Rules For Organizing An Overflowing Kitchen Cabinet – From The Professionals

Having an overflowing kitchen cabinet can make it frustrating and time-consuming to find what you need. But with some thoughtful organization, you can transform the chaos into an orderly and efficient space. From categorizing items to optimizing storage, follow these professional tips for decluttering and arranging your packed pantry or cabinets.

Take Inventory And Categorize

The first step is to take everything out of the cabinets so you have a full view of what you’re working with. As you do, group similar items together:

  • Canned goods: Soups, vegetables, beans, etc.
  • Baking essentials: Flours, sugars, spices, baking soda/powder.
  • Oils and vinegars
  • Packaged foods: Cereals, pasta, rice, etc.
  • Snacks: Chips, crackers, granola bars.
  • Beverages: Coffee, tea, drink mixes.
  • Condiments: Ketchup, mustard, mayo, salad dressings.
  • Jams, peanut butter, nut butters
  • Canned/jarred fruits and vegetables

Get a sense of how many you have in each category and whether you have multiples of items you don’t really need. This will help inform what stays and what goes.

Eliminate The Excess

Now it’s time to declutter! Be ruthless here – get rid of anything past its expiration date, duplicates of items you don’t need multiples of, and things you know you’ll never use.

Some common culprits to toss or donate:

  • Expired foods: Check expiration dates and toss anything that’s passed.
  • Duplicates: Keep just 1-2 of items you use frequently, ditch extras.
  • Unwanted pantry items: Get rid of things you bought but will never eat.
  • Bulky packaging: Remove boxes and opt for more space-efficient jars or bags.
  • Rarely used items: Be honest if you’ll realistically use that specialty ingredient.

Tip: Create an “eat me first” area to get rid of food that’s close to expiring.

Use Clear Storage Containers

Transparent storage containers are a game-changer for crowded cabinets! They allow you to instantly see what’s inside, saving you from shuffling through opaque boxes or bags. Swap out old containers for clear ones, and consider getting uniform containers or bins to optimize space.

Some popular options:

  • Plastic containers and bins, such as OXO Good Grips
  • Glass jars and bottles of various sizes
  • Acrylic canisters and trays for counter storage
  • Space-efficient “lazy susans” for corner cabinets

Keep labels facing forward for items in the back of the cabinet so you don’t have to move things to identify them.

Install Shelving Racks And Drawers

Increase storage space in cabinets by making the most of vertical room. Install shelving racks inside cabinet doors to hold spices, cans, and other small items. Or add pull-out drawers which maximize every inch.

Look for:

  • Door racks: Adhere to inside of cabinet doors to hold jars and cans. Great for spices, oils, dressings, etc.
  • Pull-out shelves: Install shelves that fully extend to see and access everything in the back.
  • Tiered drawers: Stackable drawers provide compartmentalized storage for pots, lids, utensils and more.
  • Under-cabinet racks: Mounted racks utilize wasted space under cabinets for extra storage.
  • Lazy susans: Rotating trays spin food items for easy access. Perfect for corner cabinets.

Store Food More Efficiently

Make the most of shelf space by storing food vertically rather than horizontally. This helps you see everything while keeping it accessible.

Some space-saving tips:

  • Store cans upright on risers or can organizers.
  • Transfer flours, sugars and other baking staples into uniform canisters to save space.
  • Use shelf risers or vertical organizers for packaged foods like pasta boxes, bagged snacks, etc.
  • Opt for narrower spice jars. Or decant spices into matching reusable containers.
  • Keep tall bottles and jars towards the back; shorter jars and containers in front.
  • Designate a “snack cabinet” for grab-and-go foods kids can easily access themselves.

Organize With Bins And Baskets

Contain chaos in cabinets by corralling food types together in bins and baskets. Options like caddies with handles make it easy to pull ingredients out in one fell swoop.

  • Fruit basket: For fresh fruits and veggies. A slatted wood basket allows airflow.
  • Canister: For flours, sugars and other baking staples. A bamboo lidded bin adds rustic appeal.
  • Spice drawer organizers: Individual compartments keep spices neatly separated.
  • Cereal dispenser: An acrylic dispenser neatly stores and portions cereal.
  • Cabinet turntable: Rotates jars and bottles for easy access. Great for corner cabinet storage.

Label Strategically

Labels help identify foods and ingredients when storage containers aren’t see-through. Stick with consistent, visible labels for a polished look.

Labeling tips:

  • Use clear, uniform labels and markers so labels blend seamlessly into shelves
  • Place labels on the front of storage bins, jars, and canisters
  • Write neatly and trim label size down to just long enough for the name
  • Identify shelf contents with a label along the front edge
  • Jars can be labeled on the lid or with chalkboard sticker labels

Store By Frequency Of Use

Think about convenience when organizing cabinets and shelves. Place most-used items at eye level and items used less frequently higher or lower.

Here’s an example cabinet organization strategy:

  • Eye level: Everyday items like coffee, mugs, seasonings, cooking oils/vinegar
  • Upper shelves: Backup supplies, small appliances, infrequently used items
  • Lower shelves: Larger/bulkier items like big boxes of pasta, rice, sauces
  • Bottom cabinets: Pots, pans, and other cooking tools

This system keeps your daily essentials handy while still keeping less used items accessible but out of the way. Modify based on your needs and preferences.

Maintain The System

Set up a routine for maintaining your tidy cabinets so they don’t descend back into chaos. Here are some habits to implement:

  • Put food away correctly: Don’t just shove items onto shelves; keep everything in its designated spot.
  • Keep supplies stocked: Shop for backup food items before you run out completely.
  • Check expiration dates: At least every 1-2 months, scan for expired or nearly expired foods to toss.
  • Clean shelves: Wipe down shelf surfaces every few weeks to keep grime away.
  • Declutter seasonally: Do a purge of excess or unused foods every season. Donate unopened items.

The key is consistency. Even a few minutes a day can go far in upholding the system!

Frequently Asked Questions About Organizing An Overflowing Kitchen Cabinet

Organizing an overflowing kitchen cabinet can seem like a daunting task. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions on how to tackle the job.

Q: Where do I even begin with an overflowing pantry or cabinet?

A: Start by taking everything out of the cabinet so you have a blank slate. As you do, group like items together on the counter or floor to get an idea of what you have. This also creates space to wipe down shelves.

Q: Should I throw away expired food I find while organizing?

A: Yes, one of the key steps is to discard any expired, spoiled, or duplicate items. Check expiration dates and toss anything that’s passed its prime. This instantly creates more room.

Q: What are some inexpensive organizing systems I can use?

A: You don’t need fancy equipment to organize well. Use affordable options like clear plastic bins and containers, magazine holders, dollar store trays, and other simple solutions. Getting matching bins creates a uniform look.

Q: How should I arrange my newly organized pantry or cabinets?

A: Store foods you use most frequently at eye level for quick access. Use upper cabinets for appliances or rarely used items, and lower cabinets for bulky staples like flour and sugar. Place snacks kids can reach in low drawers or bins.

Q: How can I make the most of vertical space in my cabinets?

A: Install extra racks and shelves inside cabinet doors to double storage space. Vertical risers and stacking systems also make the most of upright room. Lastly, position taller items in the back, shorter items in front.

Q: What are some organizing tools I should have on hand?

A: Helpful tools include storage containers like bins, jars and canisters, shelf risers, drawer organizers, labels/chalkboard tape, a permanent marker, paper towels, and all-purpose cleaner. Invest in items with multi-functions to save money and space.

In Conclusion

An overflowing kitchen cabinet is one of the most common organizing challenges. But tackling the job strategically—by categorizing, eliminating excess, installing smart storage, and maintaining the system—can help you transform the chaos into an efficient and clutter-free space. Utilize these professional tips for maximizing your storage real estate and maintaining order. With some time and elbow grease, you’ll gain a kitchen cabinet you love showing off!

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Take everything out and group like foods together to understand what you have. Toss anything expired, unneeded, or duplicated.
  • Use clear bins, jars, and containers to instantly see contents. Install extra racks, shelves, and pull-out drawers too.
  • Organize smartly by storing foods vertically, placing daily essentials at eye level, and labeling bins.
  • Maintain with routines like consistent food placement, checking dates, cleaning shelves, and seasonal decluttering.

With a methodical approach and consistency, an overflowing cabinet can be whipped into shape for good. Just remember to take it one shelf at a time.