30 Creative Kitchen Storage Ideas to Maximize and Organize Your Space
Craving an organized, easy-to-navigate kitchen? Get ready to optimize your space with these simple kitchen storage ideas.
Space-saving storage solutions
The kitchen is a workhorse. It’s where the day starts and ends, and it hosts activities that go way beyond meal-making. It’s the heart of the home, and when you consider everything it stores—cooking and baking essentials, appliances, food, utensils, cleaning supplies, bulk storage and even coupons or mail—it’s easy to see why it can be difficult to house it all neatly. But finding the right kitchen storage ideas to optimize your space is necessary to maintain a clutter-free home and efficient cooking environment, says Corinne Bentzen, general manager for Home Depot Home.
Wrapping your head around kitchen organization can be tough. So we’ve gathered pantry organization ideas, closet organizing tips and even cleanup suggestions to help you maximize and organize your kitchen and find room for everything from magnets to mugs.
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Empty it all
Anyone can master kitchen organization. It just takes some elbow grease and honesty. Pull everything out, says Jamie Hord, founder of professional organizing company Horderly. That includes kitchen cabinets, pantries and even junk drawers. “Edit, place back and then measure based on the space, the function you need and the items you need to house.”
Organize in zones
Before finding a space for your items, group them by category: dish towels, napkins, dishware, pots and pans, and silverware. Make other piles to donate, ditch or relocate. Infrequently used items, especially space hogs, can head to a utility closet or basement. That means holiday dishes and little-used cookbooks take a walk. Once you have items grouped in the kitchen, re-home them in zones for maximum efficiency. Food prep, dishes, pantry and cleanup are great places to start.
Add clear pantry storage
There’s a reason the pantry looks like a jungle: It’s called packaging, and it’s working against you. Air-filled snack bags flop. Flour and sugar packaging leaks. Cardboard doesn’t always fold neatly after opening, nor does cellophane. To solve these problems, decant the food into see-through, stackable storage containers. Airtight containers also preserve food longer. Use a label maker or wipeable pen to write item names and dates, and make sure you’re not keeping pantry items too long.
Hang hooks everywhere
Look for unused space around the kitchen. Hooks are one of the easiest kitchen storage ideas, as they can be mounted with removable strips or with permanent screws. Either way provides plenty of opportunity to clear your kitchen of anything that can be hung. Utensils can be collected on a wall near a work zone, and dish towels dry easily when hanging. Any upright surface will work, whether it’s the backsplash or cabinet door beneath the sink. (Just keep dish towels far from flames, of course.) Have fun with the final layout.
Contain grocery bags
Plastic grocery bags multiply, despite good intentions. Containing them is as simple as adding a plastic-bag holder. Hang one near the door as a reminder to recycle and reuse. Look for an easily installed container that can be mounted with Command hooks or slipped beneath the sink.
Bring back the lazy Susan
Maybe it’s been a while, but consider taking the lazy Susan out for a spin. On a table, she’s the place for napkins, seasonings and a sugar bowl. Next to the range, she can hold a collection of oils and spices. In the pantry, she makes quick work of organizing hot sauces and canned goods. As fridge organization, she can contain condiments. The turntable gives ready access to whatever you need, and the tray protects surfaces from sticky drips. For more storage, look for multiple-tiered Susans, or add a divided model for snack storage.
Utilize the backs of doors
The pantry door, or frankly any cabinet door, is a great untapped resource for kitchen organization and storage. Hord likes an over-the-door rack for extensive extra shelves. While small containers fit nicely, so do bottles of condiments and cleaning supplies. She also recommends easy-to-hang adhesive bins for additional small-storage solutions.
Consolidate food-storage bags
Snack-size, quart-size, gallon-size freezer bags—a collection of plastic food bags eat up drawer and shelf space. Plus, after a few bag grabs, boxes get sloppy. Rethink how the bags themselves are stored. A food-bag dispenser can lie flat in a drawer or hang inside a cabinet. And you can match these kitchen storage ideas to your specific needs. If you use only a couple of bag sizes for storage, consider a unit with fewer slots. If your drawer also includes rolls of foil and plastic wrap, look for dispensers that can house those as well.
Hang a magnetic knife rack
A magnetic knife rack reduces clutter and boosts efficiency. Traditional knife blocks consume a ton of counter space. With a magnetic knife rack, knives are organized and ready to go when you’re ready to cook. Knife edges are also less likely to suffer nicks. Match the length of your strip to the number of blades. Or add a second one. If you’re a renter, find a slim countertop magnetic knife block, which offers the same function without impacting the wall.
Organize your spices
Bentzen says it’s not about how much you spend on kitchen storage ideas, but how well you spend it. For her, a wall- or door-mounted spice rack can maximize unused space and declutter the spice cabinet. A wall near your prep or cooking area makes the most sense. Or mount the rack on the inside or outside of a cabinet. If walls are in short supply, a tiered spice drawer insert allows for disparate spice containers to live cohesively. Take a tip from master organizers and purge your collection before considering spice storage ideas. And check the shelf life of your spices before allocating valuable real estate.
Add junk-drawer inserts
What does your junk drawer say about you? Do you thrive in organized chaos? Do you prefer to compartmentalize? No matter your drawer personality, we can all agree on one thing: Very few kitchens have enough drawer space. To maximize the space you do have and contain the clutter your junk drawer collects, add bamboo inserts to separate your box cutter and Scotch tape from your scissors and pens. Another alternative? Fit multiple containers inside a drawer, making sure to label the containers to avoid mixing thumbtacks with batteries.
Vertically stack your pots and pans
Ideally, pots and pans should live near the stove, and professional organizers love pot drawers for this purpose, since they provide easy access. But not everyone can spare an entire drawer for pots and pans, which is why Hord likes to go vertical when space is at a premium. An expandable pot-storage rack allows for flexibility within kitchen cabinets. Just slip a unit onto a shelf to maximize that space.
DIY-friendly kitchen storage ideas are aplenty, but one stands out to us: Traditional pegboard has a purpose far beyond the workshop. Not only is it practical, but it can also allow for custom colors and sizes. Install pegboard on a blank wall for floor-to-ceiling storage. Add racks, hooks, wire baskets and file holders for flexibility, and play with the layout for function and beauty. On the hooks, hang cooking utensils; in the wire baskets, gather produce; and in the file holders, stash cutting boards.
And don’t let a smaller space deter you from installing pegboard. It is super easy to cut to size. If a narrow wall isn’t available, consider installing it as a backsplash or in a pantry. Updated versions modernize the backing material and feature a wide variety of shelves and racks, including space for paper towels.
Clear the counters
“The key to organized counters is to keep them as empty as possible,” says Bentzen. It might sound obvious, but it bears repeating: Kitchen counter organization is all about a clean slate. Smart storage solutions like a tiered spice rack can house a variety of things. Combination shelves gather small bottles and containers neatly. And multipurpose storage units with hooks and holders provide places for cutting boards and tools.
Purchase stackable bins
You will never regret collecting stackable bins, whether they’re wire, acrylic or wood. Perfect for produce, they can house linens, such as dish towels. Cans can be collected and contained in them too. And they’re great for organizing by category.
You know what else they do? They stack! That means one shelf can become exponentially more useful. Add several in an unused corner of the kitchen or tucked into the pantry. Pro tip: If you’re using them on shelves, don’t forget to measure the containers before purchasing to make sure they hold what you want and sit nicely in their location.
Organize under the sink
The storage spot under the kitchen sink should be reserved for everyday cleaners, says Hord. Extra inventory can be stored elsewhere, in a pantry or utility closet. To keep cleaning supplies in good working order, collect them in a caddy. Hord prefers deep and clear bins, as they take advantage of cabinet depth and protect from spills. For small-scale supplies, add more storage with an over-the-door hanging basket. Here are some more tips to ensure you always have an organized kitchen sink.
Hide charging cords
With every device comes a cord. Multiply that by your family members, and your charging station starts to look like a nest. One way to tackle the tangle is to ban countertop charging. Not everything needs to be charged in the kitchen—we’re talking to you, beloved Kindle! Can’t rezone something? One of the higher-tech kitchen storage ideas is a docking drawer. The unit can be installed in a drawer or on the back of a cabinet to add an outlet and hide devices and chargers. If drawer space is in short supply, use a cord cover to collect and organize multiple lines on your countertop.
Look up, look down, look all around—including beneath existing shelves! That’s a great place to install a glassware rack for regularly used wine glasses or other stemware. A hanging glass rack allows you to access often-used glasses easily. It also clears cabinet space for dishes or less frequently used barware.
Remove the daily frustration of sifting through a pile of plastic lids. A vertical plastic lid organizer lets you arrange lids by size and keeps them together. Do yourself a favor and purge the odd, broken and unused lids and restaurant containers while you’re at it—cabinet space will flourish.
Create double-decker drawers
In need of kitchen storage ideas that actually add more space? Two-tier drawer inserts offer double the space by layering an extra sliding drawer within an existing framework. To reduce layers of drawer clutter, these double-decker options separate wooden spoons and spatulas from your everyday silverware. They help separate items by category and fit neatly in most drawers.
Create pantry zones
We can’t all have a butler’s pantry. For the most convenient pantry storage, group similar items together. That means having a dedicated shelf for baking ingredients, gathering snacks in a spot with easy access and keeping shelf-stable vegetables in open wire bins. (Airflow is essential for healthy storage.) Look for airtight containers for decanting rice, beans, pasta and nuts, and invest in baskets for holding boxes and bags of food.
Add retractable shelving
Sliding or retractable shelving increases accessibility. For cabinets that lack drawers, you can buy simple-to-install pullout cabinet organizers. Similar to a sliding trash can, these shelves take advantage of cabinet depth, making it easier to see and reach everything on them. Wire versions work for larger items, while solid-bottom shelves can hold extra pantry items. Look for stacking shelves to increase overall cabinet storage.
Tuck away a rolling cart
Extra shelves mean more storage, of course, but by adding wheels, the shelves become super flexible. Measure empty space in the kitchen, and add a cart for dishes, barware or a coffee station. Smaller carts will be easier to move through the space. For additional prep space, look for island-style carts. We love the idea of having a smaller island cart with a wooden top that can live in a pantry and be rolled out when it’s time to bake. Sizes for carts vary according to need, available space or both.
Build a pantry
Want to think outside the box with your kitchen storage ideas? Build your own pantry, says Hord, especially if a full closet isn’t available in your current space. An open-air pantry with shelves, or a shelving unit on an empty wall, can work just as well. Industrial shelving with bins and baskets are strong enough to hold your heaviest goods. For galleys and tiny kitchens, Hord recommends looking beyond kitchen walls: “Another option is to consider any nearby closet as your pantry, such as a hall or front closet.”
Hang a pot rack
There are many ways to organize pots and pans, but we love the hanging method. First, assess your cookware. Then, organize by size and use. Do your pots, pans and kitchen layout lend themselves to a rack? If so, racks can be hung from a wall or ceiling. To increase available storage space, Bentzen recommends a wall-mounted pot rack with a shelf; extra hooks can hold utensils. Even if space doesn’t allow for a full rack, simply installing some solid hooks from a cabinet or shelf can provide a way to hang pots.
Stack your produce
Smart produce storage means less waste and more efficiency. For food that prefers to be kept cool and in the dark, use stackable bamboo or wire storage bins in the pantry. On the counter, look for multiple layers of storage. Bentzen likes a tiered fruit basket. If your counter space is minimal, baskets can be added to walls or hung from the ceiling. Stacking containers in the fridge also increase space and organization while protecting shelves.
Master upper-cabinet organization
Stacking shelves work anywhere and don’t require expertise to install. “Utilizing shelf risers and plate holders can spare you the hassle of rummaging through dishes and reduce the risk of accidentally breaking them in the process,” says Bentzen. Here’s the difference between the two: A riser divides stacks and adds an extra shelf. Plate holders can be used for washing up or for vertical storage. Another idea? Add an under-shelf basket to your upper-cabinet storage.
Mount a shelf
“In small spaces, you always want to consider vertical space or wall space to get the most out of your tight quarters,” says Hord. Somewhere in your kitchen, there is space for a shelf or shelves. They don’t need to be wide or deep, but adding shelves is one of the simplest kitchen storage ideas. Consider geography, and decide what will go on them before drilling any holes. A shelf near a coffee maker can handle mugs, sugar and pods. Deeper shelves hold pots or food storage containers. Shelves can be stretched across windows to showcase glassware or mounted along a backsplash for spices and condiments. Use your imagination, but remember that function needs consideration along with form.
Maximize a corner cabinet
If you’re lucky enough to build a kitchen, you’ve had the chance to consider how to best use the corner cabinet. Along those lines, a kidney-shaped cabinet lazy Susan can work for existing cabinets without construction. It helps grab the space from a corner cabinet with efficient pullout shelves, and two tiers take advantage of cabinet height. Look for weighted shelves to hold heavier appliances that you might not need every day.
Create a maintenance routine
Maximizing storage and organization is a two-step process. After sifting, purging and reallocating the items in your kitchen, devote some time at the end of the day to keeping it in good working order. Bentzen likes the clean-as-you-go rule, so things don’t get out of hand. She and Hord agree that to master organizing your kitchen, you should spend a few minutes at the end of every day returning items to their given spots. “If everything in your kitchen has a proper home,” says Hord, “it should be super easy to clean up quickly.”