When you resettle into your new home one of the first rooms you should set up is your kitchen. The kitchen is the center of household activities for most families.

Steps to Unpacking and Organizing your Kitchen

  1. Identify your Kitchen’s Work Triangle
  2. Identify Major Zones
  3. Decide on the location for everyday dishes and utensils.
  4. Find overflow sites
  5. Maximize hidden storage

1. Identify your work triangle

The most frequently used space in your kitchen will be within the work triangle. The 3 points of the triangle are made up of the sink, stove, and refrigerator.

Kitchen Work Triangle via Wikipedia
Kitchen Work Triangle via Wikipedia

If you have a galley kitchen or if your stove/sink/fridge are next to each other, you will need to rely heavily on modifications like adding extra wall storage and working surfaces.

How to Maximize Space in a Small Kitchen

2. Identify major work zones

Map out these zones using temporary sticky notes before unpacking the first box.  They are :

  • Cooking
    Where: Around or to the right of the stove
    What: Pots, pans, and tools used during cooking, like wooden spoons
  • Prep Work
    Where: Close to the largest work surface within the work triangle
    What: Mixing bowls, measuring cups, and tools used to prepare meals
  • Serving and Entertaining
    Where: Closer to the dining area with the exception of everyday utensils
    What: Large serving platters, carafes, cake stands, holiday themed items
  • Food storage
    Where: Locate a space near the refrigerator but away from household cleaners
    What: Tupperware, ziplock bags, aluminum foils
  • Clean-up
    Where: Typically under the sink and additional cabinets around the sink if not needed for prep and cooking
    What: Towels, rags, sponges, cleaning solutions

3. Decide on the location for everyday dishes and utensils

Unpack and set-up your most frequently used kitchen items first. Choose a drawer within the work triangle and close to the dishwasher to unpack everyday cutlery like forks and spoons. Choose a cabinet using this same method to unpack everyday dishes and glasses.

In small kitchens, if cabinets and drawers are unavailable, these everyday items can be placed in a cart or carafes on the counter.

4. Find overflow sites

Often there is just not enough room for everything to fit in the kitchen. If you are downsizing to a smaller kitchen you will need to identify satellite locations for extra items.

  • Move serving and entertaining pieces to the dining room
  • Set-up shelving in the garage or basement to store overflow appliances and less frequently used cooking tools
  • Bulk cleaning and paper products can find a home in the laundry room

5. Maximize hidden storage

Kitchens are full of nooks for hidden storage. Here are my favorite ways to add more space:

  • Add cup hooks and stemware holders to the underside of cabinets
  • Install spice racks on open walls. In addition to spices, store teas, medicines, and small prep tools on these mini-shelves
  • Hang a pot rack. Getting pots and pans out of your cabinets can free up a ton of space
  • Place shelf stackers inside your cabinets to double your storage for plates, bowls, and prep tools on these mini-shelves mugs


Wondering how to start your own kitchen organizing business?

There are many things to consider when starting an organizing business like:

  • What will I name my business?
  • Where will I find clients?
  • How do I become an organizer?
  • Do I need to be certified?
  • How will I structure my business?

You have come to the right place! Check out my other blogs on starting a decluttering business:

How to Start a Professional Organizing Business

The Ultimate Reading List for (wannabe) Certified Professional Organizers

How to Create a Name for your Organizing Business

7 Ways to Get Clients for your Professional Organizing Business

Get a copy of my free guide “Professional Organizer’s Launch Guide” HERE

When you are ready to start your own decluttering business, check out all my courses on working as a professional organizer in my course bundle for the best price on courses to create and market your organizing business and design a system of organization that will work with all your clients no matter how small or large their volume of clutter!

Happy Organizing!