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How to Finally Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets—For Good This Time

No more precarious stacks of plates.


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Photo by Sara Tramp-Ligorria for Emily Henderson Design

It’s dinnertime and you’re making your favorite pasta dish. Or at least you would be—but you can’t track down those cloves of garlic you need, and extracting the perfect-size pot from the jumble in your cupboard puts everything in danger of tumbling down. It’s time for a change. Allow us to introduce you to our favorite kitchen cabinet organization ideas. 

Between the genius drawer dividers that keep pans and lids neatly compartmentalized and the glassware trick that will make your stemware easy to access (a crucial requirement right now), we’re here to help you fix your storage woes. If you’re looking for a new project that will leave you feeling productive, this is it. After all, even those of us with Danny Tanner–level tidiness tendencies can use a refresh every now and then, right?

For Pantry Essentials


Photo by Our Food Stories.

DeVol Kitchens has the right idea with decanting dried goods into matching canisters. Not only does this cut down on visual clutter, but if you pick see-through containers, you can quickly check when you’re running low on things like flour and oats (and amend shopping lists accordingly). If you have the ability to renovate and are starting from scratch, consider creating a unit that also includes drawers. You can use them to hide away smaller items that might otherwise get lost in the back of a shelf. 

Build a storage rack onto the back of a door à la this Emily Henderson–designed nook. We’d fill it with all our most-used staples to make prep time a breeze, though you can also stick to stocking it with snacks so you don’t have to rummage through the fridge when that 4 p.m. hanger rolls around. 

For Plates and Cups


Photo courtesy of deVOL Kitchens.

Plate racks are an ingenious way to keep your dinnerware within grabbing range and avoid chipping your novelty thrift store treasures in the process. Plus, if you have glass-front doors, propping them all up means you can see more of your multicolored dishes—group them by color for maximum effect. Here, DeVol Kitchens’s natural-colored wood system nicely balances out the darker blue of the built-ins. 


Photo by Destiny Alfonso for The Inspired Home.

If you don’t have a bar cart, tucking away delicate glassware is like a game of Tetris. For juice cups, capitalize on every square inch by picking up a couple of cupboard shelves (The Container Store has an inexpensive version) that you can use to double up on surface space. We also love The Inspired Home’s idea of a stem rack: Storing champagne coupes and wineglasses upside down eliminates dust buildup inside the bowls. 


Photo by Sara Tramp-Ligorria for Emily Henderson Design.

If your kitchen cabinet organization plans lack…well, cabinets, you can still make the most of drawers. Channel Emily Henderson and try a pegboard system. Your bowls and platters will stay firmly put when the compartment slides open, and you can squeeze in a surprisingly large number of items. 

For Pots and Pans 


Photo by Madeline Harper for Shira Gill x IDCO.

One of the best things pro organizer Shira Gill did for her client’s kitchen was install a rolling rack in the lower cabinetry. She relegated heavy Dutch ovens to the bottom shelf and arranged lighter items on the top, so you don’t risk any enamel pieces getting nicked by being shoved in a pile together.   


Photo by Meghan Beierle; Design by Karen Harautuneian of Hub of the House Studio.

Deep drawers call for stowing away your bulkiest cookware—but take a page from designer Karen Harautuneian’s playbook and stack horizontally, not vertically. Dividers will keep all lids perfectly uniform and easy to grab, so you’ll never again have to use a plate as a makeshift cover to prevent tomato sauce from splattering all over the stovetop. Save yourself the cleaning hassle. 

Elly Leavitt is an Associate Digital Editor at Domino.

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This post originally appeared on Domino and was published April 19, 2020. This article is republished here with permission.

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