Organizing kitchen cupboards makes your kitchen easier to use. It can also help reduce clutter on your countertops since you’ll have more space to put away things.
Although you can jump right into organizing kitchen cupboards, this is Day 4 of a free total home organizing program. Here is the entire series overview if you’d like to start from Day 1.
Every day’s mission has four parts to it:
Keep It Clean
Want to hang out online with others working their way through this series? Join our Do Home Better group on Facebook!
How to Organize Kitchen Cupboards
We started with the entryway and coat closet, two areas that others see first when they visit our homes. We also organized the dining room, a place often used by both guests and family members.
Now we’re moving on to spots that how usable your home is for you.
Organized Cupboards are More Efficient
Disorganized and cluttered kitchen cupboards are a problem even if you don’t cook often. Opened food packages attract pests like ants and pantry moths. Expired foods pose safety risks and represent wasted money.
Organizing cupboards in a small kitchen is crucial to using your kitchen efficiently. You’re already short on storage space, so using every inch of space is a must. Even larger kitchens need organized cupboards, though.
Being able to find what you need when you need it, without having to pull lots of other stuff out of the cabinet, makes cooking more pleasant and keeps your kitchen looking tidy.
Removing Clutter from Kitchen Cupboards
Removing everything from your cupboards and cabinets at once might not be practical if you have a small kitchen. So, the first step in organizing kitchen cupboards is to go through each one at a time and be ruthless as you purge clutter.
Throw away these things:
- Obvious trash
- Anything that’s broken
- Expired canned goods
- Stale spices (if they don’t smell strong, they’re stale)
- Containers without lids
- Chipped drinkware
- Permanently stained towels or potholders
Think of Donating as Re-Homing
Some things your family doesn’t use may still be in good shape. Don’t throw those things away! In fact, you may find decluttering and parting with unwanted items is a lot easier if you think of it as re-homing stuff.
You know the saying: “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” It’s true of kitchen goods, too.
So, if you’re on the fence about getting rid of something or continuing to make space for it in your kitchen cupboards, remember there is someone out there who’d be glad to have it.
Yep, there’s even someone with severe arthritis who’d be glad to have the banana slicer you received as a gag gift.
Examples of Things to Re-Home
- Big Dutch ovens or casserole dishes when you have a small family.
- Flour sifters, pie weights, frosting bags, and piping tips if you don’t bake.
- That air-fryer which didn’t live up to the hype.
- Your Instant Pot if you’re too afraid to use it.
- The smoothie maker that wakes up everyone in your home.
- The indoor grill that leaves your kitchen splattered in smoky grease.
- The “good china” you inherited but think is tacky.
- Extra coffee or tea mugs that you never need to use.
- Canned or boxed foods your family will not eat.*
*Please don’t throw good food away. Take it to a local food bank or share with a neighbor!
While you’re at it, get rid of anything you simply don’t enjoy using. It is YOUR kitchen and YOUR home. Why fill it with stuff you’ve got to maintain, clean, and move around but get no enjoyment from?
What to Do with Your Discards
Now, I am not encouraging you to put everything in the trash. If something is in good, working condition, box it up and move it to the trunk of your car. Next time you’re out, take the box to your local charity.
Or list it on eBay or Craigslist if you want to make some money. But do it today so the stuff sitting around continuing to clutter your home.
Organizing Kitchen Cupboards
The key to knowing how to organize kitchen cupboards is first thinking about how you use your kitchen. Someone who cooks often will want pots, pans, and utensils within easy reach. Someone who mostly uses their kitchen to make coffee and occasionally reheat a frozen meal will have a different priority.
That said, here are some principles to keep in mind when organizing kitchen cupboards.
Kitchen Organizing Tips
Unbox Dry Goods
Paper packaging and open containers lead to pantry moths and other pests. An affordable set of stacking, clear food-storage containers will keep your food fresh and bug-free.
Mason jars work wonderfully, too. You can use the metal lids they come with, or swap those for BPA-free plastic mason jar lids.
Group Like with Like
The whole point of organizing kitchen cupboards is making them more efficient to use. That means saving steps as well as time. To do this, store similar things together.
- Baking-related stuff: If you bake often, keep your flours, baking soda and powder, and other baking ingredients near your cookie sheets, muffin tins, and cake pans.
- Dishware: Keep plates and bowls together in the same cupboard. If you can keep glassware with them or nearby, that’s even better. You’ll be able to set the table or plate food more quickly.
- Foods: Store foods together in the same cupboard with your most frequently-used ones — as well as those about to expire — within easy reach.
- Seasonings: Don’t mix your oils, vinegars, and spices in with other foods — you use them more often while cooking. Keep them together but separate from other foods, so you can find them when needed.
Grouping similar things together
Store Things Where You Need Them
The drawer next to your stove isn’t the place for take-out menus or silverware — you don’t need either while cooking. It’s great for wooden spoons, spatulas, and whisks, though.
Moving things close to where you use them makes your kitchen more functional.
- Foods, seasonings, and other ingredients: Keep these near your stove, so they’re accessible.
- Pot-holders and trivets: These also should be close to the stove. Use wall hooks to hold pot holders and trivets if you don’t have a spare drawer.
- Utensils and gadgets: Keep these where you can quickly find the exact one you need. One way to do this
isusing a magnetic, wall-mounted rack or a large crock on the counter.
- Dishes and glassware: Storing these near the dishwasher or sink makes it easier to put away clean ones.
- Food storage containers: Since these are typically used after a meal, grabbing one isn’t usually urgent. They’re fine in a cupboard near the kitchen table or refrigerator, whichever is more convenient for you.
Use Vertical Space
Even if you’re short on cupboard space, you can often find more storage in a small kitchen if you look up.
- Hang pots and pans. If you’ve got a gap between cupboards above your kitchen sink, why not install a pot rack there? You’ll free up an entire cupboard.
- Use hanging baskets. Find more vertical storage by using a tiered hanging basket to hold fruit and vegetables. They’re also great for stashing rolled cloth napkins and placemats, too.
- Reclaim wasted space. The side of your refrigerator is a great place for magnetic spice containers. (I use these and love them.) You can also mount hooks beneath cupboards — or on the end of a row of them — to hold coffee mugs.
Want more ideas? Check out my 10 Genius Kitchen Organizing Tricks.
Clean Your Kitchen Cupboards
Cleaning the inside of each cupboard gives you another chance to reconsider whether you’ve been ruthless about decluttering and organizing your kitchen cupboards.
Once you’ve emptied a cabinet, use a natural all-purpose cleaning spray and a microfiber cloth to wipe it inside and out. Pay attention to the handles and hinges — they tend to collect a lot of greasy dust. Don’t forget to clean the top, too!
Keep it Clean
Keeping on top of the areas we’ve already R-O-C-Ked is an essential part of this home organizing series. This step ends the clean/cluttered cycle that can cause us all so much frustration. So, buzz through the areas we’ve already worked on to make sure they’re still in good shape.
- Entryway: Throw away any trash. Shake the dirt off mats and sweep or vacuum debris.
- Coat Closet: Is everything hung up? Are shoes and backpacks put away? Throw away any trash.
- Dining Room: Throw away any
trash. Wipe the tabletop.
If you find your kids are messing up what you’ve cleaned and organized, have them do chores that kids can do to earn their stuff back. It’s amazing how quickly they learn to pick up after themselves if the alternative is doing extra chores!
- Kitchen Cleaning Checklist
- How to Have a Spotless Kitchen ALL The Time
- How to Clean a Keurig and Fix a Broken One
Pin Organizing Kitchen Cupboards for later!