Items Not to Store in Your Kitchen Cabinets, According to Home Organizers


Your kitchen cabinets provide convenient storage for all sorts of items, from food staples to cooking utensils. However, not everything belongs in these spaces. Certain items simply don’t store well in kitchen cabinets or can even create safety hazards if put there.

Home organizing experts recommend avoiding storing these items in your kitchen cabinets:

Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning products like bleach, ammonia, and heavy-duty cleaners contain harsh chemicals. Storing them in your kitchen puts them too close to food preparation areas. The fumes can taint the scent of edibles.

Instead, keep cleaning supplies in a separate closet or utility area. Use child safety locks if little ones are in the home. That keeps the materials safely out of reach.


Pills, ointments, and other remedies don’t belong in the kitchen either. Medications can degrade from heat and humidity. Kitchens often have temperature and moisture fluctuations from cooking.

The bathroom medicine cabinet or your bedroom nightstand make better medication storage spots. They keep medicines in proper conditions for effectiveness.

Implied Items Not to Store in Your Kitchen Cabinets, According to Home Organizers

  • Flammable materials like lighter fluid or paint solvents
  • Pet food or treats (can attract pests)
  • Old plastic bags and wrappings (creates clutter)
  • Rarely used large appliances (stand mixers, food processors)
  • Extra dishes or glassware (overcrowds shelves)
  • Large platters and serving pieces (take up space)
  • Spices and condiments past expiration (loss of flavor)

Paper Goods

It’s common to stash boxes of aluminum foil, wax paper, parchment, plastic wrap, and other paper supplies in the kitchen. But these bulky items consume a lot of cabinet real estate.

“Paper products take up valuable shelf space you could better utilize for food items,” says professional organizer Mona Hamlin of Mona Hamlin Organizing. “Keep them in a pantry closet or the laundry room instead.”

Liquor and Wine

You may be inclined to keep liquor, wine, and beer in the kitchen for easy access. But the heat and humidity aren’t ideal for preserving alcoholic beverages. Light exposure can also ruin wine over time.

“Find another home for your bar,” says organization expert Marie Kondo. “Chests, cabinets and cellars make better liquor storage options.”

Mismatched Food Containers

That jumble of odd plasticware cluttering up your cabinets? It’s got to go, say the pros. Mismatched lids and containers waste space and can lead to lost pieces.

“Invest in a unified set of clear canister and bins,” advises organizer Cassandra Aarssen of Organized Chaos. “Uniform containers maximize cabinets efficiently.”

Appliance Instruction Manuals

Tucking appliance instruction booklets into kitchen drawers is understandable. But these often lengthy manuals take up space better used for kitchen tools.

“Keep manuals in a home office file drawer, so the info is organized and handy if needed,” says professional organizer Laura Gaskill.

Out-of-Date Food Items

Anything past its prime, from stale spices to ancient canned goods, doesn’t belong in kitchen cabinets. Check use-by dates regularly and clear out anything that’s expired.

“Toss or donate old food so it doesn’t occupy space,” says organizer Melanie Griffith. “An uncluttered pantry makes it easier to cycle groceries.”

Heavy Items on High Shelves

Don’t strain to reach heavy pots and pans. Store them in lower cabinets. Position lighter items like cups and glasses on higher shelves.

“Organize cabinets from light to heavy for safety and convenience,” says home expert Ron Hazelton. “This prevents strained lifting and dropped dishes.”

Incorrectly Sized Items

Cramming oversized platters or bulky appliances into cabinets strains the space. Seek storage options better suited for large items.

“Store flatware and dishes that actually fit the cabinet dimensions,” says organizer Sandra Long. “Outsized pieces create clutter.”

Plastics Without Recycle Codes

If you’re unsure whether plastic containers, bags, or wraps are recyclable, toss them. Unmarked plastics don’t belong in today’s eco-conscious kitchens.

“Keep only coded plastics to avoid wish cycling,” says green living pro Danny Seo. “Recycle or discard any without numbers for sustainability.”

FAQs About Items Not to Store in Kitchen Cabinets

What are the main things that should not be stored in kitchen cabinets?

Cleaning supplies, medications, flammable materials, pet food, plastic bags, serving platters, and paper goods are some main items that home organizing experts recommend keeping out of kitchen cabinets. Their bulk, chemical properties or expiration dates make them poor choices for kitchen storage.

Why shouldn’t you store wine in the kitchen?

Wine tastes best when stored around 55° Fahrenheit. Kitchens often experience greater temperature fluctuations from cooking that can compromise wine over time. Light exposure also degrades wine. A cellar, cabinet or closet make better wine storage options.

What kind of food containers are best for kitchen cabinets?

Uniform clear plastic canisters or glass jars all of the same shape and size maximize kitchen cabinet storage efficiency. Mismatched containers create clutter and occupy more space.

Where is the safest place to store cleaning products?

Always keep cleaning products separate from food, in cabinets far from the kitchen like a utility closet with child safety locks. Their chemical fumes can be unsafe around edibles and food prep areas.

Should kitchen cabinets be organized from light to heavy?

Yes, place lighter cups and glasses on higher shelves and keep heavy pots and pans in lower cabinets. This prevents strained lifting, possible hand injuries and dropped dishware when reaching for heavy items overhead.

Why get rid of unmarked plastic food containers?

Plastics without numbers can’t be identified for proper recycling. Removing uncoded containers supports sustainability and avoids wish cycling, or tossing non-recyclables into recycling bins.


Kitchen cabinets shouldn’t serve as dumping grounds for every household item. Follow organizing experts’ recommendations to keep improper things like chemicals, medications, oversized dishes, and expired food out of these storage spaces. An intentionally organized kitchen helps you locate cooking essentials, reduces clutter, and makes your time preparing meals far more enjoyable.