Homeowner’s Guide to Organizing Your Kitchen (2024)

Bring order to your kitchen with a smart organization and storage plan that will keep your countertop, cabinets and drawers extra tidy.

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Kitchens are hardworking spaces where cooking, gathering and an array of other tasks happen. Smart kitchen organization is what keeps the space humming in good, efficient order.

“The kitchen is often the heart of a home, where people gather and where the action is often happening,” says Amy Trager, a certified professional organizer. “To have an organized kitchen not only creates an inviting space for these gatherings, but allows for easy prep of meals, reduction in food waste and quicker clean-up time for the whole family.”

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How to Set Up a Kitchen

From plates to food processors, kitchens are typically stuffed with all manner of items, some useful, some not. Start the kitchen organizing process by taking stock of what is in your kitchen.

Like that long-expired condiment jar lurking in the back of the refrigerator, there are likely other things taking up space that have got to go. As you sort, cull duplicate items, toss or recycle what’s no longer usable and part with things you never use. Take items with life left in them to a thrift store or a charity that accepts household items.

With your stuff inventoried, assess your kitchen layout and determine where items belong. Think about how you use the space, what frequently used items need to be close at hand and what can be relegated to the far corners.

Katy Winter, founder of Katy’s Organized Home, recommends labeling cabinets with sticky notes as you start to decide what should go where.

“You have a blank slate now that everything is out of the cabinets, so it’s a good time to really think about what was working and what was not working,” says Winter.

A big picture organization plan includes solutions for the smallest of spoons and spice jars to the biggest sheet pans and stockpots. With your overarching strategy simmering, turn up the organizing heat with solutions specific to common kitchen needs.

Cooking Utensils

Store your most commonly used utensils in a drawer that’s closest to where you prep food. Use drawer dividers and trays to group like items together. Before shopping, measure your drawers to ensure you’re buying organizers that will fit and maximize space.

To keep dividers and trays in place, Shannon Krause, chief operating organizer at Tidy Nest, recommends putting museum gel or self-stick clear bumpers on the bottom of drawer organizers to keep them from sliding around.


Store dishes and glassware close to your dishwasher and sink to make putting away clean items quick. Elise Hay, founder of Organized Sanctuaries, recommends using shelf risers to maximize cabinet space.

Pots and Pans

Bulky pots and pans are best stored in a roomy lower cabinet. “The challenge is that most of those cabinet shelves are deep,” says Hay. “Installing pull-out drawers will transform the most basic kitchen cabinet into a customized space.”

Hay recommends chrome pull-out cabinet drawers to keep pots and pans in order. Another option is a DIY pot and pan pullout.


The varied shapes and sizes of cookie sheets, baking pans and specialty items like rolling pins and cookie cutters makes it challenging to keep bakeware organized. The best method is to carve out a section of your pantry or one cabinet for bakeware.

Use labeled bins to corral items like measuring cups and spoons. Shelf dividers make stacked pans more accessible. If you have a narrow vertical cabinet, break the “group like with like” rule and store large cookie sheets there. Krause recommends a bamboo organizer to keep the sheets upright.

Countertop Appliances

Just because an appliance is categorized as countertop doesn’t mean it has to be on display there, especially if you seldom use it. Only keep out what you use daily, such as your coffee maker. Trager recommends having one location for your lesser-used appliances, whether a low cabinet (many appliances are too heavy to put up too high) or a pantry shelf.

Refrigerator and Freezer Items

Group like items together in your refrigerator and freezer. Commit to a regular cleanout schedule to toss anything that’s past its prime and tidy up the rest of the contents. Krause suggests storing items in clear containers so you can see what’s inside, and using silicone Stasher Bags in the freezer to preserve the freshness of food.

Pantry Food

Zoning is the name of the pantry organizing game. “Create zones, with prioritized real estate for the items you frequently use,” says Hay. “I’m a huge fan of decanting grains, baking items and snacks into glass or plastic containers so that you can see how much you have left of each item.”

Cleaning Supplies

Underneath the sink is the most common place to store cleaning supplies. To cut down on clutter, only store items you use for cleaning in the kitchen. But if this is your home’s cleaning supply central, Trager says to organize other cleaners in a caddy that you can easily tote around the house.

Junk Drawer

All those odds and ends have to go somewhere, so Krause says to think of this space as your “utility drawer” instead. Like with utensils, drawer dividers save the day. “They’re essential to keeping the drawer tidy,” says Krause. “Everything should be contained; never ‘floating around’ in a drawer.”

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

As an expert in kitchen organization and storage, I can provide you with valuable information to bring order to your kitchen. I have extensive knowledge and experience in this area, and I will share some key concepts and tips to help you achieve a well-organized and tidy kitchen.

Importance of Kitchen Organization

A well-organized kitchen is essential for efficient cooking, easy meal preparation, and reduced food waste. It also creates an inviting space for gatherings and promotes quicker clean-up time for the whole family. By implementing smart organization strategies, you can optimize your kitchen space and make it a functional and enjoyable area in your home.

Concepts and Tips for Kitchen Organization

  1. Take Stock of Your Kitchen: Start by assessing the items in your kitchen. Get rid of expired or unused items, and consider donating items that are still in good condition to thrift stores or charities.

  2. Plan Your Kitchen Layout: Evaluate your kitchen layout and determine where each item should be stored. Consider your workflow and keep frequently used items within easy reach. Use sticky notes to label cabinets as you decide what goes where.

  3. Organize Cooking Utensils: Store your most commonly used utensils in a drawer close to your food preparation area. Use drawer dividers and trays to group similar items together. Measure your drawers before purchasing organizers to ensure a proper fit.

  4. Store Dishes and Glassware: Keep dishes and glassware near your dishwasher and sink for easy access when putting away clean items. Utilize shelf risers to maximize cabinet space.

  5. Store Pots and Pans: Store bulky pots and pans in a roomy lower cabinet. Consider installing pull-out drawers or DIY pot and pan pullouts to optimize space and improve accessibility.

  6. Organize Bakeware: Dedicate a section of your pantry or a cabinet for bakeware. Use labeled bins to corral items like measuring cups and spoons. Shelf dividers can help stack pans more efficiently.

  7. Manage Countertop Appliances: Only keep countertop appliances that you use daily, such as a coffee maker. Store lesser-used appliances in a low cabinet or pantry shelf to reduce clutter.

  8. Group Items in the Refrigerator and Freezer: Group similar items together in your refrigerator and freezer. Regularly clean out expired items and use clear containers to easily see what's inside. Consider using silicone Stasher Bags in the freezer to preserve food freshness.

  9. Create Zones in the Pantry: Organize your pantry by creating zones for frequently used items. Use glass or plastic containers to store grains, baking items, and snacks. This allows you to see how much you have left of each item.

  10. Store Cleaning Supplies: Keep cleaning supplies underneath the sink. Limit the storage of cleaning items to those specifically used in the kitchen. Consider using a caddy to easily transport cleaning supplies around the house.

  11. Organize the Junk Drawer: Instead of a cluttered junk drawer, think of it as a utility drawer. Use drawer dividers to keep items contained and organized.

These concepts and tips will help you establish an efficient and well-organized kitchen. Remember to customize the organization plan based on your specific needs and preferences.

I hope this information helps you bring order to your kitchen and create a functional space for cooking and gathering. Let me know if you have any further questions or need additional assistance!

Homeowner’s Guide to Organizing Your Kitchen (2024)
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