Master Clean’s Ultimate Guide to Organizing Your Kitchen
The time has come for you to organize your kitchen. Or maybe it isn’t your whole kitchen – perhaps you mainly want to organize your kitchen cabinets. Or you are looking into solutions for organizing your pantry. Maybe you’ve got most other things sorted out, but you are struggling with how to organize your drawers.
Whatever your story is, I couldn’t be more thrilled to help. I know how life-giving it is to have a clean, well-organized home, and the kitchen can be the most challenging room to maintain.
Look no further! Consider this your essential guide to designing and maintaining a well-organized kitchen!
Table of Contents:
Know what works well for your mind.
No two minds work the same. Everyone is unique in their tastes and how they process information. Checking boxes off a random checklist from the first housekeeping blog you find won’t necessarily lead you to your best solution. Instead, take any advice for what it is – advice – and be conscientious about your unique needs when you organize your kitchen.
For example, suppose your mind easily keeps track of your pantry’s inventory. For you, a tip recommending that you use clear storage containers, so you don’t forget what you have, will be less of a priority to you than decorating with pretty bamboo containers that better match your taste!
Make a plan.
Before you do anything, make a clear plan for yourself. This plan can include blocking out your time, mapping out where you hope things will go, composing a Pinterest board with inspiration for your aesthetic, and even budgeting for new storage containers and other fantastic solutions.
Your plan should be flexible enough to accommodate unexpected discoveries – and you will make unexpected discoveries – but it should be helpful to guide you towards your goal. Familiarize yourself with your kitchen and map out the places you are confident certain things will go.
Make it fun!
You may think this is a silly, unnecessary tip, but I think of it as essential! Learning how to organize your kitchen can quickly become tedious and overwhelming, and as you lose steam, you may start cutting corners in ways that disappoint you later.
Put on some music that excites you or a podcast you find captivating. Play your favorite TV show or movie in the background to listen to passively. Keep your favorite snack on hand.
Linking your chores with things you love will make getting an organized kitchen feel less exhausting and encourage you the next time you have an ambitious task on your to-do list.
What You’ll Need
Get some exciting organizational supplies!
You can, of course, organize your kitchen without investing in supplies. Everything I recommend in this guide is possible without following this step. If you have the means, though, then I couldn’t recommend this step more highly.
Below is a list of worthwhile supplies to help you organize your kitchen with a high level of flexibility and to maximize the space available in your kitchen and pantry.
Clear glass or plastic storage containers for dry foods.
I highly recommend investing in transparent containers and getting into the habit of ditching the food’s original packaging. These will make it clear to you what food you have and when you are running low. Additionally, because you are able to control the container sizes you use, you can be confident it will fit both your cabinets and your intended design! This bundle of airtight storage containers from Chef’s Path checks all of my boxes!
The caveat to this tip is that you will want to cultivate a habit of transferring food from its original packaging to its place in your containers. Adopting this habit can be an adjustment, but in my experience, it is well worth it.
Glass containers for storing perishables.
Organizing Tupperware is always a nightmare. The best way to get ahead of it is to invest in storage containers that are transparent and stack easily. Find a brand you love. Return to them when you notice you need more.
I prefer using glass because it feels sturdy and can typically microwave safely. Glass is also easier to wash than plastic, which can sometimes stain and hold odors. This set of Bayco’s glass containers is a great bang for one’s buck and is a great place to begin your collection.
Are you on a budget? Perhaps being thrifty is a core value of yours. Whatever your story, consider this alternative:
Save grocery containers. Glass jars for pasta sauce or pickles, spice containers, even the plastic Tupperware-like containers for cold cuts are all great solutions for upcycling packaging from the grocery store. You sacrifice control over size and shape, but this is an excellent alternative to purchasing new storage.
I love labeling my storage containers. Not only does it tie my storage together in an unexpectedly appealing way, but it also helps ensure that I never forget a container’s purpose. These washable chalkboard labels on Amazon are great. Unlike using printed labels or permanent marker, these allow you the flexibility of changing the purpose of your containers without replacing the whole label!
Do you have a lot of little things that tend to get lost behind each other? Consider buying a few turntables like this Lazy Susan from Greenstell. Turntables make it easy to rotate through small or medium items that each get a lot of use. Now you can forget about reaching behind things, knocking containers over, or forgetting about what is at the very back of your cabinet!
Use hanging shelf racks for additional storage
It can be easy to overlook, but if your shelves are full of shorter objects, you may be losing a lot of vertical space. There is a tremendous variety of hangable shelf racks that help you make the most of this often-overlooked space. This wire shelf rack by Auledio looks great and won’t break the bank!
Don’t lose sight of walls, the inside of cabinet doors, and even the sides of your appliances as useable storage space! Use hooks as tools to hang pots and pans, cooking utensils, and even decorations! You can find screw-in hooks like these on Amazon or any hardware store. I’ve even used these magnetic hooks to make the sides of my appliances useable storage space!
Drawer trays and tension spacers
I get frustrated when items in drawers slide or roll to the back. The first step to solving this problem is to fill every drawer you own with shallow bins like these – as many as it takes to organize the occupants of that drawer.
The second step is to get a tension spacer to keep your bins at the front of your drawers! Adjustable dividers like these ones on Amazon are great because they can keep your bins up at the front, as I like to do. They can even organize your drawers without the need for a bin!
These steps combined go a long way towards making your drawers feel less cluttered and noisy, which can make using your kitchen feel that much more fun!
If you can, buy more than you think you need.
I want to be sensitive to every reader’s budget, so this solution is not for everyone. Speaking only from my experience, I know how irritating it is to underestimate my storage needs and get into the middle of this chore, only to need to run to the store for more.
If you can, err on the side of buying more than you may need. Keep your receipt! If, after you’ve finished, you have unused containers, return them!
How to Organize Your Kitchen
Declutter your kitchen
You’ve got a plan, and you’ve got everything you need for storage – it’s time to get to work! The first step is decluttering your kitchen. What does that mean?
Start by emptying your cabinets, drawers, and pantry. If you feel ambitious, you can even unpack your fridge and aim to replace grocery containers in there. However far you decide to go, this is the moment to organize your items into the piles you want them organized with when you put them back.
Take stock of what you don’t need anymore. Do you have lots of redundant kitchen utensils? How many of your dishes or small appliances have gone unused for years? Things you go a few months without using are acceptable to keep, of course. But if it has been several years since you have used that pasta maker, and your only expectation for using it in the future is a field dream, then give it and any redundant items away.
We live in a culture of excess, and we get carried away believing that “I might use it one day, so I must keep it!” No! If it doesn’t serve a clear purpose, it doesn’t get used, and it doesn’t regularly add joy to your life, then you don’t need to keep it. It may bless somebody else! Give it away to a loved one or local thrift store, and make more space for the things that matter to you.
Clean your kitchen cabinets and drawers!
It isn’t often that your cabinets, drawers, shelves, and pantry are empty like this. Take advantage of the moment and give them a thorough clean. It isn’t as hard as it sounds!
Start from the top and work your way down. Dust high shelves to start, and use a kitchen-safe all-purpose cleaner like Method’s to clean the surfaces. Paper towels work fine, but I recommend using a cleaning rag instead. It creates much less waste!
Once you get down to the drawers, pull the drawers out and shake them into your sink or trash bin. Then clean them with the same all-purpose cleaner you used for the cabinets and shelves, and replace them once finished!
Now organize your kitchen. Start small!
Look at the piles of items you have organized, and seek out the larger, infrequently used ones. Relegate them up high or towards the back of deep cabinets. Remember! These should be items you don’t use very often.
Putting these away first will make it easier to organize the more important, forward-facing items first. You are also more likely to gain momentum. If you start by putting away the more challenging, tedious piles of objects, you will likely lose energy fast. You don’t want to run out of steam before you get anything meaningful done!
Reserve the most accessible places for the most used items.
It seems obvious but is worth mentioning – make the items you use most the easiest to access! You will be frustrated if you store the blender you use every day on a high shelf, while the china you only break out for holidays is front and center.
Be considerate of how you use your kitchen and design your system to accommodate your needs. Your strategy may evolve, so be willing to make changes now and again to make using your kitchen as friendly to you as possible.
Take stock of valuable extra space.
Don’t overlook the tops of cabinets, empty walls, the sides of your appliances, and even the inside of your cabinet doors as plausible storage space. It may take some ingenuity, but you probably have more space than you realize.
Here are a few great tips to get you started:
Use small hooks to hang measuring cups and spoons on the inside of cabinet doors.
Measuring cups and spoons can be needlessly frustrating! They often come on rings that make them difficult to separate from one another, but removing them from the ring often leads to us tossing them into a drawer, and then we can’t easily find the size we want.
Use small hooks on the inside of a cabinet door to hang each size cup or spoon individually, and use pretty labels to mark where each size goes.
Use plate-display mounts like these to hang your pot and pan lids on the wall above your counters or wherever looks beautiful to you. If you prefer to keep these lids out of sight, you can consider mounting these to the insides of your cabinets as well. If you do, make sure you don’t place them in a way that prevents the cabinet doors from closing!
Many kitchen cabinets don’t reach the ceiling. Organize your least-used and most attractive kitchen tools and appliances up top, and fill additional space with decorative figurines and low-maintenance or faux potted plants
The hard stuff
I don’t want to overlook a couple of the most frustrating items to organize in the kitchen: Food storage containers like Tupperware, as well as lids for pots & pans.
How to organize Tupperware and Tupperware lids
Invest in stackable food storage containers you love! Cheap, plastic Tupperware from the grocery stores is OK. Building a collection of microwave-safe, clear containers that you love is better! Then, you can collect the same kind anytime you need more. They will also be easier to organize than if you have an assortment of different brands, styles, and sizes.
Look into organizers designed for this purpose! There are great solutions like this one on Amazon that fit well into most kitchen drawers and go a long way to supporting your efforts to keep your food storage container lids organized.
DIY a solution using wooden dowels! Fastening wooden dowels in a grid onto a board that you place into a drawer can be a pretty, affordable way to create your solution for organizing all sorts of lids – baking sheets too!
How to organize lids for pots and pans
I already mentioned using decorative plate mounts as a superb solution for hanging your pot and pan lids in easy-to-reach places. My previous DIY tip for organizing your Tupperware is also an excellent solution for managing pot and pan lids.
Get creative! Look for ways to get your pot and pan lids standing vertically without making them challenging to remove or put back.
You’ve finished organizing your kitchen. You feel proud about how tidy functional you’ve made it. Don’t stop there! Being thoughtful about decorating this space will make your kitchen feel that much more like home.
Potted plants and pretty figurines make a huge difference! Look out for additional ways to elevate your functional items to make them attractive as well.
One great idea is to DIY a driftwood hanger to hang pots and pans on an available wall instead of screwing in multiple hooks directly.
Another is to use ribbon to tie bows around cookie jars, sugar pots, and other storage containers to give them some life! Remember, this is your opportunity to make this kitchen reflect who you are!
Don’t get lazy with maintenance!
It doesn’t take very much for your well-organized kitchen to fall back into a disorganized mess. The truth is, I’ve never needed to take more than an extra ten seconds to put something where I know it goes.
Usually, when I’m tired after a long day, I get lazy and toss Tupperware haphazardly into its drawer instead of taking a breath and neatly placing it in its home.
The tips above should make this harder, as any given object’s home will now be a neat, organized space, but try to remember how life-giving it feels to have everything neat and tidy, and take the time to maintain your organized kitchen!
We at Master Clean USA believe that a clean, organized home can be life-changing. We exist to improve the lives of those we serve, one clean home at a time. Learning how to organize the kitchen and keep it in order can make a tremendous difference. We hope this guide helped you!
Are you interested in more helpful advice for maintaining a clean home? Keep an eye on our blog for more awesome tips!
As an Amazon Associate, Master Clean USA earns from qualifying purchases.