These brilliant kitchen organization ideas will help maximize your storage space and keep it neat and tidy!
Organizing the kitchen can be a bit of a bear. There are usually lots and lots of items we want to store and not much room to do it. Or even if we have the space, it quickly gets unruly and feels like a cluttered mess.
Since we need to eat, we often spend a decent amount of time in our kitchens, and that time feels much more pleasant when everything is tidy and organized. So I thought I'd round up all of my most favorite kitchen organization ideas in hopes that some of them will be helpful for organizing your kitchen space!
Kitchen Organization Ideas to Maximize Your Space
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
I've lived with kitchens of all shapes and sizes. From a very, very small galley-style kitchen in my first one bedroom apartment to our pretty small townhouse kitchen...
...to our current kitchen that is on the bigger side, each space has had its own unique challenges when it comes to organization.
The "ideal" kitchen organization setup will vary based on your space, your routines, your preferences, and the needs of the people in your household. Things that have worked perfectly for me may not work at all for you (and vice versa), and that's okay!
But hopefully the ideas that I share below will act as a spark of inspiration that you can take and tweak to fit your own space as you see fit. If you'd like to skip to a specific section of this post, you can do so via the links below:
- General Kitchen Organization
- Kitchen Cabinet Organization
- Organizing the Kitchen Drawers
- Keeping the Kitchen Countertops Tidy
- Kitchen Pantry Organization Ideas
- Organizing the Refrigerator
- Ways to Bring in Extra Kitchen Storage
General Kitchen Organization
Before I get into nitty gritty kitchen organization ideas, there are two strategies that I would recommend for every single kitchen if at all possible. (And every single space in the house, for that matter!)
1. Declutter like crazy.
It does us no good to just rearrange all sorts of stuff that we'll never ever use. If the clutter is still there-- even if it is hiding in cute bins and baskets-- it will still take over eventually and derail our other organizing efforts.
So before I buy one bin or even decide on the permanent placement of one item, I like to go through and get rid of as much stuff as possible. I typically grab three garbage bags or cardboard boxes and label them "trash," "donate," and "sell." Then I go through my entire space and put anything I no longer love or use often into the appropriate bag.
While I am decluttering, I also look for any items that should be relocated. For example, if I am going through my kitchen cabinets and come across some action figures that my boys have stashed in there, I am going to move them back to their playroom and out of the way.
After I get rid of anything that I don't love or use often, I then...
2. Put like items together.
By storing like items together, it becomes easier to find what I need when I need it. It is also more obvious to other members of my household where things go so they can put items back in their designated spots too.
This photo is from when I was decluttering our townhouse kitchen and putting like items together. Who knew that such a small kitchen could hold so much stuff?!
Taking the time to put like items together also shows us exactly what we're working with and how much space we'll need so we can make educated decisions about where to put everything.
Kitchen Cabinet Organization
Kitchen cabinets can be some of the hardest areas to organize in the kitchen. Let's look at some ideas for how to maximize space in them.
3. Nest or stack pots and pans.
After trying a bunch of different methods for storing pots and pans and their lids, I always seem to come back to nesting them inside one another with the lids on top. I like the idea of other methods like filing them or hanging lids on backs of doors, but in practice (at least for me), this is one instance where the simplest solution was the best solution. It also takes up the least amount of space.
We have a few pans that we wanted to make sure didn't get scratched, so for those we purchased an organizer like this one. It makes the most of the vertical space while still keeping the pans from scraping against one another.
4. File pans and cutting boards.
If I have a choice between "filing" things upright or stacking them flat, I will almost always choose filing. It allows me to be able to see all of the items at once. And I'm not always unstacking and re-stacking to get to the item I need. To give my pans and cutting boards a little extra support when filing them, I use an organizer like this one.
5. Add extra riser shelves to avoid wasting space in cabinets.
Most of us have the issue of not having enough cabinet space, so we need to make the most of every inch! I will often use riser shelves to add another layer in a cabinet so I can store more items neatly and efficiently.
6. Use bins to corral small items on shelves.
Sometimes we have a lot of little items that we need to store together in our cabinets. Rather than having a bunch of small stuff floating around making a mess, I like to put like items together in a bin to keep them tidy.
Bins are especially useful on higher shelves. Rather than having to awkwardly try to root around in the very back to try to find what we need, we can simply pull the entire bin down, grab what we came for, and put the bin back.
7. Use all the same type of food storage containers so they nest neatly.
This is one of my kitchen pet peeves, so if you don't feel as strongly about this one as I do, feel free to ignore me. 😉 But I absolutely need all of my tupperware / food storage containers to be a matching set so that they nest neatly inside one another. (I currently have double of this set.)
When I have mismatched sets, they don't always fit together well and the tupperware cabinet becomes a mess. It's also harder to keep track of the lids, which drives me nuts. And speaking of lids...
8. File food storage container lids in a bin.
Again, I try to use the least amount of space possible while keeping everything organized, so filing the tupperware lids upright in a bin has worked best for me. Tons of lids. Teeny bit of space. Everybody wins.
9. Use the back of the cabinet doors for extra storage.
Now this may be an unpopular organizing opinion, but I do not typically love using the back of the door for storing things. It often feels really clunky and can mess up other items in the cabinet that it hits.
However, I realize that sometimes in small spaces, we really need the back of the doors to work hard for us. So in some cases, when we have enough space to use the back of the door without disrupting the other items in the cabinet, it can be a good solution.
This is a picture from my mom's kitchen where she uses a magazine file to hold items on the back of one of her cabinet doors. This works perfectly because she has her cleaning supplies in a bin that sits far back enough that the magazine file will not disturb the cleaning supplies when the door is closed.
10. File fold kitchen towels to keep them tidy.
Here is another example of my "file fold when possible" mantra! I feel like I can fit more towels/washcloths in a space. AND I can see all that I have more easily when they are file folded rather than stacked.
This photo is from our IKEA kitchen in the townhouse, and I love their option of having a clear drawer divider to separate the space.
11. Corral kids' dishes in a bin to give boundaries.
Kids' stuff is always tricky to keep organized. It's definitely a balance between wanting to give them independence and wanting their gear to stay tidy!
When possible, I like to keep the kids' dishes down low so they can reach them on their own. (It wasn't possible in our townhouse kitchen, and that was fine too! But since we have the space in our current kitchen, I put the kids' stuff within their reach.)
I have found that the boys will keep their items a lot tidier if there are more boundaries. So for example, if I put their plates, cups and bowls straight on this slide-out shelf, they would probably not be neatly stacked. They would be sliding around everywhere and falling off the sides. And they would be a general hot mess.
But by simply adding a little basket, there is now only room to stack the stuff neatly, it doesn't fall out, and it is clear exactly where everything goes.
12. Use stacking bins to make the most of shelf space.
Another way to maximize space in the cabinets is to utilize stacking bins. I don't love lidded stacking bins because it can be a pain to get to the ones on the bottom. But I do really like stacking bins with an open front that you don't have to un-stack and re-stack to get to what you need.
At one point, we used stacking bins to hold pods in our coffee station, and they worked really well for us.
13. Grab a caddy for cleaning products.
I love to organize. I don't love to clean. But cleaning gets just a tiny bit better if I have a cute caddy for my supplies!
I love the caddy option because I can easily take all of my supplies with me throughout the house, wherever I may need to clean.
14. Maximize space under the sink with stacking drawers.
The under-the-sink cabinet is typically tall and deep, so utilizing vertical space is of the utmost importance! These clear stacking drawers are some of my favorites for holding small items. We've had ours for years, and they've held up beautifully.
15. Use stacking containers to utilize under-the-sink vertical space.
Shop Kitchen Cabinet Organization Ideas
Organizing the Kitchen Drawers
Drawer space can be at a premium in the kitchen, so we might as well make the most of what we've got! Here are my best tips for keeping the drawers neat and tidy:
16. Add drawer liners to protect the insides of the drawer.
This is obviously optional, but I like to use drawer liners because they're easy to wipe down and can quickly be replaced if there's a huge mess or they get worn out. (Whereas it would be much more difficult to replace the actual bottom of the drawer or the entire drawer itself.)
I also love the cute pop of pattern that peeks out! This is my favorite drawer liner that I use all around our house.
17. Utilize drawer organizers for silverware and utensils.
Whenever I'm organizing smaller items especially, I try to make sure I divide up the space so everything has a dedicated spot. I found these particular drawer dividers years ago, so I don't think the teal-bottomed version is available anymore, but these are similar.
18. Use an "extras basket" for lesser used utensils.
Some people have looked at my kitchen gadget drawer (above) and have said, "That's all you have?! Where are the rest of them?!"
That's not all I have. But the only little gadgets I keep in the drawer are the ones I use often. (And I'm not a huge cook, so there aren't many.) For gadgets that I still need to keep around for occasional use, I keep a basket higher up in one of my kitchen cabinets to store them.
That way, I still have the gadgets when I need them, but my drawer stays tidy and uncluttered and can open and close easily.
(I realize this is in the cabinet, but it's related to the utensils in the drawer, so I figured I'd put it in this section! 😉 )
19. Choose an in-the-drawer knife rack.
I used to keep a knife block on the counter, but when I went on a mission to clear the counters as much as possible, I found this in-the-drawer knife rack and love it. (I have two of these in the drawer pictured.)
The blades are tucked away so no one accidentally gets cut, and I can store a bunch of kitchen knives in not much space at all.
20. Tidy up the junk drawer.
Whether it's right in the kitchen or somewhere close by, most of us have a "junk drawer" where we keep office supplies and other necessities that we reach for often. But even though it's a junk drawer, it doesn't have to be a cluttered mess!
Shop Kitchen Drawer Organization
Keeping the Kitchen Countertops Tidy
Surfaces are magnets for clutter, so it's easy for our kitchen counters to quickly become overrun with stuff. Here's a few ways I try to keep them as uncluttered as possible...
21. Use a cake stand to keep the sink area uncluttered.
As I did with my kids' dishes, the cake stand limits the area available to hold items. We keep the absolute necessities on it but know that once we're out of room, anything else has to be tucked away out of sight. Plus, cake stands are so pretty too!
22. Utilize a tray to corral small appliances on the counter.
I may not love the look of my appliances on the counter, but for the ones I use daily, it's too much of a pain to take them out and put them away all the time. I keep ours on a tray that sits out on the counter. But if we are having company over or I need more counter space, it's easy to just pick up the whole tray and tuck it away somewhere.
23. Corral utensils in pitchers or crocks.
Another way I keep my gadget/utensil drawers from becoming overstuffed is to corral our utensils in some sort of container on the counter. This makes them easy to reach while we're cooking, and they double as cute decor too!
I have used these pitchers to hold our utensils...
Or little crocks like these ones can work well too...
24. Use a divided lazy Susan for smaller items.
I am always looking for ways to use lazy Susans because I think they are awesome! Even though I don't drink coffee, I got very excited when Donnie got his Nespresso machine because I wanted to organize all of the different pods! 🙂 The lazy Susan worked beautifully for this.
A divided lazy Susan could also be a good option for making a little snack station. Kiddos can easily find what they need and grab it themselves. I show it on the counter here, but it could also work well in the pantry.
Shop Kitchen Counter Organization
Kitchen Pantry Organization Ideas
I love, love, love an organized kitchen pantry because I feel like when the pantry is organized, the rest of the kitchen stays a lot tidier too!
Here are some of my favorite ways to organize the pantry:
25. Use risers to organize spices and/or cans.
Many pantries have deep-ish shelves where items can easily get lost in the back and become unorganized. One way to combat this is to use risers like these so that items in the back can be seen more easily and don't get forgotten about in the black hole!
26. Group like items in bins.
Here we're back to grouping like items again! In the pantry where there are often multiple shelves, it's easier to keep everything tidy when like items are grouped together. I like to keep smaller items together in bins so that they don't get unruly and float around all over the pantry, making a mess.
The bins shown here hold my boys' school snacks (our school prefers that they bring individually packaged items so there is a label for identifying allergens), some miscellaneous items like flavor packets for drinks, and a bin for seasonings.
27. Decant dry goods for a streamlined look.
Decanting-- or taking items out of their original packages and putting them in uniform containers instead-- is largely a personal preference thing, but I am a fan! I love the streamlined look of it. I love that I can get rid of a lot of excess packaging. And I really love that I can see exactly how much of everything I have so I know when I need to pick up more at the store.
I personally decant pasta and dry goods like flour and sugar. I do not decant snack foods like chips and cookies or cereal because I don't feel like they stick around long enough to make it worth it. But again-- this is totally a personal preference thing!
28. Keep a clipboard and wet erase marker close by to document expiration dates.
One problem we can run into when decanting is that when we throw away the original packaging, we lose the expiration date on it. I solved this problem by creating a printable (which you can grab free in this post) to keep track of the dates. I laminated mine and use a wet erase marker to keep it updated so that I don't need to print a new one every time something changes.
29. Use a wine rack to corral water bottles.
Water bottles used to drive me insane! It seemed like no matter what I tried, they were always falling over and making a mess. A few years ago, I saw the idea to use a wine rack to store them on their sides, and I've been hooked ever since.
This system also keeps us from accumulating water bottles in excess. We only keep what we have room to store.
30. Take advantage of vertical space with a tiered lazy Susan.
Before we switched some things around in our townhouse, we only had an itty bitty pantry that was about 9" deep. Yikes. You'd better bet I did everything I possibly could to utilize every inch of that little space, including using these nifty tiered lazy Susans.
By using the lazy Susans to hold our cans and spices, I was able to eliminate a lot of the dead space I would have had if I had only been storing one layer of items on the shelf.
31. Keep bigger bins on the floor of the pantry to corral bags and overflow.
Another problem people come across when decanting is that their container isn't big enough to hold an entire package of something, so they end up with some excess that they're not sure what to do with.
I solve this problem by keeping two deep bins at the bottom of our pantry. If I open a new package of flour, for example, and not all of it will fit in my container, I close up the rest of the bag and put it in one of these bottom bins. Then I use it first the next time I make a recipe that calls for flour, and it is typically gone pretty quickly.
I also use these bins to hold larger items (like cereal boxes) and things that would sit awkwardly on the shelves (like bags of chips and popcorn).
32. Add labels!
Labels are always optional, but I am a fan! They make items easier to find, can help give a space a streamlined look, and they just look plain cute!
Sometimes people can feel like adding labels causes visual clutter. (I actually don't love labels in my refrigerator for that reason, so I don't use them.) If this is you, feel free to use labels very sparingly or not at all!
33. Maximize space in the pantry with a closet system.
Now this one requires a bit of a budget, but it can also make a huge impact. I have typically found that most pantries are not set up for maximum efficiency. As such, in both homes I have owned, we have ripped out the existing system and put in a new closet system to make the absolute most of the space. And it has been a total game changer!
(In this closet we used IKEA's ALGOT system. They recently discontinued ALGOT and replaced it with the BOAXEL system, which is very similar.)
The "pantry" shown above was actually the coat closet in our townhouse, but we used the closet system to rework it into a full pantry and relocated our jackets. Don't be afraid to get creative with your space if the space you have isn't working!
Shop Kitchen Pantry Organization
Organizing the Refrigerator
The refrigerator is another one of those areas where I may go against popular organizing opinions. I know that there are tons of beautiful refrigerators on Instagram and Pinterest with tons of bins and organizers and color coded food and all sorts of stuff.
I have found, however, that in real life, I don't actually like to use a lot of bins in the fridge at all. Because I don't buy the same exact items every time I go to the store, the bins take away a lot of needed flexibility and just end up getting in the way for me. (If you like them and found some that work well for you, by all means keep using them! It's all about finding the system that works well in your individual space!)
There are two little exceptions to my "less is more" bin policy in the fridge, and they are...
34. Divide up the deli drawer.
Our fridge has this shallow drawer that spans the whole width of the refrigerator. It was driving me crazy because every time I would go to grab meats and cheeses, I would have to search through a bunch of stuff I didn't need before I found what I was looking for.
I was thrilled, then, when I came across these organizers and two of them just happened to fit perfectly together in our deli drawer.
This allowed me to divide up the space, keeping like items together, so we could more quickly and easily find what we needed.
35. Divide up freezer space with containers if needed.
I applaud the people who designed our current freezer, because it has a bunch of nifty dividers and sections built in that make it easy to keep everything tidy. Our townhouse freezer, however, did not have that.
To help keep it a little neater, I added a bin to corral bags of frozen veggies and fruits. This allowed them to stand upright, keeping them in a neat row rather than being piled up haphazardly.
As a general rule of thumb, pay attention to the things that are driving you nuts when you go to get something out of your fridge or freezer. If there's something that is a pain every time, that's when it may be a good time to come up with another system for it or try adding some type of organizer.
If it's not driving you nuts, it may be better to preserve the flexibility of your fridge space and go with less organizers rather than more.
Shop Refrigerator Organization
Ways to Bring in Extra Kitchen Storage
Sometimes no matter how much we try to organize and how often we move things around, the kitchen we have is simply not big enough to accommodate all of the items we need to store there. When that is the case, it's time to get creative and use other storage solutions to help us stay organized.
If this is the case in your home, here are some things you could try...
36. Add floating shelves for extra storage.
If there's open wall space in the kitchen, floating shelves could be a great solution. They could hold pantry items or dishes or coffee and coffee mugs-- so many options!
If you're worried about items on the shelves looking messy, consider corralling them in a cute basket. They'll still be right at your fingertips while still looking tidy.
37. Hang pots and pans from a pegboard to free up space in the cabinets.
Another way to make the most of wall space would be to hang a pegboard or two. (I like these ones.) Hooks can hold everything from pots and pans to kitchen utensils to racks for spices and more.
38. Choose a light fixture with added storage.
My mom lives in a beautiful older house with tons of character, but it has almost no large lower cabinet storage in the kitchen. To store her pots and pans, she chose a light fixture that was also a pot rack, and her kitchen supplies now double as cute decor as well!
39. Create a backup pantry in a nearby space.
If kitchen cabinet space is minimal, consider creating a "backup pantry." Before we created a bigger pantry using the closet at our townhouse, I had a backup pantry area in the basement that held items that I used occasionally but didn't need access to all the time.
My sister did something similar using a bookshelf in a mudroom area near her kitchen.
Using the backup pantry strategy is great because it helps the kitchen cabinets from being overstuffed, which makes it easier to keep them tidy.
40. Build a cabinet to hide the trash can.
Sometimes the trash can can eat up valuable cabinet space, so instead of taking up an existing cabinet, consider DIY-ing a cabinet specifically for the trash can to free up some space in the kitchen.
We built this trash cabinet to match the kitchen in our townhouse. You can see the tutorial here.
41. Bring in a sideboard or rolling cart for additional storage.
Can you bring in a piece of furniture for some added storage? In our townhouse kitchen, the window wall was kind of a waste storage-wise because there was no way to add cabinets to it.
One day I was moving stuff around and happened to push our entry desk in front of the window to get it out of the way, and I realized that it was a perfect fit! I ended up using it as a kitchen sideboard, giving me some extra drawers and more surface area as well.
Another piece to consider bringing in is a rolling cart or island on wheels. These are especially great for small spaces because they can easily be pushed out of the way when needed. AND they also add some much-needed storage.
42. Use hooks on a rail to keep utensils nearby.
I love this little rail at the end of our island because it is functional and beautiful at the same time. There are many different types of accessories that can hang from it as well.
If you don't have an end cabinet or island, these rails can also be used to add storage in the backsplash area, particularly if it isn't tiled.
Shop Kitchen Storage Options
Whew! That was a lot of kitchen organization ideas in one post! I hope you found some inspiration to use in your own space.
I also know that this post was nowhere near exhaustive, so please let me know your favorite kitchen organization ideas in the comments below!
Want to come back to this post later? Be sure to pin this image so it's easy to find!
And if you could use even more kitchen organization inspiration, these posts can help:
Thank you so much for following along! Have a great day!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.