Clever Ways to Organize Pots and Pans of All Shapes and Sizes
Say goodbye to the unruly pots and pans taking up too much space in your kitchen. These savvy storage strategies will revolutionize how you organize pots and pans.
Pots and pans play an essential role in our ability to provide tasty and creative meals for our families—but they are also bulky, awkwardly shaped and difficult to store, especially in kitchens with limited storage space. That’s why we set out to find the best strategies for how to organize pots and pans.
Here, we’ve rounded up the best kitchen storage ideas, pantry storage ideas and kitchen organization strategies that will help you maximize your space and effortlessly store your pots and pans with room to spare.
Get Reader’s Digest’s Read Up newsletter for more organizing, cleaning, humor, travel, tech and fun facts all week long.
Try a tall, tiered organizer
Most people don’t have a complete set of pots and pans that all match and nest perfectly within one another; we have different shapes, sizes and brands that we’ve collected over the years. For these cookware collections, a tiered kitchen cabinet organizer is a perfect pick.
These products allow you to “stack” pots and pans in your cabinet without needing to rest them on top of one another. The use of racks (as opposed to solid shelves) has another benefit: It helps accommodate pieces that are all slightly different shapes and sizes.
Here’s how to organize pots and pans if you don’t have room in your cupboards and don’t mind having them on display: Hang them from hooks in your kitchen. They’ll be easy to access, and the setup provides instant character for your kitchen. Try hanging a rod with hooks over your kitchen island or installing a hanging organizer on the wall behind your stove.
Tuck them into deep drawers
Cabinets are usually the go-to spots for stashing pots and pans, but deep drawers are also very effective when it comes to how to organize pots and pans, especially if you’re using kitchen drawer organizers. Skillets or sauté pans can easily stack, while pots can nest within one another, with their lids tucked alongside.
Use racks for lids
Pot lids can be unruly, especially if yours are different sizes and feature different handle styles. One smart way to organize them is by using a rack. Don’t want to invest in a new kitchen tool? You could even use a dish-drying rack tucked into a drawer or cabinet. This will allow the lids to stand up on their sides without toppling over.
Repurpose pantry space
While your pantry or butler’s pantry is primarily meant for food storage, their taller shelves may be the perfect place for storing large stock pots or Dutch ovens (alongside small kitchen appliances like a blender or food processor). Utilizing your pantry to store large pots means that they are still easily accessible from your kitchen but aren’t taking up coveted cabinet space near your stove. While you’re at it, also learn out how an appliance garage can also help organize your kitchen better.
Don’t forget the oven drawer
You know that drawer beneath your oven that some people use as a warming drawer and in some ovens is actually a broiler? Well, in all ovens, it makes a great storage space for cookie sheets, muffin tins, baking pans and other similar pans that aren’t tall and can be easily stacked on top of one another.
Install cabinet dividers
Let’s face it: Pots and pans, especially those with long handles, take up a lot of space when sitting flat. And not every cabinet is wide enough for a tiered pot organizer—some are narrower, especially those in the prime real estate on either side of your oven. For kitchens with narrow cabinets, installing permanent cabinet dividers is a smart bet (this is also a great small-kitchen storage idea).
These are typically wood or whatever material your cabinets are built from and are installed vertically to allow you to stand skillets, baking pans and lids on their sides in individual compartments. If you don’t want to build permanent dividers, you can use removable acrylic or plastic dividers instead.
Create a cookware accent wall
Accent walls featuring a pop of color or stylish wallpaper are all the rage, so why not use your cookware to create an accent wall in your kitchen? Install racks with hooks on a tall, narrow wall, or cover the entire wall with a pegboard and then use hooks to hang your pots, pans and other kitchen tools on the wall. You’ll certainly save on decor!
Rethink the cabinets under your sink
When it comes to organizing a kitchen sink and under-sink cabinets, most people focus on their cleaning products. And yet in many kitchens, these cabinets are some of the largest in the entire space. Consider moving your cleaning products to a closet near the kitchen or to a closet or cabinets in your first-floor bathroom, then use the under-sink cabinets for your pots and pans.
Try standing the larger pans on end on either side of the sink basin and stacking the lids in the middle. Or invest in an under-sink organizer that helps you corral your pots and pans without wasting space.
Use a standing rack or cart
Considering the fact that kitchens have a set amount of cabinet space and we tend to continue accumulating new pots and pans over time, sometimes we simply run out of built-in space. In these instances (and if you don’t have ceiling or wall space for hanging), a standing pot rack or cart can do the trick. Tuck it into a corner of your kitchen or walk-in pantry, and you’ll instantly have more storage space.
Trying to figure out how to organize pots and pans without keeping them in plain sight? An alternate idea is to use a standing rack for your more eye-catching dishware or a rolling cart for your frequently used cooking items (this is a great spice storage idea). Then place your pots and pans into the cabinets you’ll have freed up in the process.