9 Mistakes You’re Making When Organizing Your Kitchen

Meta Description: Organizing your kitchen properly is crucial, but it’s easy to make mistakes. Avoid these 9 common organizing mistakes to maximize your kitchen’s function and efficiency.


The kitchen is often the heart of a home – it’s where we cook, eat, entertain, and gather with family. An organized kitchen not only looks great, but it also makes cooking and cleaning much more efficient. However, organizing a kitchen is not always straightforward. There are several common mistakes that people make when trying to get their kitchens in order. Avoid these 9 common kitchen organizing mistakes to ensure your space is fully functional and makes your life easier.

Not Having Enough Storage

Lack of adequate storage is one of the biggest obstacles to keeping a kitchen organized. If you find yourself constantly shuffling items in and out of cabinets or drawers because there’s not enough room, it’s time to add more storage solutions. Consider adding:

  • Pull-out shelves in existing cabinets to double your storage space.
  • Under-cabinet bins, baskets or racks for items like spices.
  • Pantry for food items and small appliances.
  • Pot racks, wall racks or overhead storage for big bulky items.
  • Additional cabinets if you have available wall space.

Evaluating your storage needs and adding functional storage solutions tailored to your space will instantly provide more order. Having a spot for everything eliminates the clutter and makes your kitchen more user-friendly.

Not Labeling Storage Containers

Clear storage containers are great for keeping pantries, cabinets and drawers neatly organized. However, an often overlooked step is properly labeling those containers! Take the time to label each container with the contents, using a label maker or writing neatly with permanent marker.

Labeling prevents you from having to open every container when searching for an item. It also keeps other members of the household aware of where things belong when putting groceries or supplies away. This simple step makes your organized system that much more efficient.

Not Purging Unused Items Regularly

Cleanouts and purges should be done periodically in every area of your home. The kitchen tends to accumulate unused gadgets, dishes, cookware and food items over time. Every few months, take the time to go through:

  • Pantry: Toss expired food and ingredients you never use. Donate unopened non-perishables.
  • Dishes & Cookware: If items are duplicated or rarely used, donate to charity.
  • Kitchen Tools & Gadgets: Eliminate unused appliances (looking at you, waffle makers and panini presses) and gadgets that just take up space.

Regular purges keep your kitchen clutter free and organized with only items you actually use on a regular basis.

Not Grouping Like Items Together

Storing like items together in your cabinets and drawers increases efficiency. Everything has its place, making cooking and prep a breeze. Keep dishware together, group baking essentials together, keep tea and coffee supplies together.

Some examples:

  • Baking cabinet: Flour, sugar, baking powder/soda, spices, extracts.
  • Coffee station: Coffee, filters, sweeteners, mugs.
  • Dinnerware cabinet: Plates, bowls, mugs all together.
  • Cooking utensils drawer: Spatulas, ladles, tongs, etc. together.
  • Cleaning cabinet: Soaps, sponges, cleaning supplies.

Implementing this strategy throughout your kitchen ensures you always know right where to find things.

Putting Heavy Items on High Shelves

One of the most common kitchen organization mistakes is placing heavy pots, pans, appliances, etc. on high shelves and light items down below. This makes retrieving those items highly inconvenient. The opposite approach is much smarter:

  • Store heavy cookware, mixers, etc. on lower shelves or in bottom drawers.
  • Reserve upper shelves for lighter items like mugs, glasses, small plates, etc.

This makes heavy lifting safer and easier. Well-organized kitchens always follow this principle.

Not Installing a Lazy Susan

Blind corner cabinets (with a solid wall panel on one side) are incredibly challenging to organize. Often things get shoved to the back and forgotten unless you install a lazy susan. Lazy susans are circular trays that spin within a cabinet, allowing you to access every inch of that frustrating corner space.

Lazy susans make those hard to reach items accessible and ensure you utilize your whole kitchen. Even half-size lazy susans are better than nothing. Take the time to install one – you’ll be so glad you did!

Forgetting the ‘Zone’ Principle

The kitchen zone principle states that like items should be stored together based on where they are used to create efficient prep zones. Follow these guidelines:

  • Items used with the oven and range top like pots, pans and cooking utensils should be near the cooking surface.
  • Items used with the refrigerator like condiments, drinks and meal prepping tools should be in a zone near the fridge.
  • Items for cleaning up like dish soap, sponges and towels should be grouped near the sink.

This zone system minimizes steps during cooking and cleaning tasks and makes your kitchen more ergonomic.

Not Designating Spaces for Small Appliances

Small kitchen appliances like the toaster, coffee maker and blender tend to clutter countertops if you don’t designate a home for them. You have a few options:

  • Create space on countertops away from prep areas. Use trays or risers to corral smaller appliances.
  • Install floating shelves specifically for small appliances.
  • Store smaller appliances in cabinets and take out only when needed.

Determining spots for your small appliances based on frequency of use will keep your counters clutter-free. Assign a home for everything and be diligent about putting items away.

Not Installing Dividers in Drawers

Utensil drawers quickly become a jumbled mess of tools and gadgets if not properly organized. Install small removable dividers to create compartments for like items. Dividers can separate:

  • Utensils from serving spoons and spatulas.
  • Measuring cups and spoons.
  • Kitchen shears and timers.

You can also use dividers vertically to create smaller compartments. Customizing your dividers based on the items you store ensures every item has a dedicated spot.

Not Mounting Racks and Hooks

Take advantage of all the vertical storage opportunities in your kitchen by installing racks, rails, and hooks to get items up off counters. Mount:

  • Knife blocks or magnetic knife strips.
  • Spice racks.
  • Pot lid racks.
  • Paper towel holders.
  • Utensil crocks or hooks.
  • Under-cabinet paper towel racks.

Also look for opportunities to hang frequently used tools like measuring spoons and cups. Utilizing vertical storage is an easy way to add function and declutter your space.


The kitchen should be an organized, efficient space that makes cooking and preparing food enjoyable. By avoiding these 9 common organizing mistakes, you can transform your kitchen into a functional, clutter-free zone. Invest in adequate storage, establish zones and homes for everything based on usage patterns, and utilize vertical storage. An organized kitchen cuts stress, makes cooking more pleasant and sets a solid foundation for the whole household to stay tidy. Use these tips and enjoy the benefits of your streamlined space!

Frequently Asked Questions About Organizing Your Kitchen

Organizing your kitchen properly can seem like a daunting task. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions to help you avoid common mistakes and keep your kitchen efficiently organized.

How should I organize my pots and pans?

  • Install pot racks or rail systems to hang pots and pans vertically and get them off your cabinets. Alternatively, you can store them on bottom shelves.
  • Buy pan organizers that neatly stack pots and pans to maximize vertical space in cabinets.
  • Group pans together – skillets, saucepans, stock pots etc. This makes them easier to find and access.

What’s the best way to organize my pantry?

  • Categorize your pantry into zones like snacks, baking essentials, canned goods, etc. Use shelves, bins and baskets to group like items.
  • Use clear containers to easily identify contents. Label everything!
  • Place frequently used items at eye level. Reserve top shelves for seldom used items or appliances.
  • Purge items and food you don’t use on a regular basis.

How should I organize my utensils and gadgets?

  • Install dividers in drawers to separate types of utensils into organized compartments.
  • Use crocks, utensil holders or hooks to store utensils on your countertops or inside cabinet doors.
  • Store gadgets like garlic press, cheese grater, etc. together in a designated drawer or cabinet.
  • Only keep the utensils and gadgets you regularly use. Donate unused items.

What are your best tips for organizing cabinets?

  • Group like items together – keep all drinking glasses together, mugs together, food storage containers together etc.
  • Consider your kitchen zones and store items near where they’ll be used – dishes near the dishwasher, cooking tools near the stove.
  • Utilize vertical space by storing less used items on upper shelves.
  • Install organizational inserts like lazy susans in tricky corners.
  • Keep shelves and drawers neatly arranged and labeled with contents.

How can I add more kitchen storage?

  • Add pull out shelves in existing cabinets.
  • Install extra shelves in unused areas like walls, over doors, on the backs of cabinet doors.
  • Use racks for vertically storing pans, utensils and baking sheets.
  • Repurpose closet space, pantries or laundry rooms nearby for overflow storage.
  • Purchase a kitchen cart for additional storage.
  • Use containers, baskets and organizers to optimize existing cabinets and drawers.