How to Organize Kitchen Cabinets

Evelyn Long

Dec 17, 2019


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Organizing your kitchen cabinets can be very rewarding and satisfying and make cooking meals much simpler. However, it can be difficult to decide where to start, not to mention a little overwhelming. Your kitchen holds a plethora of tools and shelves full of food, especially if you’re cooking for a big family.

Take organizing one step at a time to make the process a little less intimidating. Soon enough, your kitchen will be much more functional and much less chaotic. Here’s how to organize kitchen cabinets.

Declutter Your Cabinets

A variety of dishes and bowels on two white shelves

The first step to a more organized kitchen is downsizing your inventory. Start by taking everything out of your food pantry and cabinets.

Hold each can of beans, bag of rice or coffee mug in your hand and decide whether to keep it, toss it or donate it. You’ll most likely discover there’s a lot more stuff hiding in your cabinets than you originally thought.

Let go of items you haven’t used in a while or make a big casserole with some of the canned food or soup you might have forgotten you had. You can also donate non-perishables to ensure your excess pantry goods are going to those who need them most.

Finally, keep a running list for your next grocery trip. Decluttering will open your eyes to both items you already have and things you might need to stock up on.

Deep Clean

A woman wiping down a counter with a rag

Now that your cabinets are empty, take some time to deep clean them. You might be surprised by how grimy these surfaces can get after years of food storage.

Wipe down shelves, as well as the outside surfaces of all cabinets and drawers. Wash your pantry out with warm soapy water and be sure to dry them completely with a towel.

Are your cabinets sparkling clean? Now is a great time to add some extra shelves, hooks or drawer liners to help you organize items once you’re ready to put everything back.

Categorize Your Supplies

Wooden kitchen drawers with silverware sorted

Think of your kitchen in zones — washing, prepping, cooking and eating. Group items used in each respective zone and store them all in that area. For example, you could keep prep tools like rolling pins, measuring cups and whisks together in one drawer. You could keep eating utensils like bowls, plates, flatware and cups on one side of the kitchen.

Meanwhile, keep everything needed for washing dishes, like dishcloths and detergent, in a cabinet under the sink.

You might also categorize food items by type, like breakfast, lunch and dinner, and organize them in these groups.

Prioritize Necessary Tools

A variety of cooking utensils and tools on a wooden shelf to be orgaanized in kitchen cabinets

Place the tools and foods you use most often in the easiest-to-reach places, like eye-level shelves or the very front of the food pantry. Feel free to rearrange items for a day or two while you get a feel for what foods and tools you use the most.

Label cabinets with painters tape or sticky notes to remind you where items are while you get accustomed to the items’ new locations.

Utilize All Available Space

A variety of kitchen tools and pots hung above the stove and sink

Once you’ve decided where to keep everything, work on finding new ways to store them so you locate things quickly and easily. Consider installing roll-out shelves in deep cabinets or adjustable drawer dividers to reduce clutter. Place hooks on the inside of cabinet doors to hang pots, pans or mugs. Use risers to take advantage of vertical space to avoid huge stacks of plates or bowls.

If you can’t keep things out of sight, purchase wooden baskets or glass containers to store spices, spoons or herbs on the counter, ready to use.

You could also install a floating shelf or hooks over kitchen counters to hang cutting boards or small pans.

Maintain Organization Over Time

Organize kitchen cabinets with hanging pots and clear counters

Of course, after spending hours to organize your kitchen cabinets, you’ll want to make sure they stay that way. Regularly declutter shelves, drawers and cabinets to keep everything tidy, and refrain from buying more food than you need at one time. This will save money, cut down on food waste and keep your kitchen organized all at the same time.

It’s also a good idea to purchase multiuse items, like a blender that also works as a food processor or a multi-function pressure cooker. This will help cut down on the number of tools you need to store and organize and simplify cooking.

How to Organize Kitchen Cabinets — And Keep Them That Way

Maintaining a clean, organized kitchen will reduce stress and make cooking an enjoyable experience. Who knows — you might actually find yourself opting to cook instead of ordering take-out every other night.

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