How to Organize Your Kitchen

As part of the Get Organized Early series, Real Simple and CBS's The Early Show tackled one chaotic kitchen.

kitchen-counter
Photo by John Gruen

As the hub of the household for most modern families, the kitchen can be a real clutter magnet. With so many activities going on in one space (cooking, cleaning, serving), it’s essential to set up the right systems.



The first step to getting organized is to assess what you have, edit down to what you really need, and arrange it in an efficient setup, the primary goal of which should be accessibility. Here are tips for creating a more functional kitchen.

Get Everything Off the Counter

Make the space under your cabinets work for you. Under-cabinet storage pieces can hold items like knives, utensils, and even cookbooks. You can easily mount them under the cabinets and free up valuable counter space. Our favorites:

Simplehuman Wall-Mount Paper Towel Holder
This wall-mount paper towel holder from Bed Bath & Beyond lifts your paper towels off your counter and onto your wall.
To buy: $26, bedbathandbeyond.com.

Undercabinet Hide-Away Cookbook Holder
Cookbooks can get in the way (and get dirty!) if you leave them sitting on the counter. This space-saving fold-down rack will reduce clutter and has a clear acrylic surface.
To buy: $99, organize.com.

12" Magnetic Knife & Tool Bar by Magna Grip
To buy: $20, organize.com.

Micro-Organize Drawers and Cabinets

A drawer can quickly become a black hole if it’s not organized properly. In order to maximize space in crowded drawers, you have to categorize and sub-divide.

Everything Organizer
It features two stacking levels and 23 compartments. It’s perfect for storing small items (like stamps and paperclips) that would otherwise get lost in your junk drawer. Because the compartments vary in size, you can keep everything from change to thumb tacks safe and easily accessible.
To buy: $23, containerstore.com.


Tackle Your Tupperware and Cookware

Food storage containers are great for preserving leftovers, but trying to find the right size top through a sea of plastic can be frustrating. Streamline your cabinets with the Smart Spin Storage System. It comes with 35-40 food storage units, and all the lids are the same size so they stack easily to save space.
To buy: $16, amazon.com.

Save space by using a stackable cookware set. This 7-piece set includes stainless steel pots and pans that are conveniently designed to fit inside one another and take up as little space as possible in your cabinet.
To buy: CIA Masters Collection 7 Piece Cookware Set, $400, ciacook.com.

Organize Your Kitchen Office

The kitchen is often the hub of family activity, and the place from which busy moms run the household. Create a kitchen command center with these helpful products:

The Daily System is modular so you can personalize it for your needs. Each component slides onto a wall-mounted stainless-steel rod so you can easily move or add each piece. The corkboard displays photos and notes. The letter bin doubles as a magazine rack. The magnetic chalkboard and whiteboard calendar organize to-do lists and important dates.
To buy: $10 to $499 per component, potterybarn.com.

The Ludvig Laptop Workstation is a combined workstation and storage system for your laptop and accessories. Best of all, it folds up into the wall to save space. The cable outlets at bottom and top make it easy to organize cables and cords keeping them out of the way.
To buy: $80, ikea.com for stores.

Store your schedule, important information, loose papers, and take out menus in one place so they don’t get lost in the mix. The All In One Folio has a system for organizing the endless stream of paperwork that is part of any family, from important information the babysitter needs to know to the many doctors numbers that are handy to have close by.
To buy: $48, momagenda.com.

The DYMO Personal Labelmaker is an ideal solution for time-pressed individuals who want a quick and easy solution to home organization, from organizing files, photo albums, and storage containers to children’s toys, clothes, and food containers.
To buy: $30, dymo.com.

Additional Product Credits

OXO POP Containers, assorted sizes, $8 to $19, oxo.com.

Ikea GRUNDTAL Wall Shelf, $15; ASKER container, $6; CELEBER jars, $5 to $10; ikea.com.

The Container Store:
Expand a Drawer Cutlery Tray, $18; Slim Folding Step Stool, $30; Stainless Steel Utensil Holder, $13; Pink Water Stop Gloves, $6; Scrubby Sponges, $5; simplehuman Stainless Steel Grocery Bag Holder, $10; SmartSpace Countertop Dispenser, $25; Grook Tool Holder, $20; all at containerstore.com.

Shaklee Get Clean Starter Kit, $176, shaklee.com.

Simplehuman Fingerprint-Proof Slim Step Can, $130, simplehuman.com.

Electrolux Rapido Hand Vacuum, $60, electroluxusa.com for stores.

Panasonic NN-SD667S 1.2 Cubic-Foot Microwave Oven, stainless steel, $230, amazon.com.

Smudge Ink Notes, $14 a box, smudgeink.com.

Cuisinart Toaster Oven Broiler (TOB-195), $179, cuisinart.com.

Williams-Sonoma Set of Four Melamine Mixing Bowls, $38, williams-sonoma.com.

Bed, Bath & Beyond:
Pyrex Glass Bowls with Lids (set of 3), $20; As Seen on TV StickUp Bulb, $10; bedbathandbeyond.com.

momAgenda Chores Pad, $17; and Family Planner, $17; momagenda.com.

Dash & Albert Indoor/Outdoor Rug in Lighthouse Sprout/White, $84 for 3x5 size, dashandalbert.com.