A Professional Organizer Shares Her Secret to a Neat Kitchen

A cluttered, messy kitchen is one of the most frustrating spaces in a home. No matter how much you clean, items seem to pile up and create chaos. Maintaining an organized, tidy kitchen not only makes cooking and cleaning easier, but also provides a calming environment. So how do you keep a neat kitchen? We asked professional organizer Jane Smith to share her top secrets for maintaining kitchen organization. With over 10 years of experience helping clients declutter and streamline their homes, Jane has invaluable insights into creating functional systems that keep kitchens clutter-free.

Audit Your Kitchen Items and Purge What You Don’t Use

The first step to kitchen organization is taking stock of everything you currently have and eliminating items you don’t use. Jane recommends going through your kitchen cabinets, drawers, countertops, and pantry and asking yourself these questions for each item:

  • When was the last time I used this item? If you can’t remember the last time you used something in the past year, you likely don’t need it.
  • Do I have multiples of the same item? For items you use frequently, having backups makes sense. But for specialty appliances or dishes you rarely use, consider downsizing to just one.
  • Does this item serve a purpose or bring me joy? If an item doesn’t have a function or add value to your life, it’s just taking up space.

Be ruthless in sorting through gadgets, utensils, cookware, and food items. Donate or sell anything you don’t absolutely need. Having fewer items will make organizing the remaining contents much easier.

Categorize Contents and Give Everything a Home

Once you’ve pared down your kitchen belongings, it’s time to categorize items and designate storage spots. Jane recommends grouping like items together, such as:

  • Dishes: plates, bowls, mugs, cups
  • Cookware: pots, pans, baking sheets
  • Utensils: spatulas, tongs, knives
  • Food containers: plastic ware, glass jars
  • Appliances: mixer, blender, toaster

Decide where each category should live in your kitchen. This may mean rearranging cabinets and drawers to create a space for each group. Label bins or shelving with the contents name for easy identification.

Finding a home for everything eliminates clutter on countertops. Stray items like spices or cutting boards quickly pile up without assigned areas. Even food items like bread and fruit need a designated spot.

Jane utilizes vertical space with racks, hanging pots, and wall-mounted utensil bars. Dedicate an area like inside a cabinet door or on the pantry wall to store kitchen tools in plain sight.

Use Containers to Corral Loose Items

Pots, pans, and food boxes are easy to stack and organize. But what about loose items like plastic bags, foil, spices, or cleaning supplies? These things easily spread out over surfaces if not contained.

Jane recommends using lidded bins, canisters, turntables, and divider trays to keep these items in their place. Clear acrylic bins allow you to quickly identify contents. Bins can also double as risers to optimize cabinet vertical storage.

When it comes to spices, Jane transfers them from jars into magnetic or grip containers. These are easily mounted inside cabinet doors for quick accessibility while cooking. The trick is finding the right sized containers for each type of loose item to keep things streamlined.

Establish Zones for Food Items

From canned goods to fresh produce, food items can take up a lot of kitchen real estate. That’s why Jane divides the kitchen into food storage zones.

For non-perishables like dry goods and canned items, designate an area in cabinets or the pantry. Utilize shelf risers and dividers to neatly arrange items. Taller items like flour and boxes go on higher shelves, while smaller jars and spices go below.

Perishables each need their own homes. Jane recommends designating drawers for produce, shelves for dairy and eggs, and baskets for bread. Even condiments like ketchup and salad dressings belong together in a tray on a shelf or in the fridge door.

Make sure to arrange contents from largest to smallest so you can actually see what you have. Clear bins help identify fruits, vegetables, and deli meats before they get buried behind other items.

Keep Flat Surfaces and Countertops Clear

No matter how organized your cabinets and drawers are, clutter still accumulates rapidly on kitchen surfaces. Jane insists the key is making sure everything has a home elsewhere so counters stay clear.

She suggests removing unnecessary decor like vases and candles that take up precious space. Create zones for small appliances so they aren’t constantly sitting out. Store kitchen tools like knives, spatulas, and mixing bowls inside drawers or mount them on the wall.

For paperwork and bills, have a designated file folder or caddy. Mail and other items will quickly scatter without one. The only things left on counters should be an attractive bowl for fruit and the appliances you use daily.

Establish Consistent Cleaning and Organizing Habits

Getting your kitchen organized is only half the battle—maintaining the system is just as important. Jane shares some habits to do daily, weekly, and monthly to keep kitchens neat:

  • Daily: Never go to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes. Load up the dishwasher after each meal. Wipe down counters and stove. Put food items back in their homes.
  • Weekly: Look for expired foods like dairy and produce to throw out. Reorganize shelves and drawers as needed. Do a deep cleaning of appliances and surfaces.
  • Monthly: Audit shelf-stable food items like cans, boxes, and spices. Donate excess non-perishables that you didn’t end up using. Do a thorough decluttering of one zone like under the sink or a junk drawer.

Building in small daily cleaning habits makes the task less daunting. Regularly reassessing kitchen belongings also prevents clutter from building up again.

Questions About Keeping a Tidy, Organized Kitchen

Still have questions about maintaining kitchen organization? Here are some common ones:

How can I declutter my kitchen when it feels overwhelming?

Break the process down into smaller tasks. Start with one drawer or shelf at a time. Set a timer for 15-30 minutes and work in short bursts. Don’t worry about completely organizing everything in one session. Slow progress is key.

What do I do if I have more kitchen items than storage space?

This is very common and can lead to clutter buildup. Consider adding extra storage like a rolling cart, vertical wall racks, or under-cabinet organizers. Also be willing to remove rarely used gadgets and dishes you can live without. Editing down possessions to fit your space is crucial.

How should I organize my pantry for easy access?

Think about shelf height and frequency of use. Place most-used items at eye level. Use top shelves for big bulk items and lower shelves for smaller jars and spices. Keep healthy foods visible in front. Categorize like items together using risers, dividers, and bins.

What are the best storage containers for kitchens?

Opt for clear bins so you can easily see contents. Square and rectangle shapes make better use of shelf space. Get different sizes like long narrow bins for utensils and deeper bins for bulk foods. Ensure containers have secure lids to contain loose items.

How often should I purge food and check expiration dates?

Ideally, do a full sweep for expired or stale food every 1-2 weeks. Pay close attention to dairy, fresh produce, condiments, and baked goods. When unloading groceries, always put new items at the back and move older items up front. Get in the habit of checking dates when cooking meals too.

Best Practices for Maintaining Kitchen Cleanliness and Organization

It takes diligence and habit-forming to have a consistently tidy kitchen. But it’s worth the effort for a functional cooking and living space. Here are Jane’s top tips:

  • Edit kitchen belongings down to only essential, frequently used items.
  • Categorize like items and give everything a dedicated storage home.
  • Use containers and vertical space to optimize cabinet storage.
  • Divide into zones for dishes, cookware, food, appliances, etc.
  • Keep flat surfaces and countertops as empty as possible.
  • Stay on top of cleaning dishes, wiping counters, and putting items away daily.
  • Do weekly and monthly decluttering sessions.
  • Continually reassess kitchen organization and make changes as needed.

With Jane’s guidance, you can transform your kitchen into a clean, clutter-free sanctuary. Eating healthy home-cooked meals will be a breeze! Focus on small changes over time until neatness becomes an ongoing habit. An organized kitchen significantly improves daily life and reduces stress.


A neat, tidy kitchen provides joy and makes cooking much more enjoyable. With some strategic organizing, zone dividing, and daily habits, you can maintain kitchen cleanliness for good. Professional organizer Jane Smith offers invaluable tips based on her years of experience. Categorize like items, contain loose objects, go vertical to maximize space, and purge regularly. Building in daily, weekly and monthly cleaning routines keeps chaos at bay. It takes diligence, but the benefits of a decluttered, streamlined kitchen are immense. Use Jane’s guidance to create a functional cooking space that improves home life and reduces your stress. The secrets to an organized kitchen are within reach with the right systems in place.

A Professional Organizer Shares Her Secret to a Neat Kitchen

Professional organizer Jane Smith reveals her top tips for maintaining a tidy, clutter-free kitchen. After helping countless clients streamline their homes, Jane has discovered the secrets to ongoing kitchen organization. Her key advice includes purging unused items, categorizing contents, using containers, establishing cleaning habits, and decluttering regularly. Jane recommends dividing your kitchen into zones for dishes, cooking tools, food items, and appliances. Designate a home for everything and keep flat surfaces as clear as possible. Building small daily and weekly cleaning routines helps sustain order and prevent mess buildup. Regularly reassessing your kitchen organization is also essential as your needs change over time. With Jane’s guidance, you can transform your kitchen into a functional, clutter-free environment that makes cooking and entertaining a breeze. Maintaining an organized kitchen just takes some strategic planning and diligent habits over time.