How to Organize Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen organization is key to having an efficient and clutter-free cooking space. Properly organized cabinets make it easier to find, use, and return items while cooking. It also makes your kitchen appear cleaner and more visually appealing. Follow these tips to get your kitchen cabinets neatly organized.

Assess Your Storage Needs

Before organizing your cabinets, take stock of what you currently have stored in them. Take everything out and group like items together on your counter. This will help you see what you actually use versus what’s just taking up space.

As you survey your items, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I use most frequently?
  • What items can be stored elsewhere like the pantry or fridge?
  • What don’t I use very often or at all?
  • What new organizing tools would be helpful?

Knowing your most used items and deficient areas will help you decide what should go back in the cabinets and how to best organize them.

Purge Unnecessary Items

Chances are you’ll find things that no longer serve you while emptying the cabinets. Get rid of anything that’s expired, duplicates you don’t need, or items you never use.

Be ruthless here. Only keep items you actually use in the last year. If you’re feeling sentimental, take a photo of the item before passing it along.

Freeing up space allows you to organize more effectively and fit the items you use most. Don’t let clutter take up precious real estate!

Group Like Items

After purging, gather like items together in groups. For example, keep all spices together, canned goods together, or baking essentials together.

This helps you see how much of certain items you have and what needs to stay close at hand. It also makes putting things away in an orderly fashion easier.

As a general rule of thumb, keep staple items that are used frequently toward the front. Items used less often can go toward the back.

Assign a Home for Everything

Now that everything is grouped into categories, it’s time to assign a home for each group of items.

Decide which cabinet will house each category. This keeps similar items in one spot and prevents rummaging around.

You know exactly where to retrieve and replace each item. It’s a good idea to label cabinets and drawers to keep things streamlined.

When assigning cabinet space, keep efficiency in mind:

  • Store staples used every day within reach, like coffee, tea, seasonings, etc.
  • Keep heavy pots and pans on bottom shelves.
  • Place lightweight dishes and glasses up high.
  • Store seldom used items toward the back or on high shelves.

Optimize Cabinet Space

Simply assigning a home isn’t enough. To prevent clutter and disorganization, optimize the storage space within cabinets.

Use organizational tools to truly maximize the potential of each nook and cranny.


Add extra shelving to double your storage space. Opt for sturdy shelves with lips to prevent items from sliding off. This allows you to utilize cabinet height efficiently.


Use risers or small racks to elevate items, allowing you to store more under vertical space. Great for cans, spices, and other small items.

Drawer Organizers

Use compartmentalized trays to divide drawer space into sections. Perfect for utensils, gadgets, foil/plastic wrap boxes, and more.

Lazy Susans

Install lazy susans in corner cabinets to easily access items in what’s typically wasted space. Great for oils, sauces, spices, etc.

Paper Towel Holders

Mount paper towel holders inside cabinets to conserve counter space. Install them under cabinets or on cabinet doors.

Door Mounted Storage

Take advantage of cabinet door space with over-the-door racks or specialized holders for foil, plastic wrap, cutting boards, utensils, and more.

Label Strategically

Labeling is one of the easiest ways to keep cabinets organized after the initial purge and sort.

Use labels:

  • To clearly mark where specific items live.
  • To remind you what belongs there if things get disorganized.
  • To allow other household members to effortlessly put things away properly.

Purchase ready-made labels or get creative and make your own with a label maker, chalkboard stickers, painter’s tape, or permanent marker.

Focus your labeling efforts on containers holding small items that can easily get jumbled, like:

  • Spices
  • Teas/coffee
  • Canned goods
  • Baking ingredients
  • Medicine

Also label:

  • Lazy susans so everyone knows what’s inside the spinning shelves.
  • Drawers using simple words like “Utensils” or “Gadgets.”

Only label cabinet doors if you have a large household with many people sharing the space.

Store Supplies Neatly

Pots, pans, and other cooking tools need a proper home too. Here are some tips for keeping these items organized:

Use Pan Organizers

Special pan organizers that securely store pans vertically are great space-savers. Attach them to the wall inside lower cabinets or place freestanding models inside.

Install Pot Racks

Pot racks add extra hanging space above islands, peninsulas, or within cabinets. Hang pans from sturdy ceiling or wall mounted racks. Bonus – it also provides easy access to your most used pans while cooking.

Store Lids Together

Keep pots and lids together by storing them in a vertical position or pairing lids with pans in a drawer organizer. You’ll never have to go on a lid hunt again!

Contain Sheet Pans

Keep cookie sheets, jelly roll pans, pizza pans, etc. from sliding around by containing them in a cabinet using vertical dividers. You can buy premade versions or DIY your own.

Corral Cutting Boards

Store cutting boards of various sizes together by leaning them against the wall of a cabinet vertically. This prevents them from cluttering counters and makes them easy to grab.

File Bakeware

Keep muffin tins, cake pans, pie plates, and other bakeware looking neat by inserting vertical dividers and filing them away for clutter-free access.

Maintain the System

Organization is an ongoing process. Maintaining the system you put in place is just as important as creating it.

No organizational method will work long-term if you don’t continue to uphold it. Make it a daily habit to put things back where they belong after using them.

It only takes a minute but makes a huge impact. If items start to migrate after a while, set aside time periodically to purge and reorganize.

Making organization a priority will keep your kitchen looking and functioning at its best!

FAQs About Organizing Kitchen Cabinets

How should I organize my pots and pans?

Store pots and pans vertically using pan organizers or wall mounted pot racks. This saves space and makes items easily accessible. Keep lids and pans together in a drawer using dividers.

What’s the best way to organize cutting boards and bakeware?

Stand cutting boards upright inside a cabinet to neatly corral them. Use vertical dividers in a drawer to file away muffin tins, cake pans, and other bakeware.

How do I create more storage space in my kitchen cabinets?

Add extra shelving, use risers to double stack items, install lazy susans in corners, and mount storage on cabinet doors. Also look for wasted void spaces to place small organizers.

What are some good tips for organizing the cabinet under the kitchen sink?

Install pull-out drawer organizers to separate cleaning products from sponges, brushes, gloves, etc. Use sturdy shelves for spray bottles or cleaning supplies. Get drain mats to catch leaks.

How can I make my lower cabinets more functional?

Add roll-out trays, tilt-out sink tip trays, and pull-out drawer organizers. Install extra shelves to maximize vertical storage. Use lazy susans in corner cabinets.

What are the best organizers to use for kitchen cabinets?

Some top organizers include: shelf risers, drawer dividers, lazy susans for corners, pan organizers, over-the-door racks, pull-out cabinet organizers, and label makers.

Should I organize by food group or item category?

Organize by category rather than food group. Keep all spices together, all oils together, all canned veggies together, etc. You’ll maximize efficiency this way.

How often should I declutter my kitchen cabinets?

Aim to declutter your kitchen cabinets once per season. Remove expired items, donate unused items, and reorganize the layout based on your current needs. Quick tidies help maintain order.

How can I avoid clutter from returning after organizing?

Always put items back where they belong after using. Regularly purge unused or unneeded items. Reorganize seasonally before clutter accumulates again. Maintaining organization is key.

Final Tips for Organized Cabinets

Follow these additional tips for creating and maintaining neat, clutter-free cabinets:

  • Use clear storage bins so you can easily see contents
  • Store less used items on harder to reach shelves
  • Keep daily use items on easy to access shelves
  • Only keep items you use more than once a month
  • Avoid “junk drawers” – give everything a designated spot
  • Wipe up spills promptly to avoid sticky messes
  • Sort food leftovers into clear containers so they aren’t forgotten
  • Ensure cabinets are clean before putting organized items away
  • Continually purge unused items and expired food
  • Keep cabinets free of dust and crumbs for a clean look
  • Take inventory periodically and adjust your system as needs change

With a strategic organizational plan in place, it’s easy to maintain tidy and efficient kitchen cabinets. Follow these tips and transform your kitchen into a clutter-free zone. Happy organizing!