9 Tried-and-True Tricks to Organize Messy Kitchen Cabinets, According to Pros

Determine How You Use Your Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home—if not the most important. But as Reem Elkady, the founder of Zen Organize Me, points out, not everyone uses this space in the same way.

Take Stock of What You Have

Laura Price of The Home Organisation says next, it’s time to do a stock check of every cabinet by removing everything and sorting it all into categories. “Identify items you no longer need, love, or want and can be removed,” she says. “Knowing how much stuff you have can help you identify the best storage solutions to keep it tidy and under control.”

Work From Front to Back, Top to Bottom

According to Jill Yesko Diana, professional organizer and founder of Discover Organizing, the method to your kitchen cleaning madness is also key. “Work left to right, then top to bottom," she says. "Read that room and space like a book.” This will ensure you won’t miss a spot, and everything that needs a home will find one.

Look for These Major Mess Culprits

As you work, Yesko Diana says there are some items that are sure to cause clutter and can be automatically tossed. Look for expired food, old spices, and unused utensils for instant gratification. Cohen adds duplicates to this list, because ‘too much stuff’ is one of the key contributors to a consistently messy kitchen. It's also a category you should monitor regularly.

Make Things Accessible

If your tidy-up process results in a lot of new discoveries, Yesko Diana notes that accessibility might be the problem here. “Make things accessible and within arms' reach,” she says. You’re more likely to stay organized if your items all have their own designated spots and are easy to find when needed.

Accessorize Accordingy

If you really can’t seem to get things under control, then Yesko Diana says it might be time to invest in some assistance. She even shared her handy checklist of must-haves. – Bins and baskets: These come in various sizes and styles, perfect for grouping similar items. – Shelf risers: Create more vertical space by adding risers to existing shelves. This is especially helpful for short cabinets or items such as canned goods and spices. – Turntables: Maximize corner cabinet space with a turntable. It brings everything within reach and prevents items from getting lost in the back. – Drawer dividers: These help find those utensils that are often used. – Lid organizer: Prevent lids from taking over cabinets with a lid rack, such as over-the-door organizers or hanging racks.

Add Labels

Once your bins are in place, Price is also a huge fan of labels—and not just for you. They’re for everyone who uses your kitchen. “If you keep finding items in the wrong place and you know it isn’t you, adding labels is a great way to reduce the problem and keep your kitchen cabinets organized,” she says.

Schedule Regular Checks

For a lot of us, it’s not getting organized that’s the problem—it’s staying organized. Price says the key is to assess your cabinets in regular, short bursts. “Once a week, go through a few different cabinets in the kitchen and have a five-minute declutter and reorganize session,” she says.

Assess Your System With These Questions

If you find your kitchen is repeatedly becoming a mess, then Price says it’s time to reassess your system because clearly, something isn’t working. To do so, she shared a few key questions you can ask yourself. – How easy do you find the cabinet to use? – What do you find challenging to access? – Do you know where everything goes? “Identifying the problem areas with the cabinet can help you fix them and create structures that are easy to maintain,” she says.

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