10 Things These Pros Want You to Stop Doing When You Organize Your Kitchen

updated Feb 3, 2021
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So you want to do what you can to finally get your kitchen organized? That’s great! We love that for you. (Raise your hand if you get the reference here!) We don’t want anything getting in your way! So we spoke to Ashley Murphy and Marissa Hagmeyer, cofounders of NEAT Method, to find out what could possibly be standing between you and your organized-kitchen dreams. Here are 10 things these pros wish you’d stop doing in your kitchen.

1. Keeping too many of the same item.

Keeping extra kitchen tools (and food!) on hand may be a money-saver, but it can quickly take a toll on your storage setup, making your kitchen harder to both organize and clean. If you’re hankering for a space that’s easier to navigate and function in, start by parsing through your drawers and cabinets. Get rid of anything that’s not functional, and donate whatever’s in usable condition. Then, you can actually focus on organizing (and cleaning) the space you’ve freed up.

2. Purchasing products before organizing.

People often run out to a store and buy all sorts of bins and baskets in hopes of getting themselves organized, which is a good step. But it’s a useless one if you come home to find that the bin or basket doesn’t actually hold all of a category or doesn’t fit where you want it to. Avoid that time-wasting problem by organizing your stuff before you implement storage solutions.

3. Not measuring.

Murphy suggests always making sure to measure a space (like your drawers and cabinets) to ensure you purchase products that will actually fit. And don’t forget to take into account drawer hardware and plumbing for under-sink areas!

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

4. Forgetting about the dishwasher.

When you think about where things will live in your drawers and cabinets, remember to take into consideration what your path will be when unloading the dishwasher. “Trust us, you will want all of your everyday items in close proximity to each other or you will be running all over your kitchen to simply put things away,” Hagmeyer says.

5. Under-categorizing your inventory.

Make sure to take the time to separate out each category in your kitchen. Looking at you, utensil and gadget drawer! There should be no reason to have wine openers, egg timers, and your everyday spatulas in the same drawer. If your goal is to keep your kitchen in order, Murphy suggests working hard to separate out the themes (for example, a wine drawer, gadget drawer, and an everyday stovetop utensil drawer near the stove).

6. Having no bins or baskets in a pantry.

While we hate telling people they have to buy things in order to get organized, Hagmeyer and Murphy really recommend getting organizers for the pantry. Ideally bins or baskets, which you can use to sort by category and keep things labeled. “Now, when you are preparing your grocery list, you can easily see that a bin’s category is running low and that it’s time to replenish,” Hagmeyer says. “Otherwise, you will likely keep rebuying the same product because you aren’t sure if you have it or not.”

Credit: AnnaStills

7. Refusing to purge.

You probably want to do whatever you can to avoid waste, which is a good thing. But you also need to realize that if you haven’t used something three years past its expiration date, you are already being wasteful. “We encourage you to purge all expired food, spices, and products in an effort to clear space for the items you do enjoy using or consuming,” Murphy says.

8. Forgoing the label.

If there is one thing Hagmeyer and Murphy want you to do, it’s label. Everything. Even if you aren’t going the distance with decanting, at least take the time to place a label inside the drawer or on the face of a shelf to ensure that everyone in your home knows where to put things back. That’s the only way to have a system where there are no excuses not to put something away because labels tell you exactly where to put something.

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

9. Keeping too many cleaning supplies on hand.

There’s one thing Hagmeyer and Murphy see time and time again: the area under the kitchen sink is akin to a black hole, which makes actually cleaning your kitchen time-intensive and frustrating. To combat that problem, pull everything out and consolidate your cleaning supplies so you don’t have multiple items that do the same job. “Take this a step further and separate the items into categories, put each category into a bin and remember to label, like cleaning supplies, dishwashing, and trash bags,” Hagmeyer says.

10. Organizing before a grocery trip.

While you hear a lot of advice about organizing before you go to the grocery store (the idea is that this gives you space to put the new stuff away), these pros actually suggest you organize after. “We aren’t saying to go overboard on stocking up, but do remember to have your basics on hand,” Murphy says. “This will help you identify all the categories as well as the space needed to store each one.”

Do you make any of these mistakes? Tell us in the comments below!