3 Tricks to Organizing a New Kitchen

2014-03-07 19.29.54

What does this cute kitty have to do with organizing your kitchen? Not a thing!

Have you ever been intimidated by a new kitchen? All those empty cupboards, shelves, and drawers…now what?!?I love helping clients plan where everything will go, and I recently got to do it again. A new kitchen is like a blank slate — time to start fresh, an opportunity to put things in handy spots and get rid of gadgets you never use! My current client’s kitchen is brand new, in a newly-built home, but these tricks will work for anyone moving into any home or apartment, or remodeling their kitchen. I suppose you could also unpack all your kitchen cupboards and start over from scratch, but you probably don’t need to go that far.

A little planning goes a long way. If possible, I suggest you start this process a few days before you actually move in, or at least before you’ve unpacked all the kitchen boxes and put everything away.


Arm yourself with a pack of Extra Sticky Post-It Notes and a black Sharpie. (The Post-It and Sharpie companies don’t pay me to say that, but they really should!)  Go around the kitchen together (me + you, or you + family member, if any) thinking and talking about where you want to put what, and why. Create logical zones for dish storage, baking supplies, cooking gear, food storage, cleaning supplies, dish towels, etc. Do you need a coffee station? A spot for cookbooks? A drawer for bill paying supplies? Do you have school age children who do their homework in or near the kitchen? If so, reserve a cupboard or drawer that they can reach for school and art supplies, and another for snacks they are allowed to access.

Label everything with the sticky notes– upper and lower cabinets, drawers, shelves, even counter-top locations for appliances that you use daily. (If you use them less often, consider stowing them away.) Pay attention to how high, how low, and how far back you’ll need to reach to access your things. Your most frequently-used items should be the easiest to reach. Measure the cabinets, if there’s a question about what will fit where.

cupboard sticky notesTRICK #2: DON’T PUT ANYTHING AWAY YET

Hopefully you can do all the planning and labeling before you move in. If you’ve already moved, try to refrain from unpacking all the kitchen boxes for a few days. You can unpack the coffee maker and a few dishes and some food so you can live your life, but don’t unpack everything. This gives you a chance to use the kitchen and realize you prefer to put the glasses in that other cupboard instead…before you’ve filled it up with canned goods and have to move ALL the glasses AND the canned goods. Simply rearrange the sticky notes as necessary.

After a few days, when you are satisfied with your plan, unpack and put everything away in its predetermined home. This is so much easier when the decisions are made in advance.


Leave the sticky notes in place, but only for another week or so, until everyone in the household gets used to where everything is now. Then take them down and enjoy your new kitchen!

Do you think this strategy would work for you?

What tips do you have for moving into a new kitchen?

Please let us know in the comments!

Copyright 2014 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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  1. Cleaner on April 10, 2014 at 4:10 am

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I don’t know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  2. Janet Barclay on April 15, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Intimidated? No way! Starting from scratch is an excellent opportunity to organize properly!

    Having said that, I have to confess that the first way I organized this kitchen was less than ideal, and had to be done over. If only I’d known about your three tricks back then!

  3. […] 3 Tricks to Organizing a New Kitchen By Organized for Life […]

    • Hazel Thornton on March 17, 2015 at 8:12 am

      Thanks to Erica at Girl Organized for including this blog post in her roundup of great kitchen organizing tips: 10 Kitchen Organizing Tips & Ideas

  4. Jill Robson on March 17, 2015 at 7:38 am

    I would love to say those words Hazel, “Brand New Kitchen” I have been dreaming about that for 14 years. Maybe one day, and I will definitely use this method.

    • Hazel Thornton on March 17, 2015 at 7:48 am

      Hi Jill, if you weren’t probably already quite organized I would suggest unpacking your kitchen and starting over with the sticky notes! 🙂

  5. Fay on September 25, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Thank you for mentioning that you can leave sticky notes up. I am trying to find a home that will suit me. I will keep this in mind for my new kitchen.

  6. Seana Turner on October 20, 2021 at 10:24 am

    I think this is a terrific strategy. Using the notes makes sure you have accounted for everything before you start filling the cabinets and then find out you run out of space.

    Leaving the notes up for the first week or so would really help. It takes a minute to remember where things are in a new space, right?

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hazel Thornton on October 23, 2021 at 6:47 am

      Exactly! Thanks for chiming in, Seana!

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