Home & Garden

How to organise kitchen cabinets, according to the pros

How to organise kitchen cabinets, according to the pros

Learning how to organise kitchen cabinets is an essential kitchen skill, and these organisation tips from the pros ensure you’re getting the most out of your space. When you start practising smart ways to clean and organise your cupboards, you’ll be amazed at how much space is created in the process.

From pots and pans organisation to kitchen storage ideas for all home sizes, you’ll wish you knew these priceless organising tricks sooner!

How to organise kitchen cabinets

“One of the easiest ways to organise kitchen cabinets is to edit them often,” suggests home organiser, Britnee Tanner, who suggests pulling everything out and starting fresh. “Nothing helps eliminate clutter quite like going through every nook and cranny to expose the food, appliances and random kitchen gadgets that you never use or forgot you had.”

Tanner also tells her clients to create organisational zones that make finding tools and ingredients quick and easy. It’s one of her favourite pantry organisation ideas too. “It’s ideal to create zones for each kitchen cabinet so you can easily find what you’re looking for when you need it. This means having a cabinet or specific shelf in a cabinet dedicated to one type of category such as snacks, baking supplies and dinnerware.”

Julie Harris, organisation expert, emphasises keeping cabinet zones practical. “Use cabinets under the kitchen sink for cleaning products, dishwasher detergent, extra dish towels and sponges. Large, heavy appliances like standing mixers, slow cookers and air fryers belong in a lower cabinet. If it’s only used occasionally, put it in the back of the cabinet.”

Cabinet organisation tools

These genius kitchen organisers make cabinet organisation easier than ever.

Swedish dishcloths: you’ll want a high-quality, reusable cloth to wipe down your cabinets before putting items back in. These dishcloths can be used, washed and reused hundreds of times.

Lazy Susan: invest in a few affordable turntables to keep spices, condiments and other musts-haves within reach. Lady Susans are easy to clean and keeps food and cleaning supplies within sight. They are inexpensive, so grabbing a few of these turntables won’t break the bank.

Under the sink organiser: keeping cleaning supplies tidy beneath your sink is a must. An expandable organiser fits most lower cabinets, and it even stretches around pesky pipes.

Adjustable drawer dividers: keep cutlery and cooking utensils clutter-free with adjustable dividers. Kitchen drawer organisers are some of the most important clutter-killers out there, and they’re especially important for busy households.

Pots and pans organiser: finding a home for your best cookware is a feat of its own, especially if you’re short on cabinet space or have awkwardly-shaped cabinets. A pots and pan organising rack keeps cookware clutter-free.

Take inventory

Pull everything out of your cabinets and take inventory of what’s in-stock, expired or broken.

Throw out expired and broken goods and consider donating excess items.

Wipe down cabinet doors, shelves and back walls. Optional: consider adjusting your shelf heights to accommodate large kitchen appliances.

Organise lower cupboards and shelves

Arrange cleaning supplies in the cupboard below your sink with an under the sink organiser or turntable.

Place cleaning supplies like sponges, dishcloths and extra dish soaps on the turntable or organiser of your choice.

Dedicate a second lower cupboard for most-used benchtop appliances. “Air fryers belong in a lower cabinet,” says Harris. She advises that seldom-used appliances should be stored towards the back while frequently-used appliances deserve front row access. Reserve a third lower cupboard for infrequently-used cookware. “Store pots and pans in a cabinet next to the stove,” adds Harris. “Stack pots and pans to save space or lay them on their side using a pots and pans organiser. Store lids together.”

Dedicate space for spices

Take stock of spices and seasonings and see what blends can be combined. Chances are you have a few garlic powders that could be consolidated in one spice container.

Find a spice organiser solution and assemble spices accordingly. We recommend dedicating a drawer or cabinet (doesn’t need to big) for spices and adding a multi-tiered drawer or cabinet insert. If you’re working with less space, a turntable is also a quick (and affordable) fix.

Organise drawers

Use adjustable drawer dividers to create space for everyday cutlery like forks, knives and spoons.

Reserve a separate drawer for serve ware, cooking utensils and handheld kitchen gadgets. These shouldn’t co-mingle with everyday cutlery – it’s clutter waiting to happen.

Clean out the junk drawer. (We know you have one.) Organise what’s in the junk drawer into categories and determine if there’s a better place for some of the items. One junk drawer is OK, but it shouldn’t be so cluttered that you can’t find anything in it.

Pro tip: if you’re short on drawer space, cooking utensils and serve ware can live on the countertop in a ceramic or metal container.

Arrange upper cabinets

The upper cabinets are your final frontier. These are the cabinets that are used the most, so it’s important to put extra love and care into them.

“Place all coffee items (mugs, coffee containers and pods) in a cabinet near the coffee maker,” adds Harris. “Keeping these items in one location facilitates a smooth morning routine.” If you have extra space in that cabinet, you can add teas, sweeteners and flavoured syrups.

Dedicate a cabinet to plates and bowls and a separate cabinet for drinkware. “I recommend nesting plates and bowls to save space wherever possible,” says Tanner. “I also recommend utilising upper cabinet shelves or deep pull-out drawers for items like plates, cups and bowls. If you have tall cabinets with more vertical space, consider adding a compact kitchen organiser that adds shelf space as it maximises the vertical area and creates the perfect spot for storing plates below and things like bowls or cups on top of it.”

How do you decide where to put things in kitchen cabinets?

Tanner and Harris agree that creating workstations or zones is the best way to organise kitchen cabinets. Coffee products should be in an upper cabinet near the coffee maker; sponges and cleaning supplies belong under the kitchen sink; and your most-used pots and pans deserve a spot near the stove, preferably in a lower cabinet.

How do you organise corner cabinets?

Corner cabinets are a prime opportunity to use turntables. They’re ideal for storing smaller items like spices, oils and vinegars. Look into kitchen organisation tools that are designed for tricky spaces to make the most of awkward spaces.

How do you organise deep kitchen cabinets?

Harris suggests placing infrequently-used and large, heavy items toward the back of deep cabinets. For example, if you only use your panini press a few times a year, it should be stored in the back. This system works for even the most unique kitchen cabinets.


Learning how to organise kitchen cabinets is daunting, but it’s a life-changing task that’s guaranteed to clear clutter and lighten the load. Just remember to edit out expired or unused pantry and kitchen items every few months. You’ll be a kitchen cabinet organising pro in no time!

Image credits: Getty Images

This article originally appeared on Reader's Digest.

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