How to Organize the Kitchen in 30 Minutes

Quickly organize your kitchen
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Just the idea of organizing your kitchen can be overwhelming. Even small kitchens usually have multiple cabinets, shelves, and so many other potential areas for clutter. However, working your way toward a neater kitchen doesn’t have to be an onerous all-day project—in fact, you can get a lot done in 30 minutes. Remember, you’re not completely organizing the kitchen or cleaning everything in sight; just completing a few easy steps to help yourself maintain a neater kitchen in the future.


Keep a pen and paper near you for jotting down any thoughts you have about future organization. For example, while working, you might realize that drawer dividers would be a smart purchase or that you’re running low on dish soap.

The Junk Drawer(s)

Organizing the junk drawer is fast. First, take all the contents out, and then throw away anything that you don’t need. Of the objects left, pick out the ones that aren't kitchen-related and return them to their proper places throughout the house. Everything that remains either has a more likely place within your kitchen—if so, put it there now—or deserves to stay in the drawer. Arrange the true junk drawer items so they’re not a jumbled mess.

The Undersink Cabinet

Toss anything that’s leaking, empty, or otherwise not worth saving, and quickly neaten everything else up. You don’t have to go overboard—just line up your bottles of cleaners, boxes of tin foil, and other supplies in rows so you can see and access what you have.

Cupboards and Pantry

First, check if any of the food is expired. Next, look for food items that have been open for a while and may be stale. Throw all of those items away. Arrange what’s left in categories (e.g. baking, canned food, tea) and make sure it’s all upright and visible.

Fridge and Freezer

If these are in a really bad state and haven’t been cleaned in forever, you may want to leave them for another time. If they’re mostly fine, however, quickly go through them and check for food that looks disgusting or is ancient. There’s no need to remove everything from the fridge or freezer (unless, again, they are very dirty); simply check for anything that needs to be thrown away while you arrange your food so you can get to it.

Dishes, Utensils, and Cookware

You don’t have to make any huge decisions here, but look out for anything out of place or that you don’t want anymore. If you spot a broken dish, either dispose of it or take it out of the cupboard so you’ll remember to fix it later.

Peruse the Kitchen

Is there anything there that belongs somewhere else, like a coat draped over a chair that belongs in the hall closet? Is there anything that’s in the wrong spot, such as a pot you left out on the counter that you can put back on the shelf? These superficial little touches can make the difference between a room that looks sloppy and one that looks polished.

Spot-Clean the Room

Do any dirty dishes left in the sink, put away the clean dishes in the drying rack, and wipe down counters and other surfaces with a cleaning spray or a disinfectant cloth. A kitchen that’s freshly organized and smells good will make you feel inordinately accomplished.