Never lose your favourite mug again with these kitchen cabinet organisation hacks  

Figuring out how to arrange kitchen cabinets (along with organising a living room) can feel arduous, but it’s also of vital importance given that our kitchen cupboards provide such essential storage.

Disorganised kitchen cupboards are every cook’s nightmare, as they can easily make the room feel cluttered and chaotic, as well as being difficult to clean. Not organising your cupboards properly can also make it awkward to locate the items you need to prepare a meal, which can result in serious food wastage.

Muted kitchen with archway pantry storage in wallCredit: Magnet

Siân Pelleschi, president of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO) and founder of Sorted! also says: “Having an organised kitchen not only helps you use the space to the best of its ability, but it also saves you money in reducing the need to buy items you already have.”

Completing this organising job will give you a kitchen that functions properly and with ease – so if this is one of your weekend tasks, these kitchen cabinet organisation tips from the experts will help you to tame the clutter and restore order to your space.


1. Take all of your items out to declutter

Start by seeing what you have

Credit: Magnet

To properly organise unruly kitchen cabinets, first get on top of any kitchen clutter. Antony Charman, founder and decluttering expert at Vintage Cash Cow, suggests taking everything out of your cupboards to do this properly. “It might seem quicker to declutter while everything is still inside your cabinets, but for the best results, take absolutely everything out and lay it all out.

“If you don’t have the space or you’re feeling overwhelmed, empty each cabinet one by one.”

Then, consider which items are worth keeping. “Remove items you no longer use, have never used and will not likely use again,” Craig Hoareau, APDO member and managing director of A Tidy Mind London, suggests. “Toss expired foods or donate foods you won’t eat and try to remove duplicates.”

Emma Rostron, general manager at One Less Thing then advises categorising items. “Once you’ve cleared everything out, start to group similar items together, like dishes and cookware. Look at how much of each category you have – this will help you map out how to organise them in your cupboards.”

2. Store items where you’re most likely to use them

Pans near the hob, teabags by the kettle

Credit: Tom Howley

To make your kitchen cabinets as easy to use as possible, ensure items are stored in cupboards that sit close to where you use them.

Amanda Biggs, APDO’s membership director, and founder of Professionally Organised, explains: “For example, it makes no sense to keep your kettle, cups and teabags in three different places that aren’t close by. Store these close to the kettle so that everything you need is in one place.”

When plotting this out, remember it’s also beneficial to have the items you use most often in cupboards that are the easiest for you to reach. Tom Howley, design director at Tom Howley, explains: “Deciding which items you use the most is essential to plan an efficient kitchen – keep everyday things at waist height or eye level.”

On the flip side, stash lesser-used items in cupboards that are harder to reach. “If you have items that you only use occasionally (such as Christmas items or birthday essentials) store them in the harder-to-reach places – be it higher cabinets, or at the back of your cabinets,” Biggs suggests.

3. Heavier items should live lower down, and lighter items up high

Don’t put yourself under unnecessary strain

Grey kitchen base units with basketsCredit: Willis Stone

If possible, also consider the weight of your items when organising your kitchen cabinets, especially if mobility is an issue. “If any items are heavy to lift, store them somewhere low to prevent accidents,” Hoareau suggests.

Karen Bell, creative director at David Salisbury, agrees. “Store heavier items like pots and pans lower down, so you don’t have to lift them down from higher wall cupboards,” she says. “Lower cabinets can also better accommodate saucepan or plate dividers.”

Then place items that are easier to manoeuvre – such as plates, mugs and food containers – in your upper cabinets.

4. Organise by use-by date

Be strategic about which products live at the front of your cabinets

Credit: Willis Stone

While it’s a great idea to store lesser-used items in harder-to-reach places, and your essentials where you can easily access them, one clever trick for getting (and keeping) your cabinets organised in the long term is to store items you need to use up at the front. This will ensure you don’t forget about them.

“It’s worth setting up a ‘first in, first out’ system to minimise waste in your cabinets,” Charman explains. “Pop items with the most imminent use-by date at the front. Anything that’s still got months or years to go can go at the back or at the bottom of the container, to encourage you to use the nearly expired items first.”


5. Make use of your vertical space

Hang items on the backs of cupboard doors

Blue kitchen with double larder cabinetCredit: Magnet

Horizontal space quickly runs out in kitchen cabinets, especially if you have smaller units. So in most homes, it will be necessary to use the vertical space to your advantage, particularly when storing smaller and lighter items.

Begin with the backs of your cabinet doors. Hoareau suggests: “Add some hooks or self-adhesive organisers to the inside of cabinet doors to store items like pot lids, cutting boards, or cleaning supplies.” Charman has her own recommendation: “If you have lots of herbs and spices hanging around, consider hanging them on a spice rack on the back of your door.”

For vertical space within the cabinets, “consider adding some floating shelves or hooks to add extra storage where needed,” Hoareau says. There are also lots of gadgets available to help you store extra items vertically – for example, this organiser from Joseph Joseph make great use of a space that is often left empty.

Featured product

Joseph Joseph CupboardStore Film, Foil & Bag Organiser, Dunelm

RRP: £11

Joseph Joseph CupboardStore Film, Foil & Bag Organiser, Dunelm

6. Pick up some racks to make storing pots and pans easier

Use deep drawers and liberate lids

Red drawer filled with pansCredit: Kitchen Makers

Pots and pans can be tricky to organise in our cabinets due to their awkward shape, which is why getting yourself some storage solutions can seriously pay off. Gillian Gudgeon, APDO member and founder of Restore The Calm, says: “There’s a myriad of products available to tame unwieldy items, including racks to hold pan lids upright side by side, and racks that fit inside cupboard doors that pan lids can slot into.”

Also give special attention to where you store your pots and pans. Howley explains: “To avoid rummaging around in the back of a cupboard, deep drawers are ideal for neatly storing your pots, pans and trays.”

Another easy trick in tight spaces is to separate your pans from their lids in order to be able to stack them.

7. Use clever organisers in awkward spots or high cabinets

A lazy susan can avoid breakages

Credit: A Place For Everything

Although easy-to-access kitchen cabinets still need organisation (more on that below), it’s even more important to organise cabinets that are a bit more awkward to reach, to make them as functional as possible.

One gadget that will help you do this receives unanimous praise from the experts. Hoareau says: “My favourite invention is the lazy susan, which is a life-saver for tight kitchen cabinets. I use them for bottles like oils, vinegar and other sauces used for cooking.”

Pelleschi agrees: “While it actually reduces the space that can be used, it makes access to what’s there easier as you’re not having to dig around and potentially knock off items that can cause damage.”

Tiered racks are also a fantastic organising tool, as are freestanding shelves that fit inside cabinets.

Featured product

3 Tier Spice Rack, A Place For Everything

RRP: £12

3 Tier Spice Rack, A Place For Everything

8. Be selective about decanting items

If you do, use square – not round – containers

Credit: Garden Trading

Decanting your food items from their original packaging into containers is a popular organisational tip – and sometimes, essential. “For example, flour should be stored in a sealed container to prevent a weevil invasion, as should sugar to prevent spillages,” Gudgeon says.

However, it’s important to be mindful of what you decant these items into, and the fact that not all food needs to be decanted. “I tend to avoid decanting unnecessarily,” Gudgeon says. “Food generally comes in a great- shaped packet that tells you what it is, how to cook it and its best-by date.”

With some containers, you also run the risk of not fully utilising the space in your cabinets, Gudgeon explains. “Don’t decant into pretty ‘Instagramable’ rounded jars or containers – these leave dead space and are not as efficient as boxes or squared-off containers.”

9. Don’t store every item in your cupboards

And could appliances make way for more storage?

Credit: Tom Howley

For some items, you might want to consider whether the countertop is a better storage spot than your kitchen cabinets, in turn leaving valuable cupboard space for other items.

“Keep regularly used appliances on the worktop so that they are ready for use – in fact, keeping a bulky item in a cupboard will likely become a barrier to using it,” Biggs says. The same applies to utensils, which may be easier accessed via a large jar on your countertop.

Darren Watts, showroom development and design director of Wren Kitchens, also suggests that some items commonly stored in kitchen cabinets might be best kept elsewhere. And your tumble dryer or freezer could make way for more cupboard space, if you’re prepared to compromise. “Large appliances, for example, may take up too much of your cabinet space, so storing them in a garage or shed can be a better option,” he says.

10. Evaluate your cabinets every month

If the system isn’t working, change it

Grey-beige kitchen cabinets with illuminated open storage shelvesCredit: Magnet

Rostron says: “I advise taking some time each month to revaluate your kitchen cabinets and see if the current organisation is working for you. And while you’re at it, wiping items down and throwing out expired items will help to keep everything clean and organised, with very little effort.”

Although it’s important to be sensible about buying new items solely for the purpose of organisation, kitchen storage is one instance where extra tools can come in incredibly handy. Some of our favourite kitchen cabinet organisation products include: 

Featured product

Under Sink Organiser, A Place For Everything

RRP: £99

Under Sink Organiser, A Place For Everything

Featured product

Joseph Joseph DrawerStore Pots and Pans Organiser, Dunelm

RRP: £26

Joseph Joseph DrawerStore Pots and Pans Organiser, Dunelm

Featured product

Extendable Spice Jar Rack, ProCook

RRP: £19

Extendable Spice Jar Rack, ProCook

Written by Amy Hunt she/her