How to organise your kitchen

March 21st, 2013

Appliance Talk Kitchen

As the room of the house where the most work tends to get done (or at least where it’s SUPPOSED to get done), the kitchen really benefits from being well-organised.

However, not all of us have the organising gene (I know I don’t), and as a result, many of our kitchens eventually start to resemble the ground zero of some kind of mess and clutter explosion.

If you’re serious about getting your kitchen working spaces under control, and turning the place back into an area where you can simply cook and relax, then read on…

The Great De-Cluttering

If you find yourself complaining that you never have any room in your kitchen, it may be time to create some.

Go through everything in your kitchen – EVERYTHING.  Clear out each cupboard, empty each drawer, clear off every benchtop.  Anything and everything that you can get rid of?  Get rid of it.

Be harsh.  Be brutal.  If you find a utensil or small appliance that hasn’t seen use for a long time (heck, even more than a month), or some old, chipped plates that you’re mostly hanging on to for sentimental reasons, it may be time to let them go.  Throw them out, give them to charity, or if you seriously can’t bear to part with them, pack them away in storage elsewhere in the house, so they won’t be getting in the way during everyday cooking.

Get rid of multiple of items where practical.  If you have several sets of an item, you’re more likely to grab the clean one rather than wash up the dirty one, which could leave you with a teetering pile of dirty dishes to deal with, as discussed in How to make yourself do the dishes.

This goes for food as well.  We’ve told you before about how to clean and organise a fridge, and many of the same principles also apply to the pantry.  Just like in the kitchen drawers and storage cupboards, you should probably use up or dispose of multiples of food items you don’t use regularly, and get rid of those old leftovers and unusual ingredients that you’re really not likely to use any time soon.  For more ideas, check out our Spring cleaning blog.

One interesting idea we’ve found in a few kitchens is to hang a clipboard inside your pantry to carry an inventory of its contents – add or cross off items as they’re used or purchased, so you can always know what’s available and what needs to be added to this week’s shopping list.

Sort by purpose and frequency of use

Once you’ve reduced the amount of stuff in your kitchen, it’s time to have a good think about where it should all go.  Don’t just stick it back where it was before – its positioning may have been an inadvertant part of what led to the clutter building up in the first place.

As seen in the Winning Appliances blog How to plan an efficient kitchen layout, one way to get the most out of your kitchen space is to divide it into different “zones.”  You can use a similar system to reorganise your appliances and utensils.

For example, if you’re really into home baking, keep your mixing bowls, baking trays, whisks and food mixers together in a single “baking zone”, so when you’re planning an elaborate cake, you won’t need to look high and low for the things you need.

The position of this “zone” should correlate with its use.  For example, cleaning gear should be stored near the sink, food preparation utensils within easy reach of the benches, and so on.

Think about how often you use your items when you’re arranging them in your kitchen.  The more frequently you use them, the more prominently they should be positioned, so you can always grab them straight away.

Divide and conquer

Rather than just dumping all of your stuff into a drawer or stuffing it into a cupboard, you can organise it further with a bit of extra sorting.

Using dividers, baskets, or containers, you can neatly arrange your utensils and more for efficient storage.  Draw inspiration from the inserts normally found in cutlery drawers, and apply the same principles to your other storage spaces.

See-through containers are especially good, as these let you know at a glance what’s inside without having to pull out the drawer for a closer look.

Shelves and Susans in the cupboard

Rather than haphazardly piling up all of your utensils, you can make some handy additions to your cupboard to make your life easier.

You can often integrate slide-out shelves into your cupboards that make it simpler to organise more items.  You can efficiently fill these using similar principles as stacking a dishwasher, but without having to think about where water will go.

An alternative to the slide-out shelves is the so-called Lazy Susan (which I call a Spinny Turny Thing out of respect for the world’s hardworking Susans), which can rotate your items so you can reach the ones you want in the back of the cupboard.

The kitchen library

We haven’t all upgraded to digital recipes yet, and a lot of us still have a fair few recipe books kicking around that still have a lot of use in them.  Rather than keeping them somewhere else in the house, why not give them a home of their own in the kitchen?

Adding a small bookshelf to your kitchen is relatively simple, provided you have the space for it.  The trick is in its positioning – make sure that it’s well away from anywhere the books are likely to get splashed with water, covered in grease, or burst into flames.

To make following your recipe even simpler, add a book stand somewhere out of the way, so you can follow instructions without the book taking up valuable space in the preparation area.

Look up

Much like Khan in Star Trek 2, it’s easy to forget about the vertical dimension.  You’re not restricted to dumping stuff in cupboards and drawers – you can also hang things on the walls or higher shelves.

If you don’t use something often, keeping it on a higher, more out of the way shelf may be perfect – with no need to use these items regularly, it doesn’t matter if they’re harder to access.  And if they’re attractive items, they can also serve double-duty as a kitchen decoration…

A few simple hooks can be used to hang tea towels, oven mitts, and more – for smaller items, you can easily hang up some of those removable plasic hooks, which is great news for renters.  And as shown above, a rack where you can hang your pots and pans isn’t just handy – it looks great, too.

We’re especially fond of this impressive (if somewhat inimidating) knife display, which uses a magnetic strip to keep the various pointy objects in place.

Presentation counts

An organised kitchen is a good-looking kitchen.  Or was that the other way around?  Or both?

Use cupboards with glass doors to attractively present your high-quality china and nice silverware.  Even if you’re not eating off it, it’ll still be contributing to your kitchen in some small way.

If you’ve invested in some colourful kitchen appliances and equipment, such as the range from Morphy Richards, try to store these items alongside their like-coloured fellows, to create a unified appearance and maintain organisation.

Freestanding storage

If you’ve free floor space to spare in the kitchen, this can be put to work as extra storage and utility space, and NOT just by dumping your junk out on the floor…

You can use a kitchen cart or tray on wheels to not only keep utensils, cutlery and appliances handy, but as a means to move meals to and from the kitchen.

We’ve even seen some people adapt a ladder into makeshift kitchen shelving, though I’m not sure what they’d do when they need to replace a lightbulb…

Reorganise the fridge and freezer

The fridge and freezer are some of the main features of a modern kitchen, so it’s important to keep them organised, as described in our blog on the subject.

Don’t forget the trash

Cooking creates mess and waste, and you’ll need a place for all of that garbage to go.  While you want it to be out of the way to maintain hygiene, you also want it to be easy to access, so you can clean up as you cook.


Slide-out bins in cupboards are handy for this, making it simple to drop in waste where required and easily slipping out of the way once that’s done.  Just don’t let out of sight become out of mind – always empty and clean out your bins!

Use appliances that help to keep you organised

Being in the home appliances business, we can go on and on about how the appliances you choose in your kitchen can help to keep your kitchen organised.

So rather than go into detail, we’ll give you a really quick summary of what they can do:

  • Dishwashers can help keep your dishes clean and under control, and so do do sinks with matching drying racks that you can use to create a washing up/drying system. Of course, you do need to properly motivate yourself to do the washing up, and not fall into the trap of using your dishwasher as extra storage space…
  • Door In Door fridges may sound like a bit of a gimmick at first, but they can do a great deal to keep your food organised – keep your most frequently-used items in the door compartment, and your long-term storage items in the main body of the fridge.
  • Being built right into your kitchen cabinetry, integrated fridges are especially good at using space efficiently in the kitchen for improved organisation.
  • Even if you don’t live in one, our blog on the best appliances for an apartment can provide some handy inspiration for using your kitchen’s working spaces efficiently.
  • A food waste disposer can greatly reduce the amount of garbage you have to manage in the kitchen, making it easier to keep everything clean and organised in the kitchen.

Is your kitchen super-organised, or a bit of a mess?  What are your tips for running an efficient, organised kitchen?  Share your ideas with us!

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

One response to “How to organise your kitchen”

  1. Cooking Appliances says:

    Amazing post… I just loved reading it. Keep sharing such helpful tips an organized kitchen will give a good impact on guests and will look spacious also 🙂

    Cooking Appliances

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