The Best Way To Organize the Kitchen
Today, we’re sharing the best way to organize the kitchen!
I spent a good part of the holiday at Bliss Barracks helping my Mom organize her kitchen. We organized everything from the butler’s pantry to the drink station to the cabinets.
It was SO much work at the time. Now that they have a solid system in place though, I think it’s going to be a game-changer for them both.
As we ease back into our work schedules, school schedules, and routines I thought it would be a great time to concentrate on the heart of the home – the kitchen.
Truthfully, we’ve tried all sorts of home organization tips and tricks trying to find the best way to organize the kitchen.
I literally used to move things around nearly every week trying to make the kitchen more efficient.
Until one day, I decided to divide the kitchen into work-friendly zones and it changed everything.
The Best Way to Organize the Kitchen – Zones:
- cooking zone
- baking zone
- drink zone
- lunch prep zone
- cleaning zone
This system was so impactful we continue to use it today and it’s the one I just implemented at my parent’s house too!
Here’s a look at how you can use this system in your own home and the best way to organize the kitchen…
Pots and Pans – For the longest time we struggled to keep the pots and pans organized. The cooktop and oven came as a package deal which meant having pull out drawers to store pots and pans in wasn’t an option.
I decided to move the pots and pans to the upper cabinet and we haven’t looked back.
It’s so much easier to find a specific pot or pan while cooking now. The lids are stored in a basket to keep them corralled and save space.
If you have a smaller kitchen or don’t have upper cabinets consider keeping your pots and pans together in the same space or purchasing a pot rack.
Everyday Dishes – To keep our everyday dishes organized, we store them in the cabinet next to the stove. The cabinet is also by the dishwasher and sink which feels like an added bonus.
This kitchen cooking zone helps to make plating food more efficient during meals. It also makes clean up a breeze when we when we’re unloading the dishwasher because the dishes are easier to put away.
Spice Drawer – The spices are labeled and placed in a drawer next to the stove for easy access while cooking. The glass jars are clear so we can always see if we’re running low on specific spices.
I made all of the labels using PicMonkey and we bought these jars at Dollar General for $1 each.
Cooking Utensil Drawer – Most of the utensils we use for the stove are kept together and organized in this drawer.
If you don’t have a drawer you can designate specifically for cooking utensils, set a pretty ironstone pitcher, champagne bucket, or crock on the side of your stove, and fill it with your cooking utensils.
Kitchen Linens Drawer – Microfiber towels and flour sack towels are kept in our kitchen linens drawer.
Small Appliances Cabinet – One of the best ways to organize the kitchen started with a BIG dose of decluttering. Especially, where small appliances are concerned.
Consider donating small appliances that serve the same function in lieu of keeping one that is multifunctional. It’s also a good time to consider donating the small appliances you no longer use or only use once in a while.
The Baking Zone:
Kitchen Island – The kitchen island is our baking zone. We keep mixing bowls, cake decorating utensils, cookie cutters, baking pans, rolling pins, and silicone mats in this space.
The top of the island is a food prep area and the stand mixer is one of the few appliances we leave out year-round.
It’s close to the sink when there are messes and close to the oven when it’s time to bake.
If you don’t have a kitchen island, no worries, consider using a small mobile work station that can serve as an island.
Baking Station Utensil Drawer – We keep all the utensils related to baking in this drawer.
As you can see it includes everything from measuring cups to wooden spoons. Using a utensil divider is another way to help keep all of your items neat and organized.
Everyday Flatware Drawer – We started using an in-drawer wooden knife block over the holidays and it’s really helped to keep our countertops tidy.
As always, use caution and care if you choose to store knives this way. Especially if you have small children, elderly adults, or mischievous pets that could access the knives as sharp objects can cause harm and injury.
This is another drawer we kept close to the dishwasher and sink to make mealtime prep and put away a breeze.
The Drink Zone:
All of our glassware from champagne flutes to tea glasses are kept in these two cabinets.
While they’re further away from the dishwasher, we wanted to make grabbing a glass of juice in the morning from the refrigerator or making a glass of iced tea in the afternoon as easy as possible.
We’ve also created a drink station in the lower cabinet to store holiday mugs, a basket for dry smoothie supplies, and for storing to-go cups.
The drawers of the cabinet hold our coffee and tea supplies for the indoor coffee bar.
The Meal Planning Zone:
On the other side of the refrigerator is our built-in desk area.
The drawers hold office supplies and the cabinets are used for household-related items like cards, receipts, important documents, and cookbooks.
It’s also where we keep our simple cleaning schedules and cookbooks.
The Lunch Prep Zone:
Just across from the drink zone is the lunch food prep zone because it’s the closest to the refrigerator and we eat a lot of salads.
We keep food storage containers, napkins, and to-go flatware in the drawers above and larger food storage containers, collapsible lunch bags, and plastic pitchers in the lower cabinet.
This area was one of the hardest for us to manage at first. But with a little decluttering and a lot of determination, it no longer looks like a hot mess ?
The Cleaning Zone:
Paper Goods Drawer – This drawer holds most of the paper goods from wax paper to individual trash bags.
We used to keep all of these items in the pantry but this has worked out so much better for us. No more hunting around for a trash bag after we take out the trash ?
Kitchen Cleaning Supply Cabinet – Everything from gloves to various cleaning supplies for almost every space in the house save for the bathrooms is kept in this cabinet.
We also keep the bigger boxes of trash bags and bulk paper towels in here too.
As always, any time you have littles, elderly parents, or mischievous pets you need to make sure cabinets like these are locked or kept out of their reach as chemicals can cause harm and injury. Use caution and care if you chose to create a cleaning supply cabinet in the kitchen.
You can read more about how to tame cleaning cabinet clutter here.
Recycling and Trash Cabinet – Just under the sink is where we house the trash and recycling receptacles.
Again, it’s mostly for the convenience of being close to the sink and cooking zone which makes cleaning up kitchen messes really easy.
The Best Way to Organize the Kitchen Take-Aways:
I know this was a long post but I struggled for years to have a functional kitchen so I wanted to be as detailed as possible.
Breaking your kitchen into work-friendly zones can help to make your space more efficient.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when organizing your kitchen:
- Evaluate how you use your kitchen
- Declutter before organizing the kitchen into zones
- Place items you want to donate in bins or boxes next to the front door so carrying items to your car will be easier
- Create a zone for only what is necessary based on your current lifestyle
- Use your kitchen or dining room table as a staging area for items you want to transfer
- Wipeout/clean zones before placing items you want to transition into their new spaces
- Maximize the cabinet and drawer spaces you have
- Use baskets and drawer dividers to help corral supplies
- Pair similar items together in drawers and cabinets
- Use a second shelving system to increase storage options in your kitchen
It took almost a full day to get a solid plan together, declutter, transition items then organize each zone so this project is best completed when you have some uninterrupted time.
That said, the kitchen is one of the most used spaces in the house and it’s definitely worth the effort!
Let us know your favorite tips and tricks to organize the kitchen! Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Other Organization Posts to Enjoy:
- 52 Weeks to a Simplified & Organized Home Challenge
- 10 Tips for a More Organized Life
- Organize an Easy Lunch Station at Home
- Our Favorite Home Organization Products
- Pantry Organization Tips Made Easy
Wow…this is a fabulous list. You need to wrap it up with your mom and little sister. Time to head north and help organize our spaces 🙂 Cheers to a wonderful week!
Oh my word that would be so much fun! You know I love to organize and clean stuff out. We could be there for days 🙂 Hugs, CoCo
Great tips Coco! I like the idea or organizing it by zones. I am in the process of de-cluttering mine right now and working a plan. The one tip I took from my mother-in-law that has been THE BEST was to roll my dishtowels. Like most people, I have one drawer that is so skinny it’s almost useless. Except, it holds all my dishtowels. I fold them and roll them up and can store 10-12 dishtowels in the one drawer. Thanks for the organizing inspiration!
Great idea about the dishtowels, Nancy! I will definitely try that one too. The decluttering part of the kitchen took the longest but I can confidently say it’s been worth every minute to be able to find what I need when I need it. Sending you hugs, CoCo
Wish my cabinets were as organized as yours!
Thank you Betty! It feels so nice just to be able to find what I need. It took a lot of decluttering through, you know I love those vintage dishes 🙂 Hugs, CoCo
My kitchen is way smaller than your kitchen. I’ve never thought about breaking it up into work zones. Great idea.
My baby sister has a galley style kitchen we’re currently working on so I’m hoping to share a few tips for smaller spaces soon too! Hugs, CoCo
I can see now why my current kitchen set up is not functional. It’s not as big as your kitchen but i can still do the basic stuff like put the garbage bags by the garbage and create a small appliance cabinet. I’ve been doing it wrong for YEARS! Thank you CoCo
Just putting all of the like items together made a huge difference for us, Sarah! Of all the spaces the kitchen took me the longest but it feels so much more functional now. I think it’s a really smart idea to start with goals like the garbage bags and the small appliance cabinet. They may feel like small changes but they will definitely make a big impact. Hugs, CoCo
Where did you buy your lemon drops sign?
Hi Betsy, I made the sign several years ago after my grandparents passed away with wood and tobacco sticks that were sentimental. We always watched Wizard of Oz together so it’s definitely a treasure 🙂 Hope you’re having a great day, CoCo
That sounds like a great memory!
I’ve always wanted a desk in the kitchen. Love yours and how it’s styled. And those little baskets that hold your baking sheets are adorable too. Great tips! I remember when we moved into this house the best gift ever given was when a friend came over and helped unpack and zone the kitchen. I did that for a friend recently and zones make all the difference in the world. Great post!
It really does make the best gift, Cindy, and it’s so sweet of you to serve other families with your talents like that too. We moved around a lot as a military family and my aunt and uncle always came along to help get us settled. Even now my Mom gets all teary about it because it was tons of work. You are definitely a treasure! Hugs, CoCo
All great ideas Coco. Funny, we have pot drawers too and I don’t use them for pots. I found them better in a cabinet next to the stove.
I have baking sections, cooking sections and dish sections.
Under our sink is great storage and stays organized.
Super excited to hear you have pots in your cabinet too, Cindy! When I first decided to try it I had no idea if it would work out or not but I knew it would be a total back saver and was worth a try 🙂 Thankfully, it was a huge hit 🙂 Cheers to a fabulous year of staying organized and enjoying our homes, CoCo
These are some brilliant organization tricks!
Thanks so much, Josiah, I really appreciate it!
Your kitchen is just gorgeous, CoCo! Loving all the wonderful tips too! I’m working on our closets right now, but the kitchen will be next!
So excited you’re working on your closets, Christine! I’m looking forward to tackling mine soon too. I swear it just makes you feel good when you open the door to a neat and tidy closet space 🙂 Hugs, CoCo
So many great ideas CoCo! Thank you as always for inspiring me.
You are so welcome, Kim, so glad you’ll be able to use these tips! Hugs, CoCo
I love the idea of breaking the kitchen down into zones. I have a tiny kitchen and hate my pots and pans cabinet. I’ve pinned this so this weekend I’ll be reorganizing my kitchen! Thank you so much for these amazing ideas!
You are so welcome, Michelle, I’m glad you’ll be able to use some of these organizing ideas. Even small tweaks go a long way in making to make a big difference. It takes a bit of work to get just the right system sometimes but the effort is definitely worth it 🙂 Hugs and good luck with everything, CoCo
We’ve had drawers for pots in former kitchens which I loved. Now, our kithen is smaller with limited cabinet space. One of the best things I did was to move spices to a drawer. I really like your idea of a lid basket. Currently I have a utilitrian rack that I use but it takes up a lot of spce and I still have loose racks adn a crowded cabinet! I’m changing that today. Other ideas you showed us I’m gong to modify for mine. Always looking for ways to make our space work better.
So glad you’ll be able to use some of these ideas, Linda, that is really exciting to hear. My parents have a completely different setup than I do too. While we weren’t able to implement everything because of space issues, the ideas we did implement have helped them tremendously already. My Dad would say the hardest part was getting used to a new system. My Mom would say the hardest part was decluttering. Honestly, anything you can do big or small to help bring joy into your home is worth the investment 🙂 Cheering you on, CoCo
Great ideas…I need to get my plastic/glass containers organized and yours look great!
Thank you, Ann! That was one of the toughest areas for us to tame. Honestly, we just had too many odds and ends and plastic containers. But once we decluttered it all and started using the uniformed glass containers it helped so much. Cheering you on as you get your containers organized as well! Hope your day has been a special one, CoCo
Thanks for the ideas! I have been thinking of decluttering our kitchen for a couple of months now! My biggest challenge will be the spices. I have 3 shelves of spices, lol.
That is so cool, Cheryl! I wish I enjoyed cooking enough to have 3 shelves of spices because they make such a huge difference in the flavor of our meals. My parents have a lot of spices too and were able to place them in a small corner cabinet. I know the kitchen might feel overwhelming at first but it’s truly worth the effort. Cheering you on, CoCo
Very well thought out and appreciate the details! Like you, my kitchen was definitely thought out when moving into this house and that was 25 years ago. However, recently made some changes where the crock pot and food processor are in that corner lazy Susan cabinet and the seldom used Corelle containers/lids are on the bottom. Since hubby does the cooking, thankfully, he was receptive to these tweaks! One more thing I would like to see happen to my baking area is having a long width pull out board, like the cutting board next to the oven. This way the bowl could be on this board and the supplies on the counter. Definitely a goal of mine!! The only thing under my sink is the garbage can (I so don’t like it out), garbage bags and extra dish soap. I can member, growing up ALL the stuff my mom would have under the kitchen sink, and I’m totally opposite! =) Great post and thank you again!!
That is such a genius idea to have a long pull out board next to the oven to make baking easier and supplies organized, Julie, I love it! Our garbage and recycle bins are both under our sink too but thinking about what’s under my parent’s sink gives me the giggles. It sounds like the things your Mom had under her sink too ? It’s definitely the spot I’m hoping to help them with next ? Cheering you on as you continue to organize and refine. It sounds like you and your husband are making great progress already! Hugs for a happy day, CoCo
Your spice drawer has totally inspired me! I have a spice cabinet and I am constantly digging through it to find what I need! Thank you for sharing at EH&F!
Thank you bunches! It’s definitely one of those things we have to stay on. I swear every new recipe we decide to try seems to come with new and different spices ? Hugs, CoCo