(CNN) – Of all the rooms in our house, we spend most of our time in the kitchen. However, with cooking comes cleaning, and with groceries comes organizing.
Instead of letting your kitchen become a place of contention, you can keep it neat and organized with a few super simple hacks, from hanging items instead of storing them to investing in clear containers and labels. Below, we spoke with experts to find the easiest, no-brainer ways to get your kitchen spotless.
On one side of your stove, do you have a pot that dreads everyone? Or maybe in the drawer? There is a noodle dryer, wooden spatula, spatula, and many other random items that you use from time to time. A good way to keep pots simple is to think like a chef, says Sarah Nina Hayon, owner and co-owner of DwellWell Lifestyle Management.
“Instead of grouping the utensils into one big category, break them down according to the stage of the cooking process,” she explains. “You can cut down your inventory to include just one of each item you’ll use and keep it in order with the drawer organizer. Extras can be stored away to pull out when preparing a larger meal.”
This drawer organizer has nine huge sections so you can keep your tools separated and tidy.
If you’re in a pint-sized city apartment, counter space might be more of a dream than a reality. Even in larger residences, storage in kitchen cabinets is limited. That’s why it’s essential to maximize the walls of the kitchen, dining area, and pantry, suggests Rob Truglia, senior brand marketing manager at storage company MakeSpace. Think: hanging fruits and vegetables, adding a neat floating shelf to display nicer appliances and so on. Or, if you’re up for a challenge, Instagrammable wire screens for pots and pans are trendy and functional, too.
“You can also get a magnetic strip for your knives and place it above the counter where you tend to prep. This also works for spices, but you’ll want to keep those right above the stove,” Troglia continues. “This will make it more convenient when cooking in the kitchen without taking up any precious space.”
This organizer gives you a whole new space for storage in your pantry. Available in five- and six-tier options, store everything from snacks to ingredients for easy access.
This stylish magnetic knife bar not only looks good, but also saves much needed space in your drawers.
It can be hard to find enough room for everything to stay in a cupboard or drawer, so if you need to leave some items outdoors, Truglia says placing them in clear containers gives things a more uniform, cleaner look. “This is great for dry goods like spices or pasta and grains because it keeps them fresh but gives them a more attractive appearance,” he suggests.
Before you start unpacking everything into your social media-worthy bins, be sure to take the time to categorize them! You don’t want to mix types of pasta or types of rice, after all! “To take it a step further, you can also organize it alphabetically so you won’t have trouble finding one again,” adds Truglia.
This set makes organizing loose ingredients easy and comes in sets of 14 and 24.
One of the most effective strategies for making your kitchen an inspiring place instead of stressful is to organize it for use. It sounds simple enough, but as professional stylist Danielle Heinrichs reminds us, knives need to be near the table where you’re cutting. Water cups should be near the water source. Pots and pans should be near the stove and cooking utensils should be on your dominant side. “Devices you use every day can be on your counter, but other devices of minimal use should be out of the way in your cupboard or pantry, giving you more counter space,” she adds.
Next time you’re cooking up a storm, pay attention to when you have to take extra—and perhaps unnecessary—steps to finish the dish, and then you can work out your strategy. Bonus: add lighting so you can actually see what you’re doing (and all the crumbs) instead of relying on that stove light.
This light strip is a great way to add light just where you need it.
SimpleHouseware Pan and Pot Lid Holder Rack Organizer
If you don’t want your pots and pans to get scratched when you put them in nests, check out this rack that can hold five pots at once.
We know everyone has a cupboard full of endless spices that you hope won’t fall out when you open the door. Seasoning is usually stressful for most families, says interior designer and principal Jarrett Yoshida, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of forcing them into a cluttered drawer or cabinet, he recommends investing in a slide-out spice rack.
“Watch all your spices at once without flipping and turning them around trying to find that nutmeg that you know has to be there because you only use it in the winter with a spiced mocha,” he explains.
Never get stuck with your spices again with this easy to use and install slide out spice rack.
Label and organize everything in your fridge and freezer
Raise your hand if you bought another bag of lettuce because you never saw lettuce in the fridge, only to dump it and find a moldy, month-old bag? Our fridges and freezers can be a totally pristine, clean area where perishables thrive…or smelly messes. Instead of asking how old the thing is, Yoshida says to name it all. “A tape and pen to label your freezer containers means your meals will taste just as they were intended: less guessing game and more certainty for you and your dinner guests,” he explains.
To enhance the organization of your fridge, look for plastic, ceramic or glass containers that can easily create a snack box, lunch box, vegetable box, meat box, etc. You can simply pull out what you need instead of trying to carefully maneuver around everything that might fall out of the fridge.
These simple and obvious bins can easily transform your messy fridge into an organized dream.
Think about size and color when organizing
When you’re organizing your kitchen or pantry, personal designer and closet organizer Laura Lapratt says to keep two aspects in mind: size and color. This helps you stack and store appropriately, and by grouping by color, you can create a more polished and upscale aesthetic for your kitchen. Here’s what she recommends, by department:
- Spices: Alphabetical order
- Tea and snacks: color coded
- Pots, pans and mixing bowls: From largest to smallest resting inside each other
- Dishes and fridge: Color code and face your items (psst: facing elements simply means they are all oriented in the same direction, with the front of the item or product facing you when you open the door)
Get easy access to things at the back of your cabinet with this sliding basket.
For ingredients that take up a lot of space like flour, rice, and pasta, choose these extra-large containers.
No matter if you live alone, with your partner, or in a house full of roommates or kids, you probably wash at least one dish every day. A sink full of dishes, bowls, pans, and more can take a clean kitchen and make it look more messy in an instant. That’s why it’s so important to have a strategy and dish system to follow so the task doesn’t become overwhelming, suggests Heinrich.
“The trick is to rinse it right after you’re done eating and put it straight into the dishwasher,” she says. “The same goes for hand washing like utensils. They are easy to clean right away, plus they don’t build up in the sink if you take care of them right away.”
Set a time to empty the dishwasher, such as first thing in the morning, or assign certain dish days to family members. A good drying rack that doesn’t take up much space will also help.
This stylish dish rack includes a drip tray and faucet so the water flowing from your dishes will flow directly into the sink.
This tiered drying rack provides plenty of space for drying up to 17 dishes and 18 bowls, with side cups for cutlery to dry.
No matter if you’re making dinner for the night or preparing lunches for the week ahead, cooking requires a lot of equipment. Not only do you need a cutting board and set of knives, you also need pots, pans, storage containers, maybe an air fryer, spices, mixing bowls…the list goes on. This often requires opening up a bunch of drawers and cupboards, digging to find what you need and then cleaning up and putting everything back in its place. woof.
Hayon suggests shedding some elbow fat and clutter by dedicating a prep station to the essentials. This should include measuring spoons, can opener, garlic press, cooking utensils etc. This is when containers and baskets come in handy as they ensure drawers are neat and clutter-free.
Not only do these baskets keep all your essentials in one place, but they also look good doing so.
This cutting board set includes an expandable frame on its underside that houses four containers to create a compact and efficient prep station.
When it comes to your stock, if you don’t see it, you won’t use it, and therefore you will lose it, says Heinrich. “Pullout shelves, see-through bins, and tiered shelves are some examples that help see items,” she explains.
“If you have to store things like cans away from eye level, it can help to use a permanent marker and quickly write what’s in the can, on the top lid. If space is limited, items can be stacked on top of each other or lined up behind one another.”
And one final tip: Putting similar items together makes them easier to find so you don’t overbuy.
Add another level of storage to any space with this simple shelf.
Stop stacking cans precariously and invest instead in this genius organizer, which can hold 36 cans.
Since you’re not likely to add a whole new room to your kitchen or pantry, Truglia says when you’re organizing, it’s always a good idea to start with any “storage spaces” you already have in your home. And one place you probably don’t get much use out of is the space under the sink. Most people make this a jumble of cleaning supplies, but it can easily be reused to create a pantry.
To get started, Truglia says to use a small tension rod and place it inside the cabinet so you can hang spray bottles, rags, and dishwashing gloves on it. “Now all the items you want to go will be easier to access and they won’t be so hard to find,” he says. You can also use a shower caddy or sliding organizer to keep your go-to products in one place, making them easy to transport when cleaning up.
These tension rods fit spaces between 16 and 28 inches wide, so be sure to measure the width of your cabinets before investing.
You won’t have to get on your hands and knees whenever you need something from under the sink with this pull-out shelf.
Get easy access to heavy utensils in the back of your cabinet with this slide-in organizer.