The kitchen is the heart of the home. Yet despite best efforts, it's a never-ending struggle to keep kitchen cabinets organized. There are ways to clear the space of unneeded items and to kept what remain behind in order. This guide teaches you how to corral the clutter and make use of every bit of space you have.
The first step to solving kitchen chaos of any size is to clear out the clutter.
This is especially true if your kitchen features open cabinets and shelving that attracts the eye when you enter the kitchen.
Start by tackling one cabinet at a time. Separate items by use and, as you're sorting through, get rid of anything you don't use or that's worn out.
Once the cabinets are clear, give them a good wipe down.
Tip: To keep clutter at bay most days, do your best to put everything back where it belongs each time you unload the dishwasher. The best way to avoid chaos is to take the time to put things in the right spot every time.
Stack by Use
When you're ready to restock your cabinets, start stacking by use. For example, instead of stashing plates in teetering piles and constantly having to rearrange them when you need a plate from the bottom of the stack, keep like items together (cereal bowls in one area and dinner plates in another) to save time and create a streamlined system.
A good trick to maximize cabinet space is to think vertically. Consider if you need to adjust the height of interior shelves or add a helpful organizer before you restock. Shelf risers and plate holders save you from the dreaded reshuffle (and broken plates).
A shelf riser separates individual stacks of plates and makes it easier to create space between varied sizes, allowing easier access.
A plate holder turns plates vertically so you can see exactly what you’ve got on hand and can make room for other dishes in the cabinet.
Sort Glassware by Size and Style
The trick to storing glassware? Separate them according to size and use. Keep like with like (juice glasses over here, rocks glasses over there) so you always know what to reach for. If you have a variety of glassware in assorted colors, sort stacks by color to create a uniform look that's efficient and pleasing to the eye.
Tip: Shelf risers double cabinet space and are ideal for storing glassware.
Think Outside the Cabinet
Whether you're short on cabinet space or simply want to make more room for delicate items, consider adding a hanging glass rack under cabinets or shelves.
Wine glasses, for example, are often delicate and don’t fare well when stacked. They are easily broken by overcrowding and run the risk of wobbling on an uneven cabinet bottom.
The solution? Attach a wine glass rack under the cabinet for hanging glasses by their stems. Not only is this a better way to prevent breakage, it also keeps dust from piling up inside the bowls of the glasses.
Set Up Zones
Organizing your kitchen by activity can also create a streamlined system. In fact, if you follow the flow of kitchen activities, it makes sense to put things close to where you use them.
Mugs, for example, are easier to reach for if they’re housed in the cabinet above the coffee maker. Even better (if you have the counter space) is to get them out of the cabinet and onto a mug holder, as this will free up cabinet space for those less-reached-for items.
One more idea? Stick a row of hanging utility hooks on the wall behind the coffee maker and hang mugs from their handles. Not only does this solve your storage situation, putting your favorite mugs on display is an easy way to decorate the wall.
Another thing about those hanging utility hooks: They’re perfect for creating storage on the inside walls of cabinets to hang potholders, aprons, mugs and more.
Divide and Conquer
Due to their varied sizes and shapes and matching lids, food storage containers are tough to tackle. Aside from buying stacking and interlocking sets of containers (which you can invest in if your system needs an overhaul), there are ways to work with your existing items.
- Stack like with like. Nest containers inside each other and give them the nesting doll treatment until you’ve gotten as small as possible with each stack.
- Store lids vertically, either tucked against the side of the cabinet or on a lid divider.
- For more organization, use vertical dividers to store cutting boards and serving platters. They’ll be quicker to locate when you need them and won’t fall out every time you open the cabinet door.