How to Organize Your Kitchen into Work-Friendly Zones

We’re sharing how to organize your kitchen into work-friendly zones today!

We’ve lived in this island cottage for about 13 years now and the kitchen was just one of those spaces we couldn’t get quite right.

As you can imagine, it drove us (read: me) totally bananas given we use the space multiple times a day, every day.

I was bound and determined to find a solution though.

Finding the Key to Success…

So, after several months of moving things around from one cabinet to another for WEEKS trying to make the kitchen more efficient, I finally decided to make one simple change….

I divided the entire kitchen into work-friendly zones.

While this may seem like a small change, I can’t tell you what a big difference it made. Our kitchen is more efficient now than it’s ever been!

We’ve organized it into five work-friendly zones: a cooking zone, a baking zone, a drink station zone, a lunch prep zone, and a cleaning zone.

Bonus, everything has a home so putting things away is easy-peasy too.

Here’s a look at how to organize your kitchen into work-friendly zones with ease…

Zone #1 – The Cooking Zone

The cooking zone is basically everything you need to make a meal save for the food which is kept in the pantry and refrigerator.

Pots and Pans

For the longest time, we struggled to keep the pots and pans organized.  

We used to keep them in the bottom cabinet next to the stove. Almost every night they would come tumbling out of the cabinet no matter if we were grabbing a saucepan or a skillet.

One day, I decided to separate the pots and pans by function and move them to the upper cabinets.

Creating Zones in the Kitchen-Cooking Zone-The Crowned Goat

It’s been seven years since we made that small change and we haven’t looked back. It’s so much easier to find a specific pot or pan while cooking now.

We store all the pot lids in a separate basket, so we don’t have to spend any extra time looking for them.

Bonus, it’s a space saver since all the lids are corralled together.

How to Orgnize the Kitchen Into Work Friendly Zones-The Crowned Goat

Cooking Utensil Drawer

Most of the large utensils we use for cooking are kept together and organized in a drawer next to the stove.

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 favorite pieces.

Spice Drawer

Spices are labeled and located in the drawer next to the stove for easy access while cooking.

Our favorite containers to use are glass jars so we can see if we’re running low on specific spices.  We bought these jars at Dollar General and the labels on Amazon.

Everyday Dishes

Our everyday dishes are organized and stacked together by category (dinner plate, salad plate, bowls) and are also stored in the cabinet next to the stove.

They’re easy to grab when we’re plating up dinner and easy to put away when we’re unloading the dishwasher. 

Everyday Flatware Drawer

Our everyday flatware and knives are stored in a drawer in the kitchen island. It’s close to the dishwasher, oven, and stove which makes mealtime prep and cleaning a breeze.

As always, use caution and care when you’re deciding how to store knives appropriately.

Especially if you have small children, elderly adults, or mischievous pets that could access the knives as sharp objects can cause harm and injury.

Kitchen Linens Drawer

Everything from oven mitts to flour sack towels to dishcloths is kept together in our kitchen linens drawer for quick access while we’re cooking and cleaning up the kitchen.

Having these items readily available helps to cut down on our paper towel consumption too.

Small Appliances Cabinet

If possible, consider keeping your small appliances together in one cabinet. It’s another game-changer!

At one time, we had a small blender, a food processor, a large blender, a Magic Bullet, and an emersion blender in the kitchen.

It sounds crazy to have so many small appliances that virtually do the same thing. But since they were all kept in different cabinets, we had no idea we actually had that many.

Corralling all the small appliances in one cabinet allowed us to see where we had overlap so we could donate all the extras.

Zone #2 – The Baking Zone:

The baking zone in our kitchen island houses everything from cookie sheets and cake pans to baking supplies, cookie cutters, and mixing bowls.

Kitchen Island

The kitchen island sits parallel to the oven which makes it the perfect location for our baking station.

We keep mixing bowls, cake decorating supplies, cookie cutters, baking pans, rolling pins, and silicone mats in the baking zone.

Each category is organized in a variety of different containers from glass jars to metal vintage refrigerator baskets.

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.

The kitchen island is close to the sink for easy cleanup and close to the oven when it’s time to bake.

If you don’t have a kitchen island, consider using a small mobile workstation that can serve as an island, or use a set of cabinets to create a baking station of your own.

Deep Dish Baking Items Cabinet

Just under the spice cabinet and next to the oven is a smaller cabinet we house all of our casserole and deep dish baking items.

It was another spot that was tough to maintain because the dishes were not the same size.

We finally decided to only keep the baking dishes we consistently used and those pieces that had matching lids.

Needless to say, it made a big difference!

Baking Station Utensil Drawer

We keep all the utensils related to the baking zone from measuring spoons to spatulas in this drawer.

Using acrylic utensil trays or drawer dividers is another easy way to help keep various-sized baking and miscellaneous kitchen utensils organized.

Baking Drawer Organization Ideas-The Crowned Goat

Zone #3 – The Drink Zone:

The drink zone is between the refrigerator and the coffee bar which makes grabbing a glass of juice in the morning, creating a smoothie for lunch, or grabbing a to-go mug filled with an iced coffee in the late afternoons easy breezy.

How to Create a Drink Zone In Your Kitchen-The Crowned Goat

Drinking Glasses and Mugs Cabinet

All the glassware we use from champagne flutes to sweet tea glasses are kept in these two cabinets.

The proximity to the refrigerator, freezer, and coffee bar makes it convenient to fill empty glasses of ice for dinner or for guests to help themselves to a generous mug of coffee at the coffee bar.

Drinking Glasses and Mug Cabinet Organization-The Crowned Goat

Smoothie Station Cabinet

Adding the smoothie station basket to this drink zone was another game changer once decided to organize the kitchen into work-friendly zones.

We have a smoothie almost every day and it’s nice to have everything we need from the blender to the protein powder easily accessible in one basket.

Coffee Station Drawers

Since our coffee bar also sits next to this set of cabinets, we keep all our hot drink supplies in the two drawers below the drinking/mug cabinet and above the smoothie station.

This makes it super convenient to prep the coffee pot each night before going to bed. It also makes it simple to grab a cup from the cabinet and the creamer from the refrigerator the next morning.

Coffee and Tea Drawer Organization Ideas-The Crowned Goat

Zone #4 – The Lunch Prep Zone:

Across from the drink zone is the lunch prep zone because it’s the closest to the refrigerator.

Everything from food storage containers to napkins and to-go flatware is housed in the drawers and the cabinet.

This was another area that was difficult at times to keep up with due to the variety of sizes of food storage containers we use.

Phasing out the containers we no longer used, keeping all the food storage container lids in a basket together, and nesting the food storage containers inside one another really helped to save space.

Zone #5 – The Cleaning Zone:

Paper Goods/Meal Prep Drawer

This drawer holds most of the meal prep goods from wax paper to aluminum foil.

We used to keep all these items in the pantry.  But this has worked out so much better because they’re easily accessible when cooking and cleaning up the kitchen.

Kitchen Cleaning Supply Cabinet

The kitchen cleaning supply cabinet is located next to the sink.

As you can see it houses everything from gloves to various cleaning supplies for almost every space in the house.

We also keep the trash bags in here as well.

Keep in mind, if you have littles, or mischievous pets you need to make sure cabinets like these are locked or kept out of their reach.

It goes without saying chemicals can cause harm and injury. So, use caution and care if you chose to create a cleaning supply cabinet too.

How to Organize Cleaning Supply Clutter-The Crowned Goat

Recycling and Trash Cabinet

Just under the kitchen sink is where we house the trash and recycling receptacles.

Again, it’s convenient being close to the sink and the cooking zone which makes cleaning up kitchen messes really easy.

Taming the Clutter for Good…

Oh my word, I struggled for years to have a functional kitchen until I put this system in place!

It’s really helped us which is why I wanted to be as detailed as possible about how dividing your kitchen into work-friendly zones can make your space more functional and efficient too.

Even if you don’t have a kitchen this size, implementing some of these small changes can make a big difference in how you organize each drawer, cabinet, or zone.

Tips and Tricks of How to Organize Your Kitchen Into Work Friendly Zones-The Crowned Goat

How to Organize Your Kitchen into Work-Friendly Zones Take Aways

  • Evaluate how you use your kitchen
  • Declutter before organizing the kitchen into zones so you’ll have less to move
  • 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
  • Clean zones before placing items you want to transition into their new spaces
  • Maximize the cabinet and drawer spaces you have
  • Use baskets, containers, and drawer dividers to help corral supplies
  • Pair similar items together in drawers and cabinets
  • Use second a shelving system where possible to increase storage options in your kitchen
The Best Way to Organize Your Kitchen-The Crowned Goat

Keep In Mind…

This project is best tackled when you have a few uninterrupted hours or even a day to complete it.

It takes time to learn how to organize your kitchen so be sure to:

  • get a solid game plan together
  • declutter
  • transition items from one cabinet to the next
  • then create work-friendly kitchen zones

The kitchen is one of the most used spaces in the house. So, making it functional and efficient is worth every minute!

How to Organize Your Kitchen Into Work Friendly Zones-The Crowned Goat

We hope these ideas for how to organize your kitchen into work-friendly zones have helped.  Let us know your favorite kitchen organization tips and tricks!

Other Kitchen-Related Posts to Enjoy…

The Easiest Way to Organize Your Pantry and Refrigerator

The Easiest Way to Organize Your Pantry and Refrigerator-The Crowned Goat

How to Easily Change the Color Of Existing Grout

How to Easily Change the Color of Existing Grout-The Crowned Goat

Decorating Above Kitchen Cabinets: Do’s and Don’ts

Decorating Above Kitchen Cabinets-The Crowned Goat

Many blessings,


Similar Posts


  1. My kitchen is about half this size but I look at the way I’m storing things completely different now Coco, thanks for this post. I hope you’ll do more posts on how to stop using plastic as well. Im interested in learning more. Thanks

    1. My sister has a galley style kitchen so I can definite appreciate the size of your kitchen, Jess. Our kitchen was a mess for years and finally putting things into zones changed everything for us and I hope it will help you too. I’m in the research phase for plastic alternatives under the kitchen sink right now and I have to tell you it’s tough. I’ll share more as soon as I’ve had a chance to get a system in place that works well. Hugs, CoCo

  2. I don’t have nearly as many cabinets as you have Coco but I can’t wait to start trying to some of these tips. Gathering supplies for the girls’ lunches drives me crazy every night because I have to walk back and forth to too many places. I realize now if I just took the time to create a zone closer to the pantry or the refrigerator and corralled all the supplies I need in one cabinet or basket I could have almost everything I need to make their lunch. Thanks for the tip

    1. Honestly, Sarah, when I was in graduate school I didn’t have that many cabinets either so I appreciate your comment. Organizing your cabinets is really just about seeing how you use your kitchen and then putting the most efficient system in place so it’s easy for you to maintain. Grouping items together that you use most, like the girl’s lunch items, is a great place to start. Let me know how you’re doing with everything, hugs, CoCo

  3. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU FOR PUBLISHING your method of organizing your
    kitchen. I just needed to create a plan and you provided me with excellent options!
    My family will be indebted to you!!!!

  4. I really like your concept for creating work-friendly kitchen zones. I also found your tips for how to organize the baking utensils drawer especially helpful. These are items I always have a challenging time organizing for myself.

  5. This is inspiring! I need to start with the decluttering and get rid of about half of the things in my kitchen cabinets. I have a thing about kitchen items. The tips in this post are so practical and helpful!

  6. I see you are a fan of lock-n-locks as well. Love them, and hate them…. love being able to use for storage, but when they are not being used, they take over the kitchen. Thank you for sharing your tips and ideas. We are in the process of planning a kitchen remodel, and I am collecting ideas and seeing how I can make them all fit. Some days my eyes are much bigger than my budget.

    1. Oh my gosh, Cara, we use the lock-n-locks all the time! We try to keep them with their lid so we don’t have to hunt too hard for them. In the old days, that cabinet was a MESS. Once we switched to the anchor set and the lock-n-lock set though we’ve never looked back. The biggest thing that helped us was to be mindful of leftovers. I know some people don’t like them but the top shelf of our refrigerator is used for leftovers and the minute we start running out of space we know it’s either time to clean out or eat up 🙂 Can’t wait to see how your new kitchen comes together. I’m really excited for you! Hugs, CoCo

  7. I am wondering if you have a source for the basket tray under your toaster. Brilliant idea to catch crums.

    1. Thank you so much, Pamela! I can’t say for sure because we’ve had that basket for so long but I think it came from the dollar store. Big box stores like Target and Walmart should also have shallow baskets at reasonable prices as well. If you can’t find a shallow basket you like you could also try a small baking sheet or even a box lid. We lined our basket with a basic cabinet liner to help catch additional crumbs and we clean the basket as needed with the dust buster. It really does help keep things tidy! Hope your day has been a fun one, CoCo

  8. Hi, CoCo! Your kitchen looks amazing! Organizing by zones is such a game-changer! I think kitchen cabinets should come with instructions telling people how to organize by zones. Once you understand the concept, it’s so logical! Thanks for sharing these great tips and how your kitchen is set-up! Blessings, Donna

  9. CoCo,
    I love all your creative ideas. I love the Zone Ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Such a timely post for spring, CoCo! Love all the tips and tricks for organizing kitchen work zones! Pinned, and I’m delighted to be featuring you this week at Tuesday Turn About!

  11. Great tips. Love the idea of moving the pots and pans higher up. Maybe I can convince my husband (who is an awesome — and primary –cook) to do this for us! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *