How To Organize Your Kitchen Without Spending Anything

I was at a client’s house working with her to organize her entire kitchen. Our goal was to get this kitchen organized in one day. Normally kitchens take a few days, but she was confident we could tackle this kitchen in one day. I hadn’t bought anything for this project as we were just going to tackle it as quickly as we could. We were just planning on organizing her kitchen without spending anything. Then I would recommend products and she could purchase them if she wanted!

So we got to work to tackle this kitchen. We started to work to get the entire kitchen done in one day. Instead of stopping in the middle of the project to get organizing supplies, we just kept going and used what we had. And most of the time we didn’t need any fancy products. We just needed things she already had around the house.

As all of this was happening, I got to thinking about other clients I have worked with and how we handled situations similar to this in the past. Then, I started thinking about others who might try to get themselves organized, but either not have the supplies they need while they are organizing, or the money to purchase those supplies.  Do they get sidetracked with trying to find the perfect bins to store things in instead of finishing their organizational project?

Well, we ended up getting her entire kitchen organized in one day. This is not something I ever thought I would be able to do as there are always moving parts when it comes to organizing kitchens. There are lots of bowls, gadgets, utensils, and pots that need storing. But after this project, I have found it really easy to do a kitchen in one day because we aren’t spending time finding the perfect product. We are using what we have and making the space work for us. So, I’m here to help show you how to get your kitchen organized without spending anything!

full view of kitchen with cabinet drawers open to show before messy kitchen

Clear Out Cabinets And Drawers

Clearing out every single drawer and cabinet is always the very first step I do with every client I help organize. I do this because once you can actually see the piles of kitchen items you own, you are more likely to truly evaluate what you have. And, I have found clients have a much easier time to part with things because they see how much they actually have!

Take everything off the shelves and make sure there is nothing left in any drawer or cabinet.  It may feel like a lot but when your goal is to organize the entire kitchen, seeing everything you own is key.

Starting your organizing with a clean space can help you visualize how you want the space to look, how the space can work for you, and how you can best use the space because you are no longer limited to a system you currently were using.

As you are clearing out your kitchen cabinets and drawers, you can start to group like items together. Think of grouping them together with all kitchen gadgets being collected in one area. And cooking utensils in another area of the kitchen. 

I will suggest taking the cups, glasses, and plates out of the cabinets too. Because you may find that it is easier to store them somewhere else rather than in the place you have been keeping them!

kitchen over with cabinets drawers open to show before kitchen organization

Declutter All Your Kitchen Gadgets

Now comes the fun part… decluttering your kitchen! I know, I know, you think I am crazy for thinking this is fun, but it really can be! Let me explain…

Start by sorting your kitchen items into categories if you didn’t do that while taking out your stuff. I typically group them into these categories:

  • Plates/bowls
  • Cups/glasses/water bottles
  • Baking
  • Kitchen gadgets
  • Cooking utensils
  • Pots/pans
  • Serveware
  • Spices
  • Pantry

Once all the items are categorized, you can go through each category and decide if you need an item or not. This is the fun part because it is like shopping but in your own home with your own stuff!

Ask yourself if you use this item. Do you find this item helpful while cooking? Is this a seasonal kitchen item? Decide what items should stay in the kitchen and what can go. Maybe you have duplicates of things so you can part with some of those duplicates.

Make piles of the unwanted items. Create a donate, sell, and keep pile for all your items. But keep them grouped together by category to help you with the next step.

I have free declutter questions you can use for this step! Just download them below:

kitchen sink before with cabinets open 

Put Away By Type

Get rid of the piles of unwanted kitchen items. Move seasonal kitchen items into bins with your seasonal decor. Only keep the kitchen items you actually use. So you have to be really honest with yourself in the decluttering step.

Now you have the items you want to put away in your kitchen. So grab Post-It notes or pieces of paper because we are going to label your kitchen cabinets and drawers. Each category you want to store in your kitchen will need a Post-It note. Then add that Post-It note to the drawer or cabinet you want the items to go into. 

I like pretending that I am emptying the dishwasher and ask myself where something would go. Maybe plates or cups/glasses. I will put the Post-It note on that drawer or cabinet that makes sense.

Then I pretend to cook and ask myself where is the most normal place to grab a cooking utensil. Then I will put that category Post-It note on that drawer or cabinet.

Once all the categories are labeled on the drawers and cabinets, I can start putting things away.

Since we aren’t using anything to organize your kitchen, you can just put the items into the drawer or cabinet you deemed appropriate for it to go. Now maybe you have silverware holders to hold your silverware. Use those to keep the drawer tidy. Maybe you have drawer organizers in your basement that you bought a long time ago. You can use those in drawers that need it. Maybe you need nothing for the drawers because you decluttered so much.

Whatever you end up doing, you can put all the items away where you feel they will best serve you in your kitchen. I have more tips for putting away and storing items below.

fully organized kitchen with doors open and clean countertops

Use What You Have

While I love using beautiful organizing containers and bins, sometimes time, budget or space don’t allow for them. If that’s the case, I am pretty confident you have something around your house that you could use to organize your kitchen without spending anything on any new products or items.

I am pretty sure that you have a silverware holder. So use it to hold your silverware. But not every shelf or cabinet need organizers for the space to be functional.

For this client, we didn’t need any additional products. For her plates and cups, we just moved the shelves lower so they were easier to reach. If you have adjustable shelves, move them so they work for you! And if you have cabinets that are the same size, you can add another shelf to one cabinet from another if you need more space in one cabinet.

When it comes to cups, glasses, and water bottles, I like lining them up in neat rows. This helps keep things tidy in the cabinet or drawer.

Line up spices in a cabinet into tidy rows. I recommend doing this by spices you use frequently to spices you use less frequently in the back. 

kitchen stove with cabinets and doors open with everything organized on shelves and in cabinets

Store small kitchen appliances together and use the appliance to hold the parts. Let’s say you have a food processor. Store all the blades inside the bowl of the food processor. Then you can easily grab what you need because all the parts are together.

I also like using Tupperware to hold items. I am pretty sure you have a piece of Tupperware that may be missing a lid. Use that piece of Tupperware to hold items for kitchen gadgets, small appliances, or water bottle lids. For this client, we used the Tupperware for holding the kids’ silverware.

finished kitchen full shot of kitchen island

Other Tips To Organize Your Kitchen Without Spending Anything

Now there are some other ways I recommend when it comes to organizing your kitchen. Now some of these tips may sound silly. And I have had people laugh at me when I have asked some of these questions or made some of these suggestions, but they work! So test some out and see if they work for you!

Are you right-handed or left-handed?

Ok this question is the very first thing I ask. The reason why is because it depends on how we set up the kitchen! Think about it. If you are left-handed, you are going to be grabbing for things with your left hand. So you want to set up your kitchen so it works for you. Which means that most things may be reversed in your kitchen that what is actually considered typical. So set up your kitchen so that you can easily get to the things you need based on which hand you use for grabbing things.


I highly suggest storing Tupperware with the lids on. I know people don’t love this but it helps keep everything tidy in the drawer or cabinet. It also stops you from losing lids! Now if you hate putting lids on, then store all lids together and all Tupperware together. Only put the Tupperware away when you find its lid. This will also stop the missing lid situation.

Small Appliances + Kitchen Gadgets

Storing small appliances and gadgets with all their parts is key to keeping things organized. I suggest storing the parts in the item if it is possible. If you have a rice cooker, store all the scoopers inside the cooker with the lid. Maybe you have a food processor that has many parts and they all don’t fit into the base. Then use a Tupperware or box to help keep the parts together. You are less likely to lose things when you keep all those items together and close to the small appliance. You can keep the box or Tupperware behind the gadget so when you grab the gadget, you can grab the parts as well.

Corner Cabinets

These are my least favorite thing in the world. They always collect clutter. So to stop that, give it a specific purpose. We have stored all pots and pans in those corner cabinets. Baking items have lined them as well. But we never create a corner cabinet that holds many types of categories. Give it one category and stick to that to stop clutter from collecting in that corner cabinet.

picture of kitchen cabinets with doors open and shelves beautifully organized

More Posts You May Like

With every project, you do not need to spend all the money on expensive bins or containers. You can easily organize your kitchen without spending anything. Start by decluttering everything in your kitchen after you remove all the items from the shelves and cabinets. Use Post-It notes to write down categories and add to the cabinets or drawers where the items should go. Then put things back where they would go in the most logical places. If it doesn’t work, then fix it. Nothing has to stay one way in the kitchen. Maybe you need your spices closer to the stovetop. Maybe you want your mixing bowls on a lower shelf. Just tweak what isn’t working for you.

Now that you know the secrets on how to organizing your kitchen without spending anything, I have more posts you may like:

How To Organize Your Closet Without Spending Anything

7 Effective Tricks The Pros Use When Organizing Linen Closets

How To Organize Kitchen Drawers

Why You Need To Get Rid Of Your Junk Drawer

If you have too much paper in your kitchen, then this ebook is for you! The Foolproof Plan to Dealing with Paper Clutter! Click here to get yours now!

foolproof plan to dealing with paper clutter graphic with overlay

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