4 Smart Tips for Organizing a Kitchen (and 3 Things to Avoid)

The kitchen is one of the most-used rooms in the home. It’s where you chat over pancakes with your kiddos and where you laugh uncontrollably while cooking with friends. Because of this, even the cleanest of kitchens can quickly become disorganized. To prevent that, we’re dishing on our four favorite organization tips (and three things you should avoid).

1. Take Advantage Of Vertical Space

When examining your kitchen from a spatial perspective, a lot is happening in the middle. You’ve got your countertops, cabinets, appliances and sink. But what about the areas above and below those central items? Oh, hello there, unused space. Vertical storage is key to getting more room to keep the essentials conveniently within reach. Place a slim bookshelf at the end of one counter and fill it with things you use often, such as spices, pasta or dry snacks. Tip: Lean on OXO POP Containers to keep everything fresh and visible thanks to their airtight seal and clear, sleek container design. And did we mention they’re stackable?

white marble kitchen counters

2. Keep Your Counters Minimal

Counters are a magnet for just about anything: car keys, sunglasses, cell phone chargers, junk mail—it’s a wonder we even have room to cook. Instead of treating your kitchen counters like a storage area, designate a drawer or cubby for stashing random personal items. Here’s the key: Follow through by putting items there. When everything has a place, there’s less clutter.

oxo vertical storage

3. Store Items By Frequency Of Use

Each shelf in your cabinet should mimic a stoplight: green, yellow, red. The bottom (green) is for the everyday things you reach for constantly, like cereal bowls and plates; the middle shelves (yellow) are for items you use less often, like mixing bowls; the top shelf (red) is reserved for the specialty pieces you only need once in a while (we’re looking at you, ceramic cake stand). Follow this stoplight method for each of your cabinets and you’ll be not only organized but extremely efficient.

4. Put Pretty Ingredients On Display

Food is beautiful. From the perfect spirals of rotini pasta to rich brown coffee beans, these staples don’t need to be shoved into the abyss of your pantry. Put them on display in clear, space-efficient containers from OXO to show off their beauty. Of course, don’t go overboard and clutter your shelves and counters (remember what we said earlier?) with containers of food, but pick a few things you love and keep them within reach. If you want to go one step further, choose foods that “match” your kitchen’s aesthetic. Dried pastas and nuts make a muted palette, while sprinkles and candies are cheery and colorful.

coffee maker on kitchen counter

5. Don’t Ignore The Layout Of Your Space

If your stovetop is on the left side of your kitchen, don’t store your Dutch oven on the right side. That just means you’ll have to carry things across the entire space. Take note of where each of your main workstations is (prep, cook, clean) and then store related items close by. Small changes make a big difference.

clean open kitchen interior
chuckcollier/Getty Images

6. Don’t Set Up Your Desk In The Kitchen

We get it, home space is limited, but try to avoid creating a workspace in your kitchen. Things that happen at a desk can create a messy (and stressful) environment. The amount of tossed mail, permission slips that need signing and bills that need paying can become overwhelming and get out of control fast. Prevent chaos by keeping paperwork out of the kitchen.

organized food storage containers

7. Don’t Collect Mismatched Food Storage Containers

You know that plastic wave that comes crashing down on you every time you open the cabinet? Don’t enable it. Instead, clear out your pantry, recycle as needed and commit to a food storage system that’s smart and organized. Psst: OXO’s Smart Seal food storage containers are a wise, leak-proof replacement for those old mismatched sets.

Rachel Gulmi

Operations Director, Branded Content

Rachel joined PureWow in 2016 and is the Operations Director of Branded Content where she oversees the editorial production of sponsored content campaigns. In addition to...
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