When I was little, my grandma always said ‘clean as you cook, it makes life easier’ (she still tells me today, too… I’m trying, okay?) – but somehow, she never pointed out that you need to have your kitchen storage perfectly laid out first. All the tidying is without a point if you don’t have a home for your things, or if said home is so full that you physically need to squish things in.
There are so many kitchen organisation ideas out there that it can feel like a minefield to pick what’s right for you. Before you set your heart on certain styles, it’s worth really thinking about how you use the space and what you need from it.
Do you cook a lot, for example, and regularly use a host of different ingredients? Do you dislike having anything out on the worktop? Your personal needs and tastes have to come first – take a look at what you have, but also what you might want to include for years to come.
We look at the key must-have solutions, from walk-in pantries to small but game-changing features, as well as the key considerations before you commit to your chosen kitchen design.
Kitchen organisation ideas: walk-in pantries
Welcome to the ultimate luxury in kitchen design.
A staple of the home for hundreds of years, a pantry is a small room or large walk-in cupboard for food, drinks, crockery, cutlery, and other essentials. Modern designs are a hot must-have that you can integrate into your space as part of your cabinetry or as a standalone room.
Steel-framed glazing is a popular way to divide the space as well as let in plenty of natural light. But more often than not, pantries are smaller and windowless – so smart task lighting is crucial, including downlighters and under-shelf strip solutions.
Don’t forget to include plug sockets, too, as these kitchen organisation ideas are a great place for smaller appliances that you can then plug in and use in situ, such as blenders and stand mixers. This way, you also keep precious work surface in the main kitchen clear of clutter.
You may also want to include a small sink, so plumbing will need to be considered early on. And if you’re a keen baker, especially one that loves making pastries, a pantry is the ideal spot for a slab of marble worktop. You won’t need much, which makes it more affordable, but more importantly it’s also a bit out of the way from common kitchen accidents like spills – giving you a little more peace of mind that your stone will last a long time.
Larders and breakfast cupboards
These days, a kitchen without a larder almost feels incomplete. We see them in so many homes – and for good reason, because these cupboards are ideal if you strive for a clean look.
Our kitchens have become more multi-functional and therefore more chaotic, there’s no denying that. Breakfast cupboards typically sit on the worktop like a dresser and are a one-stop-shop for all your coffee and tea-making facilities, non-perishable food staples, and other small appliances.
As these kitchen organisation ideas are going to be a hotspot on busy mornings, make sure to place it away from other high-traffic zones, while still having the fridge and sink within easy reach.
Also bear in mind that they do take up worktop space, so they might not be suitable for you, especially if your kitchen is more on the bijou side. You might find a tall larder is best – whether that’s a pull-out design or one with pocket doors that slide back into recesses either side of the cupboard.
Wherever possible, it’s always useful to keep this kitchen organisation idea adjacent to the fridge, so your food storage is all in one area. When it comes to internal storage, larder cupboards shouldn’t be too deep – otherwise items at the back often get lost and can be hard to reach, plus the bottom run of the unit should be fitted with drawers over shelves for accessibility. However, you can design them to have a staggered interior that rises towards the back of the unit, keeping everything nice and easy to reach.
When it comes to divvying up your cabinets, drawers will always be more efficient than fixed shelves, allowing you to see and access everything instantly.
The addition of cutlery, spice and knife inserts, as well as peg dividers for crockery and saucepans within deep pan drawers, will maximise the space inside these kitchen organisation ideas further, too.
However, it’s worth noting drawers and bespoke inserts will cost up to 30% more than standard cupboards – but they can be valuable if you’re a keen chef and have a lot of equipment to cater for.
Also, don’t forget to incorporate rotational or pull-out shelves in awkward corners. They’re pricier, but again, these kitchen organisation ideas are worth it for the efficient storage they provide.
Lastly, tap into unused space such as the backs of cabinet doors, whether that’s fixing a spice rack to your larder door or adding a system to hold pan lids.
This has become a must-have in both traditional and contemporary designs, thanks to its ability to blur the boundaries between the functional cooking zone and other living spaces, especially in open-plan layouts.
It’s a great option for keen cooks and aesthetes alike, ensuring everything is within easy reach as well as providing an opportunity to display items to create a more lived-in look.
These kitchen organisation ideas can help break up rows of wall cabinets, which can feel especially overbearing in smaller kitchens, plus it’s cost effective and efficient. It’s also a clever way to utilise any dead space, such as on the end of a cabinet run or the back of an island.
However, it does have a tendency to become cluttered, as well as dusty or dirty due to cooking, so you’ll need to be diligent about keeping it clean, particularly lesser-used items such as serving platters and pitchers.
Also consider location. If you place open shelving near the hob, you might find items become not only dusty, but also a little greasy from cooking fumes. That’s not to say don’t do it – but keep in mind that you might need to clean objects a little more frequently, and that it might not be a suitable location for things such as cookbooks, as steam can make them warp.
Small but clever kitchen organisation ideas to finish off your scheme
The devil really is in the detail, even in sorting out your kitchen.
Little details often make all the difference, so think about everyday annoyances – from having nowhere to hang the tea towels to scrabbling around for the right cleaning product under your sink.
Nowadays, there’s a solution for pretty much everything, so talk it through with your designer to ensure they fine tune your kitchen to your precise needs.
Consider a few kitchen organisation ideas to find the best way to maximise internal storage or any dead space, such as tiered shelving so cupboard staples are clearly visible. Also make sure to use the full height of the space, as well as integrating details such as tea towel racks and kitchen roll holders, chopping block and tray storage, or even little cubby holes for spices built into false chimneybreasts around your cooker.
Featured image: Larders don’t have to be tall; this countertop double-door cupboard has ample room for smart additions. Seaside kitchen painted in Farrow & Ball’s School House White. H Miller Bros kitchens start from £35,000.