The 20 Best Kitchen Cabinet Organizing Tips of All Time

published Apr 16, 2024
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Holly's canned food cabinet

As the old saying goes, “A clean home is a happy home.” Sure, that’s true, but let’s make it even more accurate for people whose heart lies in the kitchen: “An organized kitchen is a happy kitchen.” Sounds better, doesn’t it?

A tidy kitchen makes cooking so much easier — especially when the cabinets are organized. Cabinets tend to store cooking essentials, so if they are scattered then frustration is inevitable — especially if you need to cook dinner quickly and can’t find a pan to save your life. Learning handy tricks for how to organize kitchen cabinets is one simple way to make life in the kitchen feel so much smoother. Having organized cabinets saves time and helps keep everything in a neat order, ultimately making cleanup easier and ingredient-grabbing faster. Ready to get to it? In case your pantry or cabinets are in need of a refresh, start with these 20 easy tips for organizing kitchen cabinets. 

Credit: The Kitchn

The 20 Best Kitchen Cabinet Organizing Tips of All Time

1. Use inserts to organize cabinet contents. 

Pull-out shelves are incredibly handy when it comes to kitchen cabinet organization. It’s convenient to simply pull the drawers out instead of sorting through the cabinets for a can of soup. Put items you use often, like spices or pasta sauce, on the top shelf for extra convenience. This option from Amazon comes in plenty of sizes, so there’s sure to be one that fits your space.

Credit: Rachel Jacks

2. Store your baking pans vertically. 

How many times have you reached for a cookie sheet, only to dig through your messy cabinet and slam through pans until you find it? No shame — everyone’s been there. Take the guesswork (and mess work) out of baking and save some time by storing your pans vertically. That way, you can look in the cabinet and see exactly what you need instead of stacked, hard-to-find pans. Learning how to organize kitchen cabinets doesn’t have to be tough — sometimes, all you need to do is flip the script (and your pans!). If you have a large collection, this organizer can help, too. 

Credit: Rachel Jacks

3. Install cabinet organizer racks. 

Organizer racks are great tools for organizing kitchen cabinets — especially if you’re looking for solutions that don’t require much effort for installation. Putting them inside cabinet doors utilizes as much space as possible, giving items like sponges, sandwich bags, or shelf-stable condiments a new home. Choose from several styles, from solid white shelves to black wire racks. 

Credit: Alexis Buryk

4. Put the sides of your cabinets to use. 

It’s time for the sides of your cabinets to see some action! These blank canvases are perfect spots for hanging things like utensils, measuring cups, or pots and pans, and they free up valuable storage space. Put up hooks or rails that are sturdy enough to hold these objects and watch your cabinet space free up quickly. 

5. Utilize the lazy Susan.

The lazy Susan is so far from lazy — just see how you can put it to work in your cabinets! The spinning tray organizer is an ideal cabinet organization tool because it doesn’t take up too much space. Simply pop your condiments or spices on the tray and spin to grab what you need. It frees up cabinet space and you’ll have some fun grabbing your garlic salt. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Use a sponge holder to store small items.

Don’t let the name fool you — sponge holders can be used for things other than sponges. If you’re organizing food in your kitchen cabinets, hang one on the door or side and put smaller snacks and ingredients in it. Say goodbye to small packets flying out as soon as you open the cabinet! 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

7. Decant your pantry goods.

When thinking about how to organize kitchen cabinets, remember that those bulky boxes and plastic bags your pantry goods come in can take up more space than you realize. Decant things like sugar, flour, pasta, rice, and other cabinet staples into labeled containers to better organize everything. The airtight containers are a set size, meaning you won’t have to wonder “Wait, will this fit?” when you place something in the cabinet. The label will also help you locate things much easier — no more digging around the cabinet looking for a box of fettuccine! 

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

8. Set up tension rods to create extra space. 

This is a great kitchen cabinet organization tip if you’re DIYing on a budget. Tension rods don’t require any hooks or screws; simply adjust them to the length you need, and voilà! You have a handy cabinet organizer in a snap. Put it under your kitchen sink to organize your cleaning cabinet, or install one in your cabinet to make a small extra shelf. 

Credit: Sarita Relis Photography

9. Store items above your cabinets.

Roman poet Horace told us to “seize the day” — but now, I’m telling you to seize the gap. Specifically, that gap you may have above your kitchen cabinets. Grab storage organizers and put everything from those special-occasion dishes to your lesser-used appliances in them. It’s a win-win: You’ll free up space and you’ll know exactly where your finest flatware is. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

10. Hang your pot lids on cabinet doors. 

This kitchen cabinet organization hack is perfect for neatly organizing those seemingly free-roaming pot lids. Put a few adhesive hooks in the back of your cabinet door to put the lids in place — just be sure to measure them out beforehand so the lids fit properly. 

11. Put hooks underneath your cabinet shelves. 

Screw-in or adhesive hooks really come in clutch when organizing your kitchen cabinets. One way to use them is to hang them underneath your cabinet shelves, making a cute space for hanging up your favorite coffee mugs. Grab an adhesive pack for an easy DIY installation. 

Credit: amazon

12. Add shelf risers to your cabinets.

In the sea of smart organizing products to help with messy kitchen cabinets, handy tools like shelf risers make conquering clutter instantly easier to manage. Put these chic risers in your cabinets to magically double your storage space for food and dishes! 

Credit: Erika Tracy

13. Evaluate your food storage containers. 

Yep, it’s time to clear out that catch-all container cabinet. Going through your food storage containers will help you declutter and create more space in your cabinets. Ditch any containers that are missing lids or still have stains from that big lasagna dinner you made years ago. Then group all the containers and lids together separately to organize them best. If space is still an issue, consider using collapsible food storage containers. 

Credit: etsy

14. Install a spice tray under your cabinets. 

The underbelly of your cabinets is prime real estate — especially if you’re crunched for space. Installing a spice tray under your kitchen cabinet (like this one from Etsy!) makes it easy to organize your spices and have them ready for easy access. Installing one that folds down adds an extra layer of organization by creating a compact spice collection. 

15. Mount rods to hang pots and pans. 

Those big pots and pans are great for cooking delicious dinners, but they take up so much valuable cabinet space. A creative and cost-effective solution is to mount rods to hang up the pots and pans. You’ll get more organized kitchen cabinets, and a nice decor boost in your kitchen with this trick! 

Credit: Lyuba Burakova/Stocksy

16. Add a wine glass rack to the top of your cabinet. 

Treat your stemware to some organization TLC by adding a wine glass rack to the top of your kitchen cabinets. The rack allows the wine glasses to hang from their bases, creating more space below while making the area look chic like your very own mini wine bar.

17. Pack paper and plastic goods in bins. 

It’s easy to toss paper plates and plastic cutlery in a cabinet and forget about them until the next family barbecue. There’s a more effective way to keep everything tidy, though — put those paper and plastic goods in small bins. Paper napkins, plastic cutlery, and small plastic cups can fit nicely in these bins and create a more organized cabinet. 

Credit: Rusty Williams

18. Put similar items together. 

Sometimes the best tips for organizing kitchen cabinets are the simplest ones. Putting similar items together, from snacks to dishes, helps organize your cabinets by giving your things set places where they belong. This prevents you from having several boxes of pasta and a million different snacks spread out across your kitchen. Your cabinet space will work smarter, not harder!  

Credit: Maskot/Getty Images/Maskot

19. Stack your dishes properly. 

Your dishware cabinet can get cluttered quickly — especially if you’re stacking random dishes on top of one another. Stack your dishes properly to create an organized, neater look (i.e., plates on plates and bowls on bowls). If your dishes are mismatched in size and aren’t stacking well, look into stackable dishes. They look great and create more cabinet room!

20. Install vertical cabinets. 

This project is for the DIY-er looking to rearrange a cabinet or two. Installing a vertical cabinet creates a unique space for things like baking pans and serving platters, leaving more room in your cabinets for your other kitchen staples. And admit it: Cabinets like that look fun to have in your kitchen. (Will you ever get tired of pulling them out?)