How to Organize and Declutter Your Kitchen Once and For All

You don’t need a kitchen decluttering checklist. You need to get to work.

The kitchen is the heart of your home. It’s where you prepare meals, eat together as a family and spend time with friends. But if it’s not organized correctly, it can also be the most stressful room in your house. That’s why it’s time to show you how to declutter and organize your kitchen so that everyone in your household can enjoy spending time there.

You can do this in just a few minutes a day. It doesn’t matter if you have a small or large space – these tips will work for everyone. Once you’ve decluttered, things will be much easier to find and clean up after cooking.

So let’s get started right now on this journey of decluttering and organizing together!

kitchen with tile floors, clear counters and big windows

How a cluttered kitchen affects you

A cluttered space costs you money and time.

When you can’t find anything, cooking becomes a frustrating experience that you hate. This makes you cook less, which means you spend more money on takeout.

And for some strange reason, once you’ve organized your kitchen, you’ll probably find that you buy less for it. You won’t want to fill up your cabinets with weird gadgets now that everything is functional and easy to find.

Decluttering your kitchen can also help with stress relief. Sometimes, the act of decluttering gives us an opportunity for personal growth and reflection. Removing clutter from our lives is not just about getting rid of things we have no use for. When the visual clutter is gone, you’ll find that you feel calm, clear-headed, and more comfortable. Really!

How to declutter your kitchen: getting started

Time for some action. Let’s start right now.

Step one: clean your counters.

We all love a clean countertop. Not only does it make you feel good, but it makes the whole house function better. There’s no instant transformation for your kitchen that’s as powerful as a clean counter.

Now, of course, this is easy to say and hard to do. A lot can go wrong here.

So break this job down into sections. Treat the area above each cabinet as its own zone. Make a rule: you can only put one thing per zone on the kitchen counter, and everything else has to go in the cabinet.

Don’t have room? It’s time to declutter.

Step two: declutter

It will be easier to cook when you clean out your kitchen since there’s more space available. OB

The best way to start is by using one drawer or cabinet at a time. Don’t start with the entire house all at once. It’s overwhelming, and you won’t finish it unless you are highly motivated.

Pick one drawer to clear out. If it’s full, you will need to go through all the items in there and take them back out. Drawer space is precious in a kitchen, but if your drawers won’t open and are stuffed to the brim with junk, they are not terribly helpful.

Sort them into three piles. One pile is for things you use every day, another pile is for things that you might not use all the time but want to keep because they are useful, and the last pile is for items that you will never use and can be thrown out or donated.

Your everyday items get to stay. Put them back.

Pile three goes in the trash.

And pile two, the tricky pile, can be stored in an out-of-the-way spot where it’s not taking up prime real estate.

If you have a lot of seldom-used things, consider getting a storage cart– these are perfect if you are into canning, baking, or other hobbies that you don’t want to take over your entire kitchen.

Moving along: tackling the cabinets

To the best of your ability, make use of all of the space in your cabinets. Organizing cabinets is a pain, but if you take the time to clean your cabinets first, they’ll be like new in no time.

Wipe down those cabinet doors while you’re at it.

You can use cabinet organizers and pull-outs, or you can just accept that a busy kitchen will need some tidying up now and then. Get yourself on a cleaning schedule that has you re-organizing a cabinet every week or so, and it will never get totally out of control.

When it’s time to put everything back, don’t overcomplicate it—store things where they are used. Keep the same types of items together, such as dishes with dishes or spices with spices.

Store utensils where they are used

kitchen wall with knives and no upper cabinets

Friends, this is obvious but not always well done. Let’s give some examples:

  • dish soap should be near the kitchen sink
  • coffee mugs should be near the coffee pot
  • cutting boards near the knives

Things you should not do:

  • put the cereal in the walk-in pantry around the corner when you use it every day
  • put bizarre kitchen gadgets you never use (egg slicer, anyone?) in your most accessible drawer
  • store frequently used mixing bowls on a high shelf you can barely reach

Consider these ideas:

  • Put a hairbrush and hair ties in the junk drawer, so your kids always have a brush handy
  • Put wooden spoons and cooking utensils in a canister near the stove. This should free up a drawer where measuring spoons and cups can have some breathing room and be easy to get to.
  • Put your ice cream maker, weird small appliances, and fancy serving dishes in kitchen cabinets above the fridge.

Kitchen paper solutions

It’s now time to organize your paper clutter. We all have it somewhere. Some action steps:

  • Put all your photocopies and handwritten recipes into a recipe binder. Try photocopying your favorites out of cookbooks and giving the book away.
  • Don’t let junk mail hit the counter. Throw it straight in the trash.
  • Get a tray for essential papers that you can’t throw out. Ruthlessly purge this once a week.
  • Buy a folder for each child and label it with their names. Any artwork or school work that has sentimental value to you is put in the folder. Every year on their birthday, they go through it together and file it away. All other kid masterpieces get thrown out right away.
  • Take five minutes before bed every night to throw out papers.

Declutter and organize the refrigerator and freezer

Take a few minutes to go through and see what’s expired or freezer-burned. Don’t be embarrassed. It happens to the best of us. Throw it out.

After some hardcore decluttering, your refrigerator should be free of expired food.

Now, in the future, we don’t want to go throwing out food all the time. And we don’t want the fridge to feel cluttered. Make sure you’re using systems in your kitchen to avoid food waste, and messy fridge syndrome will take care of itself.

Food storage

Don’t fall into the trap of storing your pantry foods in impossible to organize areas.

For instance, stop putting the canned food on the shelf and start putting it in a pull-out pantry cabinet. It will be easier to access, and you can put similar items together: canned vegetables, canned fruits, canned beans, etc. If you do things this way, you will likely remember what you have and waste food.

What if you have a small kitchen?

If you have a small kitchen, there are still ways to organize it. One of my favorite tips is to use the walls. Hang pots and pans on pot hooks and install a magnetic strip for knives. This will clear up cabinet space and make your kitchen look bigger.

Another way to use the walls is by installing shallow open shelves for a little extra storage space. This can be a great way to store dishes and glasses that don’t fit in your cabinets. You only need 12 inches of depth to store most food items.

There are also cabinet organizers that can help you use the space in your cabinets more efficiently.

And finally, if you have an empty corner, consider buying a small kitchen cart. This can be used for extra storage or as an island.

Jumpstart: 12 things to get rid of right now

  • all coffee cups, except for 2 per person
  • cleaning products you don’t use
  • seasonal baking ware (be honest with yourself here)
  • excess muffin tins
  • anything past the expiration date
  • warped cookie sheets
  • anything that should go in the upper cabinets but doesn’t fit
  • old baking soda
  • gross dish towels
  • pot lids that don’t match anything
  • your least-favorite small appliance
  • cooking utensils that don’t fit in the drawers

Now for the fun part, getting to work

Remember, you deserve to be able to cook in your kitchen without tripping over clutter. Getting organized doesn’t have to take hours of work or cost hundreds of dollars. Good luck!