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46 Kitchen Organization Ideas You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

If your cooking space is getting out of hand, it's time for a makeover. These tricks will make your kitchen more organized and productive.

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The benefits of keeping your kitchen neat

They say everything has its place and this was never more true than in the kitchen. An organized kitchen can save time, prevent food waste, and let’s face it, it’s a lot more attractive and cheaper than remodeling. With the help of a few experts, we put together kitchen organization ideas and helpful tips to organize your kitchen cupboards, clean up your kitchen counters, pantry organization ideas, and more. The best part? Most of these kitchen organization tips are fast, easy, and free or inexpensive, to implement.

Be sure to check out our general closet organizing ideas, linen closet organization ideas, and utility closet tips, too.

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Purge your drawers and cabinets

Maybe you loved the idea of a juicer but only ever eat toast for breakfast. Or you used to be into baking but now you’ve put your focus into healthy meals. The top kitchen organization idea is to stop thinking about the stuff, and start thinking about your life and how you want to live, says Laura Cattano, professional organizer and founder of Organizational Design. “If it’s not adding to your life, it’s directly taking away from it because it’s taking space away from something else.” If you rarely use an item, it might be time to let go and get rid of the clutter.

opened cupboard with kitchenware insideKutlayev Dmitry/Shutterstock

Group by need, not by item

You might keep your masher and microplane grater by the stove with other long-handled items like cooking spatulas, but that’s not the most convenient setup. “There are three things that happen in the kitchen: prep, cook, and serve,” says Cattano. “The best thing is to zone out your kitchen by those categories.” You might keep your spatulas by the stove, but your potato masher belongs near your countertop and big bowls. Take it a step further by asking exactly when you use each item. For instance, there’s no reason your mugs need to be by your water glasses, but putting them next to the coffee maker will save you from running all over your kitchen in the morning, says Cattano. This also helps you set up your kitchen so you can eat healthier.

Collection of stylish shoes on rack storage near white wall in roomNew Africa/Shutterstock

Set up a drop zone by the door

“The kitchen is still one of the first places we go when we enter a home,” says Maeve Richmond, founder and coach of organizing company Maeve’s Method. “All the stuff of life that comes in the door accumulates in the kitchen.” To keep your meal space from becoming a catchall for your purse, wallet, and gym bag, Richmond recommends setting up a “drop zone” by your door to set those things as you’re walking in. You might make it a permanent home for your wallet and keys, and a temporary place to drop your workout gear while you’re putting away groceries.

RELATED: How to Organize Your Closet Once and for All

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Make a place for mail

Taking just five minutes to go through your mail daily or every other day will keep that pile of papers under control so you don’t lose documents in the shuffle when you actually do need them. “The mail just keeps coming,” says Jodie Watson, founder and president of Supreme Organization. “Keep trimming it down so you’re not losing items in the mix.” Instead of leaving it by your eating space, designate an area that has a basket for papers, and hang a bulletin board to write messages and reminders, she says.

RELATED: How to Stop Getting So Much Junk Mail

Various seeds in storage jars in pantry, white modern kitchen in background. Smart kitchen organizationArturs Budkevics/Shutterstock

Adjust the height of your shelves

Don’t let your shelf height define how you use your space. People tend to put cereal on a top shelf because that’s the one with the most space, but it’d be easier to reach on a lower shelf, says Watson. On the other hand, too much space for canned goods and you’ll probably start stacking items into an ugly, unstable pile. If your shelves aren’t already adjustable, buy shelf dividers to split one shelf into two, says Richmond. “Re-spacing the shelves takes away the messiness because things aren’t stacked,” says Richmond. Once you fix your shelves, try these other genius pantry organization ideas.

Different appliances, clean dishes and utensils on kitchen counterNew Africa/Shutterstock

Store small appliances you don’t use on a daily basis

Feel free to leave appliances you use daily, like a coffee maker or toaster, on the counter. But anything you aren’t using every day should be stored in a cabinet to make more room on the counter. “Nobody likes to have to put the appliance away, but balance that against the precious countertop space,” says Richmond. “There’s the convenience of having it out, but it’s more convenient to be able to chop more vegetables or have a cleaner space.”

RELATED: 13 Items in Your Kitchen You Need to Throw Out Already

Kitchen utensils on a modern home kitchen table top, front view background with blank space for a textFortyforks/Shutterstock

Keep your cooking utensils within reach

Store your spatulas, servings spoons, etc. next to the stove in an attractive ceramic container or a simple mason jar. But don’t overstuff it, cautions Cattano. “Not every single cooking utensil needs to be right by the stove,” says Cattano.  Leave out the ones you use most often, but hide the rest in a drawer.

Groceries on kitchen counterImage Source/Getty Images

Buy only what you need

If you find yourself leaving food out simply because you don’t have room in a cupboard, it might be time to start cutting down. “We want to save money, and it’s good to buy in bulk, but if you don’t have space for it, changing the way you shop might be more helpful,” says Watson. She recommends first going through your pantry to take stock of what you already have. Then head to the store less often so you have a chance to use up what you have before refilling your cabinet.

Bottles on kitchen worktop, close-upJohner Images/Getty Images

Organize your oils

Exposure to light can make cooking oils go rancid. If you like having them on the counter, put them in opaque containers and stylize them so they don’t just look like clutter. “Put a tray under them so it looks intentional,” says Cattano.

Food storage containers in the kitchenOlga Shumytskaya/Getty Images

Divide your storage containers by size

Reusable storage containers such as Bentgo bowls are ideal for storing leftovers or taking lunches to school and work. However, due to space constraints, the lids and bottoms are usually separated for storage when you stack the containers together. There’s just one problem—it can be hard to find the right lid when you need it. Luckily, there’s an easy solution. If you’re storing your storage containers in a drawer, separate them with drawer dividers. Place large containers in one section, large lids in another, small containers in one section, small lids in another, etc. This will make sure you don’t have to dig through a pile of lids the next time you need one.

 

 

High Angle View Of Smart Phone Charging Against White BackgroundSuparat Malipoom/Getty Images

Create a hidden charging station

Kitchens aren’t just for cooking anymore. In recent years, they’ve also become the go-to place for family members who need to charge their phones. Tamara Day, host of the HGTV show Bargain Mansions, has a kitchen organization tip to help you unclutter your counter of electronics by creating a hidden charging station for your electronics and phone accessories. She says, ” It’s such an easy thing to create by using an extension cord with a power strip in the back of a drawer. All of the cords and plug-ins are hidden in the back of the drawer and you can have a moment of electronic free space in the heart of your home.”

 

Kitchen With Floating ShelvesGarrett Aitken/Getty Images

Mount floating shelves

If a lack of cabinet space is preventing you from decluttering your home, mount floating shelves on the walls to create extra storage. Since the items you put there will be visible, fill it with items that can be incorporated into your decor. Beautiful vases, teapots, and bowls are great items to showcase in open areas. Day also suggests storing heirloom items in the open, where they can be enjoyed, “I have all of my great grandma’s and grandma’s platters stacked in my kitchen on open shelves. I am reminded of these incredible women every time I reach to use the platters and it makes me super happy.”

 

coking tools and cutting board in kitchenSvetlana-Cherruty/Getty Images

Store baking sheets and cutting boards vertically

You can save a great deal of space and create a far more pleasing aesthetic by storing your baking sheets vertically within a deep cupboard. This adjustable rack has seven slots to keep your baking sheets, cutting boards, and other thin items like pizza pans, easy to reach and organized.

 

New North American HomeFOTOGRAFIA INC./Getty Images

Utilize under the cupboard space

Let empty spaces inspire your kitchen organizing ideas. The space under your cupboard is the perfect spot for storing wine glasses, martini glasses, and other stemware. Stemware holders are easy to mount underneath your cupboard so you hang stemmed glasses and keep the lower part of your cabinets free for something else. They also make it convenient to grab one when you want to sip some vino or cut a cake with a wine glass.

 

Close-Up Of Spray Bottles In KitchenIan Melding/Getty Images

Keep cleaning products in bins under the sink

If you have to crouch down and move things around underneath the sink to find your oven cleaner, chances are you need to do a little bit of organizing down there. Group your house cleaning supplies together in a plastic caddy with your sponges, scrubbers, and rubber gloves so you can grab them easily when it’s time to tackle your next cleaning project.

 

Assorted dried spices in glass jarsstockstudioX/Getty Images

Corral spices in a cabinet lazy Susan

If you’ve got a cupboard full of spices, it can be hard to find the garlic powder when you need it. If you place your spices on a cabinet lazy Susan, you can easily rotate them to read the labels and find what you need. Pro tip: Put tall containers in the center and small containers near the edge so all labels will be visible. This is also the perfect time to check the expiration date and dispose of spices past their prime.

 

Cat on top of refrigeratorJudy Davidson/Getty Images

Put the space on top of your refrigerator and cabinets to work

If you’ve got empty space on top of your refrigerator or cabinets, don’t let it go to waste. This is the perfect place to store the large, bulky items you don’t use every day, like a Kitchenaid stand mixer. In addition to your stand mixer, the empty space is also a good place to store cookbooks and decorative items like baskets, plants, or vintage flea market finds.

 

Set of knives on magnetic holdereddygaleotti/Getty Images

Install a magnetic strip for your knives

Counter-top kitchen knife holders take up unnecessary space in your kitchen. To give your counters a much cleaner look, install a magnetic knife holder on the wall. This will create extra space on your countertop, and since the knives will be visible, it will be easy to grab the right one the next time you need to chop vegetables.

 

Mug stands in a coffee machinefottograff/Getty Images

Consolidate your coffee makers

It’s hard to stay organized if your kitchen is packed with too many things. Whether you’ve got a single-cup coffee maker, a carafe coffee maker, and an espresso machine, we admire your dedication to a perfect cup of coffee! Unfortunately, though, all of those appliances take up an awful lot of space. You can whittle it down to just one machine with the Nespresso Vertuo Next. It makes coffee by the cup, carafe, and even makes shots of espresso. Plus, devotees swear it tastes as good as anything you’d get in a coffee shop.

 

Coffee capsulesSergio Amiti/Getty Images

Store coffee capsules underneath your coffee machine

Speaking of coffee, if you use a capsule coffee machine like a Nespresso or Keurig, all those little pods can take up a great deal of space. Instead of allocating the premium real estate in your pantry to store them, opt for a storage drawer designed to fit underneath your coffee machine like this one from DecoBros. It will instantly create more space in your kitchen and also save you time since the capsules will be stored right in the same place you use them.

 

Hang your pots and pans

Sometimes the best kitchen cabinet organization tips involve taking things out of the cabinets altogether. Pots and pans don’t just take up a lot of space—they can be messy and disorganized if you keep them in a deep cupboard. This KES ceiling pot rack mounts above your kitchen island (or wherever you have space) and includes 20 hooks for hanging your pans. What’s more, there’s a sturdy shelf on top for your pots or other kitchen gadgets. It’s an easy way to organize your pots and pans.

 

Kitchen silverware organizerJorg Greuel/Getty Images

Use a flatware organizer

A flatware organizer makes it easy to grab salad forks when you need a salad fork or dinner fork when you need a dinner fork and makes it a cinch to set the table. This Copco Flatware Expandable Bamboo Drawer Organizer will work for nearly every kitchen since it can be expanded to fit custom drawers or specialty-shaped drawers when necessary.

 

Paper Towel Holdervia amazon.com

Hang paper towels inside a cabinet door

Paper towels are another item that takes up far too much space on a kitchen counter. Plus, let’s face it, they aren’t that pretty. This over-the-cabinet paper towel holder by mDesign drapes over the top of your cabinet, so you can install it without tools. It even has a top caddy for sponges and reusable scrubbers.

 

The kitchen is a playground for bacteria, keep it cleanCharday Penn/Getty Images

Convert to all-purpose dishwashing liquid

Chances are you have a container of dishwashing liquid and a container of dishwasher detergent underneath the sink. Instead of buying two products that take up twice the space, switch to a single product like The Laundress Dish Detergent, which is made to work in both the sink and the dishwasher. What’s more, it’s super concentrated so you can get up to 192 dishwashing uses out of a 16-ounce bottle. Just be sure you don’t clean these things with dish soap. 

 

Overhead view of a woman cleaning her gas hobJustin Paget/Getty Images

Switch to multi-purpose cleaner

Dishwashing liquid isn’t the only thing that can do double-duty. Instead of cluttering the space underneath your sink with specialty cleaners that only fulfill a single purpose, switch to a multi-purpose cleaner. This will create less waste and keep you organized by freeing up a great deal of space in your kitchen. This three-pack of Sensitive Home All-Purpose Cleaner works wonders on granite, tile, counters, mirrors, and windows. Another option is switching to DIY cleaners and using ordinary products you already have around the house.

 

Person removing lid from cooking potPhotoAlto/Laurence Mouton/Getty Images

Store pot lids vertically

If you’re storing your pot lids in a drawer, you know how annoying it is to sift through them when you’re hunting for the right size. Storing them vertically in a pot lid organizer will ensure that they’re neater and more organized. You’ll also save yourself from listening to a lot of banging and clanging the next time someone is searching for a lid for their pots and pans.

 

A modern kitchenImage Source/Getty Images

Place the items you use the most within easy reach

A truly organized kitchen will differ from home to home since different people have different needs. If you use your blender to whip up smoothies every morning, make it easy on yourself by keeping your blender within easy reach. Other items that you use less frequently can be stored in less convenient places, like the bowels of a deep cupboard.

 

Drawer Organizervia amazon.com

Add dividers to your junk drawer

Your junk drawer doesn’t have to be junky. All those miscellaneous items can be separated and organized so you can find them again. Drawer organizers will help keep pens, batteries, receipts, and more uncluttered so your junk drawer doesn’t turn into a disaster zone.

 

Senior man recycling cardboard in paper bankWestend61/Getty Images

Remove excess packaging

What do Bota Box Cabernet Sauvignon and Omaha Steaks have in common, aside from being great meal companions? They both come in cardboard packaging! Place the cardboard in the recycling bin and put the bag of wine in your pantry or refrigerator. Then do the same with the cardboard box before you place your steaks in the freezer. This space-saving storage idea will free up room in both areas. For even more space, survey the rest of your kitchen and create extra space by recycling frozen pizza boxes and other bulky cardboards.

 

amazon Echovia amazon.com

Get a smart home device

It’s hard to do two things at once, and in the kitchen, you’re nearly always doing something with your hands. A smart home device like an Echo Show 10 with an HD video display makes it easier to multitask and stay organized since it responds to voice commands. Ask it to add to your grocery list while you’re chopping cilantro, listen to music, or use it to find recipes or cooking videos. You can also use it to adjust the lights in your house, make video calls, and more.

 

Person with protective plastic gloves cleaning inside the fridge with a ballotAitor Diago/Getty Images

Clean your refrigerator

Cleaning your fridge and keeping it organized is important because an overcrowded fridge not only leads to decreased energy efficiency and bad airflow, but it also makes you more likely to forget about food and waste it,” says Lauren Bowen with Two Maids and a Mop. The first step to organize your fridge is to empty it out completely. “Use this chance to reevaluate the space your fridge has, plan ahead for how you will reorganize it, and discard old and unnecessary items to free up more space,” Bowen says. When you’re ready to put your perishables back inside, group similar items in clear plastic refrigerator bins for maximum organization.

 

Woman taking cups out from shelfLeren Lu/Getty Images

Arrange by size in deep cupboards

You’re not likely to find the baking soda if it’s hiding behind a tall carton of cornmeal. When filling your cupboards, place taller items in the back of shorter ones so you can glimpse them all at the same time without pulling things out of the cupboard.

 

food cupboard, pantry with jarsMiroslav Pesek/Getty Images

Invest in clear containers for pantry staples

Packets of rice and grains, and pouches of kids’ juices can turn into an unsightly pile. “Those are tiny and annoying—but great in a bin,” says Cattano. “You can fit more in the cabinet, and when you’re looking for one thing, you just pull down one bin to find it.” Plus, when you store dry goods in clear containers, you’ll know when it’s time to replenish them. Note: Be sure to label them since it’s all too easy to mistake salt for sugar. Take control of your kitchen space with 50 more organizing tips you’ll wish you knew all along.

 

Used plastic containers filling up kitchen dustbinMint Images/Getty Images

Separate trash from recycling in a jiffy 

Instead of keeping your garbage in one bin and your recycling in another, keep it clean and organized by using one receptacle to hold both. This Simplehuman 46 Liter Can operates with a foot pedal and features a divider to keep your trash separated from your recycling bin.

 

Pull Out Drawervia amazon.com

Install pull-out cabinet drawers

If you’re tired of trying to find what you need in the back of deep cabinets, pull-out cabinet drawers are about to become your new best friend. They’re easy to install and make it easy to grab your pots and mixing bowls and get back to business. You can also install them underneath the sink for quick access to cleaners and dish detergent.

 

kitchen rack hanging with kitchen utensilsPhonlamaiPhoto/Getty Images

Mount utensil racks

If you’ve got a limited amount of drawer or counter space, there’s probably room for large utensil racks on the side of your cabinets or your walls. As an added bonus, it makes it easy to grab common kitchen utensils when you’re cooking.

 

Directly above shot of canned food on turquoise backgroundthe_burtons/Getty Images

Organize your cans

When your cupboard is wall-to-wall cans, it’s hard to see if there’s any chicken noodle soup since the cans in the front block the cans in the back. A multi-tier can rack will keep you neat and organized and impress anyone who happens to be there when you open your cabinet.

 

kitchen door hangervia amazon.com

Take advantage of over the door hangers 

If you reuse plastic bags from the grocery store, you need somewhere to store them. This Sunny Point Over Cabinet Door Storage Organizer can be hanged over the back of a cabinet door without using any tools. It holds up to 50 plastic bags so they’re organized and out of your way until you need them.

 

Set of measuring cups or measuring spoons use in cooking in top viewLaura Evans/Getty Images

Hang your measuring supplies

Install small adhesive hooks on the back of your cupboard to hang measuring cups, measuring spoons, and other small items. You’ll create more space in your drawer and it will be simple to pick the right size the next time you’re whipping up dinner.

 

Kitchen Storage Rackvia amazon.com

Use the space next to your oven or refrigerator

Even the smallest empty spaces can play a big part when it comes to organizing your kitchen. If you’ve got a narrow space next to your oven or refrigerator, put it to use with a narrow organizer rack and fill it with spices and other essentials you use regularly while cooking.

 

hanging basket shelfvia amazon.com

Install shelf baskets underneath your cabinet

Overcrowded cabinets are the opposite of organized. Install shelf baskets under your cupboard to hold dish towels, aluminum foil, or other items you reach for frequently. It will make them easy to find and leave you with extra cupboard space.

 

Several colored pet bottles with drinking water close-up. Polypropylene food productsrbkomar/Getty Images

Contain your water bottles

Are there reusable water bottles strewn throughout every nook and cranny in your house? Despite this do you still have to spend valuable time helping your kids find theirs when they’re getting ready to leave? Put a water bottle holder in the cabinet so you’ll always know where to find them.

 

Cozy loft kitchen with dinning table, chairs and metal storage racks on wheels - trolleyOksana_Bondar/Getty Images

Put together a themed rolling cart

Group items together onto a rolling cart so you can easily wheel them wherever you plan to use them—then push them back into a closet or corner when you’re done. For example, you could use it to hold baking equipment, coffee essentials, or bartending tools. It will save you time gathering supplies the next time you want an espresso or cocktail.

 

Potatoes in a Hanging BasketSteve_Milner/Getty Images

Hang produce in baskets

You shouldn’t keep certain products in your fridge, but that doesn’t mean you want those tomatoes or garlic cloves cluttering up your counter. Instead, put them in hanging produce baskets, instead. They’re convenient and attractive and will help your produce last longer.

Frozen food in the freezer. Frozen vegetables, soup, ready mealsQwart/Getty Images

Repurpose plastic magazine holders in your freezer

“Chances are, if you’re looking to organize your kitchen storage space, you’re probably looking to organize your refrigerator and freezer space, too, notes Laugen. “Insert plastic magazine holders into your freezer shelves to organize and store bags of frozen fruit and veggies to maximize the limited space.”

 

magnets on kitchen fridgeZWEID/Getty Images

Up your magnet game

Everyone knows that magnets are good for adhering paperwork to the refrigerator, but these magnetic spice jars take things to the next level. Create extra space in your cupboard by filling them with spices and sticking them to the refrigerator. You can still use them to hold paperwork and children’s artwork, too.

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Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.
Tamara Gane
Tamara Gane is a regular contributor to Reader's Digest covering travel, lifestyle, history, and culture. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, NPR, Al Jazeera, Wine Enthusiast, Lonely Planet, HuffPost Food, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @TamaraGane

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