If you’ve recently graced your kitchen with your presence or you’re spending more time in there recently, then you may have noticed that it can be difficult to have space for everything; additionally, merely just the ordeal of finding items in there can be a bit of a nightmare. Thankfully, your prayers can be solved with the simple task of organising food cupboards based on the below tips and tricks.
This article teaches you in a simple and straight-forward approach how to put some order on your kitchen cabinets to save space and time. Also, included are some techniques to speed up your meal prep marathons and tricks to avoid eating all the treats in sight. You may have already taken the challenge of tackling your fridge and freezer, so why not accept the challenge and do the same for your other kitchen storage areas? Let’s dust off the lazy Susan and jump straight in!
No matter what article/book/TV show on cleaning you follow, the first step of organising an area will always consist of decluttering. Before you start considering shortcuts to this step, it’s critical to remove everything, yes EVERYTHING from the cupboards. This is one of the most effective methods of freeing up space. Discard of any expired foods and items you don’t intend to use or, as Marie Kondo would say, items that don’t spark joy! While you’ve everything taken out, it’s a prime opportunity to give those shelves a well-needed scrub before you start putting items back in again.
Categorise the foods based on type
How often do you bake? If you consider yourself a baking connoisseur, you’ve recently taking it up and been making copious amounts of banana bread, or maybe you consider yourself the next Great British Bake Off winner, then you should probably store baking items at a reachable level. For all other people who buy a pack of flour with all the intentions in the world of using it, but it’s still sitting unopened a year later, then push these baking items, such as flour, bread soda and brown sugar, to somewhere out of the way, e.g. on a top shelf.
Tin cans, such as beans, tuna and even pet food, are generally compact and can be stacked on top of each other to optimise space shelf. Where possible, stack the same foods on top of each other, e.g. if you bulk buy canned tuna, then arrange them so that they’re all sitting on top of each other. You can also stack them relatively high, provided that you have the space. Double stacking is an excellent approach too if you only buy a couple of cans at a time. By doing this, you’ve a better idea of how much of each food you have, and they’re less likely to be neglected in the back of the press.
Condiments and oils
A neat trick is to sit them categorised on a lazy Susan. Additionally, if there are condiments that are used on a daily basis and don’t perish easily, they could be stored in a condiment caddy on the kitchen table, similar to how they do in restaurants.
Oils should have their own section too; for the foodies that may have an array of oils, this means storing the various oils and sprays together. These are sometimes best suited to lower shelves which have greater height capacity as oil containers can be slightly tall.
Herbs and spice rack
Herbs and spices generally are packaged in small packets or jars, so they can be easily mislaid and you may even neglect to think that you still have an unopened jar of chilli flakes at home. Avoid all of this stockpiling by dedicating an area to them. Many people invest in a spice rack so that they’re kept neatly stored in an organised fashion away for the other paraphernalia in the cupboards. However, simply storing them in a basket or even a cardboard box will also help keep the herb and spice families united. Ideally, keep the herbs and spices segregated and organise them in terms of most frequently used. You can also keep other flavourings and seasonings here, such as salt, and my current favourite, Season All.
Snacks and treats
Many of us endeavour to eat healthily and some of us even follow meal plans. For people who have a sweet tooth or are trying to adhere to such food plans, resisting the temptation to eat treats can be something that torments them everyday. Perhaps you have kids (or adult kids) who constantly reach for these items too. Obviously, it’s not always feasible to ban them from the house, but a trick to minimise such desires can include keeping these snacks out of eye level. Place them in an area or a shelf that’s difficult to reach. This way, they’re not constantly catching your eye (or that of your kids/adult kids). As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind.
In terms of space, larger items, such as multipacks of crisps, could be removed and individually organised in a basket or box. This labelled basket could be placed on a shelf of your choosing. Similarly, smaller snacks and treats could be placed in a small basket, e.g. bars, rice cakes.
Arrange kitchen utensils together
The same principles apply to utensils as food. Don’t hold onto unused flashy kitchen gadgets and utensils that you never use. They often take up prime space that could be better used for other items, so the sooner you detach from these items, the better.
Most kitchens will arrange similar cutlery and crokery together. However, if such items are consuming too much space, you could invest in some extra shelves or racks to hold your plates. Mug trees are a common way to relenquish a whole shelf consumed by mugs. It might also be no harm to scan through your crokery and discard with chipped or cracked items.
For people who batch cook or engage in meal prep, they probably have a collection of food containers. Opting for collapsible tupperware or ones that are stackable will reduce the amount of space that they occupy. Arrange them with their lids in order nearby (I usually sit the stack of containers on the stack of lids) and find a corner to store them all neatly together to save time routing around for them.
Utilise cupboard doors
Many people neglect to consider the opportunity to hang items from their cupboard doors. Hooks on doors and towel rails are nifty ways of hanging items and saving space for other utensils to be stored. For instance, towel racks can be used to hang spray bottles by the trigger. Hooks can be used to hang large bulky items, such as pans and pots from.
Hang a shoe pocket organiser or even a rack from the back of a cupboard door. It can hold an array of various items, from fruit and vegetables to bottles, chopping boards and snacks. Just be cautious not to overload it.
Transfer items to the necessary storage containers
Certain food items can be difficult to store based on their packaging. For instance, pasta and rice often comes in large bags which can be bulky, and after a while they tend to tear and spill out. Transfer them to plastic or glass containers to ensure they are sealed and also to make storing them easier. Opt for square/rectangular-shaped containers so that they fit better with the corners of your shelves. Don’t forget to label them along with their expiry date.
If you’re arranging similar items into baskets, do so now before you shelve the basket. Labels on baskets are also a simple aid to identifying what and where everything is at a glance.
Locate items based on their use
If you have already categorised items based on type, you can further organise them so that they’re situated in close proximity to where they’re needed. Obviously, precedence should be given to frequently used items, that means storing them at eye level, whereas less-commonly used items can be pushed to the back of the cupboard or to a higher or lower shelf.
Furthermore, you could consider positioning food items near to the cooking utensils they will be using, e.g. storing coffee and tea near to the kettle. You could also store breakfast items, e.g. cereals, on or near the breakfast island (if you’re lucky enough to own one).
- Step one is always to declutter
- Detach yourself from unused kitchen gadgets and discard them
- Organise food based on frequency of use
- Arrange frequently used items in easy to reach locations
- Store small miscellaneous items in a zip lock bag
- Store less frequently used items in higher shelves or towards the back of the cupboard
- Stack similar canned foods on top of each other as opposed to unstacked to save space
- If transferring foods to baskets or containers, label them appropriately
- Keep snacks and treats out of sight or on more difficult to reach areas to minimise temptation and emotional eating
The only challenge left now is to remember where you put your food and how to sustain this newly-found state of organisation.
If you haven’t already, then you need to learn how to store food in a refrigerator. Or maybe you’ve lost your cool with the lack of freezer organisation and space. This how to save space in the freezer article is packed with tips and nifty tricks to optimise the area available in your freezer and is guaranteed to banish your freezer storage headaches.
So, do you consider yourself on par with Monica Geller after reading this article? Will you be investing in a lazy Susan or baskets and racking? Have you any storage hacks to share or even before and after pictures? I’d love to learn about them in the comments below.
DIYbunker. 2020. Kitchen Cabinet Organization: 17 Hacks To Start Organizing Now. [online] Available at:
Home Storage Solutions 101. 2017. How To Organize Pantry, Spices & Food Storage Areas. [online] Available at:
Kloss, K., 2017. 10 Steps To Solving All Your Kitchen Cabinet Organization Woes. [online] ELLE Decor. Available at: