Practicality. Start by not storing things that are rarely used on your counter. The smaller the room, the more important it is to have areas of open space.
Be realistic. With an open, horizontal space, most people will cover it up. Take a truthful look at your lifestyle. Ask yourself when was the last time you actually used some of your kitchen utensils? Then think about your family’s routines, and use your kitchen’s prime space for the tools you use most often.
Delegate counters. Think of them “for essentials only.” Small appliances need to earn their place on the counter.
Group similar items. You will reduce the number of steps you take to finish a task. For example, if you put all your coffee-making supplies and coffee cups in one cabinet, right above your coffeemaker and next to the sink, you won’t have to fill the carafe with water on one side of the kitchen and then crossing the kitchen to pour it into the coffeemaker on the other.
Reuse containers. Having a lot of shelves won’t help you find small items. This gives you a chance to repurpose all those plastic food-storage containers that have somehow lost their lids. Use them to vertically stack packets and pouches for salad-dressing mixes, gravies, and spice packets.
Avoid paper congestion. Have a dedicated area for paper such as a kitchen desk or basket outside the kitchen door to reduce stacks on the countertop. You can also go paperless and file your papers electronically.
Spice it up. Store your spices in places such as back-of-cabinet-door racks, narrow pullout spice cabinets, and inserts for drawers. This is where you might want to have less efficient storage for user-friendliness. Most chefs keep their main spices right on the counter to have easy access to what they need most when they’re cooking.
Keep a stool nearby. Those cabinets that go to the ceiling are useless if you can’t reach them. And if you have to leave the room to find a stool, you’ll never put that stuff back on the high shelves.
Avoid bulk shopping. The bargains can be unbeatable, but do you really need a year’s worth of garbage bags? If the answer is a definite yes, try to store the larger items, such as bulk packages of paper towels and garbage bags, someplace outside the kitchen.
Less is more. Plastic food-storage containers are one of the biggest clutter monsters. Limit your assortment to only two or three sizes to make much easier to keep containers neat.
Label. Along with two-tiered turntables for cabinet interiors and dividers for drawers, labels are a must-have kitchen organization item. Try adhesive chalkboard-finish and dry-erase labels. They’re ideal for containers with contents that change from time to time, like bins for breakfast cereals.