Whether you’re prepping meals, baking something sweet, or hanging out with guests, it’s likely that you spend a good chunk of your time in the kitchen. By default, this means that the kitchen is the first to take an organizational hit. Not only is it uniquely prone to messes from cooking, but it’s also the main gathering point in many homes, meaning clutter can quickly accumulate.
Having a neatly organized kitchen can help you cook more efficiently, clean up faster, and host friends and family with ease. However, keeping it tidy can feel like an ongoing challenge. That's why our favorite organizing hacks are here to save the day, so even your messiest roommate (you know the one) can tidy things up.
"The easiest way to keep your kitchen organized is to regularly make a habit of decluttering," Jane Stoller, founder of Organized Jane and the author of Decluttering for Dummies. "Set time aside each quarter to go through your kitchen and check in on the organization methods you have in place. If things feel hard to keep up with, you might need some new strategies in place."
Here are 10 hacks worth trying.
1. Store refrigerated drinks with a strategy
Opening your fridge to neatly stacked cans and perfectly organized drinks is an underrated luxury. Plus, it will impress any guests who are visiting. Use a large Lazy Susan to help store a variety of beverages, from sparkling water to kombucha.
"By using this hack, you can easily see what you have in stock, and what you need to repurchase," says Stoller.
2. House cooking utensils in one spot
Having your cooking utensils within reach while working through a recipe is crucial. It makes meal prep so much easier when you have your tools handy. Consider investing in a small utensil holder to place next to your stovetop or oven — where you likely use the utensils the most.
If you don’t find a utensil holder to be aesthetically pleasing, you can always house them in one universal container before placing it in a cabinet or your pantry. This way, when it’s time to cook, you can simply grab all the tools you’ll need from one spot.
3. Use a rolling cart for extra storage
Apartment living often means you have limited cabinet space. That’s where a rolling cart comes in handy. “A rolling cart can provide additional storage space for kitchen essentials while also being mobile,” Stoller says. “And it can add a unique touch!”
A rolling cart can help you score extra space to keep plates, cocktail glasses, serveware, or pantry items. They can also be particularly helpful if you share an apartment with roommates and you don’t have complete access to all the cabinets.
4. Invest in cabinet risers to corral your mugs
We’ve all been there — you’re unloading the dishwasher and find that you can’t possibly squeeze one more coffee mug into your cabinet. Mugs and glassware can take up a lot of space because they’re tricky to stack. If you find that you’re running out of room, a mini tiered stand can help you stack more cups in tight cabinets. This will make it easy for you to see all of your drinkware at once and prevent anything from getting lost or broken.
5. Hang your pots and pans
Storing pots and pans can be a major headache, but if you arrange them strategically it will be a lot easier to keep them organized. “Hanging them is usually an easy and convenient solution,” Stoller notes. “Place the most frequently used pots and pans in the front, and keep them grouped together.”
You can find a hanging rack for cookware at places like The Container Store, IKEA, and Amazon, all at an affordable price point. Another hack that Stoller recommends is to invest in multi-purpose pots and pans, which will reduce the amount you have while saving space. Many brands make stackable cookware as well.
6. Label everything so you know what’s yours
One general organization strategy that works exceptionally well in the kitchen? Labelling — especially if you’re a renter who has roommates.
“This way when you move out or share a space with others there is no discrepancy among items,” says Stoller. “Also, labelling cabinets and drawers can make it easy to find what you are looking for,” she adds.
7. Utilize the cabinets under your kitchen sink
The cabinets under a kitchen sink are often used for storing cleaning supplies, but you can also use the space to house items like sponges, paper towels, plastic bags, dish towels, and more. Grab some clear stackable bins and set any overflow items inside them to keep everything organized and within reach.
8. Store produce in the fridge rather than the counter
Fruit bowls might look pretty when they’re set out on a countertop but they take up precious space that could be used for cooking. Instead of leaving fresh product out, place it inside your fridge drawers. This will not only give you more surface space, but it will also help your fruit and veggies stay fresh longer.
9. Add floating shelves for more storage
For a quick and decorative storage solution, try hanging some floating shelves on your kitchen walls. Even narrow shelves can offer up a spot to stack bowls, cups, or canisters. Plus, you can use this space to add touches that showcase your personal style, like candles, picture frames, or vases.
10. Turn a hallway closet into a pantry
If you have a coat closet that doesn’t do much use other than storing junk, turn it into your own makeshift pantry. After you’ve cleaned it out, add a cubed storage unit, shelves, or a small bookcase to it so you can store your pantry staples. You’ll find it so handy to have a specific spot for all your cooking supplies, and you’ll free up some of your kitchen cabinets at the same time.