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31 of the Most Brilliant Cabinet and Drawer Organizing Ideas of All Time

updated Nov 14, 2021
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Out of sight, out of mind. That’s what they say, right? We can see how that organizing mantra might work … until it’s time to pull out a frying pan and you accidentally set off an avalanche of pot lids. Just because you can jam a million different gadgets into a drawer or behind a cabinet door doesn’t mean you should. See, we believe that in order to be a good home cook, you also have to be an organized home cook.

And we’re here to help! Here are 31 of the very best ideas to get your cabinets (uppers, lower, and corners!) and drawers in tip-top shape. So that, you know, you can actually open the drawer you need without your potato masher getting stuck.

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani/Kitchn

1. Use Velcro to keep drawer dividers in place.

If your organizers are getting unruly (because they slide around inside the drawer every time you open and close it, consider adding Velcro pieces to the dividers.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

2. Turn a roll-up drying rack into a container lid holder.

Rest a roll-up drying rack on top of a dollar store plastic storage bin. Then use the slots to hold the lids to your food containers. Just slide the whole thing into a cabinet and pull it out when you need to put leftovers away.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Use tension rods to “file” cookware and bakeware.

Stack up all your baking sheets, cutting boards, and bakeware and it’ll be a struggle to pull out whatever’s on the bottom. Instead, use tension rods to “file” the pieces up on their sides. This way, you’ll be able to pull one out without sending the rest toppling over.

Read moreThe Most Clever Solution for Storing Your Baking Sheets

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Prop Stylist: Stephanie Yeh/Kitchn

4. And to organize under your sink.

Under-the-sink cabinets can get pretty crowded with various cleaning supplies. Hang a tension rod across the top and you’ll have a spot for spray bottles, rags, gloves, and more. (Note: You’ll want to get a decently sturdy tension rod for this project. We like this $7 two-pack.)

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. And to create more space for spices.

Lest you start to think this post is sponsored by the Tension Rod Association (is that a thing?), here’s one last tension rod idea: Use a small one to create an extra “shelf” in your spice cabinet. It’ll be the perfect space for your smaller spice jars, and you’ll be able to see your entire collection at once, which makes searching for what you need so much easier! 

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

6. Use an over-the-cabinet towel bar for cleaning supplies.

If you don’t want to use a tension rod in your under-the-sink cabinet (or you need even more storage space), consider picking up one of those small cabinet door towel racks. You can flip it around so that the rung is on the inside of the cabinet and then you can use it for spray bottles. 

Read more: The Brilliant Towel Holder Hack That’ll Save You Room Under the Kitchen Sink

Credit: Alexis Buryk

7. Store stuff on the sides of your cabinets.

Don’t let the sides of your cabinets go to waste! Consider hanging some rails or hooks and use the space as a newfound home for various tools or even cookware. This will make things easier to find and also free up drawer and cabinet space.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

8. Use Command Hooks to hang pot lids on cabinet doors.

While we’re firmly against storing your measuring cups and spoons on your cabinet door (read this to find out why!), we are huge fans of this little hack. You just need a few Command Hooks and you can get your pot lids, which just might be the most annoying things anyone has to store, up and out of the way.

Read moreThe $8 Trick to Miraculously Making Space for Your Pot Lids Where You Thought There Wasn’t Any

9. Or to hang pot holders.

Another foolproof way to use the back of cabinet doors? For pot holders and oven mitts! (Because they definitely won’t clang around when you open the door).

Read more: Emily Henderson’s Kitchen Changed How I Store My Pot Holders

Credit: Joe Lingeman

10. Or to hang foil and parchment paper.

One last idea for the back of your cabinet doors: Set up a DIY wrap station with Command Hooks and wooden dowels, and hang all your foils and papers. You’ll free up space and make it really easy to pull off what you need.

Read moreThe $8 Hack That’ll Make Storing Your Foil and Parchment Paper a Million Times Better

Credit: Joe Lingeman

11. Use a dish drainer as an organizer.

If you have little kids in the house, we’re guessing you struggle with organizing all their little plates, cups, and utensils. Try a dish drainer! We’ve found a cheap wire one is the perfect solution — and it fits in a cabinet nicely.

Read moreThe Surprising Trick for Actually Keeping Kiddie Plates Organized

Credit: Anna Spaller

12. Store stuff on top of your cabinets.

If your cabinets don’t go all the way up to the ceiling, use that space as storage. Just do it thoughtfully, or else you run the risk of making it look junky. Tip: Use pretty baskets to hide less-than-pretty stuff (paper towels, for example) that you need to store.

Credit: Julia Brenner

13. And underneath them.

How smart is this spice jar solution? Just hang up a magnetic knife rack and you can hang small jars for easy access. Similarly, we love the idea of adding hooks to the bottom of cabinets or shelves for mug storage.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

 14. Spread out spices in a drawer.

Speaking of spices! (How’s that for a transition?) Try storing them in a drawer instead of a cabinet or pantry shelf. You can spread them out like in this photo above or stand them up (just be sure to label the caps and you’ll always be able to find the cumin in a pinch).

Credit: Joe Lingeman

15. Store utensils diagonally.

By dividing up a drawer diagonally (instead of back to front), you’ll have more space for longer tools. You can buy one already made or DIY one to fit your drawer exactly.

Credit: Anik Polo

16. Add shelf risers.

What’s better than one shelf? Two shelves! It’s true. When in doubt, add a shelf riser and you’ll have more space for dishes or pantry items. We’re big fans of these because they’re sturdier than others on the market.

17. And a lazy Susan or two.

We never want to suggest buying an organizer just for the sake of buying something, but you will never regret a lazy Susan. (Especially if it’s this lazy Susan. Or this one.) We like them for tight spaces because they allow you to see what’s in there. Tip: Put your tallest bottles in the middle and work from the center, out.

Credit: Ashley Poskin

18. Use Mason jars to organize your utensil drawer.

File this under something we never would have thought of on our own! We spotted this idea in a smart before-and-after organizing story and couldn’t get over it. The jars help keep like tools grouped together and still make it easy to grab what you need.

19. Install some pull-out shelves — or, at the very least, baskets.

Fact: Drawers are always going to be better than shelves, because they help you see what’s tucked all the way in the back. If you’re able to add some actual hardware to your cabinets, we absolutely recommend it. If you’re a renter, not all that handy, or on a tight budget, we suggest big baskets, which you can also slide in and out.

Read moreThe Best $100 I Spent During My Kitchen’s Gut Renovation

Credit: Diana Liang

20. Readjust your shelves.

When was the last time you stopped to think about the height of your various shelves? They’re adjustable for a reason. And even if you set them once, your storage needs may have changed. Don’t be afraid to rearrange!

Credit: Sarah Crowley

21. Add hooks to the back of cabinets.

We’ve talked a lot about adding hooks to cabinet doors, but don’t forget the backs of the cabinets or even the side walls. There’s all sorts of space in there that you can put to good use.

Read more: How an $8 Key Holder Can Make More Space in Your Kitchen Cabinets

22. Or a magnetic knife strip.

You don’t have to limit yourself to hooks, either. A magnetic knife rack can be used for anything, well, magnetic. We especially love this tip for organizing all your food processor blades.

Credit: Rachel Jacks

23. Add a tip-out tray.

Way too often, that panel under the kitchen sink is just decorative. If you have one, why not add a tip-out tray? It’s not expensive or hard to do and then you’ll have a new place to stash your sponge and scrub brush. Who doesn’t want new/more storage options?

Read more: The $22 DIY Cabinet Hack That’ll Make Your Kitchen Sink a Million Times Better

Credit: Cambria Bold

24. DIY your own drawer dividers.

Remember how we said we hate telling people to buy things just for the sake of buying them? Well, we will rarely suggest buying organizers for a junk drawer. Not because we’re against organizing those drawers — because we think you already have everything you need. Round up small boxes, bowls, and baskets and get creative.

Read more: Before & After: How I Transformed My Junk Drawer Without Buying a Single Organizer

Credit: Rachel Jacks

25. Add drawers to your toe-kicks.

If you’re down for some handiwork, then hidden drawers in your toe-kicks (the space under your bottom cabinets) might be the storage solution you’ve been looking for. Family Handyman has great how-to instructions, and then you can use these drawers for platters, linens, or rarely used items.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

26. Use a paper towel tube to keep baking mats rolled up.

Baking mats are floppy and not so easy to store. Keep them tidy by rolling them up and pushing them through part of an empty paper towel tube. Bonus tip: Use the rest of the paper towel tube to hold tongs (they won’t unlock in your drawer this way!).

27. Turn a drawer into extra counter space.

This tip is more about organizing while you cook, but it’s still drawer-related and it’s extra-brilliant, so we’re including it. If you’re short on counter space, pull out a drawer and put a cutting board on top. There you go! The perfect staging area for your mise-en-place ingredients.

Read more: The 30-Second Trick to Faking More Counter Space — Even in a Rental

Credit: Julia Steele

28. Upgrade your corner cabinets.

Corner cabinets can be so darn impractical! And impossible to reach. The smartest tips we’ve seen here come from Reddit and involve special hardware or bespoke building. Even if you can’t install anything special right now, it’s worth checking out these ideas.

Read more: Reddit Users Just Revealed 5 Smart Ways They Make the Most of Their Corner Cabinets

Credit: Joe Lingeman

29. Stand up your folded kitchen towels.

Marie Kondo knows what’s best and she knows that kitchen towels should be folded and stood up on their sides. Load them into a drawer and you’ll be able to pull one out without ruining the whole stack.

Read more: Marie Kondo’s Method for Storing Kitchen Towels Is the Only Way to Store Kitchen Towels

Credit: Cambria Bold

30. Store messy containers on a plate.

That jar of honey that drips goo all over your shelf? And the pepper mill that leaves little pieces of pepper in its wake? Put them both on a little plate and it’ll contain the mess!

Read moreThe One Thing I Started Doing That Immediately Made This Kitchen Cabinet Neater

Credit: Sarah Crowley

31. Use a mail organizer for storage container lids.

The lids to food storage containers might just be the hardest things for any home cook to store. We have some ideas but this is our favorite. Use Command Hooks to hang a mail organizer/file holder in a cabinet and toss them in there.

Read more: This $10 Mail Organizer Is the Key to Organizing Your Kitchen’s Messiest Problem

Do you have any other smart tips to share? Tell us your tricks for more organized cabinets and drawers!

Credit: Kitchn