How to Organize Your Kitchen Cupboards, One Cabinet at a Time
Although a big job, organizing your kitchen cabinets can be broken up into manageable chunks. Here’s how to do it one cabinet at a time so that tackling this task is possible and won’t overwhelm you.
1. Prepare your tools. It’s a good idea to prepare for the job by having your cleaning supplies ready, as well as a box for donations. Also, gather paper or bubble wrap so that you can wrap any breakables to be donated.
2. Survey your cabinet. Take note of how everything is currently organized. Are you able to access the dishes you need? Do certain items get stashed in there and block your reach? If so, it’s time to find a better home for them. Also, if putting your clean dishes away from the dishwasher isn’t very convenient, you may want to consider moving your dishes to a cabinet within easy reach of the dishwasher.
3. Clean it out. Empty the cabinet completely. Wash down the shelves and inside walls with soap and water. Rip out any old shelf liner paper and replace it with new.
4. Edit. Decide what you use and don’t. Place all the items you don’t need or want in the donations box.
5. Check shelf heights. Does the height of the shelves in your dish cupboard affect how you are able to organize things? For instance, are tall items being stored on the top shelf because that’s the only shelf that they’ll fit on? If so, try to find a different arrangement that is more natural for you and will be easy to maintain, then adjust your shelves as necessary.
6. Find inspiration. Look at photos of glass-front kitchen cabinets and pretty open shelf arrangements. Even if you don’t have open shelving, pretend like your dishes won’t be hidden behind closed doors and make your arrangements visually appealing.
7. Fill. Load all your keepers back into the cupboard. Be sure to save the dishes you use most for easily accessed spots.
8. Take pride. Give yourself a moment to stand back and admire your work. Don’t be afraid to show it to others. Their praise will motivate you to keep going.
9. Repeat. These same steps can be used to tackle the rest of your kitchen cabinets and drawers.
Organizing Your Day-to-Day Glassware Cabinet
If there is a cabinet within easy reach of your dishwasher and the refrigerator, that’s the one to use for glassware — easy to grab a glass and easy to put it away. If you don’t have a cabinet positioned close to both, choose whichever is most convenient for you. Inside the cabinet, organize your glasses by use and color. If they are patterned, line them up with the pattern facing out.
Where to Put the Fancy China and Glassware
Unless you entertain often, there’s a good chance your fancy china and glassware is rarely used — it might be a family heirloom or was a wedding present that is only brought out on special occasions. Whatever the case, it’s not very important to store them close to the dishwasher. Simply follow the steps you used to organize the everyday dishes.
If you have a china cabinet, consider using it to display your good china so that its beauty can be admired all the time, rather than the occasional formal event.
Organize Your Barware
If you have the room, it’s a good idea to set up a separate barware cabinet close to where you serve beer, wine and cocktails, whether it be just counter space, a bar cart or a buffet.
To organize, use the same basic system laid out above for glassware. Other items you’ll want to include: bottle openers; swizzle sticks; cocktail napkins; toothpicks; wine tags; ramekins for lemons, limes, cherries and olives; cocktail umbrellas; and any other bar-related items you enjoy using.
You might also want to designate an entire cabinet for wine and liquor. If you have children, make it a cabinet out of their reach, like above the refrigerator, or consider a locked cabinet.
Pitchers and Vases
Much like your good dishes, the pitchers and vases you have might be display worthy. However, if there aren’t any free spots for them to be openly displayed, try dedicating a shelf or entire cabinet instead. That way when you bring home a bouquet, you can turn your kitchen sink and countertop into your own floral arrangement studio. Other items to store with them are flower frogs, twine, chicken wire, clippers and scissors.
When You’re Done
Load up all the stuff you want to donate or recycle into the car and drop it off at the appropriate place. Alternatively, you can arrange for a pickup from your local charity.