Organization Ideas for a Kitchen Cabinet Overhaul

I’m sharing something today that has been hanging over my head for far too long- it is both the biggest relief and most embarrassing collection of “before” photos I’ve shared. But, I don’t even care because my kitchen cabinets are finally cleaned out, decluttered, and organized! Seriously, a drawer here and there was child’s play compared to what was waiting on the other side of those doors. And I knew it. But as terrible as I thought it would be, I was able to tackle the entire space by dedicating a few hours over a two-day period. When it comes to kitchen disaster, there is little truth in the adage “out of sight, out of mind”. Sure, it was out of sight enough to stay in denial but it certainly wasn’t out of mind… with each space tackled, I feel a little less weight on my shoulders. (or in this case, a LOT less weight) ;). If you’re in denial too, hopefully these organization ideas for a kitchen cabinet overhaul are just what you need to get goin’.

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I am thankful to have a lot of cabinets but no matter how many you have, they always seem to be filled to the brim. Even though it’s just Dave and I, we cook almost every night and I keep a lot on hand for entertaining. But, there was a TON of stuff we had accumulated that we never touched. Ever. And we certainly don’t use our THREE knife blocks. No exaggeration haha.

Neutral Kitchen with SW Perfect Greige paint and cream cabinets

Before I take you through each and every cabinet, I wanted to share my new obsession- if you follow me on Instagram stories, you already know this 😉 These Naan dippers with La Terra Fina Spinach & Artichoke dip (both from Costco) is life changing. Put this on your list FOR SURE.

How to Style a Traditional Kitchen Island for Spring with Tulips

Available Sources: Recycled Wine Bottle Glasses | Turkish Tea Towel | White Tray (similar)

Naan Dippers with Spinach Artichoke Dip

As I worked my way through through the kitchen, with each cabinet I approached, I would first take everything out and empty it in its entirety before taking a vacuum to it – cabinet by cabinet, drawer by drawer. Also, the morning I shot these photos, I washed everything that was available by hand, to give an accurate representation of all these cabinets contain 😉

Ok, here we go…

ENTERTAINING CABINET

The cabinet above our double stove is pretty high up. I still keep some entertaining pieces on display in the breakfast nook, and others even in the basement but platters, melamine glasses, vases, etc. are stored in the kitchen in this space. And… this is what it looked like. *rips the bandaid off*

Before Organizing the Platters and Entertaining Supplies

I had so much shoved in there out of laziness, and probably had every color picnic-ware you could ask for. I filled three boxes of kitchen supplies for donations and several items came from this cabinet. When I finished, I was even able to bring in some pieces that were awkwardly stored haphazardly in other “prime” cabinets. I pared my melamine wine/deck glasses down to three sets; there are still about 20 here. After conquering this cabinet, I had more motivation to continue on.

Organization ideas and solutions for platters and entertaining pieces

I actually added these two classic platters to my collection this past week and they are on sale at a FANTASTIC price right now.

CASSEROLE/BAKING DISH CABINET

Lidded baking and casserole dishes are a staple of a southern kitchen. Mine had become so out of sorts, I didn’t even know what we had.

Before Organizing the Casserole Dishes

I grouped like items and here’s where I ended up.

Organizing baking and casserole dishes in the kitchen

This set of Pyrex (with the double decker tote) gets a major workout in our house. We also use our French White Corning Ware casserole dishes every week.

I MAY consider a door rack for the lids but wanted to live with this configuration for just a bit before determining. If you have more space, you can get an inexpensive lid organizer (HERE).

Organizing Glass Baking Dishes - corningware and pyrex

CUTTING/CHEESE BOARD CABINET

I mentioned we had three knife blocks- one we use on our counter, one in the basement we’ve been “holding onto”, and for some reason, one taking up all the space in this cabinet. This cabinet is used primarily for cutting boards but with an awkward shelving height we never bothered to adjust, all the boards were stored stacked. Like this. (Ok, kind of stacked haha). On the top shelf- a food saver that doesn’t belong there, a press, and water bottles that were likely picked up in a conference swag bag that have never been used.

Before Organizing the Kitchen Cutting Boards

Basically, a mini black hole. I took everything out and had Dave adjust the shelving up to clear the largest cutting board, on its side. I found this $4 four-sort divider (HERE) which worked perfectly to position the boards vertically. The top shelf became the new home to my cheese/appetizer boards that aren’t kept on display and I still had room for my big ‘ole Le Creuset stockpot that won’t fit in the pot and pan drawers.

Ideas for storing and organizing cutting boards in a vertical rack

If you’ve never had your cutting boards stored vertically, take it from me- it makes a HUGE difference.

Cutting Board organization ideas in the kitchen cabinets

FOOD STORAGE/BAKING CABINET

One of our worst cabinets was this double beast which was dedicated to holding plastic food storage. The whole. Dang. Thing. Oh- and random goodies without dedicated homes. (To be honest, that was the case with all of my cabinets). I even had trays and platters my mom tried to sell at a yardsale over 10 years ago. I like a lot of food storage because leftovers are a staple in our house and we always have several in use, but we had far too many that had definitely seen better days. 

Before organizing the food storage cabinet

I kept a few large pieces for freezer batches but ultimately decided to toss the old and purchase a new, cohesive set that would fit together and store nicely. I went with this 42-piece set for under $20 and was shocked at how small the box was when it arrived. BECAUSE THEY ALL FIT TOGETHER SO WELL. Sorry to be shout-y but finally deciding to divorce my 12 year old pieces was hard for this hoarding heart of mine, but SO paid off.

Because the cabinet is deep and difficult to access, I knew I wanted some pull-out drawers on gliders installed. These are the Medium and are part of the Elfa sale (good through this weekend!)- I scored them for $13 each and Dave was able to install in 10 minutes. You can find the gliders separately HERE. I also wanted a solution for my drying mats; I found this placemat holder with open sides that couldn’t have been a more perfect fit. This is the result…

Food storage and tupperware container organization ideas

I used this small 4-sort divider (for $3.99) to organize and separate the lids. This food storage set actually snaps together, which I love.

Rubbermaid food storage containers organized in the kitchen cabinets

On the other side, I corralled baking supplies and nested the mixing bowls on the upper shelf. It was liberating to part with the army I had accumulated and pare my collection down to a “small platoon”.

Container Store Elfa roll out drawers for baking supplies

Every single thing is SO easy to access now.

Organizing Baking Supplies in a roll out cabinet drawer

COLANDER/STRAINER CABINET

The colanders (and random friends) were a wreck. After being able to move some of these into other cabinets, I had more than enough room to store some of the larger food storage I already had for large batches of dinners that we use for the freezer.

Before organizing the kitchen colanders

Freezer containers to hold on to when decluttering the kitchen

DRINKING GLASS CABINET

Dave and I are creatures of habit. 99% of the time, we use Tervis tumblers, Yeti, and cups with straws.

Before Organizing the Drinking Glasses and Cups

Glass sets that were down to three or random glasses (why do we have a Coca Cola glass?!) were put in the donation pile and I rearranged each shelf by putting what we use most often toward the bottom.

Decluttering and cleaning out drinking glasses

PLATE CABINET

Our cabinet that holds plates was probably the least terrible. But, I still had random one-off plates that I never used (and have no idea how they found their way into our kitchen in the first place).

Before kitchen plates were organized

After discarding the outcasts, I was actually able to add more seasonal plates and melamine deck plates that had been in the top of a guest bedroom closet.

How to organizing dining plates when you have a lot

Available Sources: Buffet Plates | Serving Bowl

The rack of buffet plates (HERE) are a huge help when you’re hosting a large group of people; it fits perfectly inside the cabinet, too.

BOWL/COFFEE CABINET

The next cabinet is dedicated to bowls and coffee mugs. Disregard the fact that we are in desperate need of adding a center support haha. I tossed old chipped bowls and donated over half of the mugs. The majority of small, multi-colored bowls were also donated. (We still have a TON but use them often 😉 ).

Before Organizing the Kitchen Bowl Cabinet

And, now, I can breathe much easier 😉

Organizing Bowls and Dishes in the cabinet

There isn’t much center weight but the shelves are still warped. Again, we will be in the market for a support solution.

Ideas and tips for kitchen cabinet organization

Available Sources: K-Cup Organizer

By the way, my k-cup organizer is perfect inside the cabinet. Each drawer pulls out and down and is a huge space saver.

APPLIANCE CABINET

When I was going through my “before” photos, I was so disappointed to find that I either never took a photo of the appliance cabinet, or, I lost it. This was by far the most terrible of all so you’ll just have to use your imagination. Envision this- 93845 appliances; random, small appliance parts thrown in on top in disarray; overflow pots and pans, and all the crumbs known to man from taking the toaster/grill in and out. This thing was bursting at the seams. After the random pieces were able to find homes in other cabinets, I cleared out the appliances, set aside what we didn’t use to donate, and gave the vacuum a hard-core workout. I shared some of the random finds in my Instagram stories (so many of you helped me identify little pieces of “what the heck is this?!” haha). (Side note, our Instant Pot was in use this day – it now sits in front of the crock pot that I haven’t parted with just yet since I haven’t tried the slow cooker function on the Instant Pot just yet – I am hoping I will love it enough to get rid of my regular crock pot).

Kitchen Appliance Organization Ideas in the Kitchen Island

For the small appliance pieces (we all have ’em!), I didn’t want something to clip over the door that would show from the outside and in a pinch, I searched my basement for small, narrow-ish basket that was woven. I used sticky, no-residue command hooks (HERE) to hang the woven basket and it worked perfectly. Note- I had to position it on the far side of the door to allow for clearance. If you have too much in your cabinets, this may not work but if you have a little depth space, this was the perfect easy solution to corral all those little pieces.

Hanging a storage basket inside the cabinet for small appliance parts

Green Recycled Drink Glasses for Classic Kitchens

Did that stress you out or put you one step closer to tackling your own cabinets? I’ll be sharing a full kitchen organization round-up soon, but in the meantime, check my organization gallery (HERE) to see the other spaces I’ve tackled throughout the kitchen (and the rest of my home). If you aren’t already, subscribe to my emails below and don’t miss any upcoming projects.


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31 Comments

  1. 2.10.18
    Piper said:

    You did an awesome job on this Kelly! Lots of work, but each space looks fantastic!

  2. 2.10.18
    Tracey said:

    I love love your organization posts! So many great ideas and products. I have a suggestion for your sagging shelves in your bowls/coffee mug cabinet: lift the shelves out and flip them over! I’ve always done that with bookshelves too.

  3. 2.10.18
    Karen said:

    Great job! You always make me laugh!!

  4. 2.10.18

    Looks great Kelley. I use very similar systems in our kitchen. I store our baking pans/sheets using those inexpensive dividers and then use command hooks to store our most used cutting boards on the back of the door to the same cabinet. Making grabbing one a breeze. And, I am all for a set of matching food storage containers!

  5. 2.11.18
    Jackie said:

    Nice job!! Thanks for some great ideas 🙂 For your sagging shelves, for now you could just flip the shelves over until you get some supports in there 😉

  6. 2.11.18

    Feels so good to simply mark things as done on the “To do list”, right? 🙂 Good job!

  7. 2.11.18
    Penny said:

    I am so inspired by your organization projects! I’m currently working on my own kitchen cabinet by cabinet. Your blog has been so helpful during the process! How/ where do you store cookbooks? I’ve donated some and trashed others but want to keep a few favorites. Any ideas are welcome. Thanks Kelley!

  8. 2.11.18
    Marci said:

    Excellent job!! I too have a bowl/coffee cabinet with the exception of the warped shelves. My cabinets came with the same holes and shelf pins centered on the back wall of the cabinet and on the wood upright between the cabinet doors as used on the ends of the shelves. These centered shelf pins have done an excellent job of keeping my shelf flat and level. With a little math, I sure you can drill holes and add pins. Flip the shelves over and let them flatten out. Enjoy your New cabinets.

  9. 2.11.18
    Jane said:

    Hi,

    Love your kitchen. What color are your cabinets?

  10. 2.11.18
    Cecilia said:

    Kelley, I am overwhelmed by your energy! I have an addiction to plates from Pier One but I have no room to store any more (this became obvious when I found a set stuck behind the plastic food savers). So you have inspired me to down size on almost everything. This rainy weather was a perfect inside project. Thanks for your inspiration!

  11. 2.13.18
    Cheryl said:

    We had a similar issue with sag in a closet shelf. We took out the shelf , flipped it over so the “sag” was now a “hump” and replaced our stuff (but not as much). This cost free and easy solution worked! It’s been 2 years now and so far so good☺. No support needed!

  12. 2.13.18
    Tamara said:

    This is seriously brilliant – I am in DIRE need of an overhaul…what an awesome job Kelley!! You are the queen of this stuff! xo

  13. 2.6.19
    Ikonni said:

    Wonderful organization of the cabinets Kelley. Great work and thanks for sharing this!

  14. 8.24.19
    Linda baldwin said:

    Let be your ideas, and the appliance cabinet. I’m trying to declutter the counter tops and I feel I need to streamline the cabinets so I can get some things out of sight. Where do you store your pot and pans and their lids?

    Thanks!

  15. 1.14.20

    Alot of notes taking on how I can organize my kitchen better. Thank you 🙂

    • 3.9.20

      Wonderful! I am so happy I could help! 🙏

  16. 4.29.20
    Tracy said:

    Great, great ideas! I love things to be ultra-organized and so does my brain 😉. One of my favorite organizing gadgets are the metal mesh standing file folder holders. I have my wax paper, plastic wrap and foil standing up on their ends behind one another inside them. This isn’t for the mono-bulk boxes from Sam’s or Costco, though. Just the regular sized ones. You can set them inside a cabinet or mount onto the inside of a cabinet door, if space allows when closed.

    • 4.29.20

      Tracy, Thank you! I love your tip for story the plastic wrap and foil. Those file folder holders have so many uses and are sturdy enough to keep things contained. Thanks so much for checking in!

  17. 9.5.20
    Lisa B. said:

    OMG. Same items and same problems as me. I have banished all freebie insulated tumblers. Splurged on 8 (there are only 2 of us) good quality matching ones, so all tops and bottoms are interchangeable. Coffee mugs? Purchase a dozen if them for the same reason. All the others were donated. Still haven’t found a great solution for storing the glass lids to my Corning Ware. Love your cabinet door basket solution for the small parts and accessories for your small appliances. Stealing that one. Replaced all of my mixing bowls with a nesting Wolfang Puck set that nests beautifully and has non skid silicone bottoms 👍Also got rid of a box full of odd spatulas, spoons, etc. I really don’t need 6 whisks.

    • 9.9.20

      Hi Lisa, Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and to leave a note. Purging can be so hard, right? I have found that the more you do, the easier it gets. You are so smart to find things that nest…great space saver! I think we all are constantly looking for new solutions for better storage. Love yours!

  18. 2.18.21
    Bonnie said:

    I can relate to your ‘before’ cabinets. Soon our new home will be finished and your ideas will help me set up and organize my new kitchen. Everything has been packed in boxes for over a year and a half so this is a huge help. I’ll label cabinets and drawers into categories and sort like you did. Thanks for your ideas.

    • 2.19.21

      Bonnie, Congratulations on your new home! It will be great that you have a fresh start in setting up your new kitchen. Bravo to you for getting things organized right from the beginning!

  19. 2.20.21
    Audrey said:

    Love the organization with “labels”. Really helps the thought process. How do you store pots and pans? Thanks for the brain direction. 😁

    • 2.20.21

      Hi Audrey, Thank you for taking the time to stop by. I am fortunate to have two large drawers under my stovetop. That’s where I store my pots and pans. My cookie sheets and other baking items are stored in another large drawer underneath the microwave.

  20. 6.10.21
    MiaRenee said:

    Looks great! Honestly, your before photos even look better than mine. I simply need to do a lot of decluttering before I can even organize. You’ve inspired me! Good job girl!

    • 6.11.21

      Mia Renee, Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and for your kind note. Kitchen cabinets can be so hard to organize and to stay organized! You are so right that decluttering before you begin is key.

  21. 7.8.21
    C.Love said:

    Thank you for this post,it’s going to help me organize my kitchen cabinets

    • 7.8.21

      Cynthia, Thank you for taking the time to visit. I appreciate your note and hope this helps. Happy organizing!

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