If you’ve been thinking about (read: putting off) reorganizing your kitchen, there’s no time like the present!

Ready to get started?

Here’s a seven-step plan to help you reclaim your kitchen, maximize efficiency, and reduce waste.

Fridge full of produce, bananas, mangos, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, lettuce
By storing certain vegetables in the fridge, we can slow down the respiration process and extend their shelf life. (Zita Stankova, Canva)

1. Rethink your produce storage

Whether you have your own garden blooming in the backyard or you signed up for a community garden, learn where to store your abundance of seasonal fruit and veggies to maximize their lifespan.

These produce items should always stay in the refrigerator:

  • Citrus
  • Bell peppers
  • Leafy greens
  • Grapes
  • Berries

These foods live happiest at room temperature:

  • Unripe stone fruits
  • Eggplants
  • Cucumbers

To save counter space, keep room-temperature produce in a tiered hanging basket (preferably in the shade, where it’s cooler).

Lazy susan inside an unfinished cabinet
With a lazy Susan, you can place items that are usually scattered throughout the fridge, like jars, bottles, and condiments, in one place and rotate the tray to easily access what you need. (InCommunicado, Getty Images Signature)

2. Turn, turn, turntables

Keep your refrigerator roomy with this simple hack: add a turntable to one or more of the shelves.

Load each lazy Susan up by category:

  • Condiments
  • Produce
  • Beverages

Using turntables also makes it easier to reach things and to remember what you have on hand, reducing double purchases and accidental spoilage.

Close up of a woman's hand taking out a jar of peanut butter from a pantry cabinet.
Stowing out-of-season snacks out of sight is a great way to keep your pantry organized and ready for whatever the season brings. (JulNichols, Getty Images Signature)

3. Stow out-of-season snacks out of sight

As we move into the spring months, it’s time to pack away those winter snacks that we all know and love, like hot chocolate and warm oatmeal.

Make room for refreshing staples like iced tea and sparkling water by temporarily removing out-of-season snacks.

The top shelf of the pantry is a great place for these items, where they’ll be out of sight and won’t clutter up valuable space on the lower shelves.

Once winter snacks are tucked away, move your springtime staples for the forefront. Fresh lemons for squeezing into refreshing lemonade are a must, as are teas and sparkling waters that will help keep us hydrated during the warmer months.

By removing the winter snacks and replacing them with these essentials, you’ll be all set for a season of tasty treats.

Here are more pantry storage tips >>

Cabinet under the sink with a shelf riser that maximizes storage
A shelf riser can help you double your storage space and keep your cabinets organized. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

4. File under: useful

Use a vertical tray divider system — the kind you might see in an office — to keep various kitchen necessities accessible yet organized.

Pop your cutting boards on these trays and pull them out for impromptu kebab nights. Sheet pans also fit well in filing trays.

Another tool to maximize your storage space is a shelf riser. These require zero installation and basically double the size of a typical cabinet.

Shelf risers are perfect for narrow spaces with plenty of height.

Wooden shelves in pantry for food storage, grain products in storage jars
Glass doesn’t contain harmful chemicals like plastic, and it helps to preserve the freshness and flavor of your food. (Valerii Honcharuk, Canva)

5. Give glass jars a new use

If you can’t handle the heat, they say, then get out of the kitchen.

Your food doesn’t really have that option, so keep it protected. High temps can damage plastic-wrapped foods and other materials, which could leave a bad taste or potentially leach chemicals like BPA into your staples.

Transfer any goods that came packed in plastic to prevent melting.
Choose reusable, air-tight containers to prevent your food from spoiling.

Glass jars are an excellent choice for storing foods like:

  • Oatmeal
  • Dry lentils
  • Beans
  • Nuts

As a bonus, bulk goods look so streamlined and polished when displayed in uniform containers. This look makes a great aesthetic for open shelving in the kitchen.

Two plastic adhesive hooks with metal hooks
Use adhesive hooks to hang pots, pans, utensils, and more to free up valuable cabinet and counter space. (Luis Echeverri, Getty Images)

6. Use adhesive hooks to stash items

Adhesive hooks are organizing godsends: They can prop up baskets full of stuff or hang a single item.

They’re strong and they’re easy to remove without damaging your walls, which makes them ideal for renters or those of us who are a little indecisive.

However you choose to use these hooks, they get clutter off surfaces, saving precious kitchen counter space.

Add some hooks wherever you need to make space. You can use the hooks to hang dish towels, measuring spoons and cups from the inside of a kitchen cabinet door.

Or hang a basket to store dishwashing detergent pods, dishwashing gloves, and extra sponges in the below-sink space.

Frozen berries and vegetables laying flat in a bag in an upright position in a freezer
(lyulka, Getty Images Pro)

7. Free up space in the freezer

Freeze liquids flat (lay them until frozen), so you can store them upright and pack more per square inch.

Labeling comes in handy here — use a permanent marker to identify resealable baggies for future reference.

Or go a step further and group frozen foods by categories. Store like with like in small plastic boxes: vegetables in one box, leftover soup in another, burgers and fish in another and, of course, a box for ice cream.

Heather Hyllested is an Atlanta-based real estate agent with Owners.com, where the process of buying and selling your home is made simple. Her favorite part of the job is seeing the joy her clients experience when she helps them find their dream home. Prior to launching her real estate career, Heather raised her two daughters, now 27 and 22.

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