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The kitchen should be the heart of the home, but it takes a little organization to be up to the task! You don’t need fancy cabinets or expensive organization systems to have an efficient kitchen. I have found plenty of simple and affordable ways to get and stay organized. Here are five of my own favorite tips for kitchen organization:


The kitchen should be the heart of the home, but it takes a little organization to be up to the task! You don’t need fancy cabinets or expensive organization systems to have an efficient kitchen. I have found plenty of simple and affordable ways to get and stay organized. Here are five of my own favorite tips for kitchen organization:

1. Create a Snack Basket.

To make it easy for the kids to find snacks and lunch options in the pantry, I set up a special wire basket for snacks. The kids have no trouble finding what they need and nothing gets hidden or lost in the back of a dark cabinet. I also put a small plastic basket in the fridge for cold lunch items, snacks, drinks and fruit.

2. Think Creative Organization.

If your kitchen is small or lacking in storage, creative free-standing furniture and storage containers will make the most of your available space. My free-standing island serves as both a meal prep area and a place to store extra pans and bakeware. I also store things out in the open with glass jars that are both pretty and functional to hold everything from dried beans and grains to coffee beans.

I have attractive baskets and lidded boxes in the kitchen, pantry and adjoining rooms to hold baking items, seasonal decorations and even wine glasses. I also have an old bedroom dresser in the family room that now holds linens and extra serving dishes, and a free-standing glass door cabinet in the kitchen for holding extra dishes.

3. Organize by Task.

No matter what size kitchen you have, it is helpful to organize your kitchen by task. Having a variety of unrelated things mixed together in every cupboard or drawer just isn’t very efficient. I have designated a few specific task zones for my kitchen: a baking zone, a cooking zone, a food storage zone and a dishes zone so I know exactly where to look for what I need, and it’s easy for guests to help in the kitchen. My priority is to organize by task zone. Even if my kitchen itself doesn’t offer the space I need for every zone, I would rather set up creative organization nearby or in an adjoining space (see tip #2) than to have to jumble too much together in the kitchen.

4. Free Up Drawer Space.

If you feel like you don’t have enough drawer or cabinet space, one trick I use is to create attractive storage options on counters or open shelves. For instance, instead of using an entire drawer for towels, I use an attractive wire basket next to the sink. I toss out all my ugly old towels and find affordable attractive ones for the counter. I love the simple affordable white dishtowels from IKEA (mine have a blue stripe)! I also have a simple white crock near the stove to hold my wooden and metal cooking utensils.

I use open shelves for my prettiest dishes and serving pieces. The key to open storage is to only keep out what is attractive and used regularly so it stays clean. Pretty everyday dishes (I find most of my white or colored dishes at discount stores), color-coordinated hand towels and wood and metal utensils can all look attractive enough to be kept out in the open, freeing up drawer space.

READ ALSO:  Ten Steps to a Clean & Organized Closet

5. Use a Refrigerator Message Board.

How many times have leftovers or food items gone to waste in your fridge because they got shoved to the back and you forgot about them? Even food in the fridge can benefit from a little bit of organization!

One way I keep the refrigerator organized and avoid wasting food is with a handy refrigerator chalkboard. I made the chalkboard myself with peel-and-stick chalkboard paper, a picture frame and command strips to hold it to the refrigerator. When I add a ready-made meal, some leftovers or even certain ingredients to the fridge, I simply jot a note down on the chalkboard. Now I am less likely to forget to use up what I buy and can remember to serve the leftovers before they go bad!

I hope these simple tips will inspire you to have a more organized kitchen! You can see some photos of my own systems in this post on my kitchen.

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About the Author

Melissa Michaels

Melissa Michaels is the author and creator of one of the top home decorating blogs on the web, The Inspired Room. She has been featured on such sites and publications as, Apartment Therapy, and Ladies Home Journal.

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  • Hillary

    #5 is GENIUS!

  • These tips are amazing- thank you for sharing! Now I will hang my head in shame and get cracking on my kitchen 🙂

  • lisalynn

    Thanks for the post.
    One thing I do is to assign shelves in the frig . one small one for yogurts, cottage ch, & so on.. top shelf only for left overs, that way they don’t get hiden & not used :_)
    doors have their own uses , etc…
    helps a lot in keeping track of what I have enough of & what I need to pick up next time I drive to town.

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  • Having good organization is very necessary to manage the things properly. I enjoyed to read your tips to manage the kitchen. best things is the way you astute all features. Thanks!!

  • Renae

    I just moved into a rental while our house is being built. The house has literally NO sensible storage options. I’m very organized, and finally have put most of my pantry things in the front closet by the door that people from cold climates use for coats…lol… My problem is that I have 2! drawers in the kitchen, both 7″ wide, with the same width cupboards under them! The only cupboard on the bottom that is bigger is the one under the sink. I love one narrow cupboard for baking pans, but what do I do with the others? I’ve stacked my ziplock bags in one and trash bag boxes in another, but the drawers are almost useless. For now, I have knives in one and other small utensils in the other, with big utensils on the counter in a pretty plant pot. The panty here is only 2×2′, so the front closet holds most of our food storage, plus a tiny ‘linen’ closet in the hall, and we have a larger fridge in the garage along with a small chest freezer. I had to put our microwave on the counter, cutting our counter space to only 7 feet total. The cabinets are cheap faux wood and the counters are white. I can only describe the wall color in the entire house as ‘grey poupon’ which is AWFUL! I really need some help here! One more thing is that half of our living room is taken up with my husbands’ office and half of the ‘dining area’ is my craft room. I worked for 3 months organizing my craft supplies before the move in order to take up as little space as possible, but am still staring at boxes, unable to figure out how to put it all together. Again, please help! I can barely stand to look at this place, and we have a lease for 3 years!
    thanks for listening,
    Renae in FL

  • BJ

    Renae, attach holders for alum. foil, baggies, etc., inside a cabinet door or under the sink door. Same for spices.
    Secure a shallow, wire-type shelf below an upper cabinet, where it won’t occupy valuable counter space, for baggies, spices, mail, etc. (This also works in cabinets where the shelves are fixed and the items don’t fill all the vertical space.)
    Raise couches/chairs/tables, putting the legs in cup-like furniture ‘lifters,’ adding about 3 inches of height and space. Great for cases of tuna or shallow storage tubs. Using lifters under a bed can create 10 inches or so of space, depending on the height of the frame, for clothing, shoes, games, etc. Cases of food can become end tables or nightstands. Cover with a pretty cloth, etc. A covered tote, etc., can be used too.
    Make a nice ‘top’ (using a tray, a plexiglass, or cut a circle from plywood) to put under the fabric to give it a ‘table’ shape.
    Cases of food (or heavy-duty totes) stacked platform style, replaces a ‘box’ springs. Conceal the boxes with a make-shift dust ruffle.
    Hallways are great. Make a storage area over 2 door frames using shelf brackets and shelving. It’s even better if it’s at the end of the hallway so you can make it really deep. Unless you’re really tall, this works well.
    Hope this helps!

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