Blog Content: How to Organize Kitchen Cabinets and Decide What Goes Where

It’s safe to say that our kitchen probably isn’t as organized as we would like it to be. As the hardest-working room in our homes, the kitchen is often the most inefficient. Many of our kitchen organization methods may be working against us.

Your kitchen needs to hold everything you need to cook, what you will cook with, and all the tools to clean it all up when its all said and done. We ask a lot out of our kitchens, so it’s no wonder that it is one of the hardest places to organize. That’s why we are going to walk through how to organize kitchen cabinets and decide what goes where. And don’t worry, we’ve set aside an entire section to pots and pans!


The first step to a successful kitchen reorganization is to declutter. If you don’t use it, you don’t need it. And if it isn’t something that is kitchen related, it shouldn’t be in the kitchen—specifically, our iconic kitchen junk drawer. Real estate in our kitchen is too precious to waste it on assorted pens and random mail.

We need to focus on what we use the most. Unfortunately, no kitchen in the world is big enough – so we have to work with what we got! Here are some essential things to look for while decluttering:

  • Tools you never use
  • Old/dirty storage containers (treat yourself to some new ones!)
  • Duplicate tools like measuring cups and teaspoons
  • Appliances you never use
  • Unused baking sheets
  • Novelty kitchen accessories (Do you really make Micky Mouse-shaped eggs?)
  • Expired coupons
  • Takeout condiments, menus, and plasticware
  • Excessive plastic bags
  • Unused cookbooks

We are all guilty of saving every packet of soy sauce and ketchup that we receive with our takeout orders. The reality is that we don’t need them. The same goes for every plastic bag we’ve ever received and every set of plastic silverware. There simply is not enough space for them. If you find a way to donate or recycle these items, you’ll ultimately open up an entire drawer in your kitchen.

Duplicate tools are just unnecessary. How many sets of measuring cups and teaspoons do you need? The answer is one. Especially when it comes to the novelty tools or the ones gifted to you that you never use, it’s time to let them go.

Think about how many spares you need. Do you need 12 mugs? The fact is, you only need as many dishes as you use within a day or two, with a couple extra in case of damage or a visitor.

On average, we house as many dishes to host a whole dinner party, when that is not necessary, and it is taking up precious space. Most of us aren’t hosting weekly dinner parties anyway. And if you do throw a party, borrowing extra mugs or buying disposable cups is just fine.

It’s time to streamline the most used area of our home. Stripping it down to essentials will make your daily routine so much more comfortable in the long run.


Cabinets are the foundation of our kitchens, so it’s essential to use them wisely! We can only have so many cabinets – we have to make the most out of them.

Create an overall theme for each cabinet. Cups and dishes should have their designated place – they are not near food storage containers and pans. Keep your items separate and practical.

Designate one cabinet for your food storage containers. Separating the lids from the boxes is one of the best ways to organize them efficiently. We want to avoid the tell-tale activity of rummaging around looking for the right top. If you follow these guidelines correctly, you’ll never have to dig in your drawers again!

Using turntables inside your cabinets is a great way to utilize dead space – especially if you have a lot of spices and condiments. You know that feeling when you can’t seem to find the paprika, and you know you have it? We’re trying to fix that. Placing these turnstiles in the cabinet near the stove will keep your seasonings and oils in arms reach.

Often, not being able to find and see all of our spices leads to us rebuying things we already have. It’s okay – we’ve all been there and rebought the same pumpkin pie spices every holiday season. This year will be different!

Pots and Pans

The first step to organizing your pots and pans is to take everything out of your cabinets. That’s right; just take it all out. Now we can see what we are working with and set a priority to the pans that we use the most. We all have that one favorite pan; let’s give it the space it deserves.

Make use of vertical space in cabinets. Use cabinet shelves, dividers, and pull-out cabinet organizers to organize your pots and pans. Lids are often the most jumbled around objects in our cupboards and drawers. A lid holder or organizer can seriously amp up efficiency. We’re trying to avoid having to take every pot and pan out of the cabinet to find the one you need.


Wire pot organizers will help you stack all of our cookware in one place—an excellent option for when you don’t have a lot of real estate. A wire rack will make it significantly easier to see what you have and grab what you need.

Tension rods are also a great way to create divisions in your cupboards – allowing you to file your pots, pans, and cookie sheets.  Drawer dividers are a great way to get more out of your deeper drawers.

Storing your pots and pans with the lid on them will make it much easier to find what you are looking for. Better yet, store the lids upside down. That way, the handle is inside of the pot, and you have a flat surface to stack on.

Convert Your Pantry

Have a walk-in pantry? Repurpose a section and store your pots and pans here. Better yet, if you have a second pantry (lucky!), use this space to house your cookware. You can still utilize the pot and lid organizers but have the luxury of an entire space designated to just pots. This is a fabulous option for those of us who aren’t the best at keeping our cabinets in pristine order since it gives us a bit more space to work with.

If you simply don’t have the space to designate a cabinet or drawer to your pots and pans, opt for pretty ones! Proudly displaying your pots is a great way to make efficient space for them. Let them hang from hooks, rods, or a rustic antique ladder.


If you don’t have the cabinet space for your pots and pans, there are a few DIY options you can use. Installing a pegboard in your pantry or on an empty wall will open up a lot of storage options. Similarly, racks and rails can be installed on the side of cabinets to hang your most used pans.

Remember, pots and pans are big, bulky, and continuously used. So, the space we define for them has to be easily accessible.


Things in your kitchen should be where you use them. Before you’ve had your daily dose of caffeine, the last thing you want to do is search around for a coffee filter and a mug! Keep these materials in arms reach of the coffee maker to make your life so much easier.

Creating a coffee and tea “station” in your kitchen is a simple way to streamline these activities. Nobody wants to walk back and forth around their kitchen continuously. Set yourself up for success by designating areas of your kitchen to different tasks.

Define Areas

Designate the cabinets and drawers near the oven for baking and cookware. For example, pots should be near the stove, and baking sheets are within arm’s reach of the oven. It sounds simple, but it is easy to forget when we are furnishing our kitchen for the first time. That way, you can find the tool you need when you need it.

Store your appliances near the food prep area. You’ll likely find your coffee machine, toaster, and blender in this space. They are allowing you to have all the tools at your disposal to prep your ingredients.

Also in your food prep area should be your cutting boards, measuring cups, and cooking knives. Keeping your butcher block in arms reach of where you prep your food will make a massive difference to your cooking experience. Similarly, bowls used to measure and prep ingredients should be within arm’s reach of this area.

Drawer Dividers

Drawer dividers are your friend – use them everywhere you can. Dividers keep things visible and in the right place. We want to maximize and define the geography of our kitchen every way we can. Keeping stuff from being stacked on top of each other will allow you to continue putting things where they belong. The last thing we want to do is do all of this work to set up a system we can’t follow!


The kitchen is the heart of the home, and we must treat it as well as it treats us. Keeping an organized kitchen will make your days of cooking more efficient and enjoyable. You may even find yourself ENJOYING putting things away because of how good it feels and how good it looks.

If we try to keep things organized every day, then we will create a good habit. Creating good habits is essential to keeping your home efficient and working for you. Remember that we ask a lot out of our kitchens, so the least we can do is give them a little extra attention.



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Graphic designer, artist, and social media specialist working in Philadelphia, PA.