7 Kitchen Organizing Hacks Only Chefs Know

A well-organized kitchen is the secret weapon of every great chef. Keeping tools, ingredients, and equipment efficiently stored allows chefs to prep, cook, and clean with ease. We asked professional chefs to share their top kitchen organizing tips and hacks. Here are 7 clever ideas to keep your cooking space clutter-free and functional.

Use Strategic Storage Containers

Clear storage containers are a chef’s best friend. Stacking containers of varying sizes allows you to neatly store everything from spices to baking ingredients. Opt for containers with airtight lids to keep foods fresh longer. Pro tip: Label each container so you can easily find what you need. Glass jars work great for bulk dry goods like flour, sugar, and coffee.

Install Pot Racks and Pan Organizers

Pots, pans, and lids can take up a lot of cabinet space. Free up room by installing ceiling-mounted pot racks and vertical pan organizers inside cabinet doors. Hang pans from small hooks on the rack to keep them accessible but out of the way. Mounting your lids together on a vertical organizer makes it easy to find the right lid.

Utilize Drawer Organizers

Don’t let that jumble of utensils slow you down. Use drawer organizers to neatly divide cooking tools and gadgets. Options like deep utensil trays, tiered cutlery trays, and knife blocks keep items visible and within reach. For small items like spices and garlic, use small compartments to keep them together.

Mount Spice Racks

Having spices and herbs within arm’s reach makes cooking so much easier. Mounted racks free up precious counter space. Opt for a design with angled tiers so you can easily see everything. Arrange spices alphabetically or by cuisine for quick access. Pro tip: Only keep spices you use often in the main racks and store extras in a pantry or cabinet.

Use Magnetic Strips

Magnetic strips are ideal for keeping knives organised and safe. Mount them to the wall or directly onto cabinets near your prep space. With knives attached, blades face down to prevent accidents. You can also use magnetic strips to hold up utensil sets, oven mitts, and pot lid racks.

Designate Zones

The best way to keep a kitchen organized is by creating specific zones and spaces for different tasks. For example, keep all mixing and baking supplies together in one area. Store cooking and prep tools in an easily accessed spot. Have dishes and glasses nearby the dishwasher. Keep cleaning products together under the sink. Organizing your kitchen into zones helps optimize your workflow.

Label Everything

Labels may seem obvious but they are essential when organizing. Clearly label shelves, drawers, containers and bins. That way anyone can quickly put things back where they belong after use. Use labels on the front of drawers and cabinets to mark zones. For inside cabinets, use crate labels to identify what’s inside from a glance. A label maker or printable stickers make it easy to label everything.

While these pro tips help, the key is to find an organization system that fits your cooking style and kitchen setup. Experiment to see what works best for your unique space. The goal is to minimize clutter and make cooking more efficient and enjoyable. A tidy kitchen helps chefs prep, cook and clean with ease so they can focus on culinary creativity.

Common Questions about Kitchen Organization for Chefs

Kitchen organization is crucial for chefs to cook efficiently but it can be tricky to figure out what works best. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about keeping a chef’s kitchen tidy.

What are the most important things for a chef to keep organized?

Knives, spices, pots/pans, and prep tools are essentials for a chef to organize. Keep knives sharp and stored safely on a magnetic strip or block. Spices should be visible and arranged alphabetically. Use racks to neatly hang pots and pans above workspaces. Keep utensils, bowls, and cutting boards close by in organizers and shelves.

How should a professional chef’s kitchen be set up?

The ideal chef’s kitchen has distinct work zones such as a mixing station, stove cooking area, sink washing zone, and assembly counter. Place items where you use them most to optimize workflow. Ensure there is adequate storage space for daily-use pots, tools, and prep items to keep counters clutter-free.

What storage solutions help keep a chef’s kitchen organized?

Clear plastic bins and stackable containers allow chefs to neatly organize ingredients and tools while keeping everything visible. Wall-mounted spice racks and overhead pot racks maximize vertical storage space. Drawer dividers, pan lids racks, and mounted knife strips also help chefs stay organized.

Should everything have a labeled home in a professional kitchen?

Yes, a commercial kitchen should have a specific space for tools, dishes, ingredients, etc., conveniently labeled so items can be returned after use. For example, knife blocks could be labeled with knife names, shelves labeled for small appliances. A labeled home for the tools of the trade eliminates time wasted searching.

How often should a professional chef deep clean their kitchen?

Commercial kitchens should get a deep clean at least once a week when the entire kitchen is cleaned thoroughly from floor to ceiling. All surfaces are completely cleared and sanitized, cabinets organized and restocked, appliances scrubbed, ventilation hoods degreased, and floors mopped. Rotate refrigerated/frozen ingredients to use up older stock.

Should chefs organize their fridges and walk-ins by food type?

Yes, an organized fridge helps chefs quickly locate ingredients without searching. Store vegetables, fruits, meats, dairy, and condiments on separate shelves. Place frequently-used items like milk and eggs on mid-shelves for easy access. Raw proteins belong on bottom shelves to avoid cross-contamination. Use clear bins to label and group items.

What is the best way for a professional chef to organize their pantry?

A well-organized pantry has shelves labeled with common food categories like oils, canned goods, baking supplies, grains, etc. Use storage bins or baskets to corral loose ingredients. Place oldest nonperishables in front to rotate stock. Mount a chalkboard or whiteboard inside the pantry door to track inventory. Keep a notepad handy for making shopping lists.

How can chefs avoid wasting food when organizing their kitchens?

First in, first out is key – always rotate older ingredients to the front. Clearly label leftovers with dates so they get used in time. Freeze extra portions of sauces, broths and baked goods for later. Turn soon-to-expire produce into a puree. Monitor expiry dates weekly when organizing the fridge and pantry. Donate extras to staff or charity before spoilage.

What are the essential tools a chef should have organized in their kit?

A chef’s kit or roll should be organized with essential cooking tools like knives (chef’s, paring, serrated), tongs, spatulas, serving spoons, meat thermometer, bench scraper, grater, tasting spoons, citrus zester, vegetable peeler, kitchen shears, and instant-read thermometer. Keep these essentials together for easy transport.


A clean and well-organized kitchen allows professional chefs to shine. Implementing specialized storage solutions tailored to your cooking needs helps eliminate clutter and wasted time searching for tools. Focus on keeping knives, cookware, prep tools, and ingredients easily accessible but out of the way. Divide your kitchen into workstations based on food prep needs. Monitor expiry dates. And above all – label everything! With these pro tips straight from the best chefs, you can run an efficient kitchen that boosts culinary success.