5 Tips to Organize Your Kitchen for Maximum Efficiency

Jess Lynk
Written by Jess Lynk
Updated September 1, 2021
A modern kitchen well organized
Image Source/Image Source via Getty Images

Keeping your kitchen organized can make cooking and cleaning a breeze

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Navigating an avalanche of plastic containers or searching for that one spice you know you have is incredibly frustrating. Whether you have a tiny kitchen or more gadgets than you know what to do with, maximizing your storage can help up your efficiency. 

Investing in organizing your kitchen will transform your cooking capabilities and save you time. Searching through cabinets may seem easier than dedicating days to decluttering your kitchen, but with these helpful hints, you’ll be organized in no time.

1. Start With a Blank Slate

Pull everything out of your kitchen cabinets and decide what you want to keep, throw away, or donate. This will also help you discover what may have been in the back of that tall cabinet you never open. 

After everything is out in the open, do a deep clean of your space, or at least wipe everything down to make it nice and fresh.

2. Pare Down Your Clutter

Now comes the hard part. Once you pull everything out and do the first purge—cleaning out anything that is broken, expired, or you don’t want anymore—dig deeper. As a rule of thumb, if you haven’t used it in over a year, it’s probably not worth keeping. It can be hard to part with your items, but in the end, you will feel lighter. Here’s what we find people hold onto:

  • Mugs: Although there are some really cute mugs out there, they take up a lot of space. Most people have more mugs than they could possibly use. Eight to 12 mugs should be plenty.

  • Pans: That badly burnt pan you’ve had since college? Toss it. You don’t want to mess with wrecked nonstick pans.

  • Cups: Somehow, we all collect a million plastic cups. If they don’t easily stack, are discolored and stained, or have cracks, get rid of them.

  • Appliances: Remember that breadmaker you bought? If you haven’t taken out the package more than once, it’s worth donating.

3. Segment Your Kitchen

Identifying where certain items should go is a valuable part of the process. The easier it is to put something back in its place, the more likely you are to stay organized. You can divide your kitchen items up in whatever way will work best for you, but here are some ideas:

  • Keep plates, bowls, cutlery and cups near the dishwasher if you have one. These items will go in and out of the dishwasher very frequently, so keeping them within arms reach can be helpful.

  • Make sure pots, pans, baking sheets, and oven mitts are located near the oven. Generally, heavy pots and pans work well in lower drawers.

  • Store items that you don’t use daily, but still want to keep, in high cabinets. Examples of these types of items are serving trays for parties or special glassware.

  • Place things on your counters sparingly. Think of things you use daily—a toaster, blender, cooking utensil holder, etc. For bulkier appliances that you don’t use daily, place them on the floor of a pantry or the bottom of a cabinet. There are exceptions to this, though. For example, a beautiful stand mixer may fit best on a counter and add to the decor.

4. Use Kitchen Gadgets and Creativity

Cutlery trays in kitchen’s drawe
Michael Kai/Corbis via Getty Images

Although it can feel counterintuitive to purchase more items to declutter your kitchen, there are many tools out there to help you get organized. If you aren’t looking to spend a ton of money, you can also do a few DIY projects.Some inspiration to get you started:

  • Use turntables to organize spices or oils. This gadget allows easier access to those items that often get thrown to the back. Simply spin the turntable, and you’ll see everything immediately.

  • Using your vertical space in cabinets can double your space. Buying a helper shelf lifts your items up so when you open your cabinet, all are in view right away.

  • Buy drawer dividers to help organize silverware and keep your drawers cleaner in the long run.

  • If you have room, purchase heavy-duty hooks and screw them under cabinets or into your walls to display pots and pans neatly and make them accessible at all times. This can also free up a shelf or two.

  • Take inspiration from Julia Child’s kitchen layout and install pegboard on the walls or inside of kitchen cabinets. You can paint the pegboard so it blends in and hang your utensils and cookware.

5. Don’t Stop Organizing

Organizing is a process. Although some of these are big steps, once you get the bulk done, take time to live in the organized space. You may find that the utensils you thought would fit best in a drawer next to the oven actually work better in a flatware holder for easy access. 

The good news is nothing is set in stone, so as you start to cook in your kitchen, make changes. The best way to organize your kitchen for maximum efficiency is to maintain and continue to progress.

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