note, designate a spot in a lower cabinet for lunchboxes, plastic cups 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, which is a win-win for everyone.
13. Pare Down the Pantry
Take 30 minutes and take a long, hard look at your pantry. Start by purging any expired foods. Then 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 desired, alphabetically.
14. Choose Clear Storage Containers
Once you've grouped everything, place your pantry staples in see-through, pull-out containers. The transparent baskets will make it a lot easier to see what you have in stock and what you need to replenish the next time you're at the grocery store.
15. Or Select Wire Baskets
If you're trying to cut down on plastic, simply opt for wire baskets. The grid-like design is perfect for containing snacks, canned goods or even root vegetables (like onions and potatoes). And wire baskets often have integrated handles, which make it easy to take those products off the shelves and into the kitchen.
16. Add a Dry-Erase Board
A dry-erase board mounted on the inside of the pantry door can help you keep track of grocery needs and chores. (Like whose turn it is to take out the trash or empty the dishwasher.) Hanging strips are included with the unit, in addition to one marker and magnet.
17. Plan With Purpose in Mind
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.
18. Hang It Up
If you're short on counter space or cabinets, put the walls to work and hang up your cooking utensils or mugs. You can choose an all-in-one shelving unit, identical hooks or an under-the-shelf solution. Now, your favorite spatula, whisk or cup is always within arm's reach.
19. Stow Large Appliances
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.
Organized Kitchen Shelves With Labels
“When organizing a pantry, categorize, contain and label,” say the professional organizers at NEAT Method. The organizing part doesn’t cost anything but time; you will, however, have to shell out a few bucks for a label-maker or stick-on labels. Look for labels you can wipe clean and reuse, such as chalkboard labels.
Michelle Drewes Photography; Design By: NEAT Method
20. Treat Your Recipes With Respect
FYI: You don't have to get rid of all your recipes — just give them a proper home. 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 carefully tape your index cards to larger sheets of paper. Handy dividers make for easy organizing either by ingredient or dish type.
21. Splurge on a Hanging Pot Rack
Add a little French country charm to your kitchen and free up some room in the cupboards with a hanging pot rack. An integrated light fixture with small halogen bulbs can help you take advantage of the vertical space and add task lighting to your prep station below.
22. Try a Grid Panel
You can never have too much storage in the kitchen. Take advantage of that awkward space behind your stove or near your fridge, and add this wire stand to the mix. You can customize the front panel with hooks and caddies, and hang up your measuring spoons, scissors, oven mitts and more.
23. Upgrade Your Island
Your island can be more than a place to prep and serve dinner. Leave one side open with large shelves for your cookbook collection, canisters of flour and sugar, or wine bottles if you're living in a child-free household.
Navy Kitchen Remodel Detail With Work Island With Storage
This striking kitchen remodel in navy blue and white, features a work island with marble countertop and storage.
Kristen Elizabeth Photography
24. Add a Functional Backsplash
A pegboard backsplash allows for extra storage as well as display space. The inexpensive panels are fastened to the walls, then hooks from the hardware store are used to hang utensils and kitchen gadgets.
Lindsay Raymondjack, Designs by Joanne Palmisano, photos by Susan Teare
25. Straighten Up Your Cleaning Supplies
When organizing your kitchen, it's easy to forget the dark area below the sink. Stop tossing in the miscellaneous cleaning supplies, and give them a space that's all their own, like a caddy or pull-out drawers.
7 Little Things You Need for an Organized Kitchen 01:33
From drawer organizers to a magnetic knife strip, these handy products will make your kitchen look and function better in no time.