Kitchens are the hub of the home, making this space susceptible to clutter and disorganization. Whether your kitchen clutter is due to the busyness of your household, needing some kitchen organizing ideas, not being able to resist all the cute mugs, or all the above, the following tips on how to organize a kitchen will certainly help.
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A Step-by-Step Guide to Basic Kitchen Organization
- A Step-by-Step Guide to Basic Kitchen Organization
- Step 1: Establish the Purpose and Goals of the Kitchen
- Step 2: Create Kitchen Zones
- Step 3: Organize Your Kitchen
- Step 4: Implement Kitchen Storage Solutions
- Step 5: Styling Your Kitchen Countertops
- 5 Easy Steps to An Organized a Kitchen
An efficient and functional kitchen that serves your lifestyle starts with good, basic kitchen organization. While kitchen organization is a big job, it can be broken down into five steps you can easily follow as time allows.
Before you start organizing, be sure to declutter your kitchen. Culling through kitchen utensils, pots and pans, dishes, small appliances, and anything else you keep there will make the organizing process that much easier.
Step 1: Establish the Purpose and Goals of the Kitchen
The first step to organizing your kitchen, or any room, is to start with your goals for the space. Consider how you currently use your kitchen as well as how you want to use it. Determine what’s working and what’s not. Knowing this will help you establish priorities and goals for using your kitchen. Once you have clear goals, consider:
- The layout of your kitchen – from counter space to number of cabinets to the location of the sink and big appliances and even electrical outlets.
- How you use the kitchen – Do you need some office space to manage incoming papers and paying bills? Does anyone use the kitchen for homework or work? Do you want this space to be a drop zone or homework area?
- Who does the cooking – Who does most of the cooking? Is the cook in the family left or right-handed?
Use the answers to those questions to follow the steps to organizing a kitchen.
Step 2: Create Kitchen Zones
For this second step, we’re creating kitchen zones. This is simply designating a place for everything and being able to keep everything in its place. Some common kitchen zones are:
Kitchen Prep Station
This is the zone for meal prep. Store all your measuring cups, knives, cutting boards, peelers, graters, zesters, jar openers, can opener, ramekins, mixing bowls, colanders, and anything else you regularly use to prepare meals.
Your Cooking Zone
The cooking zone is typically next to the stove or on on nearby kitchen island. Keep your cooking utensils, spices and oils nearby. A tray next to the stove works really well to keep everything together without cluttering your countertop.
The Cleaning Zone
The most convenient spot for this zone is near the sink and dishwasher. Store dish rags and kitchen cleaning supplies in this area.
Choose an area that provides enough room to mix, stir, and roll. Keep your mixing stand, mixing bowls, cookie sheets, baking pans and other baking items in this zone. If you don’t have room to store your bakeware in this zone, store it near the oven.
Lunch Prep Zone
If you have kids in school, this is a good zone to consider having. Stock it with lunch boxes or lunch sacks, snack baggies, sand baggies, thermoses, napkins, straws, plastic ware, a notepad and pen (for those little love notes you put in their lunch boxes)
Food Storage Zone
Keep baggies, foil, Tupperware, freezer bags, food labels, a marker, butcher paper, and other food storage containers in the food storage zone.
Hot Beverage Zone
If your family drinks hot tea or coffee, create a station that holds tea bags, k-cups, stir spoons or stir sticks, sweeteners, and mugs and tea cups.
Some families keep cereal, fruit, and breakfast bars handy on the kitchen counter. You can also create a breakfast zone in your pantry.
Once all your zones are established, you’ll have a better idea of what kitchen items go in each zone in order to move on to step three.
Step 3: Organize Your Kitchen
In order to organize your kitchen efficiently, place kitchen utensils, pots, pans, small appliances, dishes and all other kitchen items where you plan to store them. You won’t need storage containers yet. At this step, you’re just arranging. Seeing everything in place will help you decide what containers to buy.
We’ll go into more detail with kitchen organizing products a little later. For now, let’s start with some savvy kitchen storage solutions.
Tips for Organizing Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers
- Use drawer organizers to group kitchen gadgets and utensils by category.
- Store commonly used items like dishes and drinking glasses on the lower shelves. Use upper shelves for one-time use items, China, and long-term storage.
- Use shelf mug organizers and stacking shelves to save space in your kitchen cabinets
- Save money by using plastic bins as slide out drawers in lower cabinets.
- I’ve found the best way to organize Tupperware is to stack it by shape and size and store the matching lids in a basket. I actually use a Dollar Tree shoe bin to corral my lids.
- Use deep drawers as storage for larger items like mixing bowls, small appliances or pots and pans.
What Goes Where in Kitchen Cabinets?
Figuring how to organize kitchen cabinets isn’t as hard as it seems. Here are some kitchen layout ideas to help you decide on a kitchen cabinet organization system that works for you.
- If you’re right handed, use the lower cabinet to the right of the stove for spices, pots and pans, and cooking utensils. My favorite way to arrange pots and pans is to stack them by type. Store the lids in a lid organizer. You can use the upper cabinet for your spices, cooking oils and cookbooks. If you’re left handed, organize everything to the left.
- Store everyday dishes in the cabinets closest to the dishwasher for easy loading and unloading.
- If you have an island, use the cabinets for storing items in your prep zone like mixing bowls.
- Cabinets to the left of the stove can be used to store casserole dishes, Tupperware or small appliances. Or if you’re left handed, use that space for your pots and pans and store these items to the right.
- Store kitchen cleaners, trash bags, dish washer detergent and dish soap under the kitchen sink.
- Sometimes kitchen cabinets do double duty as a pantry or to store spices. Store spices in a cabinet near the stove or the prep zone, based on what is simplest. Store pantry items near the food prep zone if possible.
Kitchen Drawer Organization Tips
When it comes to organizing kitchen drawers, keep in mind the zones you created to help you decide what to put in which kitchen drawers. Also, keep these ideas in mind for maximum efficiency.
- Store everyday silverware in a drawer next to the dishwasher.
- Put kitchen linens in a drawer near the sink.
- Keep pot holders and utensils in a drawer next to the stove. Utensils could also be stored in a crock next to the stove.
- Store plastic wrap, foil and baggies in a drawer or cabinet near the fridge for easy access when putting leftovers away.
- Store ramekins, measuring cups and spoons, and kitchen prep gadgets in drawers in the kitchen prep zone. Somewhere near the stove would be ideal.
- Use a drawer in your hot beverage center to store tea bags and k-cups if they’re not stored in a cabinet.
- If you have a spice drawer, keep spices in a drawer near the kitchen prep zone or next to the stove, whichever the cook prefers.
Small Appliance Storage Ideas
When it comes to storing small appliances you have options. Use counter space for appliances your family uses every day. Otherwise, use a lower cabinet in your kitchen prep zone, or store them in the pantry.
Less frequently used appliances can be stored on top shelves of cabinets or the pantry. For example, I only use our coffee pot when entertaining, so I store it on the top shelf of my pantry.
Step 4: Implement Kitchen Storage Solutions
Once you’ve set all the kitchen items where you want them, you can determine what storage solutions you need. Over time, I’ve discovered the kitchen organizers that do the job well and can serve many uses.
Top Kitchen Organization Products
Lazy susans – There are two types of lazy susans that work well in the kitchen. One is the traditional turntable and the other is taller and divided into sections. Either one works to organize oils and vinegars and condiments in the pantry. You can also use them in the refrigerator to store condiments. Another option is to use them for spice storage which in my experience is easier than using a step organizer.
- I don’t typically use two tiered lazy susans only because there’s usually not enough height in a pantry or cabinet to take advantage of both tiers. They are, however, a great space saving storage solution for corner cabinets.
- I use this non skid turntable in my pantry and it works very well.
- The divided lazy susan is perfect for sorting food items like snacks, candy or juice boxes.
Plastic bins – Use plastic bins to store like items in your pantry such as snacks, protein bars or baking supplies. You can also use them to store food in the refrigerator to hold fruit, sandwich ingredients, breakfast items, or snacks. Clear shoe boxes from the Dollar Tree work really well for this. Use the lids to make them stackable.
Expandable Rack – Expandable racks are great for organizing spices and canned goods. They make them for drawers, too. You can use a tiered can organizer for canned food, but some of them can be flimsy. Be sure to read the reviews and check how many cans it holds before you make a purchase.
Baskets – I love using baskets to corral different categories in the pantry. For example, I use baskets to store breakfast foods, snacks, pasta and grains and for our popcorn station. From wire to wood to wicker, there are lots of styles to choose from.
Sliding Cabinet Organizer – Sliding cabinet drawers keep you from having to dig around in your cabinets for tupperware, or from moving pots and pans around to get the one you need.
Organizing Racks – I use wire or metal organizing racks to organize my baking sheets, bakeware and pot lids.
Risers – Risers are great space savers in cabinets. They allow you to use vertical space to fit more dishes in your cabinets. Depending on your decor and design style, you can go with clear acrylic risers or use metal wire racks.
Spice Organizers – Step organizers are popular for organizing canned goods and spices. While I do like them for canned goods, I find it makes reaching for and grabbing spices a little tricky. When it comes to organizing spices, I actually prefer:
Step 5: Styling Your Kitchen Countertops
Now that we’ve organized the kitchen cabinets and drawers, that leaves the kitchen counters. One frequently asked question is what should go on kitchen countertops. My number one tip is to keep your counters as clear as possible, only keeping out what is necessary. And as long as we’re going to keep things on the counter, we might as well have some fun styling, too.
The key to organizing your countertops is to decide what you need quick and easy access to and to which zone those items belong. Then you can have fun playing with different vignettes where form meets function.
- Use trays to corral oils and spices next to the stove
- Put fruit and snacks in a decorative bowl. This is a great opportunity to use inherited or vintage dishes.
- Create a stylish coffee and tea station to start your morning
- Set up a breakfast bar with clear cereal storage containers, a stack of bowls and a vintage crock for cereal spoons. You can set your toaster in this area too.
- Add style to your baking zone with a canister set for your flour and sugar
- Keep salt and pepper in pinch bowls
- Lean wood cutting boards against the backsplash for instant warmth and style
- Organize kitchen utensils in vintage or decorative pitchers
- Protect your countertops and add a little style by setting dish soap and hand soap on a dish soap tray, charger, or plate. Decant your soaps into decorative soap dispensers for more style (and less visual clutter.)
- Stack your cookbooks and set a candle or bowl on top. Or turn a cookbook front facing as part of a vignette. The cover serves as art. You can also set an open cookbook on a cookbook stand.
5 Easy Steps to An Organized a Kitchen
Let’s summarize these kitchen organization tips into into five easy steps.
- Step 1: Simplify – determine your goals for the space
- Step 2: Space Plan – designate kitchen zones based on how you use the kitchen and the kitchen layout
- Step 3: Sort – put like things together and place them in their predetermined zones
- Step 4: Store – add containers based on your storage needs
- Step 5: Style your kitchen, implementing form with function
I hope this guide on how to organize your kitchen will help you create a beautiful space where you and your family will enjoy gathering and creating memories.
For more kitchen organizing tips read:
and when you’re finished organizing your kitchen, check out: