Organizing your kitchen cabinets is the key to bringing order to your kitchen and there are affordable ways to achieve it. It does not need to be expensive nor does it take a huge amount of cabinet storage.
An organized kitchen cabinet means that you store only what you need (i.e. kitchen essentials) and you store these essentials in an efficient way. There are also a lot of great tools that you can use to organize your kitchen cabinets. However, you need to keep in mind that it does not need to be expensive. The most important feature of good organizing products are their functionality and versatility. Not having a sophisticated organizing tool or system should never be a reason for not having organized kitchen cabinets.
My kitchen cabinet organization is a living proof that organization can be achieved by using simple and inexpensive organizing products.
And since kitchen essentials come in various forms, shapes and sizes, it can be very challenging to get them organized. The most difficult part of of the whole process is keeping everything organized. This is why you need to come up with a kitchen organization system that suits your needs as well as your budget.
First Step In Your Kitchen Cabinet Organization Journey
Declutter Your Cabinets
This is always the first part of any organizing project. You will need to remove all items that are stored in every cabinet. This process will help you to realize how much stuff you have accumulated over time and how much stuff you have not used for a long time.
While you are pulling each item out of the cabinet, identify its importance. Make a separate pile for items such as essentials, trash, and for donation. Move the trash and items for donation out of your kitchen before you begin the arrangement of your “keep pile”. I highly recommend reading this post on How To Organize Your Small Kitchen because it has a lot of detailed ideas on how to start your kitchen organizing project.
Categorize your Kitchen Essentials based on it Frequency of Use
Frequency of use is the important element to identify what item to put where. It will become obvious that you should store all items with high usage in the part of the cabinet that you can access easily. The key to organized kitchen cabinets is to arrange your essentials not on the basis of esthetic appearance, but based on its functionality.
Do a Thorough Cleaning
Cleaning is always part of the organizing process. Take this opportunity to clean every crevice of your kitchen cabinet since it’s already empty. This makes cleaning easier and faster.
Cover your Cupboards
This is not necessary, only optional. You can put lining in all of your cupboards or in the area that is assigned for frequently used items and this is actually very cost effective. Why? In this way, you can protect the cabinet from stains or chips or to cover up some imperfection.
Designate your Cabinet by Zone
Zoning means that you need to gather all items under the same family or that have similar functions. Then, designate a cabinet or part of the cabinet and store these items as close as possible to where you usually use them. In this way, it will prevent you from moving back and forth just to complete your kitchen task. Also, arrange the items in the most efficient way to utilize every inch of your space, sometimes by using an organizing tool or by just using your creativity.
Organizing a kitchen cabinet means you store and arrange your kitchen essentials based on your needs and lifestyle. You can make necessary adjustments depending on your kitchen layout and space availability in order to have a kitchen organization system that works for you.
What I store in My Kitchen Cabinets
I will share with you photos of my kitchen cabinets and how I store my essentials with a little help of a few organizing tools (spoiler alert: don’t expect a perfect looking organized kitchen cabinet). You will notice from some photos that I made some exemptions where there are items that do not belong under the same family or function because of space limitation.
My Base/Lower Kitchen Cabinets Organization
Drawers are the best thing to have in the kitchen. It makes organization much easier because of their easy accessibility. The drawers beside my stove are used to store my cooking sauces and spices. This allows me to grab the sauce and spice I need when I am cooking a meal. Notice that I did not use a fancy spice jar nor a fancy label. I wrote the spice name at the bottom of the jar using an erasable marker. I know! I know! Putting all of your spices into a uniform spice jar with a pre-printed spice label will make a huge difference, it’s definitely eye appealing. However, I don’t want the cost and work involved with it, that’s why I prefer to buy spices in small containers so I don’t need to decant it. I only use the decanting process if the spice that we bought is in a big jar or in a plastic packaging bag. see Size of Pantry Container Matters for more information about the decanting process.
For the remaining drawers, I used them to store my cutlery, kitchen towels, napkins, knives, cooking tools and other cooking utensils with the use of organizing trays. The organizing tray or cutlery tray helps you to find kitchen items easier when you need them and to help keep it organized.
Cabinets beside the Stove and Blind Corner Base Cabinet – All the pots and pans that I frequently use for everyday cooking are stored here. I strategically store them in the cabinet beside the stove for easy accessibility. The cabinet in the right side of the stove is for my husband’s breakfast ingredients, so it will be easier for him to maneuver the kitchen while he is cooking.
The blind corner base cabinet has a part of the cabinet’s content that is hidden which makes the space harder to utilize. However, there are a lot of ways to make the space more useful through the use of blind corner cabinet pull-out systems, lazy susans and other sophisticated organizing systems. Of course, it will also come with a price. Unfortunately we don’t have that, but it does not stop me from utilizing the space. I used an old baking tray as my improvised pull-out shelf. I placed my two cast iron skillets (which I do not use that often) on top of the baking tray (pull-out shelf) and then I pushed them into the blind spot of the cabinet. My improvised pull-out shelf makes the hidden space somewhat easy to use.
I designated the blind corner cabinet for my bigger pots and pans that I only use when I am going to cook for a crowd or big batch recipes and storage for my kitchen appliances such as slow cooker, rice cooker and food processor on and off pulse control. I also use the drawer under the oven as storage for baking pans, oven mitts and aprons.
All the pots, pans and kitchen appliances that I do not use that often are placed behind those that I frequently use. I also nest pots together for space saving purposes. You are probably wondering why there is a mortar and pestle stored together with the pots and pans that I frequently use because it definitely does not belong “under the same family” or “same function”. My answer is because that is the only space I can find for my mortar and pestle. Actually the mortar and pestle made it possible to store my frying pan. I was able to store my frying pan in a slanted position so it can be stored in the cabinet together with other pans.
The Cabinet Under the Sink is designated to store all my kitchen cleaning supplies, step stool and for a small trash bin. I use a cabinet storage shelf rack because it creates two rows of space of which the bottom part is used to store my sponges and gloves while the upper part is for all of my dishwasher soap containers. I also have towel hanger over the cabinet door to hang my kitchen cleaning rag and gloves.
My Wall/Upper Kitchen Cabinets Organization
All my plates, mugs, cups, mixing bowl, glasses and food containers are stored in the upper cabinets. However, I positioned these kitchen items inside the cabinet based on its frequency of use. All plates, cups, bowls, glasses and food containers that we use everyday are not only stored in the most accessible part of the cabinet but also stored in the cabinet near or over the dishwasher. This helps us to put items back easier once the items are unloaded from the dishwasher.
The middle to upper most part of our wall cabinet is designated for kitchen items that we don’t use often or only use for certain occasions or gatherings. See also 17 Easy To Follow Cabinet Organization Ideas for more information on how to utilize every inch of your cabinet space.
How to Maintain an Organized Kitchen Cabinet
Keeping organized kitchen cabinets can be very challenging. It actually requires your consistent self discipline of putting things back in order. It requires a strong desire on your part to maintain what you have accomplished. Maintaining the organization is not a “one person job”, meaning you cannot do it alone. It will require participation from your loved ones. You and your loved ones must be familiar, understand, obey and understand the guidelines on where to find things and where to put them back.
Education is the key to maintain an organized kitchen cabinets! Educate your loved ones on the changes you have made and your expectations from them. Do not procrastinate in putting things back in order.
More Small Kitchen Organization Ideas