26 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.
2. Put Your Essentials Front and Center
Spend less time searching for spices, paper towels, clean sponges and more, and use magnetic or adhesive 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 wilt pretty quickly, so you may want to adjust the temperature and humidity levels if you notice any withering. Then, use clear bins to corral similar items (like juice boxes or condiments) and label the containers 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 your tea collection.
6. Rethink Your Storage Situation
Get more mileage out of your kitchen cabinets with some creative arranging. Start by pulling out all of your dishes and seeing what you have to work with. Then, place the most frequently used items on the bottom shelves, where they're easily accessible. Stick special occasion items like porcelain servers or crystal bowls up high, so 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 increase your cabinet space: 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 toss all of their single-use pods into one bin, but that can make it more difficult to find specific flavors. Instead, neatly arrange 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. The clear set includes five different-sized containers, so you can create the perfect solution for your space.
10. Ditch The Traditional Knife Block
Knife blocks can take up a lot of room and make your countertops look crowded. Luckily, there's an easy fix: Relocate your knives to the wall or utensil drawer. A magnetic knife bar will lift your blades out of the way, while an in-drawer knife block will lay them horizontally.
11. Opt for Open Shelving
Floating shelves are a great place to show off delicate glassware, cookbooks or even plants and artwork. Plus, you can arrange them any way you want, which makes them an excellent solution for tiny kitchens.
12. Find Creative Solutions
Water bottles fall over way too easily. Skip the messy cabinets, and store your bottles on their sides, so you can grab one 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. Choose Clear Storage Containers
Once you've grouped everything, place your pantry essentials in see-through containers. The transparent baskets will make it a lot easier to see what you have in stock and show you what needs to be replenished the next time you're at the grocery store.
16. 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.
17. Add a Dry-Erase Board
A dry-erase board mounted on 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.) The board below includes hanging strips, one marker and one magnet.
18. Plan With Purpose in Mind
Divide your kitchen into distinct "zones," with spots for cooking utensils, pots and pans, cleaning supplies, etc. For example, you could devote an entire shelf or cabinet to your baking needs. Stock it with cookie sheets, loaf pans, oven mitts, flour, sugar and other items. If your mixer is stylish, leave it out on the counter with attachments inside the bowl and keep your ingredients close by on a shelf.
19. Hang It Up
If you're short on counter space or cabinets, put the walls to work and hang your cooking utensils or coffee mugs. You could 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.
20. 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
21. Treat Your Recipes With Respect
FYI: You don't have to get rid of your paper recipes — just give them a proper home. The size of your recipe cards can determine which system you use. Index cards work well in a recipe box or a compact photo album. Full-sheet recipes, on the other hand, do well in a three-ring binder. If you need room to grow, choose the binder and tape index cards to sheets of paper. Dividers make it easy to organize by ingredient or dish type.
22. Invest in a Hanging Pot Rack
Free up room in the cupboards and add a little French country charm to your kitchen with a hanging pot rack. Something with an integrated shelf can give you an extra spot for Dutch ovens, cookbooks or plants.
23. 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 panel to the mix. You can customize the front panel with hooks and caddies, and hang up your measuring spoons, scissors, oven mitts and more.
24. 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 live 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
25. 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
26. 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.