How to clean and organize kitchen cabinets


There’s something satisfying about a clean, organized kitchen – but it does take some planning and work to get things in order.


Begin by thinking about how functional your kitchen is and ways you can improve it. That may mean purchasing kitchen organizers like racks and shelves or rethinking where you store certain items.


This post will teach you how to finally organize and clean your kitchen cabinets so they look great and meet your needs.


How to organize kitchen cabinets: Food


First and foremost, kitchens need to safely store the food in your home so it’s easy to access when you need it.


1. Empty your cabinets


Clear your kitchen counter and remove the food inside your kitchen cabinets. Use a damp cloth to dust the inside of the cabinet. Scrub spills or stains with a bit of vinegar and water.


This is also a good time to install or replace liners to protect your cabinets from spills.


1. Throw away anything that’s expired


Go through all of your food on the counter, throw away anything that’s expired, and recycle any containers.


2. Categorize items


Next, group items by type.


Pantry categories may include:


  • Spices
  • Sauces
  • Baking supplies
  • Cooking oils
  • Snacks
  • Breakfast foods like cereal and oatmeal
  • Beverages
  • Canned fruits and veggies
  • Fresh produce


3. Consider alternative food storage containers


Dry ingredients such as flour, sugar, rice, and pasta could be stored in containers to keep them away from moisture and pests. Clear containers also make it easier to restock items when you’re running low.


If you do want to use containers, take a quick inventory of how many items you’ll want to store and how large the containers would need to be. Use a bit of white tape or washi tape to create quick expiration date labels for each container.


5. Use storage solutions when necessary


If your food often gets pushed back and lost in the kitchen cabinet, use tiered shelf organizers, pull-out shelves, door organizers, and can dispensers to keep things in place and visible.


6. Logically restock your cabinets


Start putting items back in the cabinet and pantry in categories based on how frequently you use them. For example, store snacks in an easy-to-reach spot so your family can grab them when they open the cabinet.


Store things like pasta sauce and spices higher up or toward the back of the cabinet. Keep items you use most frequently toward the front and less-used items further back.


When it comes to storing foods like potatoes, garlic, and onions, be sure they’re in an easy-to-see area. Potatoes should be stored away from most other fresh foods to prevent spoiling.


How to organize kitchen cabinets: Pots and pans


Pots, pans, and small appliances likely take up most of the space in your kitchen cabinets.


1. Empty the cabinets


Take out every item in your cabinets and wipe the shelf down with a damp rag. Again, this is a good time to install shelf liners to protect your cabinets.


2. Use organizers for pans and lids


Instead of stacking your pans and lids in the cabinet, use an organizing rack to store them upright so they’re easier to grab and won’t get scratched. You can also use the racks to store cutting boards and baking sheets too.


If you do need to stack your pans, keep the larger pans on the bottom and nest the pans from largest to smallest. Store lids upright nearby.


For pots, invert the lid so the handle is inside the pot and stack a smaller pot on top.


3. Organize mixing bowls, serving plates, and small appliances


Other items can either be nested or placed on a shelf where they’re easy to access. Store small appliances in the cabinet or on shelves to minimize clutter on your kitchen counters.


4. Look for alternative storage options


If you don’t have enough space in your cabinets, consider using hooks or wire shelf racks to create more storage space in the kitchen.


You can install hooks on the sides of your cabinets or along the backsplash. If you have empty wall space, consider installing a heavy-duty towel rack to hang pans.


If you opt for an open wire shelf, place larger items on the lower shelves and smaller items on top. You can use baskets to group items and minimize visual clutter.


5. Place items strategically


Don’t put pots and pans on a high shelf that makes them difficult to reach. Instead, store smaller, rarely used items toward the top of cabinets and keep the necessities within easy reach.


How to clean kitchen cabinets


With so much going on in the kitchen, your cabinets are likely going to get splashed and spilled on almost daily.


1. Don’t use abrasive cleaning tools


Only use soft cloths and sponges while cleaning your cabinets to prevent unintentional scratches.


4. Start at the top


Cabinets that don’t go all the way to the ceiling collect lots of dust and grease on top. If your cabinets are just a little dusty, use a duster to wipe them off.


If your cabinets are sticky on top, you’ll need to do a little more work.


Spray straight vinegar on the tops of the cabinets and sprinkle some baking soda to loosen up the grease. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes before wiping it up with a damp rag or sponge. If that doesn’t work, try using something with a straight edge to scrape the gunk off before spraying the cabinets and wiping them again.


3. Spray a gentle cleaning solution


Once the tops are clean, move on to the front and sides of the cabinets. Mix one cup of distilled white vinegar in a bottle of warm water and spray the mixture onto the cabinets. Wipe with a dry, soft cloth.


4. Use dish soap for sticky messes


If you come across a sticky mess, mix some dish soap in a bowl of warm water and use a sponge to gently scrub the area. You can let the sponge sit on top of the stain for a few moments to loosen it up.


5. Use baking soda to remove tougher stains


Baking soda is mildly abrasive, but it’s great for tackling tough stains on kitchen cabinets.


Spray the cabinet with a water and vinegar cleaning solution and sprinkle a sponge with a bit of baking soda. Scrub the stain until it’s gone and wipe with a damp rag.