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10 pantry organisation tips that maximise kitchen cupboard storage & look great too!

One of the most common mistakes people make in their kitchens is aiming to have all the useful things that they use close to hand. This just leads to cramped worktops which makes both cooking and cleaning more difficult. They’re not very useful ‘work’ tops if you have to clear them before using them!

What actually helps in the kitchen is seeing where everything is stored and having clear surfaces to use.

Organised kitchen pantry

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"It may seem like a contradiction, but you don't need to aim for simplicity in the kitchen. What matters is the ability to be able to see where everything is stored" - Marie Kondo

Decluttering and organising kitchens is one of the most satisfying parts of my job as it has an immediate impact on the way the women I work with enjoy their kitchens. An organised kitchen makes planning and cooking meals simpler and more enjoyable, plus it can save money and it looks great - what's not to love? Here are just a few of my favourite pantry and kitchen storage ideas.

There's no point in organising things that you don't need, don't use or stuff that shouldn't even be in the kitchen. The first step in tidying up your kitchen is to declutter it and discard the things you don't need.

Once you've decluttered your kitchen you can then get on to the fun part - organising it in a way that works for you and your family use the space.

2. Create zones in your kitchen

Consider where you store things in your kitchen and whether that fits with the natural flow of how you use your kitchen. I use post-it notes to plan out where to put things as it’s much easier to move these rather than pack and unpack cupboards whilst I figure things out!

Kitchen organised with zones for crockery and dishwasher

- Put crockery and cutlery close to the dishwasher and out of the way of the cooking zone. This allows other people to set the table without getting in the way of whoever's cooking.

- Group all your breakfast items together in one cupboard to make the morning rush easier.

- Store things you don’t use regularly in harder-to-reach places (high up or the back of corner cabinets)

- Create a coffee station with tea, coffee, mugs and the kettle close together.

- Store all the baking ingredients and equipment together.

3. Kitchen cupboard organisation - make use of height in your kitchen

Moving pantry shelves to maximise storage space

A quick win in most kitchens is to move the cupboard shelves around and use shelf risers to divide taller spaces. If you didn’t do this when you moved into your home take 5 minutes to see if this makes a difference – you’ll be surprised how much more you’ll fit in with ‘bespoke’ shelf positioning that fits your stuff.

  • Make space for taller items to fit

  • Move shelves down so you can easily reach the items that you use every day.

  • Store frequently used items on lower shelves, leaving less used glassware for higher up.

4. Use vertical storage in your kitchen wherever you can

Storing items vertically is a great way to maximise the storage in your kitchen and make things more accessible. This can work for baking trays and pans, tea towels, food packets and even your vegetables! You’ll be able to see exactly what you have which means you'll be more likely to use it.

The back of pantry doors can also offer useful storage for herbs and small jars.

If you struggle to work out the best way to store baking pans, trays and saucepans take a look at this video - I'm a big fan of these pan organisers which you can buy from my Amazon store.

5. Pantry baskets and containers are functional and look great

My top kitchen cupboard organisation tip is to use baskets to keep small items like snacks, crisps and packets together isn't just pretty, it often takes up less space than the packaging that the items came in. It also keeps everything in one place, rather than items being scattered across the shelf, making it easier to see what you have so you know when you need to buy more.

Organised Pantry with baskets and glass jars

If you keep your rice and pasta in packets rather than decanting (see my thoughts on this below) then it’s a good idea to store all the packets together in a container. If one of the packets splits it will be contained in the tub rather than spill out into the cupboard.

I also use tubs or baskets to keep bottles/travel mugs together, food processor implements and baking utensils. It means that you can pull out and grab what you need without everything falling over – especially useful if you want to make use of deep cupboards or those pull out ‘kidney shaped’ kitchen cabinets.

6. Use storage carousels for corners

Pantry carousels are great for making the best use of space in corner cabinets as it makes it easier to access the items that would be stored right at the back. I tend to avoid using them in the middle of normal pantry shelves as I find you can get more items on the shelf than you can on a carousel.

7. Is decanting dry ingredients worth the effort?

Instagram is full of photos of beautiful looking larders with decanted food in labelled jars. It looks lovely as once you've removed all the packaging clutter you can actually see what you have. But be warned, it does takes a bit of effort to keep on top of it.

  • If you choose the right containers to decant into it will use less space than the packaging that the ingredients originally came in. My preference is always for square based jars rather than round ones as they make better use of shelf space.

  • When you decant your products you're able to see how much you've got left in a jar which will prompt you to buy more when it's needed.. BUT there is a chance that you'll have something left in the packet after you've filled the container so you need a plan of what to do with the leftovers - I keep the 'spares' in a basket at the bottom of my pantry.

Before spending loads of money on new storage containers check that your new kitchen system works for you. Use boxes/baskets/tupperware you already have. If you do want to upgrade your storage then take a look at some of my favourite containers on my Amazon store OXO Pop storage or glass/bamboo and idesign (or my Amazon link).

8. Use labels to maintain your organisation

Labelling is a great way to ensure that your new organisation system has a chance to work in a busy household as it (may) encourage people to put things where the label says they should go (it can be a temporary fix until people get used to the system.

  • If you are investing in printed labels for storage jars use generic names (pasta rather than tagliatelle/penne, biscuits etc) it allows you to switch contents around without too much hassle - my labels were from Print Tailors on Etsy.

the best way to store plastic containers and tupperware

Lids on or lids off - how do you store your plastic containers?

I'm often asked this question and whilst it's a personal preference I prefer to stack my tubs and keep the lids separate.

Organising your kitchen doesn't stop with your pantry cupboards, there's nothing more satisfying than opening up an organised fridge.

fridge organisation

An organised fridge doesn’t just look great, it will help you eat more healthily and will save you money and cut down on food waste. Want to know more? Take a look at my Fridge organising tips that Marie Kondo would approve of.

Kitchen Maintenance – Things To Do Each Day

Now that you've got your kitchen organised and looking great let's make sure that you keep it that way!

  • Wipe down surfaces or clean the kitchen sink whilst the kettle is boiling so it doesn’t become an additional task.

  • Put things away as soon as you’ve used them – it takes less than a minute and will prevent a bigger tidying up task later on.

  • Do an evening reset before bedtime – 10 minutes spent tidying up the kitchen, popping the dishwasher on and wiping down surfaces means that you’ll start the next day with breakfast and coffee in a clean and organised kitchen.

  • Take this opportunity to remove anything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen – the hub of the home can easily become the catch all place for items on their way somewhere. A quick look at my kitchen found parcels to be posted, letters and suntan lotion. It’s a good idea to have a small basket to collect these things in and redistribute the items to their ‘homes’ at the end of each day (or week if that’s a better fit for you). Take the basket of things that don’t belong in the kitchen and rehome them elsewhere in the house.

I’m Sue, a professional home organiser and Master KonMari Consultant based in Hampshire.

I trained with Marie Kondo & the KonMari team to help busy people declutter, organise & simplify their homes so they can get on with the important job of enjoying life.

m: 07740 782575

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Sue Spencer KonMari Consultant
KonMari Master Consultant Badge

Hi, I'm Sue!

I love all things decluttering and home organisation and trained with Marie Kondo to be a KonMari Consultant after experiencing the benefits of tidying my own home using the KonMari Method.

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