For many families, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where you gather to eat dinner, cook, and share so many memories with one another. So it only makes sense that you have a lot of items to cook and eat with. This is especially true over the past year or two, because more people are eating at home instead of going out to restaurants. And stockpiling has become the new normal, rather than a habit that only a handful of people practiced. With so much going on in a kitchen, it also tends to be one of the messiest. By organizing your kitchen, you’ll be able to get rid of the things you don’t need, and find the objects you want faster. Here are some clever tips and tricks to master kitchen organization like a pro.
25. Before You Get Started, Make a Plan
With any home makeover, it’s always a good idea to make a plan before you get started. Jumping into a project without planning is one of the most common mistakes that people make, especially when they’re limited on time and eager to get started. They go to the store after getting inspired, and end up with not enough or too many items to complete the project. This could lead to going back to the store multiple times, or potentially wasting money on things you don’t need. So before you start your kitchen organization project, simply sitting down and making a plan.
First and foremost, make a financial budget. Figure out how many containers you can reasonably buy on one shopping trip, and what items are necessary for making your organization project work. If necessary, you can make a multi-part plan to continue the project on the weekends, or after every paycheck. It’s likely that there is so much work to do, the kitchen organization project won’t won’t be finished in one day, and that’s fine. As long as you’re trying, it’s going to be the beginning of a journey to make your space better.
24. Use Storage Bins Inside of Cabinets and Pantries
A common organizational issue in the kitchen is having a messy pantry full of food boxes and containers. When items are disorganized, it’s all too easy to have those objects pushed to the back. If you have purchased a new item only to realize that you already had it in a cabinet somewhere, that’s a sign that it’s time to clean up. This could potentially cause good food to expire, or you might waste money over time. Baskets and bins are a very easy way to organize all of your food into categories. Once you have all of your food in bins, you’ll be shocked to see how much more space you suddenly have.
Almost immediately after putting your food in baskets, you increase your storage space. Decluttering your home was never easier. This is very important nowadays if you’re trying to stay at home and decrease the number of times you go to the grocery store. If you’re on a small budget, you can buy bins and baskets at Dollar Tree for just $1 each. I recommend going with these smaller bins if you’re living in an apartment, and can’t take the baskets with you. But if you are settled into a “forever home”, consider purchasing something more sturdy that will last for years. Target has an amazing line of baskets and kitchen organization items for $5 to $10 each.
23. Stackable Wire Racks and Baskets to Store Dry Produce
Most modern fridges come with a “vegetable crisper” drawer. Logically, people like to put their fruit and vegetables in the drawer to keep them fresh. In most cases, this is a good idea. But there are certain vegetables- particularly potatoes and onions, which will be perfectly fine if you store them in a cabinet, or leave them out on the counter. Putting them in the fridge would actually be a waste of space, unless you have already removed the onion skin and peel.
A great Dollar Tree organization hack I found on the Internet is to use stacking wire shelves for onions and potatoes. This is perfect if you’re the type of person who cooks with potatoes and onions on a daily basis, and you want to be able to easily grab them when you need it. Another good idea is to use wooden crates or baskets to store them inside of your cabinets. These crates can be found at Ikea, Target, or Walmart.
22. Consolidate Food and Spices Into One Container
One of the most common problems with kitchen storage happens when you have two or more containers of the same food item. For example, maybe you were about to run out of cereal, so you bought a second box. Instead of having two boxes of the same cereal, it only makes sense to pour the smaller amount into the new box, so long as there is enough room to do so. If you haven’t done this already, it’s a very quick and easy way to create more room in your pantry for free. Just check the expiration dates on the food packages!
Another way to go about doing this is to buy a clear airtight container to combine food packages in. For example, in my house, we are always buying small bags of rice, because it’s something we cook often. As a dry good, it also keeps for a very long time, so we don’t have to be worried about expiration dates. Instead of keeping multiple bags of rice in the cabinets or fridge, we have an airtight container full of rice. As soon as we get a new bag, we pour it into the container. All rice looks the same, so it doesn’t matter which brand we purchased. This also looks more sleek and stylish, much like what you see on The Home Edit.
21. Fold Your Towels So You Can See All of Them at Once
Tea towels and cheese cloth are essential in the kitchen for cleaning up, drying your hands, to use as pot holders, and for cooking. It’s common for some people to need multiple towels in the course of cooking one meal. This is especially true if you accidentally drop one on the floor, spill something, or need to cover multiple pots. So it only makes sense why seasoned home chefs end up with a big collection of kitchen towels. The only issue is that after years of collecting, certain towels may get stuck on the bottom of a pile.
You might forget to swap out your holiday or seasonal towels simply because it’s hiding away in the drawer. Or, there may be ratty towels that need to be turned into rags. A great solution for this problem is to fold them in the Marie Kondo method. Make sure that you can see the edge of the towel’s color and pattern, which makes it easy to choose the towel you actually want. If you have a thinner drawer, you may want to lay them on top of one another, exposing just enough to see the color.
Whether they’re built into your cabinets or sitting inside of a pantry, a lazy Susan can be a life saver for kitchen organization. Just in case you didn’t know, a “lazy Susan” is a container that spins 360 degrees. They were originally used as a plate on a table so that members of the family could spin a platter so that the food they want is facing them, without the need to pass the food.
Since it was first invented, there have been a number of different variations created to help with kitchen organization. Now, there are small versions that spin, which can be found in most department stores, or organizational specialty shops like The Container Store. Stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Ikea also sell cabinets that come with a large built-in lazy Susan so that you can pull out the drawer for extra storage capacity.
19. Transform an Old Dresser Into a Kitchen Island
Kitchen islands are an amazing way to add extra storage. The only issue is that they are usually very expensive. A great DIY project would be to transform a dresser into a kitchen island. Before you get started, measure the dresser to see if it’s the appropriate height. Paint it to match your kitchen, or swap out the current drawer pulls for something that matches the style better. This project looks best if you’re going for a shabby chic or Farmhouse style kitchen.
Butcher block countertops are available at stores like Home Depot and Lowes in one large, solid piece. This could be attached to the top of the dresser, and it instantly transforms the furniture into something functional for cooking. The drawers are perfect for additional storage space, which is key for kitchen organization. If you buy or make a large enough top for the island, it could potentially hang over the side of the back of the dresser. This creates a space for people to pull up their bar stools and eat a meal.
18. Purge Unused Items, and Invest in Multi-Use Tools
One of the most obvious ways to make more space in your kitchen is to get rid of anything you don’t actually use on a regular basis. Obviously, you want to keep your investment pieces like a standing mixer or a rice cooker, even if you only use them every couple months. However, there are likely plenty of tools you might have purchased because you saw it on TV, received it as a gift, or accidentally bought more than one. The only reason why you should potentially hold onto multiple items is if you think your kids will break them. Otherwise, donate them to your local thrift store, or throw them away.
Even if one of your items breaks in the future and you end up re-purchasing the same item later, it’s okay. In my opinion, it’s far better to have a clean and organized kitchen and pay $2 later than living with frustration and disorganization on a daily basis. Another great tip is to buy a multi-use tool. If you buy kitchen tools that serve more than one purpose, you can reduce the number of items you keep. For example, a really popular product on the market right now is called The Always Pan, which can be used as a frying pan, saucepan, steamer, spoon rest, and more. Customers claim that once they bought this pan, it gave them the ability to get rid of multiple pieces from their cabinet.
17. Label Your Fridge Shelves, Compartments, and Containers
For some of you out there, this suggestion may seem over-the-top. But for anyone who is familiar with The Home Edit, you already know how useful this tip can be. The best way to keep a fridge organized is by labeling the different shelves for their purpose. Same goes with the drawers and compartments. By using a label maker, you can remind everyone in your household where the products are supposed to be at any given time. On The Home Edit, they even went the extra step of cutting out the images of popsicles and ice cream for freezer drawers so that the kids could identify their favorite treats before they could read.
There are also clear plastic organizational containers you can buy for the fridge. This makes it easy to consolidate similar items together like cans of soda, condiments, and eggs. All of these containers can be labeled, as well. Once you have this system in place, it becomes easy to find what you need in the fridge. It is also easier to clean the fridge, because you’re pulling out containers instead of grabbing each of the food items one by one.
16. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Non Kitchen Organization Items
When most people go to the store to buy organizational items for their home makeover, they stick to the aisles that match whatever room they are currently working on. For example, if they can’t find what they need in the kitchen organization aisle of the store, they give up and shop somewhere else or buy online. In reality, you can use organizational items from any aisle in the department in the store, and use them for whatever works in your house. For example, I organized my art supply collection with containers that were originally meant for a makeup vanity or bathroom. You can even check Dollar Tree for organizational boxes.
In fact, this might be possible for you to reuse organizational items you already have around the house. There may be baskets, plastic storage bins, jars, or containers somewhere filled with items that could easily be donated or put elsewhere. For example, I have a decorative wooden box in my bedroom that I used for my tarot card collection, but it would be better served as a recipe box. Don’t be afraid to shop at a thrift store, either. It doesn’t matter how the previous owner used the items differently, so long as it suits the purpose of what you’re looking for.
A lot of kitchens have something called a filler panel, which is a tiny strip of cabinetry to cover any empty gaps between the counter and the appliances or wall. Normally, this is just wasted space. However, there are some people out there who took the initiative to create an actual cabinet out of that skinny space, instead. This leaves just enough room to store bottles, spices, and other small objects.
There are several companies out there like Wayfair who sell these filler panel cabinets, and they all seem to be in the ballpark of $150 to $200. The only downside is that you probably won’t be able to find a cabinet that matches what you already have, unless you are completely renovating your kitchen. A positive way to look at it is that having the skinny cabinet in a different color makes it obvious that it’s a drawer. This makes a much more affordable kitchen organization project, rather than doing a total makeover.
14. Consider Open Shelving to Take Advantage of Vertical Space
If you have a small kitchen without a lot of space, your only option might be to move your storage upwards. Instead of trying to figure out how you can fit all of your belongings into a small kitchen, consider installing shelves on the wall above your cabinets. This can be a great space to keep cups, bowls, and plates that you use on a daily basis. A lot of people say that when they keep their essentials out on open shelving, it forces them to keep things clean, because you can’t hide it all away behind a cabinet door.
Another popular thing to store on floating shelves are aesthetically pleasing kitchen tools, like a mortar and pestle or scale. Many people also use this space for herbs and other plants that help to bring a pop of color and life to the kitchen. Others will use these shelves for glass jars filled with frequently used items like flour, rice, and beans. If you have colorful dishes that look beautiful, you may want to show them off, anyway, and it can be a great way to feel proud of your belongings.
Some new construction luxury homes are already designed to have an entire extra counter top that is designated as the “coffee bar”. Obviously, not everyone is lucky enough to have the space for that. But if you love to drink tea and coffee, it can be a great idea to set aside a section of your kitchen dedicated to your morning brew. If you’re making a coffee area on a countertop that you share with other things, I recommend buying a tray with handles. This way, you can place the coffee machine, coffee, pods, or tea bags on there together. If getting more space is one of your goals during your kitchen organization project, it’s easy to pick up all of your coffee related items at once, and move it over.
Another option that I’ve seen some people do is to buy a bar cart on wheels, and use that for a portable coffee station. And for people who like to keep their appliances hidden away in the cabinets, keep all of your morning drink things together in one drawer or cabinet. If you do a quick search online, you can find kitchen organization pieces specifically designed to hold tea bags, k-cups, and so much more. They come in all shapes and sizes, so it should be possible to find something that works for you. For more ideas, check out the DIY coffee bars on Pinterest.
If you drink wine on a regular basis, you already know how annoying it is to clean all of the glasses by hand and then wait for it to dry. You can’t really keep wine glasses facing up in the cabinet, because it leaves behind water stains if they haven’t completely dried yet. Another benefit to hanging wine glasses upside down is that it becomes easier to reach and grab a glass for everyone in the household. At my house, we have our wine glasses in the very top cabinet, because we don’t use them very often. However, this makes it very difficult for me to reach, since I’m a short person.
Lastly, this simply looks cool when you have guests over. If you decide to have a wine tasting party at home, your friends are likely to be impressed. Best of all, it doesn’t cost a lot of money to buy these wine racks online. When you buy specialty items like this, kitchen organization also helps to make your home look more fancy.
11. Store Your Utensils In Jars On Your Countertop
If you don’t have enough space in your kitchen drawers, another great place to store your kitchen utensils is in a jar sitting on top of the counter. Stores like HomeGoods and Walmart sell affordable utensil jars in the kitchen section. So it doesn’t have to be anything fancy or over-the-top. These come in all shapes, colors, and patterns, So one of these jars can be a good opportunity for you to show off your design skills if you choose.
Finding a way to keep your utensils all in one place is key for kitchen organization. In my home, we have more than one jar filled with utensils on our counter. One is strictly used for wooden utensils that we use for pasta, and another is filled with knives and other tools that we use on a regular basis while we cook. This makes it a lot easier to find items that we use on a regular basis instead of putting it in a drawer where it might get lost.
When you have a lot of items in a kitchen drawer, it quickly becomes crowded with all sorts of things. It’s very common for people to lose an item and go to the store to buy another one, only to find the first few months later buried underneath all of the other things in the drawer. This is why drawer dividers can be a huge lifesaver. For larger items, you can buy actual dividers that will split up a drawer into multiple sections. Many professional chefs say that you should never have your knives on the counter in a wood block. They recommend that you have a specific drawer set aside for your knives, because it would be a lot safer for small children if you can lock that drawer.
It’s likely that your everyday utensils are going to be separated from the kitchen tools that you use for cooking. When you’re getting ready to implement your kitchen organization, make sure to find a way to keep them apart. Many people purchase a plastic drawer divider for their forks knives and spoons. However, if you want to be more eco-friendly, we recommend purchasing a bamboo drawer divider. This is completely biodegradable, so if you ever get tired of it or need to replace it, it won’t take hundreds of years to break down the same way that a plastic one would.
Sometimes, the only option for you to keep everything in your kitchen organized is to simply hang it on the wall. This might sound like it could be a huge mess to look at every day. But if you do it properly, it can actually turn out to look very stylish. Dollar Tree sells their own version of stick-on Command hooks, and they also have multiple hook options available. But obviously, if you want to spend a little bit more money on a rack, they are available at most homeware stores like Ikea, Target, and Walmart.
Once the rock is hanging on the wall, make sure that it is sturdy enough to hold something heavy. For example, I wouldn’t recommend using Dollar Tree hooks to hang a heavy cast iron pot. But it might work out perfectly for pools that come with a loop on the end. This method works best if you have a matching set of pots and pans, especially if they’re made out of something beautiful like copper. Hanging copper pots on the wall can actually look like a piece of wall decor.
8. Install Wire Drawers for Produce to Maximize Kitchen Organization
If you’re trying to eat healthy to bring up your immune system, you might be incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your everyday life. The thing about produce is that certain objects don’t need refrigeration, while others do. And if you put too much in the fridge, it gets overcrowded. You run the risk of not using that produce before it goes bad. Earlier on this list, we already mentioned how some people are using baskets and crates to store their potatoes and onions. However, there are some people that would rather have their produce hidden away inside of their comment.
Some people have gone the extra mile to install wire drawers into their cabinets. It can take your kitchen organization to the next level. This is a great place to store your fruits and vegetables near the counter where you are going to be cooking without actually crowding the top of your counter or the inside of your fridge. And if you leave them out in the open like this, it gives the incentive for you to use that produce quickly so that it doesn’t go bad.
Anything that can be kept out of your drawers or cabinets is only going to free up more storage space for other tools in your kitchen. A lot of people have inherited some nice plates from their grandmothers or mothers, and they’re meant for special occasions. However, it’s very rare that anyone actually uses these sets of dishes on a daily basis. And unless you have multiple china cabinets in your home, you might not have the space to store all these things. Many people resort to putting these plates in their attic or garage, simply because there is nowhere else to put it.
If this sounds like you, you may want to consider displaying these plates on the wall. This is a great way to show off any antique or vintage collection that you love, but you’re afraid to actually use those plates for meals. It also doubles as a sort of gallery wall of art. My mom has plates hanging in her kitchen that she has inherited from family, and each one has beautiful illustrations on them. They help the kitchen look like it has a cottagecore aesthetic, and it only enhances the cozy vibe.
One of the easiest ways to keep your food organized but also make it look pretty is by putting it into a clear glass or plastic container. Keeping food in containers works best if it all looks the same no matter what kind of friend you put in it. For example, I always keep my white rice in a glass container. It doesn’t matter if I buy a different brand on sale. It’s always going to look the same once it’s poured out of the plastic bag and into the beautiful airtight container.
If you or getting in the habit of stockpiling your favorite foods to cut down on the number of times that you’re visiting the grocery store, it’s important for you to make sure that you’re keeping everything fresh. Make sure that they come with an airtight seal. This will help to keep your food fresh much longer compared to using a clip to seal an open bag of food. Loose leaf tea and coffee beans also keep their flavor much longer if you put them in an airtight container.
5. Stack Pots, Pans, and Lids With Wire Shelf Inserts in the Cabinets
Pots and pans are some of the most difficult things to organize in your kitchen. They are large and bulky, but absolutely necessary when it comes to cooking. Some people put their pots and pans in the oven and call it a day. Someone people think that this is tacky, or potentially dangerous. First and foremost, storing your pots and pans in the oven is annoying to take everything in and out when you want to bake, and it makes your kitchen a big mess every time the items are going in and out of the space. And if you try to put them away in a cabinet, it’s really difficult to find just one pot or pan you’re looking for inside of a huge stack.
That’s why these two storage hacks are amazing. The first can be accomplished with some wire shelving that you can purchase at Dollar Tree. Simply add the shelves to any cabinet, and you have individual slots to put your pots and pans in. This makes it easy for you to open the cabinet and remove the individual pot or pan that you needed at any given moment without moving everything that you own. The second solution is far more expensive, but it looks a lot more stylish. You can buy special cabinetry that is made to hold pots and pans from places like Home Depot or Wayfair for around $250.
4. Use Magnetic Containers For Kitchen Organization
One of the easiest ways to make sure that you never lose your kitchen tools is to have them on the wall in front of you at all times. Magnetic wall strips are available online, at Ikea, and in most department stores for $10 or less. Once you have the magnetic strip installed, it becomes very easy to just stick your metal tools to the wall.This also frees up a lot of space in your drawers. If you live in a city apartment with a very small kitchen, this might be one of the only options for you to store all the tools you need for cooking.
Magnetic strips can be used for so much more than tools. Some people like to take the strips and install them underneath a counter or shelf. Once the bottom of the shelf is magnetized, you can add magnets to the top of jars and stick them to the strip. This immediately gives you extra space that didn’t exist before. If you choose to do this, just make sure that you are putting in objects that don’t weigh a lot, because if it’s too heavy, it can pull the shelf off of the wall. They also make magnetized spice jars that a lot of people like to put on the refrigerator door.
3. Store Pot Lids With Racks Inside Cabinets and Drawers
Don’t forget about your pot lids during your kitchen organization process. Pots and pans typically stack inside of one another. This might make it easy to store the pans themselves into a drawer. Some people even put them in the oven, when there is nowhere else for them to hide. However, the biggest storage issue happens with the lids. If you put the lids in the drawer next to the pans, they take up just as much space.
A great storage solution to keeping lids is to buy a stand. This can go inside of a drawer or cabinet. Or, you can buy one that can be hung on the inside of a cabinet door. Others like to keep the pan lids on the wall for easy access. This is one of the easiest ways to keep everything stored on a budget. Otherwise, it tends to get messy.
Quick and affordable way to give yourself extra space under the sink kitchen organization is by installing a tension rod. You can find these in the curtain aisle of the store. Some people even find an old shower rod, and others use a $1 mop handle from Dollar Tree. Once the tension rod is installed, you can hang your spray bottles across the broad so that they are suspended in air. This essentially doubles the amount of space you have under the sink, because it leaves a lot of extra room underneath.
The only issue is that if there isn’t enough tension on the rod, the products can easily fall down and create a huge mess. In fact, that happened live on the Rachel Ray show when they tried to show this organization hack to their audience. Always check to see if the rod can handle the weight, first. Instead of trying to cram everything on the bar, I suggest using this for your frequently used go-to-items that you may use to spray your countertops or windows.
For some of you out there, this tip might seem obvious. But there are a lot of people who don’t realize that you can add extra shelves into your existing cabinet. If you take a peek inside, most cabinets have notches running up and down the sides. This makes it possible for you to place shelves whenever you want. Do some measurements to see how much vertical space is left after putting your objects in the cabinet. There might be so much wasted space, you could add one or two extra shelves. This can be a huge life saver.
Before you go to the hardware store, remove all of the objects from your existing cabinet, and measure exactly how big it is. This will help you find the additional drawers when you visit a hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot. Sometimes, you can’t simply add extra drawers, if your cabinets were custom-made. This might be worth your time and money to find a local carpenter who can make the cuts of wood to create new drawers for you. It might seem like a lot of work, it’s still one of the best kitchen organization projects you could do.