How to Organize Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers
The kitchen truly is the heart of the home. So much happens in the kitchen and when things are cluttered and impossible to find, it’s super frustrating. When I took the time to organize the kitchen cabinets and drawers, my time in the kitchen became much more efficient and much less stressful.
When we bought this house 3 years ago, the FIRST thing I did was repaint the ugly kitchen cabinets. There were many aesthetic updates that the house needed, but the kitchen was number one on my list.
Like most moms, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and I knew that I would feel productive and happier at home if I didn’t have to see ugly 1980s cabinets every single day.
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Why Organize Kitchen Cabinets?
- Saves time
- Saves money
- Less Stress
- Easier to clean
- Promotes healthy meals
To save time
I was wasting so much time searching for a container with a lid, trying to find a cutting board, and so on. And since I didn’t have designated places for every single item, when hubby would empty the dishwasher, things were really impossible to find.
Organized kitchen cabinets will save you oodles of time.
If I had a nickel for every time I decided to order food because the thought of being in my unorganized kitchen to prepare a meal was too much….well, I’d probably have enough money to design a new kitchen and install custom drawer pullouts for every cabinet in my house!
We save money when things are organized, and not just in the kitchen.
Studies show that being in cluttered, unorganized spaces increases anxiety and stress. There are many things that create tension in our lives that we have no control over.
Take advantage of the stressful situations that you can control. Keeping your home clutter in order will help you manage stress.
Easier to clean
A clutter free and organized space is always easier to clean. Then, when you need to clean house fast for unexpected guests, it’s much less of a chore.
Promotes healthy eating
You will certainly feel more motivated to prepare healthy meals and snacks when you can quickly find all of the things you need in your organized kitchen pantry.
Steps to Organize Kitchen Cabinets
- Take everything out
- Discard/Recycle anything broken
- Box up extras and unused items
- Clean & prepare the space
- Group like items together and place them where it makes the most sense
What to do 1st to Organize the Kitchen Cabinets ?
First, you need to know what you have have hiding out in all those deep dark kitchen cupboards.
Take everything out of every single cabinet and drawer.
I bring in big folding tables from the garage and place everything there.
Make sure you set aside a big chunk of time for this.
Oh, and don’t make any decisions yet…just take everything out.
2nd Step When Organizing Cabinets
Box up anything that is broken or no longer works properly and discard (or recycle).
This should be the easiest step. No real decisions to make…if it’s broken or doesn’t work—out it goes.
Decide what you simply don’t need or use and put into boxes.
Here’s my biggest problem:
I could never decide if I might need/want it in the future.
I had two crock pots…TWO…not the small ones either.
Oh, I had two small ones as well—the ones that you might use for dips—but I also had two full sized crock pots.
For a family of six.
I know what I was thinking when I decided to monopolize two cabinets for my crock pot hoard.
“Wouldn’t it be handy if we are hosting Thanksgiving dinner to be able to have the dressing cooking in one slow cooker and sweet potato casserole in the other? Then I could have gravy in one of the small crock pots and dip in the other!”
I’d been holding onto all these slow cookers for about 5 years and guess how many times the above scenario went down?
It’s difficult for most of us to get rid of things that we think might be useful.
It’s often painful to know the the hit our budget has taken and the money we have spent on items that are doing nothing more than taking up space.
In the past, I would guiltily put all of the unused items neatly back into the cabinet….I couldn’t bear to get rid of things that I might someday need.
But, things start to get out of hand after years of this kind of faulty thinking.
So I started boxing up the things that I knew we didn’t need or use.
Then I labeled the side of the box with what items were inside and put it in the garage for storage.
And here’s the most important part:
Put the date on the box label!
Now, you can relax because if you need multiple crock pots, you can just go out to the garage (or wherever you store excess), and retrieve one.
If an entire year passes without needed anything from the box….donate it!
It’s already boxed and ready to go!
Isn’t that just causing a cluttered mess in the garage?
It’s a compromise.
It’s not clutter because it’s boxed and labeled, and the peace of mind it gives those of us who struggle with letting go of useful items is worth a box stored in the garage.
Besides, you’ll be donating it in a year because chances are, you won’t need it.
How do You Know What Items to Declutter from the Kitchen?
- things you don’t use
- anything broken
- plastic containers without lids
- any food or spices that are expired—donate foods that you know you’ll never eat (if not expired)
- extras–do we really need 12 wooden spoons? Keep a few of your favorites and donate the rest
- cookbooks you no longer use
- any small appliances that aren’t used
- unused kitchen gadgets–and be honest–if you haven’t used it, you probably won’t
- excess coffee mugs, chipped mugs
- extra pots/pans and lids
- excess baking dishes
- unused mixing bowls
- extra colanders
- raggedy oven mitts
- worn out dish towels
- unused cleaning products
- excess cutlery
- damaged cutting boards
- extra or chipped dishes—plates, bowls, glasses
- unwanted silverware
- serving dishes that you never ever use
And if you’ve decluttered and organized and your house still looks cluttered, then read:
4th Step to Organized Kitchen Cabinets
You’ve discarded or recycled anything damaged or broken and purged all of the kitchen items you don’t use or need.
You should be left with only useful, functional kitchen items.
Now it’s time to clean the inside of all the cabinets and drawers and replace the shelf and drawer liner if needed.
First, I vacuum then use my favorite non toxic cleaning supplies to give everything a good scrubbing.
This all-purpose cleaner is the only cleaner that I use so I don’t have to worry about harming our health while cleaning.
Prepare your newly cleaned kitchen space
There are many kitchen organization products that will make the most of the space that you have.
These cabinet shelf risers are so useful and will utilize the vertical space in your cabinets. Lazy susans help keep things organized and always within reach and are perfect for those awkward corner spots.
Next, think about where you should put things. You want items you use regularly to be as accessible as possible.
If you pack lunches, then keep the food storage containers where you will be filling them.
Keep glasses and dishes near the dishwasher or drying rack.
Consider making a kids’ cabinet in a lower cabinet if you have small children so it’s easy to reach the things they need.
Keep coffee mugs, coffee, filters, etc near the coffee maker.
Keep the knives and cutting boards together (and out of reach of the kiddos)
Pots and Pans in lower cabinets or drawers next to the stove.
Rarely used items can go in those upper cabinets above the fridge.
Spices can live in a drawer or cabinet near where you prepare meals.
Keep all of your baking essentials together.
Consider Installing Organizational Pull outs and Drawer Dividers
I priced the wooden drawer pullouts, but holy canolies! And that price is for EACH drawer!
I started looking for an alternative.
The perfect solution:
The Elfa Mesh Easy Gliders are life changing!
They come in so many sizes and they are more than half the price of the wooden pull outs.
These were seriously so easy to install. I absolutely love them!
It’s now easier for hubby to help put things away since each basket is labeled. Nothing gets lost in the back anymore. The height of the baskets allows for storage of more items.
The Container Store’s Kitchen sale is happening now:
You can find every single thing you need to organize every part of your kitchen and pantry.
And after you get your kitchen cabinets decluttered and organized, it’s time to organize kitchen drawers.
Other Organizational Tools
Now’s the time to decide if you need to buy any other things to help get your kitchen organized. Some of my favorite things to use when organizing the kitchen:
What are your favorite tips for organizing Kitchen Cabinets? Be sure to leave a comment and let me know!
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