How We Organize Everything in Our Kitchen

how to organize a kitchen

Without a doubt, our kitchen is the most-used room in our home — especially now that we transformed the eating area into a cozy living space the kids can hang out in while I cook and bake (best decision ever!)

hanging out in the kitchen
kitchen living room

Yup, our kitchen has seen lots of wear and tear, use and abuse over the last decade… which is why it’s so important for me to keep the counters clear and the cabinets organized in a way that maximizes my productivity and efficiency.

making lunch
cereal for breakfast
farmhouse kitchen

For anyone who might be new around here, we completely gutted our kitchen back in May of 2012, and  SLOWLY put it back together again over the next 6 months.

The renovation was a massive mess, it took significantly longer than we anticipated, and there were many setbacks (like the wrong cabinets arriving… TWICE!)

But we’ve thoroughly enjoyed our new space so much over the last 10 years that it was definitely worth the work. (NOTE: we have no plans of living through another kitchen renovation any time in the near future!

farmhouse kitchen sink

Here are a couple of fun before/after pictures to share, so you can get the feel for the layout of our space.

kitchen renovation
BEFORE: Looking towards the mudroom and back door.
farmhouse kitchen
AFTER: a much brighter and happier place!
kitchen renovation
BEFORE: We knocked out an entire wall, so that post is supporting a beam that holds up the 2nd floor!
new living space in kitchen
AFTER: looking into the seating area off the kitchen.

Soon after our big renovation, I shared a tour of our kitchen, but now… 10 years and 4 children later, quite a bit has changed!

So I decided it was time for an update! 

I’ll start with the cabinets above the refrigerator and move around the kitchen counter-clockwise — ending with the pantry cabinet.

Then I’ll circle back and show you how we organize our island drawers. 

Let’s begin with the upper cabinets.

The cabinets above our refrigerator are extra-deep (per my request) giving the illusion that our fridge is “built-in”, even though it’s not. The extra-deep cabinets also provide storage for large roasting pans and cookie sheets!

deep cabinets above fridge


The upper cabinet between the fridge and the sink is where we store all our cups, glasses, and mugs. We also keep a variety of straws and kiddie lids in here.

I requested an extra shelf for this cabinet so I could place them close together for smaller cups.

kitchen cups and mugs


The cabinet to the left of the sink is where I store kitchen towels and supplies for bringing food to others.

kitchen linen storage


One of my favorite cabinets in our entire kitchen is my “upper lazy Susan cabinet” because it holds SO much stuff and keeps it all very organized.

As you can see by the photo below, I also keep a few measurement/weight conversion cheat sheets taped inside this cabinet. I use them regularly!

corner baking cabinet


We have 2 very skinny cabinets on each side of our oven/range… it’s not the most practical storage, but it works for a few things. Here’s the one to the right of the range.

organized kitchen cabinet


  • Various paper products
  • Vitamins
  • Salt, pepper, butter, sugar

The big double cabinet above our range is really great storage… but much of it is empty right now.

cabinets above the stove


The skinny cabinet to the left of our oven is affectionately referred to as our “candy cupboard” because it’s where we store all our candy and gum.

Even friends and cousins know where to go for the good stuff!

candy cabinet


  • Extra water bottles and travel mugs
  • Toothpicks
  • Candy and gum (candy is in the cardboard box)


Moving on to the lower cabinets…

One of my favorite things about our kitchen is all the large drawers (we only had a couple of tiny drawers before).

As you’ll see by the pictures below, we definitely maximize our storage space with drawers!

Here’s how we organize the bank of drawers between our fridge and our sink.

organized kitchen drawers
silverware drawer organizer
kitchen bags and wraps
organized food storage containers
extra kitchen storage


The cabinets under the sink were custom ordered to fit our extra-deep farmhouse sink (which we LOOOOOOOVE).

Because the sink is so deep and we have a garbage disposal (and various drain pipes) we don’t have much storage… but I feel we’ve maximized the space we do have.

under sink storage


The tiny drawer to the left of the sink is the perfect little space to store our hot pads and oven gloves because it’s also right next to the oven.

kitchen drawer storage


The lower cabinet to the left of the sink is where we store our trashcan. I always grew up with the trash under the sink, but thanks to our big farmhouse sink, that wasn’t an option.

kitchen trash cabinet


The lower lazy Susan is another one of my favorite cabinets because it offers so much practical storage for things I use on a very regular basis.

lazy susan kitchen storage
kitchen storage


  • Larger baking supplies (store-bought flour, sugars, boxed mixes)
  • Various types of oil and vinegar
  • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, squash (it’s dark and cold in this cabinet, so it’s a great place for some of this produce!)  

Our pull-out spice cabinet was another special order cabinet because it had to fit JUST right between the oven and the walkway to our mudroom.

It’s always a source of amazement when new kids are here to play and they see me pull it out! I don’t blame them… it’s a cool cabinet!

organized spices


Next up: the pantry area

This area of our kitchen is a bit awkward as there are several heating ducts and a chimney that run from the basement to the 2nd floor — all nicely hidden behind the pantry cabinets.

It was a bit of a puzzle to put this all together, but we ended up with tons of extra storage and all pipes, ducts, and chimneys hidden! Win-win!

kitchen pantry area

We use the upper pantry cabinets to store snacks, baked goods, bread, and lunch packing supplies.

pantry snacks


The “pantry drawers” as we call them, are the perfect out-of-the-way spot to store various tools we like to keep in the house, along with office supplies we want to have on hand in the kitchen. We use these drawers daily!

kitchen tools and junk drawer


The lower pantry cabinets are extremely deep and go back behind the full pantry cabinet (to the left in the picture below). It’s not the most accessible storage space, but it’s great for holiday and seasonal items.

pots and pans cabinet


The upper corner pantry cabinet is probably the most difficult-t0-access cabinet in our entire kitchen, so I honestly don’t store all that much in this cabinet.

It works really well for a few large jars of grain — and as you’ll see below, this cabinet is right next to my grain mill.

pantry storage


The little hidden countertop storage cabinet is one of my personal favorites because it has a huge amount of easily-accessible storage.

It’s the PERFECT hiding spot for Dave’s coffee maker and my grain grinder — both of which we use every single day, but don’t necessarily want sitting out on the counter.

counter pantry cabinet


Learn more about how I store bulk foods.

The full pantry cabinet was another special-order cabinet because it’s the one hiding all those ducts and pipes behind it (so it’s not very deep). It still allows for so much storage though.

I also use the insides of these pantry doors to tape up all our church and school schedules, hot lunch menus, class lists, etc.

full pantry cabinet


And finally, the island storage! 

I knew I wanted really deep drawers for our kitchen island — specifically for all our dishes and big mixing bowls.

Since I do about 95% of all my food prep on this island, it just makes sense to have bowls, dishes, and utensils readily available (as well as a dishwasher for dirty dishes). I’m thrilled with how everything came together and wouldn’t change a thing about my island.

island drawers

The island drawers are so useful and functional — they have extended glides so they slide ALL the way out, meaning I can easily reach all to the back of the drawer without any issues.

kitchen utensils

The special dish drawer has heavy-duty glides and a pegboard bottom to make it super easy to rearrange dishes as needed. I LOVE this drawer!

dishes in the drawer
mixing bowl storage



Whew… I think that’s everything! 

You made it to the end of this very long post and hopefully you have a better sense of how I organize everything in my kitchen… along with a few ideas to better organize YOUR kitchen too.

Looking back, there are a few things I might have done differently in our kitchen — but it’s significantly more functional (and prettier) than it was when we moved in.

I’d say it was a very successful renovation!

looking into our kitchen

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