Thursday, October 24, 2013

5 Tips for Organizing Kitchen Cupboards

I re-organized my food storage containers!!!  

One day I was looking up in the cupboard of ramekins, mugs, serving bowls, bread baskets, etc., etc., when the epiphany came to me.  These random items were in a very functional place that my food containers could be occupying.  About a week went by without a follow-up in the plan, when yesterday I was putting dishes away and noticed a whole bunch of food storage containers had been cleaned.  It was a "Now or Never" sort of moment, so I went for it!  

I ran into two problems, one of which I was unable to remedy.  The first problem is that I am quite short as am less than five feet, two inches tall.  Moving onward, friends.  The second problem is that the shelves in the cupboards I was dealing with were very high.  You know those top shelves that you usually only put holiday-themed platters and lesser used appliances in?

Well, to remedy the second problem, I grabbed my step ladder.  I sorted my containers so nicely, and thought I was done, when the light bulb came on. 

I needed to get off of the step ladder, and test reaching for what I could to make sure that I had put the important stuff in the front of the shelves.

Now, maybe everybody already does this, however, I thought I would share.  Just in case!  Once I was got off of the step ladder, I thought of several other food storage situations to consider.

Here are my 5 Tips for Organizing Kitchen Cupboards:

1.  When cleaning out a cupboard, evaluate your items and toss or donate items that you no longer use or want.  I found a lid to a container that I gave away several months ago.  Adios!

2.  Make sure that you keep like items together when possible.  For example, I keep my cooking spices and herbs separate from my baking spices.  It makes it easier to find if like items are together.  If I'm making banana bread, I grab the cinnamon that's next to the flour so that I don't have to dig through garlic, parsley, oregano and all of the other herbs and spices that I would generally cook with to find it.

3.  Look at your space (i.e. counters, shelves and cupboards) as if they were real estate.  I discovered that some prime real estate in my pantry was being used for curtains that were left here with the house, that are 100% NOT my style.  I can give them a different home and use that space more effectively.

4.  Do you have things that you only use seasonally?  Can you buy a plastic tote to store them in (or a shelf way up high) for those special occasions where you want to use them?  My kitchen is quite small, so I bought a tote and it's working out great!  It's stored in the garage.

5.  Lastly, when you organize higher shelves, get off of the step ladder and see how accessible items are when you are at your normal height.  I admit it!  I rarely pull out my step ladder.  I'm a pull-out-the-kitchen-tongs-to-reach-it sort of gal.  Can you reach all of the items that you want to be able to reach?  Are the most important things in the front?  Do you have too many rows of items that will be needed on a regular basis and that you won't want to pull down in order to reach the important stuff in the back?

Those would be my tips to a more organized kitchen.  What do you do?  Do you have any special tips?


  1. I am short also! All my cupboards go right to the ceiling. I have it arranged so everything I need is on the bottom two shelves . The two above are reachable with one of those long handled grippers, which works for some things. It did not work for the five pound bag of flour two days ago. Flour is very slippery on a wood floor. what l usually just do is stand there and call for someone to get it for me if they are handy. Last resort is the step stool as my joints are bad. But that was outside for some husband type project.

    1. Oh no! That's too bad about the flour! My husband uses my step ladder sometimes too. Once it goes out to the garage, I either have to retrieve it or it's gone for a loooong time. :)

      That's a good idea about the gripper!

  2. A couple of years ago, I put the plastic storage containers within easy reach in my kitchen and it has been great. Before that, I was still storing them in the lower shelves where I had them so my kids could play with them when they were little. They were both in college when I figured out that I could change the way I had always done things. :)

    1. That's nice that they're stored more to your liking now. It feels good to get things organized!

      I think every child loves to play with storage containers! This house doesn't allow for me to store them in a drawer, but my kiddos sure loved playing with the containers when I used to put them in a drawer.