Are you losing your marbles (or at least your spatulas)? Save time and cook even more successfully with these great kitchen organization tips for your kitchen and pantry. Become the shelf cooking pro that you are!

Organized kitchen counter, from Shelf Cooking

If you've followed us for long, then you know that we live, eat, breathe, and love shelf cooking. It's such a great way to make a delicious homemade meal without breaking the budget. Keeping your kitchen stocked with food will save you a lot of money if you do it the right way. However, it's really hard to be able to use up all of that food if your kitchen is disorganized, messy, or cluttered.

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So how do you make it all work for you? Kitchen organization. Yes, yes, getting (and staying) organized doesn't exactly sound like a party. But trust us, it’s worth the effort, and it makes a world of difference! Plus, when you do it right to begin with, it’s easy to maintain. Seriously! It's easier than you think, and we'll walk you through it!


Follow our tried and true tips and tricks, and you'll be winning at shelf cooking in no time flat!

  • Use your drawers to your best advantage. Think outside the box and think about what might work well in all those drawers.
  • Don't let space go to waste!
  • Keep the things you use the most in your most valuable kitchen real estate (an accessible drawer, cabinet, or countertop shelf).
  • Minimize! Hanging onto stuff you don’t use just creates clutter. Give it to someone who will sell it or donate it!

BONUS TIP: Keep your meals organized by using a cheap dry erase board or using our meal planning printable and hanging it on your fridge. This helps you to know when to thaw your food and keeps you feeling organized!


Working in zones is the best, most straightforward way to work on your kitchen organization. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving! It makes so much sense and will make your kitchen work for you, no matter the size or layout. Organize your kitchen based off of how you use the space and you'll never look back!


The first kitchen organization zone is the cooking zone. You'll find so many different types of organizers to organize your spices and seasonings. There are cabinet organizers, drawer organizers, and even organizers for the inside of a cabinet door! In this area:

  • Organize all the things you use when you cook, including your spices and oils.
  • Alphabetize spices so you can easily find them. The top cupboard shelf is a great place to keep large, oversized spices.
  • Place the spices you use most often in front, and the ones you use less often in the back. You can also keep duplicate, unopened jars behind opened jars.

Pro Tip: Read on for how we store fresh spices!


Utensils in a drawer, from Shelf Cooking

Ever lose a spatula? There's no shame in that game. Stay organized with these cookware tips:

  • Keep cooking utensils organized. You can store them in an organizer on your countertop next to your oven, or you can keep them in a drawer, depending on space. Either way, make sure you can find what you're looking for!
  • Store pots and pans in the cooking zone. Unless the kids are putting on a show with them, you can easily stack pots and pans in a cabinet or drawer. The hardest part about storing them? Figuring out what to do with the lids.
  • Use a drying rack or a kitchen organizer to organize your cookware. They fit into your cabinet easily, or you can get one that hangs over the door if you don't have the cabinet floor space. (P.S… They're great for organizing cutting boards, too!)
  • Keep hot pads and oven mitts as close to your oven as possible. Stick them in a drawer or hang your oven mitts on the inside of a cabinet door with Command Hooks. Those things are great for just about anything!


Keep the appliances you use regularly in the cooking zone. We're talking things like blenders and mixers, but probably not ice cream makers (unless you make ice cream all of the time). You get the idea!


Ready to live your best cinnamon bun life? You'll knead (see what we did there?) these tips to save time and money:

  • Keep the ingredients you use for baking in this zone. You know, stuff like flour, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, coconut, chocolate chips (you can also store these in your freezer!), all those good things.
  • Store baking equipment in this zone. Things like baking pans and cookie sheets (these organizers work great), rolling pins, cookie cutters, and more.
  • Keep your favorite go-to cookbooks in this zone on a shelf for easy access. An idea: Organize cookbooks by rainbow color as a fun and easy way to brighten up your space!
  • For cookbooks you use less often, you can store them on a pantry shelf or a kitchen cabinet. Depending on your specific collection, organize them alphabetically or by type (dinners, slow-cooker meals, desserts, etc.). 


Organized items on a shelf, from Shelf Cooking

Don't forget about the organization of all the things you need to put your meal on the table! We're talking about everyday dishes, glasses, flatware, placemats, tablecloths, napkins, salt-and-pepper shakers, serving plates and bowls, and all that good stuff.

You can also keep the things you use when entertaining in this area. Stash your fancy dishes, upscale serving platters and bowls, ritzy flatware, glasses or goblets, gorgeous tablecloths, and matching napkins, candlesticks, vases, and decorations. It makes it super easy to prepare for your company!


You want to keep the cleaning zone stocked with all the things you need when it’s time to wash your hands, wash the dishes, or clean the kitchen.

  • Keep hand soap, liquid dish soap, scrub brushes, dishwasher soap, dishrags, dishtowels, hand towels, paper towels, and anything else you use to clean the kitchen in this zone.
  • Consider eCloths to clean your kitchen, which is great because you don't have to worry about keeping any chemicals around to clean your counters (they just need water)! It's cheaper, too!
  • Keep two scrub brushes in the cleaning zone. Everybody in the house knows the green one is for clean and the blue one is for goo. We scrape food off the dishes and pans with blue, then use soapy water and clean with green. That way the brush that gets used for actual cleaning isn’t all gobbed up with disgusting food debris. Ew!
  • Load up items you use to pack up and put away leftovers in a drawer. This space will house storage and freezer bags, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, wax paper, and so on. (This is a great way to use those long, skinny drawers!)
  • Keep your food storage containers in their own drawer (or cabinet). You can “nest” the bowls by size and keep all the lids in a separate container.


If you have littles at your house, create a kids' zone where you can stock all the things they need to have easy (and safe) access to.

  • Stash kid cups, bowls, spoons, bibs, and more in a deep drawer at kid level. This makes it super easy for them to get the things they need and allows you to hand that responsibility over to them!
  • Keep cup bases and separate cup lids in their own drawer if you can.
  • Stack sippy cup lids separate from the cups themselves. This makes life a whole lot easier for everyone! 

That's a win-win in our book!


Pantry items on a counter, from Shelf Cooking

If you don't have the room in your kitchen to stove everything, that's okay! Feel free to move any food-related items to your pantry! Sure, it's great to have all of the spices, flour, and oils at your fingertips while you're cooking, but you also need to do what works best for you based on the space you have.

Want help organizing your pantry? Check out our pantry organization post for allllll of the tips that you'll ever need to get that pantry organized and in tip-top shape!

Alright, now go focus on your kitchen organization! Share your favorite kitchen organization hacks with us in the comments below.

Image with text that reads "kitchen organization and how it helps you cook" from Shelf Cooking

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Happy organizing!