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4 Steps for Moving into a New Kitchen

By Lea Schneider

Have you heard of the “kitchen confusion dance?”  It’s where you dance around the kitchen opening and closing cabinet doors in search of utensils, plates and bowls or a small appliance.

Moving into a kitchen, whether in a new-to-you home or after remodeling, is full of decisions. After assisting countless clients as a professional organizer and seven moves of my own, I’ve got more tricks up my sleeve than a magician.

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As you pull a jumble of kitchen items from boxes, you really do have a goal. It isn’t just to get everything stashed out of sight in your new cabinets, but to create a smooth, working kitchen. You’ll want to maximize all of the storage provided by your cabinets and be very selective about what you choose to leave out on your counters so that you have plenty of room for food preparation.

Consider these tips, then use some sticky notes to temporarily label your kitchen cabinets. It will make unpacking much easier if you take a moment to plan before diving in.

Image 21. Start at the Dishwasher

There is no task you will do more often than unload your dishwasher. Make it as easy as possible by locating the most common items as close as you can to the dishwasher.

  • Drinking glasses: Choose the cabinet closest to the dishwasher. You can carry a stack of plates across the kitchen, but you can only carry a few glasses at a time. Put them in the easiest-to-reach location.
  • Silverware: Choose the drawer closest to the dishwasher that is large enough for your collection.
  • Everyday dishes: Choose the next-closest cabinet for plates and bowls.
  • Coffee mugs: There are two great options depending on your cabinet locations: either near the dishwasher, or decide upon your coffee maker location and place the mugs close to that.
  • Children’s dishes: If you have sippy cups and plastic ware for your young ones, choose a shelf or drawer in a lower cabinet so the children can easily reach their own cups, plates and bowls.


2. Explore Near the Sink

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Along with the dishes, you’ll be doing a lot of prep work at the sink. Remember that if you have an island in your kitchen, the cabinets in the island directly opposite of the sink are also convenient.

  • Dish washing: Claim half of the cabinet space under the sink for dish and kitchen cleaning products. If you have a young family, make sure to take appropriate safety precautions.
  • Chef knives: Place your knives near the sink, either in a block or use a nearby drawer.
  • Cutting boards: Locate cutting boards under the sink or in a lower cabinet very close to the sink.
  • Colanders and Strainers: You’ll be grabbing colanders or strainers for rinsing berries or other produce. Choose a location close to your cutting boards and knives.
  • Towels: Wet hands at the sink means you’ll grab for a towel. Choose a near-by drawer or even a basket under the sink.


3. Warm Up to the Stove

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Gather everything you use for the stove and oven and locate it nearby. An under-the-oven drawer is great for broiler and baking pans, saucepans and lids or skillets.

  • Pots, Pans and Skillets: Locate in a deep drawer or cabinet convenient to the stove.
  • Casseroles and Baking Pans: Both upper and lower cabinets or deep drawers can work for these.
  • Cooking Utensils: Collect all the spatulas, scrapers and spoons you use at the stovetop and locate them nearby in an attractive crock or close-by drawer.
  • Pot holders: Add a couple of removable stick-on hooks inside a door close to the stove and oven for pot holders.
4. Allocate the Rest

Now that you’ve assigned storage to the basics, you can allocate your cabinet space to the remaining items. There will always be odds and ends, such as plastic leftover dishes, so think in categories and put like-items together.

  • Food Storage: If you don’t have a dedicated pantry, choose several kitchen cabinets located next to each other and turn those into your pantry. You don’t want food spread all over the kitchen.
  • Baking: Creating a baking center is a great way to organize all the things used for baking. Place cake pans, muffin tins and cookie decorating tools into one area.
  • Small Appliances: If you use it daily or several times per week, leave it out. Otherwise, store it away. Lower roll-out shelves are perfect for these.
  • Entertaining: Items for entertaining, such as chip and dip sets and platters, are perfect for storing in out-of-the-way cabinets over the fridge or stove.


Lea Schneider, a professional organizer, shares great ideas on how to organize almost anything, including your kitchen.  Lea provides tips on the best ways to organize your kitchen gear in your cabinets so you can maximize your space and save time. To see other kitchen cabinet storage options visit www.homedepot.com


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1 Comment
  1. I recently remodeled my kitchen and actually did everything suggested here and it has worked beautifully. One thing I highly suggest for anyone remodeling, install drawer cabinets. I have 36″ drawer cabinets next to my dishwasher and I put my silverware in the top drawer and my everyday dishes in the second drawer. Under my cooktop in the top drawer, I have my cooking utensils and misc. items and in the next two bottom drawers I have my pots and pans and skillets. I have been using my kitchen like this for over a year and there is not one thing I would change.

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