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how to optimize your kitchen space

Updated: Feb 12, 2019

Your kitchen is arguably the most important space in your home to organize, it’s also the easiest to get wrong. If you organize your personal closet, you are the person most often inside it and you can maintain the systems you’ve created. A kitchen is a communal space and therefore much more difficult to maintain. Below are 10 tips & tricks to help you make the most out of the space.

  1. Start Fresh - If you’re unpacking in a new place, this is the perfect opportunity for a blank slate. If you want to reorganize a space you already live in, I suggest taking everything out and starting again. It will be daunting but it’s also the best way.

  2. Make a Plan! - Before you start putting things away with abandon (because let’s face it, we all do this) make a plan. Your plates, cups and bowls should live as close as possible to the dishwasher. Your cooking utensils, pots and pans need to be placed in relation to the oven and stovetop. Your priority is to deal with what is used most often based on your cooking habits.

  3. Making Space – Play with height of your shelves, do it! The majority of shelving in kitchens is movable. Just because you entered to find your shelves a certain height, doesn’t mean they need to stay that way. Just be careful to remove the items on and below a shelf before you move it. Risers are also great for this and they’re available in every make, size and finish you can imagine. Risers often allow you to make a shelf do double the work.

  4. The Should – There is no should when it comes to kitchen organization; can your plates and bowls go in a drawer because you’re short and it’s hard to lift them above your head when you put them away? Yes. Should you keep a stand mixer on your counter because that’s what everyone does and it’s the mark of a good kitchen? No. There is no should, this is your kitchen and it should be functional for you as an individual.

  5. Decluttering – As you go along, declutter. You most likely have things in your kitchen you no longer want, need or use. And to be honest there are also probably things you never wanted, needed or used. They’re called gifts and they’re usually given with a side of guilt. If you were bought a very nice (fill in the blank) but you’ve never used it and never plan on it, this is a great candidate for donation.

  6. Pantry Priorities – Your pantry is normally divided into a few different categories: cooking, baking, snacks and for some people, breakfast. There are further subcategories but those are the main ones. If you eat too many snacks, put those up high so that you don’t see them as often and it’s more of a to-do to get to them. If you bake more than you cook, baking gets the better real estate. It’s important to keep like items together so that you don’t open three jars of peanut butter at the same time without realizing… yeah, that’s never happened to anyone ;).

  7. The Unnecessary Organizers - Don’t get me started on glass jars! No, you do not need these to have a perfectly organized kitchen. It’s an aesthetic choice, which if it works for you, great! For the most part, I find that people do it the first time and then let the contents go stale. It’s an extra step to take the ingredient out of the box it came in (which also has the expiration date) and if you’re a busy person, not one you need. Furthermore, it rarely saves you space.

  8. Useful Purchases – If you are going to invest in something for your kitchen, spin trays are my go to. They allow you to see what’s at the front and back of a space without having to do anything more than spin. Make sure you don’t get a tray that’s too wide because you’ll lose the stuff in the middle. Another great purchase for a kitchen is draw dividers, which can help you create a system of organization for all the ladles, spatulas, whisks, etc.

  9. Rarely Used – There are many items in your kitchen that you rarely use, most of the time they relate to a holiday or a special occasion and sometimes it’s a cool cooking gadget that you take out once in a blue moon. This is what the top shelves are for. Put things away in terms of use; in terms of rarely used, the most often used would end up being the most available. Now the problem is that you’re going to completely forget where these things went. First, it’s important to categorize – all machines together, all platters together, etc. And then on the inside of the cabinet put a label or tape a post it note with the contents. When you’re running around the kitchen trying to figure out where your roasting pan is, all you should need to do is read these labels.

  10. Maintenance - Once you’ve finished you’re going to maintain the system you’ve created by labeling. You don’t need a label maker if it’s cost prohibitive, use paper and tape. And make your kitchen like a kindergarten classroom, seriously. You can label on the inside of drawers and cabinets so it doesn’t look ridiculous but these labels should stay up for at least a few weeks until everyone has the new system down. Labels can come off but while muscle memory relearns where things are, it’s an incredible help!

Try my tips and tricks above and let me know how it goes! On average a kitchen takes me 6 hours to complete. I would leave yourself 8 – 10 hours to do this. Yes, if done right, it should take a while. And you’re going to have some trial and error, not everything is going to fit how you want it to fit.

If you get stuck, check out my kitchen organization Pinterest board -

Try my tips and tricks above and let me know how it goes! You can email me at and follow me on Instagram @toritheorganizer .


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