I have organized and reorganized my kitchen cabinets too many times to count. Some areas stay organized and some are back to a chaotic mess within weeks. After almost ten years in this home, I've finally realized why and I've narrowed down kitchen organization to five simple rules.
1. Don't stack items you use regularly.
Instead of stacking items on top of each other, use a shelf to maximize space. This cabinet holds small kitchen appliances and has stayed looking just like this for the past two years.
I took this same concept and repeated it with the rest of my small appliances. I stole the other white shelf from my island cabinet and now it holds a tray I haven't used in years. I put smaller items and appliance accessories in it. Rarely used items, like my breadmaker, sits in the back.
2. Make it easy to get items out of the cabinet.
The white shelf above used to be in my island for bakeware. I stacked cookie sheets and cutting boards on top and baking pans underneath. Not only did stacking the cookie sheets and cutting boards create a mess, but I could not get them out because of the center cabinet beam. I had to find the right one, slide it out from underneath the other pans, and then turn it sideways to avoid the beam. I ended up putting a ton of nicks in the center beam that way.
I decided to use my saucepan lid holder so the cookie sheets can slide right out. I also don't have to stack them on top of each other any longer. Behind the center beam I stacked items I don't use often, like my Tupperware cupcake holder and springform pans.
3. Store items with the lids on.
I had a saucepan lid holder (that now holds the cutting boards and cookie sheets), but I never actually used it. Also, when the lids were separated I had to go through each one to find the correct one. What a pain!
Some may find an upper cabinet a strange place to hold saucepans, but it is so much better than having them in a deep base cabinet. I used to take out the pans in the front to reach the ones in the back. When I unloaded the dishwasher I just threw them in the bottom cabinet and shut it hard so they would stay. I know I'm not the only one that has done this!
The deep corner base cabinet now holds my bakeware. Lesser used items are in the back (actually never used items, lol). I use the three glass pans on top the most so I made sure I can slide those in and out easily. The shelf above (not pictured) holds my fry pans in the same way.
The other deep base cabinet in the corner holds serving ware I don't use often, which is why they are stacked. The holiday serving pieces are stacked together on the right. I didn't even know I owned some of these things!
More bakeware that is not stacked (minus the measuring cups) because I use them often. These are in an upper cabinet for easy reaching, too.
4. Collate smaller items into bins.
Medicines are stored in one bin. I've had this one for years and only go through it when it gets full to throw out old meds. The only problems I had with this is when the band-aids would get loose and collect at the bottom.
I decided to put them in a separate container with the antibiotic ointment. Now, I can take this box to where the injured person is sitting. It's actually a pencil box I bought at Wal-Mart for less than a dollar. I have another box like it for batteries that you can see in the picture above.
Another bin holds things we use often-outdoor things, measuring tape, matches, super glue, pool stuff.
5. Stack lesser used items and store them in the top or back of the cabinets.
I have two sets of china on the upper shelves. In case you're wondering, all of those loose papers are recipes I printed out from the internet. If they're good I transfer them to a card in the recipe box. I obviously have a lot of recipes I need to try!
Everyone has different items and sized kitchens, but just following these few rules has helped me get and stay organized. The best part is you don't need to buy expensive organization items. All of mine were bought at Wal-Mart. Feel free to share your best tips!