When things get hectic, you might fall back on organizing kitchen cabinets using the … out of sight, out of mind approach? It might work for a while but over time, you'll spend more time searching for the missing pot lid or spice you need. And then one day, you'll have an avalanche when you open a cabinet door, and realize there has to be a better way.
Organizing kitchen cabinets isn't hard but it does take some planning.
You want to group things based on how you use them, and make the best use of the space you’ve got. If you spend a lot of time on food preparation, you want to organize around that activity but if you use a lot of frozen meals that you pop into the microwave, that calls for a different approach to organizing kitchen cabinets.
It really depends on how you use your kitchen, and recognize that as your family dynamics change, you'll want to occasionally revisit how you're organizing your cabinets. This 5-minute guide is meant to inspire, to give you ideas that provide the best organization system for your kitchen. From there, you can organize one cabinet at a time, or take on the whole kitchen over the course of a weekend … so good luck.
Start Organizing Kitchen Cabinets With a Clean Slate
Starting fresh with empty cabinets makes organizing a lot simpler. Before you plan where anything should go, pull out all your pots and pans, cutlery, and dishes, and don’t forget to empty the junk drawer. Oops, consider how much time you have to complete this project – you might want to do utensils one day, pots and pans another day, and so forth.
This is the perfect time to clean the cabinets, inside and out. You might also think about shelf liners which can protect your cabinets and dishes. There's lots of discussion about what to use over at the GardenWeb.com forum and Cushy Cupboards gets mentioned quite a bit but you decide (I don't use shelf liners).
Organizing Kitchen Cabinets Starts with Frequently-Used Items
You probably group similar items already, but breaking that down a bit further helps you find the best cabinet for storing them. Some items, such as your favorite pot or pan, find their way into your daily routine more often than others. These things should be easier to grab and put away.
Grouping frequently used items helps you keep cabinets and drawers clutter free. For example, we all have lots of glasses – some we use every day, and other glasses we only use for special occasions. Rather than store all the glasses together, you want to store the special glasses behind everyday ones, or on another (higher and harder to reach) shelf or in a separate cabinet. By making it easier to reach items you use frequently, you save time and are more likely to put things away quickly.
The Big Decisions: What Goes Where
There’s a bit of logic that applies to choosing the best cabinet. Some people prefer storing dishes and flatware near the dishwasher and that might be a great approach for things you use every day because you'll save time putting them away. People who spend hours in the kitchen baking and cooking also need easy access to the dishwasher. Either way, let your lifestyle guide how you organize your kitchen.
Storing glasses near the fridge makes sense in homes where someone is always getting a drink. Cooking utensils in a drawer and pots and pans in a cabinet near the stove means everything is within easy reach when you're cooking. Dishes might go in a cabinet near the sink, or close to the kitchen table.
If you have more stuff than fits in your kitchen cabinets, you might need to store things in the kitchen pantry, another closet near the kitchen or even the garage. This makes sense if you only use your mixer once a year to make gingerbread houses. It might also be time to consider if you need to keep things you seldom use or come up with more creative solutions like hanging pots and pans from a pot rack or hooks on a wall.
Get More Mileage from Your Cabinet Space
Cabinets, especially base cabinets, are usually big on space, but short on efficiency. If your old storage style left you with cookie sheets, mixing bowls and storage containers stacked up, you’re probably familiar with unused space above the stacks.
Well-made cabinet organizers can make storage a lot neater and easier to use. Skip the wimpy plastic organizers, and opt for something sturdier, such as metal racks with slide-out sections or inserts that let you store cookie sheets on edge. Sliding shelves mean less kneeling and reaching to grab what you want from the back of a cabinet, and vertical inserts keep each cookie sheet handy. A rack mounted on the back of cabinet doors capitalizes on unused space for storing pot lids.
Even if your cabinets are relatively tidy, you can probably still improve on what you've got. Think about convenience every step of the way. Store items where you'll use them most, and consider relocating things that you only use once in a while.
The best systems are those that make life easier, and aren't difficult to maintain. This is why your personal style is so important when organizing kitchen cabinets. Whether you cook three meals a day or only once in a while, organized cabinets help make one of the busiest rooms in the house also one of the tidiest.