8 Tips for a Fabulously Organized Kitchen

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Before we planned our renovation, I took a few hours to really get our kitchen organized.  Clearing out unused items and organizing things effectively a few months in advance made planning our renovation (and surviving the process) much easier.  Plus, now I have bragging rights that I know which kitchen tool is where at any given time, no matter how many martinis I may have imbibed.*

*usually, A LOT OF THEM.

Here’s a few strategies that helped whip our kitchen into organizational shape.  These easy organizing ideas were essential in saving tons of time and finding extra space in the kitchen!

8 Kitchen Organization and Storage Tips

1.  Weed out unused items.

The very first step is to look at what you have, what you need, and what you don’t need anymore.  In other words, it’s time to ditch the four extra spatulas and the broken veggie peeler.  In our home, we really do use a lot of spatulas but I had a few that were old and certainly I didn’t need 7 of them.  It’s a good time to treat yourself to new kitchen tools, too.  {Insider Tip: take advantage of Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupons.  They don’t actually expire, and you can use one per item at checkout.  HUGE money saver!}

2.  Create zones.

By far this was the most important step in getting our kitchen running smoothly.  Think of your kitchen as having ‘zones’: baking items, chopping/meal prep, pots & pans, coffee & tea station, food storage, things we drink out of, things we eat off of, serving items, etc.  Once I did this, creating space for everything was much easier– as was finding things quickly!  Instead of wondering where I put my electric mixer I’d simply go to the baking zone.  Prepping meals was a snap because my knives and cutting boards were right there next to the sink.  Pie server?  In the serving utensil drawer, of course!  {OF COURSE.}

Baking Item Storage
the “Baking Zone”

3.  Group like items.

This might sound redundant after #2, but bear with me.  Grouping like items within your zones makes lots of extra room because they have a similar shape, and things are easier to find.  I keep all my plastic lids in the lid area, and I never have to search for them.  Cans grouped together are easier to stack and to tuck against each other.  Casserole dishes grouped together and nested within each other makes it so much easier to put your hand on the correct size.  Lids of a feather, stack together!*

*sorry, I’m getting punchy

8 Kitchen Organization and Storage Tips

4.  Place frequently used items close at hand, and infrequently used items further away.

Again, this isn’t rocket science.  But here’s an illustration of what I mean:

Items I use infrequently are above the refrigerator, towards the back of drawers, above the cabinets.  Heck, I even store turkey prep items in a bin in the basement since I use them but once a year!  But my cutting boards and knives are right within reach, as are potholders and our everyday dishes.  Once I organized my kitchen items into zones, and then by frequency of use, I realized how much time I’d been wasting digging things out or searching for ‘lost’ kitchen tools.  This was an ‘aha’ moment for me.  Sadly.

kitchen storage strategy

5.  Decant your food into baskets, bins, and see-through containers.

When I get home from the grocery store, instead of unloading boxes and bags into my cabinets I open them up and take wrapped items out.  Snack bars, raisin boxes, and snack packs go into bins.  Flour and sugar go in snapware containers.  Cereal?  Cereal keepers.  Not only does this create more room but it can keep items fresher when stored properly in airtight containers.  BONUS?  I can easily see what’s running low and I add it to my grocery list.

cereal storage containers

6.  Label, label baby!

Do it.  I don’t care if your husband and friends laugh at you (oh, they sooooo do) but if it makes you feel better label your shelves.  Now when you’re tired and putting things away you don’t even have to think where things go.  Or, when your husband or mother-in-law puts dishes away they’ll know where they go.  This WORKS, people!  It’s worth being the butt of labeling jokes.  {tee hee!  I said butt!}

kitchen organization idea

This is my favorite label maker, by the way.  I’ve been known to cuddle him and whisper sweet nothings when I think no one is looking.

7.  Make use of previously wasted space.

You?  YOU ARE A GENIUS.  I know this.  For example, look around your kitchen right now and I bet you’ll discover places you can store things.  Look above cabinets, are they begging for baskets?

kitchen storage baskets
our baking basket contains sprinkles, cupcake liners, cakepop supplies…

Look where I now store my oven mitts– within reach of the stove.  They are bulky and don’t fit well in the drawer, and it’s only when I look at photos does it bother me that they look like creepy disembodied hands.  But the other times I look at them in real life I totally appreciate them there.

silicone potholder storage idea

Got any ceiling space?  Use it to hang pots and pans.  Now you’ve just freed up an entire cabinet.  See, you genius you?

8.  Evaluate what works and what doesn’t, and fix it.

This is good to do before you organize anything in your kitchen, but also a month or two after as well.  A pre and post evaluation allows you first to overhaul your system, and then tweak it.  For example, during my initial organizational binge I realized my knife block wasn’t working for me– the slots weren’t the right size, I couldn’t find one to also hold my steak knives, etc.  Then I found the Kapoosh Knife Block, and KAPOOSH, my knives were happy again. (Here’s my unsponsored Kapoosh review, I’m still totally in love!)

genius kitchen knife storage product

After I organized my kitchen, I realized there were sharp items in drawers like skewers and Cuisinart blades the kids could still reach (the stinkers), so I corralled them in a latched Tupperware bin in a locked cabinet to deter them.  Well, mostly deter them.

kidproofing kitchens
Woot! She left it UNLOCKED! Wonder what’s in that bin labeled ‘sharps’?

Sometimes spicing up your kitchen simply means organizing it in a way that saves you time, makes you more efficient, unclutters your kitchen counters, and makes you a cooking Goddess (not that you weren’t one already, obviously).  Life might be chaotic, but at least I know where my pie server is darnit!

Spice Up Your Kitchen series

What’s your #1 kitchen organization tip?  And what’s for dinner tonight?  Seriously, I need some ideas now that I’m ready to cook like a rockstar.

{ Linking up with: Home Stories A to Z | Tatertots and Jello }

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22 Comments

    1. JENNY! That is EXACTLY what I need. You are, in a word, my HERO. Lids are the one thing I can not seem to get organized!

    2. Jenny, gotta say I love you too!! Been looking for a pot lid holder because all my pots and lids are all over the place! Thanks sent the link to the installer (DH) in the family and will get it in as soon as we can!

      Carrie, I too put all my plastic lids into one container. But I bought a separate container for it, its only function is to hold the lids. It looks like this one http://www.amazon.com/Iris-Plastic-Storage-Baskets-White/dp/B000MUJJFA

      It’s jam packed because I try to buy the sets that have lids that cross sizes of the containers. But works well and it’s on the top of my pantry shelves across from the drawers that hold the plastic containers. But it works and glad to see that others think alike. I loved your cupcake bin, I too have something like it but not as pretty. That’s next in my organizational items. To make everything I use pretty. The boxes from Halloween Popcorn are gonna get covered soon! LOL Reuse, and cheap is my budget level at this time. Just gotta find a good cover that will look great and get everything covered with it at once.

      I’ll be subscribing to your blog, totally enjoyed what I’ve seen so far and can’t wait to see more! Thanks 🙂

      1. Teresa, that’s a great tip about the storage baskets! And it means the world to me that you enjoy my blog and subscribe. Thank you! 🙂

  1. I am pinning this my kitchen so needs help it is like a great puzzle what is going to fall out 1st. thanks, sherry

  2. Awesome tips! I’m guilty of small appliance overload, but I’m trying very hard to better about it and weed out the stuff I don’t totally love. My mom always appreciates my hand-me-downs! 🙂

  3. Fabulous tips! Man, great minds think alike! We have zones in our kitchen though I didn’t think of them that way. I should totally do the label thing, too because ahem, my dear husband doesn’t always put things back in their spot.

  4. I need to weed out unused items. I just love kitchen supplies and can’t seem to get rid of anything!

    1. I’m the same way, Carrie! Which is why I had to resort to storing them by use because it was hard to toss some of my favorite (yet barely used) supplies.

  5. I need to get rid of some of those unused items! I love your pantry labeling and need to do some of that in my pantry for a cleaner look! Your kitchen looks fabulous!

    1. Thanks Lora! It took me awhile to figure it out, but once I did, I realized it’s the simplest thing ever. 🙂

  6. Here’s a LITTLE something I did a few months ago. It’s so simple, but makes things faster and involves less dish washing….I bought some cheap plastic measuring cups and I keep them in my storage containers. I keep the “1 cup” in my flour, 1/2 cup in the sugar, 1/4 cup in the brown sugar. Then I just scoop and throw it back in-no searching for measuring cups and no washing. So simple it is silly-but it really does make a difference!

    1. That’s brilliant! I wash so many measuring cups for no reason at all, this would totally solve that problem. Thanks for sharing!

      1. I do this too! It save SO much time! I hang a set of measuring spoons and cups in my baking zone cupboard too. Frees up drawer space and is so slick to grab only the one I want to use.

        My suggestion would be to type up your recipes into a word document. Or if you print them from online then slip them too into a sheet protector and put in a binder. Cookbooks take up a ton of room and by now if I haven’t tried it, I’m probably not going to so why hold onto a book that you only read a few pages out of? Plus it also helps when someone asks for a recipe to be able to quickly print one off.

        Some day I’ll be able to make a book for my children when they move out on their own.

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  8. Pingback: Free Printable February Organizing Calendar | Making Lemonade
  9. You made me smile, and chuckle. I know where my pie server is, lol! My children are older and help with cooking and clean up. I find that no matter how organized I am, my kids don’t put things where they are supposed to go. I love them madly but! Where is my pie server, dammit! Lol

  10. Honestly? This is amazing! A few of those (I donate my unused items) I discovered years ago but something so simple like hanging my oven mitts on those little sticky hooks made me sit back and go, “How did I NOT think of that?!” Thank you for this article. So simple and none of this requires anything in the Martha Stewart price range to achieve a more streamlined kitchen.

  11. I am in the process of doing my kitchen heck entire apartment and I now have a ton of sticky notes attached and putting them in places until I am done. I am so glad found you on pintersted.

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