The 9 things organized people keep in their kitchen

Woman storing plates in kitchen cabinet
Woman storing plates in kitchen cabinet (Image credit: Shutterstock)

The kitchen is often thought of as the heart of the house: The place where food is made, stomachs are satiated and love is shown. However, in practice, the kitchen is often a place of chaos. Whether you live alone, with friends, with a partner and/or with children, a kitchen gets a lot of use throughout the day and it’s easy for things to slip out of control. Between organizing the fridge, the pantry, the cooking utensils and everything in between, it can be challenging to create order – but not impossible.

While we never recommend adding more clutter to an already busy space, the right organizational tools can make a world of difference. By making your favorite tools and ingredients easier to find, use and store, these products will simplify kitchen management and streamline the cooking process. For both gourmet chefs and everyday cooks, an organized kitchen makes every day a little bit easier and each meal a little bit more pleasant to cook. 

If you want helpful tips, read on for 9 products that organized people keep in their kitchen.

1. Turntable for spices or condiments

Rotating shelf organizer

Rotating shelf organizer (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Great for both inside the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets, turntables make it much easier to access a lot of small containers at once. Rather than having to empty out the front rows of bottles and jars until you find the one you want in the back, a turntable (or lazy Suzan) allows you to simply spin the plate and access whatever you need. They are particularly well suited to spice jars or condiments, as these are often numerous and small enough in size to make regular storage unsatisfactory.

Some brands have the option of a two-tier turntable, which is ideal for use in tall cabinets to maximize the space available. Refrigerator shelves tend to be shorter in height and therefore better suited to a single tier. While you may use the fridge door to store condiments for easy access, this is often the warmest part of the fridge due to the constant exposure to outdoor air. By storing items on a turntable on a main shelf, you benefit from both easy access and more effective cooling.

2. Stackable fridge organizer set

Food storage placed in the fridge

Food storage placed in the fridge (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Health guidance increasingly emphasizes fresh produce and unprocessed foods, which means our refrigerators are getting more use than ever before. While the crisper drawer may get a lot of action, it can be difficult to find everything you’ve bought when the fridge is crammed full – which can lead to food waste. To combat this, increased visibility is effective and easy to achieve through the use of stackable fridge containers, especially clear ones.

These containers seal shut for improved freshness and allow you to stack food items on top of each other for a better use of space. This is especially useful for fresh produce that may not come in neat packaging but may need a box to prevent bruising. Many storage organization sets come in complementary sizes and interlocking styles, so no space is wasted. Clear plastic makes it easy to identify what you need, but also can hold labels if that’s helpful.

3. Drawer insert organizer 

Drawer dividers

Drawer dividers (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Many people will have bought a silverware divider for their cutlery drawer, but they may not realize that there are other kinds of drawer dividers for other common kitchen utensils. It can be tempting to just throw things into a drawer and get on with your day, but this will come back to bite you when you’re in a rush and rooting around in the depths of a drawer to find that one item you’re sure you saw there yesterday. This is especially true with drawers that only partially open, making visibility a challenge.

To resolve this, simply look for an insert organizer that will fit your drawer’s dimensions and accommodate the items you keep there. These could be tools like can openers and rolling pins, or items like storage bags and paper napkins – whichever it is, a drawer insert organizer can help lay these out clearly for easy access. Many designs are customizable so you can buy the shapes that work for you, ensuring all space is utilized.

4. Pan/lid storage holder 

Pot lid rack

Pot lid rack (Image credit: Shutterstock)

A common kitchen storage method is to place smaller pots and pans inside larger ones, which is a useful way to reduce their footprint but leaves you with a lot of lids lying about. These can be difficult to store horizontally due to their handles, so often they end up piled up in a sloppy heap on a cabinet floor. Not only is this unappealing visually but it makes it difficult to find the right fit for your pots when you actually need to use one.

The key is to find a storage holder with many narrow sections that accommodate lids stored on their sides; it should look similar to a drying rack’s plate section. By lining lids up vertically, you reduce the space they take up and also make it easy to withdraw one at a time, without having to disassemble a whole stack. Store them in order of size for even better organization and no more guessing which lid fits which pot. If you have leftover slots, you can also repurpose the storage for cutting boards or other narrow items that are hard to balance without support.

5. Can holder for the fridge 

Full fridge with door open

Full fridge with door open (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Seltzers and sodas are popular beverages but they can be unsightly and impractical to store in the fridge. The cardboard packs they come in can be a pain to navigate once the first few cans have been drunk, requiring you to reach deep inside to find a soda and awkwardly pull it out. To combat this, there are a number of plastic holders that are designed to hold cans on their side in two layers. As you remove cans from the front, new ones will slide into place to ensure they are always within easy reach. Think of it like a manual vending machine in your own fridge.

These holders are also useful for minimizing the risk of knocking a can of carbonated liquid over and increasing the pressure inside. Because the cans are stored neatly on their sides, there is no risk of them falling over and the container keeps them securely in place. Clear plastic material also makes it easy to see how many cans are left – no more rooting around in a cardboard box to find out there’s only one or even no cans remaining. This is the kind of useful purchase that takes up no additional space, but just makes things easier to access.

6. Expandable over-the-sink drying rack

Dishes being washed by hand in the sink under running water

Dishes being washed by hand in the sink under running water (Image credit: Shutterstock)

While it's more efficient to use a dishwasher than washing dishes by hand, there are always some items which need to be hand-washed. But what to do when drying them? A drying rack that can extend over the sink lets the water run off neatly down the drain, and when you're all done, the rack can be stowed away, so you can reclaim the space on your counter or in your sink.

7. Slide-out trash can holder

Slide-out trash bin

Slide-out trash bin (Image credit: Shutterstock)

The cabinets under the kitchen sink are renowned for holding the least glamorous of kitchen items: trash bags, cleaning materials – and likely a garbage bin. It’s no surprise that this space is often given minimal attention when it comes to organization, but this is a mistake. Kitchen trash cans get a lot of use and so you want these to be as accessible and orderly as possible, to make these chores less of a strain. One easy way to transform the trash disposal experience is with a simple slide-out bin holder.

These rails operate on a classic slide structure, just like a set of drawers. They can accommodate a range of different garbage bin styles and are unobtrusive aesthetically, so you won’t need to spend ages finding the right fit. While they won’t save space, they will make it a lot easier to bring the garbage receptacle into easy reach on a daily basis. It’s the kind of thing that you won’t fully appreciate until you have to use a regular bin again.

8.  Magnetic grocery list notepad

Magnetic Grocery List Notepad

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Some elements of organization are more about mental clarity and consistency than physical order. So much of the kitchen can feel chaotic because there are a hundred different items to keep track of and monitor, from cooking ingredients to cleaning supplies. It’s too easy to notice something is running low but then forget before you have a chance to make a note of it. Fortunately, sometimes the most overwhelming problems have the simplest solutions; in this case, a magnetic grocery list notepad to attach to the fridge.

These notepads come in several different styles from a range of companies, so you can choose the design and format that suits you best. The key is to put the list in a central place so that you can jot down a missing item as soon as you notice it. These pages can then be torn off and taken with you to the grocery store or used to meal plan, if that’s something you like to do. Either way, these cheap and cheerful notepads can make kitchen organization considerably more straightforward.

9.  Cabinet door organizer

Kitchen cabinet storage

Kitchen cabinet storage (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Everyone who lives with a small kitchen knows the struggle of trying to find space for every necessary item. Yes, it may be possible to wedge one item on top of another or stack them in an unwieldy pile, but this is going to make it very difficult to find what you need when you need it. Instead, take advantage of all the available space you have by utilizing over-the-door storage, particularly when it comes to cabinet doors. These shelves can be narrow yet accommodate a surprising amount of goods.

These organizers are great for less attractive items that you don’t want to be staring at every time you open the cabinet, such as rolls of paper goods or cleaning supplies. They can also be useful for cutting boards or sheet pans, thanks to their large but flat shape. Even better, they can work on nearly any kind of cabinet door so they can be moved around the kitchen as needed, for maximum benefit.

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Madeleine Streets

Madeleine Streets is a writer and content manager based in New York City. She covers an eclectic mix of lifestyle, technology, finance and health and has been published in Tom's Guide, Women's Wear Daily, SELF, Observer, Footwear News and others. Originally from London, Madeleine has a penchant for tea, baking and moody weather. When she’s not writing, you can find her exploring the city’s bookstores, hunting down new restaurants, fostering cats and cheering on Arsenal FC.