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How you need to be organizing your cabinets.

By Jeffrey Henderson

We look at photos of kitchens with perfectly organized cabinets and feel a bit inadequate. We read articles and blog posts featuring kitchen systems that seem unrealistic. We watch television shows telling us what we need to do yet feel unmotivated. What’s the issue? One system will not work for everyone. The key to successful organization in your kitchen cabinets is to determine what will work for you based on the manner in which you use your kitchen. 

1. Define Your Kitchen Style

You’re really the only person who is the most qualified to make this determination, but here’s what you’re looking to decide:

  • Am I a chef (or aspiring chef) with tons of spices, tools, and gadgets? 

  • Am I an entertainer who loves to have people over so I need a lot of serving options?

  • Am I a cook who doesn’t mind the task but isn’t particularly fancy (most of us fall into this category)?

  • Am I a utilitarian kitchen user, i.e. I have to eat to stay alive so there’s a kitchen in my house?

  • Am I the anti-chef being who has no use for a kitchen (you don’t necessarily need to keep reading...)?

2. Establish a Kitchen Plan

You’ve determined where you fall in the kitchen style spectrum, now we need to see how you use the space. 

  • Chef: I have key elements I use frequently to which I need immediate access and other items I use less frequently but to which I still need convenient access.

  • Entertainer: I don’t want to have to dig through my cabinets to find my favorite party pieces.

  • Cook: I have simple needs but want my favorites handy.

  • Utilitarian: I boil, I drain, I heat things up, and I microwave - don’t over-complicate this.

  • Anti-Chef: have a phone charger handy in case my battery is low while I’m placing my order.

3. Create a Functional Space That Works For YOU

Regardless of your style, you should be able to use a three-zone approach:

Pull your spices, tools, and gadgets out and set up priority zones. 

  • Zone 1 - Frequents - the items you use on the regular

  • Zone 2 - Semi-Frequents - you use these several times per week

  • Zone 3 - Can’t Let Go - these are the things you may rarely use, but you want to have them accessible