It always interests me how other people organize their kitchens. A well-organized kitchen employs certain principles, and organized people instinctively use these principles.
If you’re not one of those people, however, you may struggle. I hope this post gives you some guidelines to work with as you organize (or re-organize) your kitchen.
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Use these 10 simple principles to organize your kitchen
1. Group small items.
If you do nothing else to organize your kitchen, spend some time and effort “containerizing.” This step gives you the biggest bang for your buck.
When you group things like this for storage and display, you gain instant clutter control and a pulled-together look. Instead of a bunch of clutter, a tray or basket unifies the items.
Your brain sees a grouping instead of several random objects.
Most people have a crock next to the stove for cooking tools like spoons and spatulas. This is the same principle at work. Get matching utensils to help this area look less cluttered.
Here are some ideas for groupings:
- a tray with coffee supplies
- a baking basket with cupcake papers, chocolate chips, baking powder and soda, sprinkles, and vanilla extract
- a basket with bags of dried pastas
- a basket full of spice jars – easy to clean and easy to find what you want
- a bin full of lunchbox containers. Here are our favorites.
I *love* these baskets, bins and trays! The Cafe Station is so rustic and that wire basket is so vintage!
|Cucina Cafe Station
|Small Milk Crate Wire Basket (Amazon)
||Y Weave Storage Bin (Amazon)||Seagrass Storage Baskets
You can even use baskets that are quite large as long as what you put inside is also fairly large. For example, large bulk bags and containers of oats, rice and flour can go into large bins.
Little bottles and containers should be kept in somewhat smaller baskets or they’ll get lost and you’ll end up digging around to find things.
But these things are even better stored in glass as explained in the next point!
2. Use glass containers to store food
Food becomes décor when you put it into a pretty glass jar! I’ve got 3 glass jars on display in our built-in hutch. Dry goods take up lots of room in the cupboards. Why not put them on display instead?
If you keep a lot of dried goods, they can end up looking quite messy on pantry shelves, even if you put the bags into bins or baskets. Instead, remove the packaging and store them in jars. Instant update!
Here are some of my favorites.
Fun Glass Storage Jars
|Colorful Kitchen Canisters (Amazon)||Heritage Hill Glass Jar (Amazon)||Penny candy jar (Amazon)||American Reproductions Glass Canisters (Amazon)|
3. Use matching rectangular storage containers
If you want your cupboards and fridge to look neat and tidy, opt for matching, rectangular food storage containers. Containers like this are perfect for leftovers, cookies, cupcakes, and muffins.
Rectangular containers (this is my favorite set) are easily lined up and you can see at a glance what’s inside and how much is left. No more mystery leftovers and food waste in the back of the fridge 🙂
Stackable clear containers are perfect for storing dry goods and making the most of space in your kitchen cabinets, as talked about in our post about organizing the no pantry kitchen.
4. Keep kitchen counters clear
Counter space should be work space, not storage. Cooking with cluttered counters is stressful.
Keep your kitchen counters as clear as possible even if it means using wall space or moving some kitchen tools to less convenient storage places. Maybe the stand mixer can be kept on a shelf in the garage?
It probably takes 30 seconds to retrieve a gadget from another part of the house so don’t be afraid to set up a shelf somewhere (like a nearby closet) with kitchen gadgets.
5. Be ruthless when it comes to paperwork!
A pile of paperwork is classic kitchen clutter! Banish it by making sure each adult in the house (and possibly each child) has their own inbox for paperwork. You’ve probably got important papers in those piles!
Instead, use a bulletin board to keep important notes, shopping lists, and papers safe and in sight. More on organizing paperwork here.
6. Declutter those plastic storage containers!
If it doesn’t have a matching lid or if it’s stained or misshapen, toss it out. Better yet, switch to glass and never have to replace your plastic food storage containers again.
We’ve been using our current set for about 4 years and have only had to replace 2 lids.
7. Nest and stack
Platters, serving bowls, and mixing bowls take up tons of room unless you can stack them. I’d even go so far as to declutter a bunch of mismatched mixing bowls in favor of one set that nests perfectly.
All your mixing bowls should be able to stack. The same goes for any frying pans. You’ll save tons of cabinet space. Plus, your shelves and cupboards will look much neater.
Gorgeous Nesting Mixing Bowls
|Farberware Classic Mixing Bowls (Amazon)||OXO Stainless-Steel Mixing Bowls (Amazon)||KitchenAid Classic Mixing Bowls (Amazon)||Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls (Amazon)|
8. The 80/20 rule applies to the kitchen, too.
You probably spend 80% of your time using 20% of the items in your kitchen. This includes ingredients, appliances, dishes, etc.
Don’t hesitate to declutter those things that you never touch. You’ll save space and your cupboards will stay much tidier.
Pssst – Need help with decluttering? Check out our print book, Step-by-Step Decluttering! It’s an actual physical book, and it’s free – just pay shipping!
9. Divide your drawers
Drawer organizers instantly improve the look of shallow drawers for things like kitchen utensils, measuring cups, and small tools. You can find drawer organizers to fit any drawer or DIY your own.
If you’re not afraid of a DIY project, make custom drawer dividers using this system. We have several drawers with this system and I love how they fit perfectly.
10. Use labels
It may be clear to you how things are organized, but without labels, the rest of your family may not understand your system. Labels help everyone put things away where they belong.
Here are 10 easy ways to make labels.
This doesn’t mean your kitchen doesn’t get messed up!
Ha! As if, right? But it does mean that it’s easier to clean up and even when it’s messy, you’ll still enjoy it. And make sure to use this simple tip to keep your house cleaner. It saves me hours every month!
Organizing the kitchen makes a big difference in how efficient and attractive your kitchen is. Use these 10 principles to keep it looking and working it’s best.
Once again, 10 simple principles to organize your kitchen:
- Group small items into bins, baskets or onto trays.
- Use glass containers to store food
- Use matching rectangular storage containers
- Keep counters clear
- Be ruthless when it comes to paperwork!
- Declutter those plastic storage containers!
- Nest and stack.
- The 80/20 rule applies to the kitchen, too.
- Divide your drawers
- Use labels
Want to learn how to declutter and organize your kitchen – and ANY area of your home?
Organize Like a Boss 2.0 is here to help! Learning our OLAB principles will have you maintaining control in your home for good.