How to organise kitchen cupboards: 17 ways to maximize space

Mastering how to organise kitchen cupboards efficiently creates a space that is calmer and much easier to use

Contemporary white kitchen with island and lots of cabinets to show how to organise kitchen cupboards
(Image credit: Future)

Organising kitchen cupboards can often feel like a mammoth task, but there are some clever tricks you can use to get yours sorted quickly and easily. 

Whether it's installing handy storage solutions, or using a system to make better use of the space you have, there are simple options for every type of cabinet space.

When it comes to organising a kitchen remember that you need to make a mess to clear a mess. Keeping the end goal in mind will help to motivate you while decluttering. And once everything has its place, it will be so much easier for you to maintain and better functioning cooking space.

Before you get started with actioning how to organise your kitchen cupboards, it's worth noting that the whole process is much easier if you set about decluttering and cleaning your kitchen first to ensure you are only organising the items you need.

How to plan your kitchen cabinet overhaul

How to plan your kitchen cupboard overhaul

Tackling a big organisation job in your home can feel overwhelming, to begin with. But taking a moment to plan the task can make it feel a lot more manageable. Consider these things before employing the latest professional decluttering methods and organisation tips:

  1. Decide how much time you have: You could spend a weekend sorting out all the cupboards at once, but one cupboard at a time might be a better idea. Don't try to tackle the entire room if you only have two hours.
  2. Take everything out of your cabinets and decide what to keep: Before you begin organising your cupboards, remove everything and audit the contents. Throw out any food that’s out-of-date ingredients. Take unwanted pots or plates to charity or list them on an online marketplace, and consider selling any rarely-used kitchen gadgets.  
  3. Clean the cabinets:  Clean your kitchen cabinets using a cloth soaked in diluted washing-up liquid to ensure a hygienic finish for when you restock.
  4. Think about where to store things based on when you use them: Store frequently used items in easy-to-access upper cupboards and less frequently used items in lower cabinets, so you’re not bending down too frequently. Keep cookware near your oven, and crockery near your dishwasher or draining rack.

A view inside and organised kitchen cabinet with ingredients stored in glass jars

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to organise kitchen cabinets: 17 simple ideas

Whether you're after solutions you can implement in minutes, or you're looking for more permanent storage options, our list of kitchen cabinet organisation ideas will help you to create a more streamlined space.

1. Consider clear containers for food storage

Inside an organised kitchen cabinets showing food stored in glass containers

(Image credit: Future)

Storing pasta, grains, cereals and other food items in clear containers looks great and allows you to keep foods as fresh as possible, and away from any pests. It will also free up more space, or at least allow for uniform shapes and sizes. Not to mention that it looks good, a reason why it's a popular organised pantry idea.

This kitchen cabinet organization system does involve a fair of decanting and labelling, to begin with, but it's well worth it for the end result – and maintaining it will become second nature over time. If you choose this system and have limited cupboard space, look for upright and straight-sided containers that will make the best use of every inch available.

2. Try removable baskets for ease

Collage of two kitchen cabinets with wicker storage baskets to highlight an effective way to organise kitchen cupboards

(Image credit: Future)

If you have space in your cupboards, baskets that you can easily move around and take in and out can be a fantastic kitchen cabinet organisation solution. Use them to group similar items (be it kitchen towels, food, or extra cutlery), so that you can easily reach for what you need. 

The great thing about using baskets for organisation is that you can move them to a different cupboard (or even a different room of your home), as often as you like.

3. Use stacking shelf inserts to create extra space

Open cabinets to show how to organise kitchen cupboards with stacking shelf organisers

(Image credit: Amazon | Songmics)

If you have a cupboard where you need to store items of different heights (eg. cereal boxes and jars), consider splitting the vertical space as needed with shelf inserts. These are also useful for separating different sizes of plates, bowls, and glassware, and come in a variety of materials. 

Stackable storage solutions guarantee a more organised space – you'll be able to see every item you have clearly, without having to scramble around at the back of the cabinet.

4. Utilise corners with smart storage platforms

Inside of kitchen cupboards to show shelf stack corner stoarge to store plates as a more efficient idea for how to organize kitchen cabiinets

(Image credit: Future)

Make use of every inch of space more effectively with a savvy corner storage unit that helps to make better use of the space. As demonstrated here a stacking corner unit is ideal for efficiently stacking plates inside cupboards and elevating mugs and glassware to maximize space.

Such as the Lakeland Chrome Plated Corner Plate Rack for £14.99. The sturdy metal design tucks perfectly into the corner, offering two elevated shelves and an anti-slip base to ensure safe stacking.

By embracing a simple corner storage solution you can effectively double your storage space by not only stacking items to maximize vertical storage but also by creating free extra space to the side of your rack that can be further utilised for taller slim items.

5. Place storage on the inside of doors

kitchen cabinet open to show neatly organzied shelves and door unit to create extra storage space

(Image credit: Future)

To use every inch of space your kitchen cabinets have, why not use a hook or a rail to store kitchen essentials? If space inside the cupboard allows, you could use the cupboard doors for hooks, baskets, or rails. 

This is a good place to install hooks for measuring spoons, tea towels, or maybe even bottles of cleaning products, for example. There are plenty of different types available to buy when it comes to cabinet hooks, so take a look around and see which ones work best for your space. You could even think about installing a small rail and then buying some S-hooks to store utensils on.

Savvy over-the-door storage is also a great way to efficiently organise under kitchen sinks.

6. Install revolving organisers for easy access

internal kitchen cupboards demonstrating how to organize kitchen cabinets with revolving store lazy Susans

(Image credit: Future)

Revolving organisers, or Lazy Susans as they are most often referred to, are the unsung heroes of kitchen cupboard organisation, as they can help you easily see what you have at the back of your cupboards, especially for cupboards with lots of taller items. 

A Lazy Susan is the ideal solution for organising spices and storing oils and condiments together. These spinning inserts will make your kitchen cabinets appear much more organised, and, like the shelf inserts, will save you from reaching around in the back of the cupboards for the right container mid-food prep. 

We recommend the Amazon Basics Clear Lazy Susan Turntable Organiser is £12.82 for a pack of 2. This is a great choice for a clever in-cupboard device that goes relatively noticed thanks to its clear plastic design.

7. Put pots and pans on a dedicated rack

Inside kitchen cupboards with saucepans stacked

(Image credit: Future)

If you struggle with keeping your pots and best induction pans organised in your cabinets and instead find yourself battling with a Jenga-like situation every time you need that particular big saucepan, look for dedicated pan storage ideas and racks. 

An incredibly handy kitchen organisation tool, you can nest similar sets of pots and pans together while still keeping them separate (and easy to grab). 

Keeping them organised this way also means that they are less likely to scratch one another, guaranteeing that yours will stay in top condition for longer. 

8. Use cabinet dividers for chopping boards, slim pans and platters

inside kitchen cupboards showing how dividers are used to organise kitchen cupboards more efficiently

(Image credit: Future)

A chopping board is one of those kitchen items that tend to get shoved into any space, meaning they're rarely well organised. You can use this nifty kitchen accessory to store slim pans, plates, platters, or annoying pan lids. 

Try it in a kitchen cupboard on the lower level of your room, or on top of your cabinets, if you have space. A divider not only looks aesthetically pleasing but will also help keep your boards in better condition by keeping them separated and dry.

Try Amazon's Drawer Dividers Bamboo Kitchen Organizers Set of 6 for £22.99

9. Install pull-out solutions in lower cupboards

Kitchen cabinets with pull out storage to show how to organize a kitchen efficiently

(Image credit: Future)

For truly slick kitchen cabinets, consider a magic cupboard to store pots, pans, or crockery. A magic cupboard may look like a regular kitchen cabinet from the outside, but when you pull it open, storage racks swivel out revealing neatly arranged pots and pans. 

This means you can keep more cumbersome items out of the way, while still being able to reach them when you need them. It's an organization idea that takes a bit more work, as it'll need to be properly installed – but it's well worth the effort once it's in. It's also a great way to make the most of otherwise unused corner space.

Something similar to Amazon's Kitchen Blind Corner Pull-Out Shelving Unit Organizer 2 Tiers Swing Tray for a 900-1000mm cabinet is ideal.

10. Try peg cupboard dividers

deep kitchen drawers for pots and pans

(Image credit: Future)

Pegboard organisers within kitchen cabinets can be a brilliant way to organise larger items, but only if you have cupboards that are wide enough and deep enough. The upward-facing pegs divide the drawer into clear sections to create better, more secure use of storage space.

You can buy these handy storage accessories from almost any good kitchen retail outlet, or, if you are lucky enough to be designing your kitchen, you can also build them into cabinets. 

11. Streamline with section dividers

internal kitchen cabinet drawer with dividers in place to maintain order to show how to efficiently organize kitchen cabinets

(Image credit: Future)

Use drawer dividers wherever you can for efficient kitchen drawer organisation within your kitchen cupboards. These are a brilliant way to organise smaller items such as cutlery but are also great for larger utensils or even ingredients to avoid things piling up.

Sometimes it can be the simplest hacks that prove the most effective, as is the case with drawer dividers.

12. Use the underside of shelves to hang mugs

inside organized kitchen cabinet with hanging rails for mugs and cups to maximize space

(Image credit: Getty images | Andreas von Einsiedel)

Some of the best cabinet organisation ideas revolve around ways to store items outside of your cabinets. If you have kitchen shelves, think about installing hooks on the underside to store your mugs. 

This clever storage hack means you can showcase your best mugs and ensure they're within easy reach. If you have space next to your coffee machine, even better. Plus it elevates items off your organised kitchen countertops to maintain a tidy surface area.

Amazon's Essentials Mug and Cup Hanging Rack with 10 Hooks priced at £5.99 is a great budget solution.

13. Store plates vertically

It doesn't always make sense to stack plates on top of one another, especially if you are struggling for space. If you're looking for a quick fix, you can buy vertical storage racks. 

These are widely available in a range of materials, from stainless steel to bamboo, but as they'll withstand heavy weights, it's recommended you opt for a metal one. You can also go one step further, and build a bespoke solution in your kitchen, such as a wall-mounted unit with vertical storage slots.

14. Stack items for better efficiency

organize kitchen cabinet with staggered storage unit to store ingredients at different levels for ease

(Image credit: Wilko)

When it comes to your ingredient cupboards there's always the problem that most items grouped will be of a similar size and therefore may not be stored most efficiently while you're cooking. A simple yet brilliant way to rectify this is with a staggered storage unit.

The savvy tiered organisation tool offers three platforms for storage at different heights to allow the same amount of storage area but offers far more efficiency. The staggered heights mean everything stored in the cupboard is visible at a glance, which is far easier when you're looking for key ingredients.  

15. Use extendible rods to utilise unused space

Kitchen cabinets with extendible rod to create a hanging rack within the cabinet

(Image credit: Future)

If you have deep cabinets there can often be a vast area of unused storage space if you don't have adequate shelves in place. 

An alternative to stacking solutions is simple extendible tension rods that can be easily put in place above your storage shelves to offer the perfect place for smaller items you need to store, from string to kitchen textiles that might otherwise get lost amongst the bigger items.

The simple telescopic rods are ideal for organizing kitchen cabinets of all sizes and configurations because they take up so little space and are fully adjustable.

16. Save space with over-door racks

organised kitchen cabinet with over door hanging rack for pan lids

(Image credit: Wilko)

Make more of any limited space by using over-door hanging racks to specifically store lids to enable you to stack cookware more efficiently within the cabinets. 

This simple accessory attaches with ease over the top of cabinet doors to utilize the back to provide vertical storage that would otherwise be unused – so simple yet so effective to maximize storage potential.

17. Hang utensils outside if cabinets are too full

kitchen with open storage and wall rack

(Image credit: IKEA)

This isn't strictly a kitchen cabinet organisation tip, but if your cupboards are fit to burst and you can't bring yourself to get rid of any items (or, if you have a very small kitchen to organise), taking things out of your cabinet and using hooks to hang them on your walls can be a fantastic storage idea. 

This is a great way to organise your kitchen cupboard items if you simply don't have any other way to store your best cookware. You can often get hooks that will stick to the walls and are strong enough to hold pans, pan lids, and other miscellaneous items such as spatulas, wooden spoons, or measuring spoons. 

Helen Booth

Helen Booth is a freelance writer and maker who loves interiors, crafts, and keeping tabs on homes trends. When she's not sourcing inspirational homes for magazine features, you'll find her curating irresistible interiors shopping edits, posting on Instagram—or selling her handmade homewares on Etsy. She also co-founded the popular weekly newsletter Lunch Hour Links, a curated selection of the best books, articles, podcasts and TV shows to browse while you eat your lunch.

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