How to Organize: Kitchen Edition

A close friend and reader 🙂 asked me for tips on how to organize her kitchen.  Whether you are living by yourself, with a roommate or a spouse and children… my top 10 tips will help you get started.

1.  Start Small – Don’t worry about working on your whole kitchen at once, that is just plain overwhelming.  Tackle that gadget drawer or your utensils first, if you get those organized you will get some immediate gratification.  Here are a couple budget options for creative ways to solve your gadget clutter.

Here are two great options from Container Store.  

2. Get rid of the counter clutter – Only essential items need to be on your counter! We have our coffee pot, microwave, toaster and knife block out on ours and even that drives me crazy.  The less clutter you have on your counter the more spacious your kitchen will look and feel!

3. Think efficiency – Put things where you get to them quickly and easily.  What’s that you don’t use your fondue pot all the time? No way! Store it in that super inconvient cabinet above the refrigerator.  Haven’t used your crockpot ever (you are crazy then because those things are awesome) then put it up above the fridge with the fondue pot… make sense?  By getting those bulky things you don’t use out of the way you give yourself space for those things you use all the time.  If you don’t have the space and don’t use certain bulky kitchen appliances?  Then consider have a garage sale or donating them to a shelter that may be able to put them to good use.

Check out this great pantry tutorial from Amber Lane Living

Also, make your pantry more efficient for you.  My mom and sister bake ALL the time but I don’t bake hardly ever… so my baking dry goods are put in the back of my pantry since they rarely get used.  My husband’s snacks stash on the other-hand sit in front (of the baking supplies) since they are always being used for lunches, snacks etc.

Use the back of your pantry door.  Add a spice rack and get the spices off the shelves or counter.  Have a spice rack or if you are lucky a spice drawer?  Then use the back of the door for kids snack storage.  Here is a great example of a cheap way to store snacks (and you can get one of these shoe holders at the dollar store)

Cheap and quick! Learn about other ways to use shoe organizers here

 4. Get rid of the above the cabinet decor – This I suppose is more a matter of personal taste but you really don’t need baskets, fake flowers or anything else up above your cabinets.  If that is your style then by all means but for me it just adds more clutter and screams for my OCD to clean the dusty leaves so avoid that if at all possible.

5. Don’t go out and spend tons of money on containers – Sure it is tempting to buy those really awesome containers at Pottery Barn or Container Store (which I am a huge fan of both places btw) but think of how you are going to use them first before you just mindlessly buy.  Are you looking to store pantry items? If so what kind?  Make sure that you get containers with an airtight seal so that little critters don’t show up.  Regardless of how much you spend as long as you purchase containers with the same look or same color… they will look great.

See all of these containers are not the same but they are similar and give the pantry a cohesive look.  For more on this pantry check our one of my favorite blogs The House of Smiths.

Don’t forget to explore your storage options – you are not limited to just kitchen stores.  Think of craft and dollar stores (If you are worried about BPA plastics just be careful when purchasing because most of the products are not labeled well)  They have some very creative and cheap things you can use to organize not only your cabinets but your drawers as well.  Look at these containers below that aren’t your typical storage but still look great!

7. Make a kids cabinet – no matter how old your child(ren) are they have a ton of stuff right?  Well if you are lucky and have the space, dedicate one cabinet to all of their items, bowls, sippy cups, bottles whatever it may be.  Then, again it gets things off your counter and you can feel more organized and it helps babysitters out too!

This is from I<3 Organizing  – one of my favorite blogs check it out!

8.  Put the heavy stuff in your bottom cabinets – may seem like a no brainer but you would be surprised.  Heavy serving trays, a full set of dinner plates in your china collection, griddle plates…that can get heavy and cause a potential accident if you have to reach over your head.

9.  Label everything – it will make you feel more organized immediately.  Not to mention it will help out the other people in your home.  Martha Stewart has some amazing home organizing products through Avery at Staples.  You can get all sorts of container labels, even the super popular chalkboard labels.

Please note these are custom created labels above and not from Martha Stewart.  You can find more on this pantry redo at I ❤ Organizing

10.  Maximize the space you do have – Invest in some shelving, lazy susan’s, anything you think will add to your efficiency.

Look at this great example of maximizing the under the sink space.  
It’s incredible and you can do it too!

Another great example from Martha Stewart
Thanks so much for checking out my tips – feel free to ask me any questions or e-mail me directly at
Happy Organizing!

5 thoughts on “How to Organize: Kitchen Edition

  1. Melanie says:

    I have two words for you…Mason Jars. I use them for everything in the kitchen, and they have even snuck into other areas of our appartment. They are pretty, cheap, airtight, come in a variety if sizes, widely available, and since they are made of glass…BPA free. I also have a food saver vacuum sealer with a wide mouth mason jar accessory…perfect for storing dry goods you rarely use and leftovers!

  2. Shari Kammerman says:

    First, where can you get inexpensive mason jars? And, I see you use a food saver vacuum. Melanie, do you think your food saver has been worth it? I have been so skeptical about this somewhat overpriced item for years. Obsessive Crafter, what is your opinion about the food saver vacuum products? Worth the money?

  3. D&P says:

    I love the shoe holder idea! Also the kid cabinet–I really need to do that. Great idea! Also would water safe labels be best for kitchen use? Or something less expensive?

  4. Melanie says:

    I usually get my jars at Target, Walmart, the hardware store, or the grocery store. Not that it helps much now, but Ball usually puts out coupons for them around June. You can sometimes find them at tag sales, flea markets, etc as well. The jars can be washed in the dishwasher, lids are easily replaceable anywhere you can buy new jars. I love my Vacuum sealer, although I have to admit I never had to buy it myself…I'm on my second, but both were given to me as gifts. I have definitely saved a ton of money using it though. I use the jars and few containers I have as much as I can, and rarely use the bags because I don't want to pay for them! When I do use them, I cut them big so I can wash and reuse them. The sealer can also reseal things like potato chip bags, keeping them from getting stale.

  5. The Obsessive Crafter says:

    You can get cheap Mason jars just about anywhere and stay tuned there will be a whole post dedicated to them in a week or so. I prefer to buy mine in packs of 12 at the grocery store. You can get various sizes and for a good price. If I just need an individual jar I go to Michaels or Hobby Lobby because they are less than $2 for the big ones. As for the Vacuum sealers quite honestly I have no need for one. I cook my whole dish and then pop them in the freezer as complete meals (in rubbermaids) and don't have a problem with wasting them. I go through my freezer every month and rotate out and never that way I never have to toss.Onto the labels – I think it all depends on what you are labeling. For me I use large containers to store flour, sugar etc so I don't wash them very often so regular, less expensive labels work for them. If it is something you are going to be putting in the dishwasher or washing a lot, I would recommend water safe labels for sure because it will save you time relabeling later!As I always say it's about what things work best for you! If anyone ever wants some one-on-one help with their specific questions feel free to email me at

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