It isn’t helping anyone! The kitchen storage buy professional organizers hate – and what to get instead

Keeping your kitchen organized can feel like an impossible task, especially with all the products on the market promising perfect organization. As professional organizers, we’ve seen it all – the good, the bad, and the downright useless. In this article, we’ll share what not to waste your money on and recommend functional, aesthetic solutions that actually work. Get ready to transform the most chaotic room in your home into a serene and efficient space!

Common Storage Items That Don’t Help

Many common kitchen organizing products seem great in theory but fall short in practice. Here are some to avoid:

Overly Complicated Storage Containers

Some storage containers have so many compartments and dividers that they become difficult to navigate and use. It seems like a good idea to separate everything, but it often results in wasted space and frustration trying to find the right lid and container combo.

Instead, opt for simple, transparent bins and containers in a few sizes. Group like items together in each bin for easy access. Labeling the front makes finding what you need a breeze.

Flimsy Plastic Drawers

Plastic drawers might seem like an affordable way to organize cabinets, but the quality is often lacking. Thin plastic and weak glides mean these drawers break easily under heavier items or frequent use.

For a storage solution that will last, choose drawers made of sturdier materials like wood or heavy-duty plastic. Side mounted drawers are also more stable since the glides attach to the cabinet itself.

Mismatched Containers

A mishmash of containers in different shapes, sizes, and materials looks cluttered and unorganized. Even if the insides are tidy, the exterior appearance is messy.

For a streamlined look, choose a matching set of canisters, jars, bins, or baskets. This visually organizes the space and makes it easier to find what you need.

Tiny Spice Jars

Those miniature spice jars are cute, but not functional. The small volume means you constantly have to refill them, and the itty-bitty labels are impossible to read.

Select spice jars with at least a 2-3 ounce capacity. Square jars fit better on shelves and have ample room for legible labels. For extras, use a spice organizer drawer for any overflow.

Overcrowded Shelves

Trying to cram too many items onto shelves makes them impossibly cluttered. Things get shoved to the back and forgotten. Plus, it’s frustrating trying to wrestle something free from the hoard.

Edit ruthlessly and store only what you reasonably use on a regular basis. Keep like items together and leave a bit of breathing room between. It’s better to have another shelf than to overcrowd.

Dish Racks Without Drainage

Dish racks without built-in drainage areas under the bottom tray leave you with a puddle of water pooling in your sink or countertop. Water and mildew can also accumulate in the bottom tray, leading to staining and smells.

Select a dish rack with an airy design and drainage spouts that allow water to funnel through to the sink. An over-the-sink style rack is also a great choice to maximize drainage.

Useful Organizing Tips from the Pros

Take inspiration from professional organizers who have tried-and-true systems to whip any kitchen into shape.

Categorize and Consolidate

The first step is taking everything out so you can assess what you actually use and need. Group like items together – all the baking gear in one bin, oils and vinegars together, etc. This lets you see duplicates and reduce clutter by keeping just what you reach for regularly.

Utilize Vertical Space

Take advantage of vertical storage with concepts like hanging pots and utensil racks, vertical dividers in drawers, wall-mounted spice racks, door-mounted paper towel holder, and tiered shelving. Going up maximizes every inch of space.

Label Effectively

Use consistent, clear labels so anyone can find what they need. For frequently used items, label the front of bins and jars. For seldom used items, label the lids. Choose a label style and placement that works for your space.

Store by Usage Zone

Think about how you move through the kitchen and store accordingly. Keep items you use frequently, like cooking utensils and prep bowls, near the cooktop and prep areas. Reserve the prime real estate for your everyday essentials.

Purge Regularly

Make it a habit to clear out unused and expired items every few months. Donate or recycle anything you don’t need to keep your space clutter-free. It’s amazing how fast random items accumulate again.

Best Kitchen Storage Solutions

Now let’s get into the nitty gritty! Here are the most practical, long-lasting, and aesthetically pleasing storage solutions recommended by professional organizers.

Pantry Shelving and Storage Bins

  • Wood or industrial metal shelving units create a built-in looking pantry. Bonus points if you add doors for a concealed look.
  • Clear plastic bins allow you to easily see contents. Stackable is ideal to double up.
  • Labeled jars for bulk items like flour and sugar. Attach scoops with command hooks.
  • Tiered shelves double the storage capacity. Great for cans and smaller items.
  • Spice organizers with drawer labels keep spices tidy and easy to identify.

Fridge and Freezer Storage

  • Clear bins for produce and leftovers to prevent spills and oozing.
  • Can organisers corral cans, jars, and other odd shapes neatly.
  • Small bins for fridge door storage keep items contained.
  • Freezer bags and containers in multiple sizes prevent freezer burn.

Under Sink Organizers

  • Two tier pull-out caddies keep cleaning supplies accessible but out of sight.
  • Adjustable holders corral spray bottles neatly.
  • Small bins for odds and ends like sponges, soap refills, etc.

Drawer Dividers and Organizers

  • Cutlery organizers with separated compartments for utensil types.
  • Stepped risers elevate items for easy access.
  • Compartment dividers optimize drawer space usage.
  • Separate bins or trays for like items e.g baking sheets.

Cabinet Storage Solutions

  • Turntables create easy access to items pushed to the back.
  • Tiered shelves double the storage capacity.
  • Vertical dividers neatly store baking pans and lids.
  • Door mounted racks for cutting boards, cookie sheets.
  • Lid organizers keep lids visible and prevent digging.

Countertop Storage

  • Sleek canisters in matching materials, shapes and sizes create uniformity.
  • Spice racks keep essentials visible and within reach.
  • Fruit bowl displays healthy snacks attractively.
  • Knife blocks protect blades and look streamlined.

Answers to FAQs about Kitchen Organization

Kitchen organization often comes with questions. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions from our clients.

Which items should be stored near the cooking area?

The items you use most while prepping and cooking should be within arm’s reach of the cooktop or prep area. This includes knives, cutting boards, cooking utensils, prep bowls, measuring tools, cooking oils and vinegars, salt and pepper, kitchen towels, and pot holders.

How often should you clean out the pantry?

A deep clean and purge of the pantry should happen 2-3 times per year. Toss anything past expiration and items you know you’ll never use. Wipe down shelves, check for pests, and rearrange items for better organization. Doing mini purges every 1-2 months keeps things tidy.

What’s the best way to organize a “junk” drawer?

The key is compartmentalizing! Use small containers and bins to corral like items, such as pens and batteries. Vertical dividers also create neatly separated compartments. Lastly, pare down non-essential items so everything has a place but the drawer doesn’t get overloaded.

How do you make a small kitchen feel bigger?

The key is maximizing vertical storage space. Stackable shelves, hanging racks, and wall-mounted storage all expand storage upwards. Also, clear bins and matching canisters streamline visibility. Having less clutter makes the kitchen feel more open.

What are the best pantry organizing tips?

Start by categorizing like items, such as snacks or baking ingredients. Use clear bins and uniform jars to make contents visible. Store heavier items on lower shelves. Place frequently used items at eye level. Maximize vertical space with extra shelving units. Keeping the space tidy and only what you use regularly prevents a cluttered feeling.

Should spices be stored in a cupboard or on the counter?

It depends on your usage and preferences, but here are pros and cons: Cupboard pros are hidden clutter and storage capacity. Cons are finding specific spices and remembering to restock. Counter pros are visibility and convenience. Cons are taking up space and more cleaning. Many people find a two-tiered approach works best.


A cluttered, disorganized kitchen leads to daily frustration that isn’t helping anyone. By ditching ineffective storage solutions and implementing the professional recommendations we shared, you can transform your kitchen into a highly functional and sanity-saving space. Invest in quality storage bins, racks, jars, and other essentials tailored to your family’s needs and usage. Remember to label clearly and purge regularly. With some strategic effort, you can create a kitchen that makes cooking, prepping, and cleaning an absolute breeze. Here’s to organization success!