The kitchen is one of the most important and used rooms in our homes, so it makes sense to prioritize keeping it clean and organized.

We all know what it’s like to waste time hunting for the tool we need or wondering where to put something away. We’ve all stepped into someone else’s kitchen and marveled at how smart their arrangement is.

With just a few key principles, we too can organize our kitchen spaces smartly.

These five steps will help you organize your kitchen space in a way that works for you and the space you have and the style you prefer.

The kitchen is one of the most used spaces in our homes. These five steps will help you organize your kitchen space in a way that works for you.

Set Up Kitchen Stations

The first and most important step to an organized kitchen is establishing stations for similar and frequent activities.

With stations, tools and ingredients you need can be stored near at hand, promoting efficiency and saving you steps and time in the kitchen.

So let’s look at common stations in the kitchen.

Kitchen Mixing Station

Where do you do most of your measure, dump, and stir process? Do you have a spot of counter or an island you prefer?

Is there a spot in your kitchen where you can stand in one place and reach your mixing bowls, mixing spoons, measuring cups, and basic ingredients? Or does making something mean walking a route all along your kitchen pulling things out before you begin or while you work?

Sure, perhaps such a plan might help you increase your steps and aerobic exercises for the day, but if you want to be able to whip out food in record time, you need to store things that are used together near each other.So examine your kitchen cupboards and counter space and see if you can arrange the following things in an area where you can access them all in no more than a step or two:

  • mixing bowls
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • basic, frequently used ingredients (maybe try a tub in a cupboard?)
  • mixing spoons, whisks and spatulas (maybe in a crock on the counter?)

Kitchen Cooking Station

Where your cooking station is located is much more straightforward: it’s by your stove and oven. This is where the hot-cooking gets done.Now, clearly, pots will be stored near the stove and cookie sheets and the like should be near your oven, but are these other hot-work essentials within reach of these hot spots?

  • hot mitts & hot pads
  • trivets
  • pancake turners, spatulas
  • wooden spoons & turners for stirring pots on the stove
  • salt & pepper & herbs for seasoning as you cook

The important thing to remember is to store things, as much as possible, near the point where you use it most. So, I store my rice, pasta, and popcorn in a cupboard right next to my stove.

Kitchen Beverage Station

Are you a daily coffee or tea drinker? Are all your coffee making and drinking supplies stored together? Maker, filters, grinder, mugs? Can you stand in one spot and make your coffee? I have a few tips for you, I worked for many years at the little coffee place down the street and I know how to make coffee standing in one place!

Who wants to add steps and thinking in the morning before coffee, anyway?

Kitchen Washing Station

Here’s a station you probably already have set up, even without thinking it through. It’s simply common sense to store the soap and scrubbies at the sink.

In the same way, it makes sense to store other tools right where you use them most. Look around your kitchen and see where you can improve your efficiency in this way.


Store Your Kitchen Tools

How many appliances do you have? How many pots and pans and specialty pieces of cookware? These things can take up loads of space, so we need to be smart about the place we keep them.

Prioritize your space and your stuff.

A-Space

Your “A” category space in your kitchen is your handiest and most accessible storage points. Look around your kitchen and determine where the easiest access places are for you: places you don’t have to strain to reach or contort yourself in odd ways to get at.

A-Stuff

Your “A” category tools and appliances are the items you use on a daily or at least weekly basis. If you use them that often, you need to be able to get at them without straining, without moving and rearranging other things, and without taking too many steps from the point at which you usually use it.

B-Space

Your “B” space is still handy space, but it might take an extra step to access. It might be the back of a large cupboard above the microwave, where you have to move your daily-use items a bit to get back there. It might be behind your mixer in a lower cupboard. It is space that is not necessarily quick-access, but still not inconvenient, either.

B-Stuff

Your “B” type tools and appliances are those you use every couple weeks or at least monthly. You want them nearby, but they don’t need prime real estate. It might include cake pans, the waffle iron, a coffee carafe, the rice cooker, or your crockpot. It all depends, of course, on how often you use them.

C-Space

Your “C”-priority space is the inconvenient spots in your kitchen. You don’t just want to waste the space and keep it empty, but you hate getting into it. It might be the back of a corner cupboard or the cupboard above the refrigerator.

C-Stuff

Your “C”-priority items are items that need careful scrutiny. Do you have too many? Has it been two years or more since you’ve used them? Are they actually things you’ll use or do they need to be donated to Goodwill or sold at a garage sale? If you use them at least once a year and don’t want to get rid of it, you’ll want to relegate it to the least-loved storage spaces in your home. You might even consider places other than the kitchen. If you have a storage area in your basement or garage, these are prime items to be stored there. Certainly, they should not be taking up any easy-access spaces in your kitchen.

Examine, then, not only your kitchen storage spaces, but also your appliance and tool collection, and do your best to match up the heavy-use items with the easy-use spaces, and the infrequently-used items with the inconvenient-to-use spaces.


Customize Your Kitchen Tool Storage

There are many kitchen tools available to us these days, and it’s easy to fill up our kitchen with them. There’s no one right or best way to store and organize all the spoons, whisks, and gadgets.

Organizing these things needs to be a very personalized and individual thing. Here are some ways to store kitchen tools with pros and cons; think about your kitchen and your tools and your cooking style and decide which is best for what.

Option 1: Countertop Caddies and Crocks

 Pros

  • Frees up drawer space, which is often limited
  • Keeps tools visible and ready to grab
  • Easily cleaned, just run it through the dishwasher

Cons

  • Takes up counter space
  • Tools are visible – not so good if they are old or worn

Option 2: Drawers without storage organizers

Pros

  • Drawer never needs to be reorganized or tidied
  • Doesn’t require any purchases or any more stuff
  • Best if your tools are few

Cons

  • Tools get lost in the back
  • Tools get tangled up together and can be hard to pull out
  • Tools can be difficult to spot

Option 3: Drawers with space organizers

 Pros

  • Keeps tools from sliding around and getting tangled or lost
  • Keeps tools visible and categorized
  • Keeps the drawer looking neat

Cons

  • Finding one to fit your drawers can be difficult
  • Tools will end up in the wrong place and need to be reordered regularly
  • Sometimes more hassle than its worth

Option 4: Hang that tool!  

Pros

  • Frees up both drawer & counter space
  • Keeps tools visible and near-at-hand

Cons

  • Tools can be splattered and dirtied if mounted too close to the stove
  • Tools will always be visible, so they should be kept spotless
The kitchen is one of the most used spaces in our homes. These five steps will help you organize your kitchen space in a way that works for you.

Hang Kitchen Laundry

A vital “tool” in the kitchen are all the various rags, scrubbies, towels, and other cloths used to clean the perpetual mess in a well-used kitchen.

Scrubbies, etc.

We will start with scrubbies, dishcloths, and vegetable brushes, because they are the clearest. The principle behind almost all stuff organization is to store items near the point of use. So, of course, scrubbies and other instruments used at the sink should be stored by the sink.

There are some handy organization tools if you use sponges or scrubbies and need a place for them to air between use. There’s hardly a worse smell than a used kitchen rag that’s sat damp in the sink overnight.

Keeping a container that drains behind or even stuck inside the kitchen sink to pop the scrubbie in after use is a great plan to prevent off smells and promote hygiene.

Hotpads & Hot mitts

Here is another clear category to store. You need your hotpads near the oven and the stove. If you don’t have a drawer at hand in these spots, then you might want to mount hooks on your backsplash or keep a basket on the counter next to the stove.

You don’t want to be forced to walk halfway across the kitchen and back when it comes time to pull the pot off the stove or pull the casserole out of the oven.

Towels & washclothes

Towels is where it becomes a little more tricky. Not only do you often use them throughout the kitchen, but their volume usually requires one of the largest drawers (or multiple drawers) available.

Here are some creative solutions for storing kitchen towels if you have limited space:

  • Roll the towels and place them in a basket or bucket.
  • Bring in a small chest of drawers to use.
  • Mount a towel bar on the end of a cabinet or inside cabinet doors.

Maintain Kitchen Lists

Before there is a soup to stir with a wooden spoon in a pot or a smoothie to blend, the ingredients must be purchased and the recipe decided.

The lists and other collections of information (like recipes and meal plans) we use to manage the food are an important part of our kitchen functionality.

So let’s see if we can organize this aspect of our kitchens more effectively!

Cookbooks and other recipe collections

Most of us have such an extensive collection of cookbooks and other recipes that it becomes practical to have two different storage places for them. Particularly if we are committed to the principle of “store nearest the point of use” and to prioritizing our space and our stuff, then separating the oft-referred to books from the browsing-for-inspiration collection.

If you find yourself going back and back to particular recipes from particular books, but only a handful out of the entire book, you might consider copying those you use the most, printing those you look up online the most, and mounting or copying recipe cards you use often and keep one binder near your mixing station with your most-frequently-used recipes. Not only will this increase efficiency, it will also reduce wear on your good cookbooks.

If you have a collection of cookbooks that are as much for hobby and for collection as for use, and you browse them more for inspiration and for recreation than for reference in the midst of cooking, you might consider making them a more decorative part of your kitchen rather than allow them to occupy functional space, or you might consider moving them to your bookcases in another room, even. 

Grocery Lists

You want your shopping list to be handy so you can add things as you realize you are running short. Here are some suggestions:  

  • Paper list on the fridge with a magnet
  • White board or chalkboard on the wall or fridge (make sure a marker or chalk is handy!)
  • Chalkboard-painted door or backsplash
  • List on your laptop or phone (if you usually have it handy)
  • List in your planner or home management binder
  • List or pad mounted inside a cupboard door

Menu Plan

There are several options for keeping your menu plan at hand and easy to reference, most of them quite similar to the grocery list options.

  • Written directly into your calendar (paper or digital)
  • Paper list on the fridge with a magnet
  • White board or chalkboard on the wall or fridge (make sure a marker or chalk is handy!)
  • Chalkboard-painted door or backsplash
  • List on your laptop or phone (if you usually have it handy)
  • List in your planner or home management binder
  • List or pad mounted inside a cupboard door

Personally, I use Google Calendar to menu plan.

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