Interior Kitchen & Dining Cabinets

These Cabinet Customizations are Totally Worth It, According to Pro Organizers

Ensure every cooking utensil and pantry item has its own space by following these tips and tricks from professional organizers.
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Customize to Organize

When you’re trying to get dinner on the table at the end of a long day, the last thing you want is to spend several minutes looking for a can opener or corkscrew. Luckily, professional organizers have plenty of advice on how to optimize kitchen storage space and ensure that everything has a place.

Whether you’re designing a brand new kitchen or working on a small budget with the goal of making your existing space more efficient, the following tips from the pros will help you get organized.

Related: 11 Ways You May Be Wasting Pantry Space

Turn a Drawer into a Baking Zone

Avid home bakers need their frequently used ingredients close at hand. Helena Alkhas, of A Personal Organizer, recommends turning a drawer into additional pantry storage by filling it with matching glass or plastic containers. She suggests using IKEA’s inexpensive 365 Food Containers and adding labels to the lids so it’s easy to identify the contents of each container.

Use Vertical Dividers


Another suggestion from Helena Alkhas is to utilize vertical dividers, instead of stacking flat items. This trick works well for cutting boards, cookie sheets, and plates as well as other cookware and bakeware. Vertical organizers (available on Amazon) are an inexpensive solution and can simply be placed inside a standard cabinet without requiring any complex installation.

Use Turntables

Sometimes a small addition can make a major impact. Annie Traurig, who runs Live Simply by Annie based out of Seattle, suggests using turntables in kitchen cabinets to provide easy access to pantry items and other kitchen tools. One of Traurig’s favorites is the OXO Good Grips Lazy Susan (available on Amazon). She also recommends this Lipper International bamboo turntable (available on Amazon).

Add a Two-tier Cutlery Drawer


When professional organizer Janine Adams, of Peace of Mind Organizing, redesigned her own kitchen, she opted to install a two-tier cutlery drawer to maximize her storage space. She used the Rev-A-Shelf 2-Tiered Kitchen Utensil & Cutlery Pullout Drawer Organizer (available on Amazon). This is a particularly handy addition to small kitchens that only have a couple of drawers to house utensils. 

Include a Vertical Pull-Out Cabinet

Another customization that Janine Adams chose for her new kitchen was a pull-out spice rack. She only had 3 inches of space to use, which was the perfect width for storing spice jars. While Adams opted to install her pull-out rack in her upper cabinets, they work just as well in lower cabinets. This is a good choice for taking advantage of an awkward space between an appliance and the wall.

Install a Pot Lid Organizer


Professional organizer Janelle Cohen, of Straighten Up by Janelle, recommends improving your workflow by keeping similar items together when organizing your kitchen. Baking ingredients, coffee-making supplies, baking dishes, and outdoor tableware, for example, should each have their own designated space in the kitchen so they’re always easy to find. Pot lids can be organized efficiently by installing a pot lid organizer (available on Amazon) on the back of a cabinet door where it won’t take up any additional space.

Add Shelf Risers


Uncluttered Simplicity’s founder Esther Konz suggests adding shelf risers (available on Amazon) to kitchen cabinets in order to take advantage of vertical space while maintaining organization. A product like this allows for storage space to be effectively doubled in taller cabinets. By purchasing an expandable model, you’ll ensure that it fits the width of the cabinet perfectly.

Tidy Up Food Container Storage

Even the most organized among us seem to have trouble wrangling our portable food storage containers and their corresponding lids. Shira Gill, author of the upcoming book Minimalista, recommends paring down as much as possible before establishing a storage solution for your Tupperware. She also suggests a custom drawer or shelf organizer may be a worthy investment to ensure that every container and lid has its own space. 

The Best Food Storage Containers for Your Fridge and Pantry

Adjust Shelf Heights

Shorter people are likely familiar with the struggle of having to reach for a stepladder every time they need to grab a wine glass from an upper shelf. Since she’s only 5 feet 4 inches, pro organizer Melissa George of
Polished Habitat

gave herself a ton of additional storage space that she could actually access simply by adjusting the heights of her cabinet shelves. While doing so does mean removing everything from the shelves, the effort is absolutely worth it. 

Add a Door Organizer


Another trick that Melissa George uses in her own kitchen is taking full advantage of every inch of space with a back-of-door organizer. She uses the ClosetMaid Wall Rack (available on Amazon), which comes with either two, three, or four tiers. Melissa uses hers for storing measuring spoons and cups, but they can also be used for pantry items, coffee filters, cleaning supplies, and more.

Use Drawer Dividers


One of the simplest and most affordable ways to keep kitchen utensils organized is by adding drawer dividers to create smaller compartments in large drawers. Toni Hammersley, author of The Complete Book of Home Organization and The Complete Book of Clean, installed drawer dividers after designing her brand new kitchen. She uses adjustable bamboo versions (available on Amazon) and recommends a bamboo cutlery tray as an alternative (also available on Amazon). 

Create Custom Drawers

When designing her kitchen, one of the choices Toni Hammersley made was to install plenty of drawers; she finds them easier to organize than cabinets. Not only that, she designed a shallow drawer specifically for spices. By placing this drawer near the stovetop, she was able to ensure all the spices she needed were close at hand, exactly where she wanted them.

Related: 5 DIY Spice Racks and Kitchen Organizing Solutions