How to organize kitchen cabinets: 13 ideas to instantly declutter your space

Once you know how to organize kitchen cabinets, you'll create a space that is calmer and much easier to use

how to organize kitchen cabinets: examples of space saving techniques in situ
(Image credit: Getty)

Kitchen cabinet organization can 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.

Before you get started with your kitchen cabinet organization, it's worth noting that the whole process is much easier if you set about decluttering and cleaning your kitchen first. “You need to make a mess to clear a mess," says Rachel Burditt, who runs personal organization service The Declutter Darling. "But keeping the end goal in mind will help to motivate you. And once everything has its place, it will be so much easier for you to maintain." 

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

How to plan your kitchen cabinet overhaul

organized kitchen cabinet

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tackling a big organization job in your home—whether you're working out how to organize a kitchen or how to organize a pantry—can feel overwhelming to begin with. But taking a moment to plan the task can make it feel a lot more managable. Consider these things:

  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 organizing your cabinets, remove everything and audit the contents. We're talking food, appliances, crockery, and any odd kitchen gadgets. Throw out any food that’s out of date, then donate unopened, in-date store cupboard ingredients. Take unwanted pots or plates to charity (or list them on Freecycle (opens in new tab)), and consider selling any rarely-used appliances. Decluttering is a vital step in achieving organized kitchen cabinets. 
  3. Clean the cabinets—Use a cloth soaked in diluted washing-up liquid (adding vinegar if there are any lingering odors in the cupboard) to give everything a good wipe. Vinegar is also a great ingredient to use when figuring out how to clean your washing machine and how to clean your oven—so it's worth having as part of your cleaning arsenal. 
  4. Think about where to store things based on when you use them—zoning is one of the biggest kitchen trends of 2022. Store frequently used items (eg. tableware and glasses) in easy-to-access upper cabinets 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. You could also consider putting all of the necessary items to make your morning tea or coffee inside the cabinet directly above your machine.

How to organize kitchen cabinets: 13 simple ideas

1. Consider clear containers for bulk food items

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. This kitchen cabinet organization system does involve a fair of decanting and labeling 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.

  1. 24 Pack Airtight Food Storage Container Set from Amazon for $54.99/£42.05 (opens in new tab)

2. Try removable baskets for storing items together

If you have the space in your cabinets, baskets that you can easily move around and take in and out can be a fantastic kitchen cabinet organization solution. Use them to group similar items together (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 organization 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 shelf inserts to create extra space

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. They'll guarantee a more organized space—you'll be able to see every item you have clearly, without having to scramble around at the back of the cabinet.


4. Place hooks or rails on the inside of cupboard doors

In order 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 it comes to cabinet hooks, so take a look around and see which ones work best for your space. You could think about installing a small rail and then buying some s-hooks to store utensils on, like in the picture.

This is also a great way for achieving organization under the kitchen sink, too.


5. Or, hang your utensils on walls if your cabinets are too full

This isn't strictly a kitchen cabinet organization 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 space), taking things out of your cabinet and using hooks to hang them on your walls can actually be a fantastic storage idea. 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. This is a great way to organize your kitchen cabinet items if you simply don't have any other way to store your best cookware.


6. Install spinning organizers for taller items

Spinning organizers—or lazy susans—are the unsung heroes of kitchen cabinet organization, 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 great for organizing spices and storing oils and condiments together. These spinning inserts will make your kitchen cabinets appear much more organized, and—like the shelf inserts—will save you from reaching around in the back of the cupboards for the right container mid-food prep. 


7. Put your pots and pans on a vertical rack

If you struggle with keeping your pots and best induction pans organized in your cabinets and instead find yourself battling with a Jenga-like situation every time you need that particular big saucepan, look for pot racks. An incredibly handy kitchen organization tool, you can nest similar sets of pots and pans together while still keeping them separate (and easy to grab). Keeping them organized 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

A chopping board is one of those kitchen items that tend to get shoved into any space, meaning they're rarely well organized. 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. 


9. Install a magic cupboard in lower cabinets if you can

For truly slick kitchen cabinets, consider a magic cupboard to store pots, pans, or crockery in. 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, making it one of our favorite pan storage ideas.


10. Try peg cupboard dividers


Peg board organizers within kitchen cabinets can be a brilliant way to organize larger items—but only if you have cupboards that are wide enough and deep enough. You can buy these from almost anywhere, or, if you are lucky enough to be designing your kitchen, you can also build them into cabinets. 


11. Use drawer dividers

Use drawer dividers wherever you can—these are a brilliant way to organize smaller items such as cutlery but are also great for larger utensils and avoid things piling up. Sometimes the simple hacks are the most effective!


12. Use the underside of shelves to hang mugs

Some of the best cabinet organization 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.


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.

With thanks to Rachel Burditt AKA The Declutter Darling (opens in new tab) for her expert opinion and insight.

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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