Simple strategies can turn your kitchen cabinets from cluttered to stylish.
Have you ever had a few friends over and turned around to find everyone in the kitchen? You prepared the living room with fresh flowers and fragrant candles and fluffed up your comfy couch, only to find your guests drifting back to the kitchen like moths to a flame.
Why? Considered the heart of the home, the kitchen is where all the action takes place. It’s where people grab a crispy cheese twist fresh from the oven, chat with the host, pour a glass of wine and linger.
And open the kitchen cabinets.
Suddenly, your spices appear a little disorganized, the plates overflowing, and where’s the perfect-sized container for leftovers? Is someone looking for the wine opener? It’s in the drawer to the right of the sink, buried under numerous kitchen utensils.
Fortunately, there are some simple strategies to take your kitchen cabinets from dysfunctional to fabulous and from cluttered to stylishly organized. Yes, it may seem a little overwhelming, but with these tips, you can do it! And, in the process of learning how to organize kitchen cabinets, you’ll find yourself enjoying the art of cooking and entertaining a little more.
1. Start by decluttering
As organizational expert Barbara Hemphill said, “Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.” Start with three cardboard boxes or garbage bags labeled “donate,” “sell” and “trash.” Then, take one cabinet and drawer at a time, decide what you no longer use or love and place it in the appropriate container.
If you find yourself contemplating an item for several minutes, place it in a separate box marked “later.” This box will be tucked away in storage. If you haven’t pulled out any of your “later” items in one month, it’s time to release them to their forever home.
2. Put all like items together
Like attracts like, whether people, positive experiences or plastic food containers. Putting all like items together in separate boxes lets you see exactly what you’re working with. Eventually, you’ll find a place for everything and put everything in its place.
Before you start putting things in their rightful place, clean kitchen cabinets, shelves and drawers. You can make a natural, refreshing household cleaner with 1 cup white vinegar, 2 cups water and 15 drops each of lemon and lavender essential oils.
3. Reorganize according to zones
A kitchen has five main zones: food, cleaning, cooking, dishware storage and preparation. Consider storing items in the areas you use them. For instance, pots and pans go near the stove.
These zones are uniquely yours based on your lifestyle. For example, if you start your day with a smoothie and end it with a cup of tea, a little corner health bar may call to you. Consider placing your blender, teas and supplements in a countertop corner basket. You’ll find woven, wood and wire baskets explicitly designed to fit into corners.
4. File your dishes
If you have a choice between stacking or filing, filing almost always wins in the organizational world. Plate racks let you store dishes vertically. Bakeware racks are ideal for cutting boards, cookie sheets and even cumbersome pot lids. These vertical solutions offer easy access and align with the motto for how to organize kitchen cabinets: A place for everything.
5. Incorporate a pot and pan organizer
Pot and pan organizers provide a special place for every cooking item, from skillets to saucepans. Many are self-adjusting, letting you create the perfect size for every object while fitting right into your cabinet.
6. Add stylish storage
As you know, one of the biggest challenges is simply not enough space. One workaround is to take advantage of walls, sides of cabinets, and even under cabinets.
When living in an apartment, you can’t always drill holes into existing structures. Fortunately, manufacturers consider this dilemma. Here are a few drill-free items to consider:
- Under cabinet coffee mug holders with a hanging arm that slides onto the shelf
- A modern kitchen rail with stainless steel or bamboo hooks for holding utensils, cups, and cutting boards
- Small clips on interior cabinet doors for holding measuring cups and spoons
7. Maximize cabinet space
Stacking or riser shelves may become your best friend. Simple, beautiful and easy to incorporate, they add another layer to your kitchen cabinet organization. From wood to metal and plastic in every color, there’s a stacking shelf with your name on it.
8. Make friends with clear storage bins
In today’s clutter-free environment, you can find storage bins and containers of every shape, size and color. Some good choices for organizing kitchen cabinets include clear bins that fit side-by-side. These storage containers let you use the entire shelf and easily slide in and out. They’re particularly helpful for those hard-to-reach top shelves.
The versatile bins are also ideal for your food cabinet, holding condiments, cereals, grains, soups, snacks and unrefrigerated produce. If your property manager’s okay with a few screws, pull-down shelves also offer an ideal solution for top shelves.
9. Decant dry goods
While you’re organizing your food area, consider decanting dried goods. Decanting refers to taking items like pasta, rice, flour, quinoa and sugar and placing them in matching containers or canisters. This streamlined look shouts well-organized and clutter-free. Make sure to label.
10. Hang a spice rack on the wall
If you only have time to perform one of these how-to-organize kitchen tips, this may be the one to consider. You’ll find that keeping your spices and herbs well-organized and visible adds color and charm to your kitchen. It also prompts you to get creative and explore global cuisines. Bon Appétit’s 20 must-have herbs and spices include allspice, cardamon, cumin, ginger, sumac and turmeric.
11. Divide your drawers
Simple inserts or drawer dividers provide just the right spot for everyday items, from silverware to knives and bottle openers. If you have a nice set of knives you wouldn’t mind having on display, a magnetic strip offers the perfect setting.
And don’t limit drawer dividers to your utensils. Almost everyone has a junk drawer that can turn into an organized hideaway with a few dividers.
12. Organize under your kitchen sink
The space under your sink can quickly get out of hand, yet it’s the perfect location to organize cleaning supplies. Take some measurements and then select stackable wire or mesh baskets that fit below the sink plumbing. These create the ideal place to stash disinfectant wipes, natural sprays, microfiber cloths and other essentials.
Consider self-adhesive hooks or over-the-door bars on the inside of the cabinet door. Here, you can hang small kitchen towels, scrub brushes and other cleaning tools.
13. Add an artistic pegboard
There was a time when pegboards were a great tool for organizing the garage, period. Take a glance at Pinterest, and you’ll see that times have changed. People use pegboards to organize everything imaginable while adding their unique artistic spin.
From shelves with plants to pots and pans and baskets holding lemons and garlic, this is the place to let your inner muse shine through.
14. Hang curtain rods
Yes, you can use curtain rods for more than hanging window coverings. One or two curtain rods with hooks can hold cups, towels, pans, cutting boards and more. Make sure to have a design in mind so your rod looks like part of your kitchen’s aesthetics and not an afterthought.
15. Use turntables
Turntables can make any space a functional masterpiece. That may be a slight exaggeration. They can, however, offer an easy method for organizing condiments, oils and other items you routinely use while cooking.
Create a kitchen worthy of your time
You spend a lot of time in your kitchen. Use these tips to make a room that’s fun, functional and organized, starting by organizing your kitchen cabinets and surrounding storage spaces.
Still looking for that perfect kitchen where you’ll create culinary masterpieces and good memories? Find the perfect place here.