13 Ideas for Organizing Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers

13 Ideas for Organizing Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers

By Dikran Seferian January 04, 2022

The kitchen is quite often the busiest area in a home. Considering the amount of traffic it sees on a daily basis, keeping the space under control can be a handful. However, there’s nothing that a few organization strategies can’t do to bring order to the kitchen. Neat and tidy cabinetry can effectively turn hectic mornings into a breezy start to your day. Gone will be the days when you have to dig through a chaotically stuffed drawer to find the coffee filters or a can opener. With a few helpful tips and solutions, organizing your kitchen cabinets and drawers can be a rather easy and straightforward task — not to mention rewarding.

1. Declutter and Clean

What’s the point of even bothering to organize your kitchen cabinets and drawers if they’re full of unwanted or useless items? Before sorting out your kitchenware and trying to make everything look nice and tidy, your first course of action should be to declutter the storage units. You may even be surprised by all the forgotten stuff you have deep within your cupboards. Also, your storage spaces will normally be easier to organize with fewer items to sort.

Start by throwing out any expired herbs and spices in the pantry. You may also want to get rid of defective appliances that are taking up much-needed space. Consider emptying the storage units to the last utensil and disposing of any broken kitchen gadgets, worn-out oven mitts, and anything else that may not serve a purpose anymore. With the cabinets and drawers empties out, take the opportunity to wipe the spaces clean. Vacuum up loose debris such as crumbs, and scrub off any stains with a damp cloth.

2. Use Organizers

Organizers Are a Great Way to Keep Your Drawers Neat and Tidy

Organizers Are a Great Way to Keep Your Drawers Neat and Tidy

One common way to arrange your kitchenware in an orderly manner is by using drawer organizers. These are especially ideal for sorting utensils such as forks, spoons, knives, in addition to corkscrews, can openers, and nutcrackers. Without an organizer, these items would just float around every time you open and close the drawer, creating an unsightly mess.

While drawer organizers can be key to tidying storage space, having the right one is also important. Make sure to account for the dimensions of the drawers as well as the size of the compartments. You wouldn’t want to end up with wasted space or a divider that doesn’t fit the larger utensils.

3. Make Use of Every Inch

In many cases, your search for the perfect drawer organizer might come to no avail. You’ll probably have an empty bit of space left by an organizer that’s about an inch smaller than the drawer from one side. Try rotating the dividers in every possible way to see if you can come up with a configuration that makes the best use of space. Consider filling up any empty spaces with separate compartments or repurposed containers.

Should you be using organizers, consider using double-sided tape to secure them to the base of the drawer. Otherwise, make sure to arrange items such that they don’t slide around too much. One way around this is to tuck unopened boxes of baggies or plastic wraps, for instance, in the back of the drawer to hold everything else in place.

4. Store Similar Items Together

Consider Storing Similar Items With Each Other

Consider Storing Similar Items With Each Other

Categorizing your kitchenware and keeping similar items together can make the spaces look significantly tidier. It also allows everyone in the house to know where to find what they might be looking for. In the pantry, for instance, you can store canned goods in one section, herbs and spices in the other, and so on. Whereas in the drawers, serving utensils would go in one organizer, sieves and sifts in a compartment of their own, and fresh kitchen towels in a separate unit along with tablecloths and napkins.

In upper cabinets, on the other hand, sort bowls in one section, followed by pitchers, and then colanders, and so on. You can then store other miscellanies that don’t fit elsewhere in a large drawer with dividers if necessary. Large drawers are also ideal for storing pots and pans; you can even use dividers to store the lids separately.

5. Consider Cabinet Shelves That Slide Out

If you tend to store smaller items in cabinets, reaching for something that’s all the way in the back can be rather inconvenient at times. One solution to consider is swapping fixed shelves for those that you can slide out. This way, you’ll be able to see as well as easily grab anything that’s at the back of the cabinet. Make sure there’s a shallow railing around the sliding shelves to prevent items from skydiving in your kitchen. 

6. Mind the Kitchen Sink Cabinet

One area that can be somewhat tricky to organize is the sink cabinet. Pipework, pullout hoses, and the sink bottom can get in the way of tidying the space. Your best bet is most likely stackable shelving that you can get from IKEA. These are usually available in either wire or acrylic and can fit beside or under the sink pipes to maximize available space. Certain units can even slide out, allowing you to access items at the back. Shelves, hooks, and bins can create further room for storage.

7. Sort According to Zones

Account for Working Zones When Sorting Your Kitchenware

Account for Working Zones When Sorting Your Kitchenware

Keeping items close to where you would use them normally makes sense all around the kitchen. When allocating your kitchenware, it is a good idea to consider how you use the spaces. For instance, store baggies and Tupperware close to where you pack lunches. As for bowls and measuring cups, store them around the area where you prepare meals. Coffee supplies such as filters and mugs, on the other hand, can go in a wicker basket. Another basket can contain tea bags, infusers, and steepers. Consider placing these two baskets where you normally prepare your tea or coffee.

8. Account for Inaccessible Spaces

You probably have a set of drawers that don’t normally open all the way out. Although it can be somewhat of a nuisance, these spots can be ideal for storing items that you don’t use on a regular basis. If placing your organizer vertically leaves you with empty space on the side, for instance, consider rotating it to a horizontal position so that the extra spot shifts to the back. This way, you can use that empty area to store a first aid kit or an appliance that you only use occasionally. In drawers where you don’t use organizers, simply shuffle the items like a Tetris game until you find the arrangement that maximizes accessibility.

9. Get Rid of Bulky Packaging

In many cases, it’s both visually and practically more preferable to store certain items without the bulky packaging they come in. In your pantry, for instance, consider storing your coffee beans in a French jar along with the herbs and spices. It’s a great idea to do this in drawers as well. Teabags, coffee filters, and the like would fit better without their bulky boxes — and you’ll easily know when you’re running low on a certain item.

10. Consider Drawer Liners

The Practical and Aesthetic Advantages of Drawer Liners

The Practical and Aesthetic Advantages of Drawer Liners

Lining your drawers and cabinetry has several advantages in regards to aesthetics and practicality. The visual benefits are that a drawer liner — particularly one that’s colored or features a pattern — can elevate an otherwise neutral space. Also, it can be much easier to clean than many interior surfaces of drawers, besides serving as a protective layer from daily wear and tear. And should you ever move out, you can simply peel off the liners without having to clean the inside of every drawer.

11. Use Vertical Plate Racks

Grabbing plates from a stack of heavy dishes can be rather unnerving. A simple solution to this is using a vertical plate organizer. Having a cabinet with a plate rack allows you to store your dishes vertically for more convenient access. Essentially, you’ll be able to grab the dish you want without having to sort through an entire pile. You can find a variety of vertical plate racks at department stores for less than $10. Alternatively, you could have one custom-made to match a specific design style.

12. Install an Appliance Garage

Even though kitchens are typically busy areas, you may still want to keep the counter as uncluttered as possible. This includes kitchen appliances that you use on a regular basis. An appliance garage can allow you to keep blenders, electric kettles, and other appliances that you frequently use out of sight. Having a power outlet installed in the garage may even make it more convenient to use certain appliances without moving them out of the area.

13. Make the Most of Corner Spaces

Clever Solutions for Corner Cabinets

Clever Solutions for Corner Cabinets

If reaching for items that are in the depths of corner cabinets requires a good deal of physical effort, you may have to consider a solution. One “hack” involves installing a curved pull-out shelving unit that facilitates access to whatever you store in that area. Another option to look into is a lazy susan with multiple tiers. Its rotating shelves keep the items in your sight while allowing you to grab what you want. Should you not need the extra storage space, consider recycling bin inserts to make the most of your corner cabinet.


Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian