Father with two young children at sink in kitchen doing dishes.

15 Spring Cleaning Steps for a More Efficient Kitchen

Ready for a kitchen refresh? Spring cleaning your kitchen can save time, reduce stress, and make cooking easier.

Here are 15 declutter and organize things you can do for a more organized and cheery kitchen.

Inventory and Declutter Your Pantry

Organized pantry with clear containers and labels.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Every organizing effort, whether it's the garage, basement, or kitchen, starts with taking inventory and decluttering. While this may be the least fun part, it ultimately has the greatest return on your time and effort.

Declutter your kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. Start with the pantry, toss out expired items, and invest in clear storage containers for bulk items such as pasta and cereals.

Strategic Shelf Placement

Kitchen with similar items stored together.
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Organize your kitchen by grouping similar items together. Prioritize frequently used items at eye level and create zones for baking, cooking, and snacking. This will save you time and make your cooking and entertaining experience more efficient and enjoyable.

Efficient Drawer Organization

Organized kitchen utensil drawer
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Ask yourself, do you really need five different stirring spoons or thirty forks? Get rid of extras and you'll have a much easier time finding what you need. Use drawer dividers to keep everything in its place and arrange drawers based on functionality. No more rummaging through a sea of ladles – just grab what you need and go.

Consider Some Clever Cabinet Solutions

pots and pans pull out drawer
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When you look at your cabinets and drawers, are there any that would benefit from a little hardware update? There are all kinds of clever solutions available now that allow you to retro-fit pull-out shelves for easy access to pots and pans.

Another helpful in-cabinet upgrade is vertical storage for baking sheets, pan lids, or cutting boards. 

Labeling System

clear and labeled spice containers
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Mistaking cinnamon for cumin mid-recipe? Implement a labeling system for spices and pantry items. Clear containers are your allies here – easily identify ingredients without any kitchen mix-ups. 

If you have spices standing upright in a drawer consider labeling the tops to make them easier to identify quickly.

Streamline Your Refrigerator

Person organizing the refrigerator
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Tired of playing Fridge Jenga? Arrange items by categories like vegetables, dairy, and condiments. Regularly clean and purge expired items to maintain freshness. You might tie this task to the day you go grocery shopping.

Arrange items in the refrigerator to let the light shine. Put clear drinks on the top shelf to allow light to reach lower tiers easily.

Start a Meal Prep Habit

Woman holding a few prepped meal containers.
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Make your work week easier with batch cooking. Spend a little extra time on Sunday preparing extra meals for the week and invest in quality storage containers for organized meal prepping. Your future self will thank you.

You don't have to meal-prep every meal for big time savings. I only meal-prep breakfasts, and it's made my mornings SO much smoother.

Tip: When learning how to meal prep, make meals for the next three days; don't worry about the whole week. This will let you figure out the process without wasting food. 

Declutter Kitchen Gadgets and Appliances

Decluttered kitchen counter top.
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Declutter your countertop by keeping only the essential gadgets. Prioritize versatile appliances and move the less frequently used ones out of the way in a designated spot.

I use my coffee machine, blender, and toaster daily, but I only use my slow cooker, air fryer, and food processor once a week. I store the less frequently used itemsin cupboards and in a diningroom hutch.

Improve Workstations Efficiency

chopping board area in the kitchen with person prepping vegetables.
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All this means is putting frequently used items near where they're used. So you might group olive oil, salt, pepper and knives near your cutting board and stove for your cutting and meal prep station. For a hot drinks station, I store tea, coffee, and the needed accessories all in one place. 

Make Use of Under Cabinet Space

hanging hooks in kitchen for various utensils.
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Free up cabinet space by utilizing under-cabinet storage for pots and pans. Install hooks for hanging utensils, saving precious drawer space.

Menu Planning and Grocery Organization

Person shopping for food using grocery list.
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Make your grocery run better by planning weekly menus. Organize your shopping list based on your store's layout – you'll be in and out in more quickly without the stress of last-minute decisions.

One way to easily build out your weekly menu is to go with cooking catchphrases like ‘Taco Tuesday' or ‘Fish Friday'. We eat pasta on Sunday and make a big slow-cooked soup or stew on Wednesday, effectively eliminating the need to ask, “what's for dinner?”

Time-Optimized Kitchen Cleaning Routine

person doing daily cleaning in kitchen and running dishwasher.
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Maintain a tidy kitchen with a quick and effective daily cleaning routine. Schedule deeper cleaning tasks on a weekly or monthly basis to keep your kitchen in top-notch shape.

Tip: Wait to unload the dishwasher until cooking. You are already in the kitchen, and while waiting for your water to boil, you should have enough time to put away the clean dishes, making for a true rinse and repeat process.

Tech Integration

Screenshot of the KitchenPal App in use.
Image Credit: KitchenPal.

Make your kitchen smarter with tech integration. From meal planning to inventory tracking, these digital apps can turn your smartphone into a personal kitchen assistant. 

I have a stand for my iPad so I can easily access recipes and cooking videos. We like to use the KitchenPal app to make our grocery lists and plan our meals. Paprika is another highly recommended recipe and grocery app you can try.

Create a Morning Routine

Person pouring hot water into drip coffee setup.
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There is nothing like waking up to coffee utensils already being cleaned, set up, and ready for use. It is five minutes of effort in the evening that I swear will save you fifteen in the morning and might just give you a few extra “brownie points” if your partner is an early riser. 

Prepping ingredients the night before and optimizing breakfast preparation will set a positive tone for the rest of your day.

Wrangle in the Containers

outdated plastic containers that need to be organized.
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Start by getting rid of any containers that are stained, cracked, or don't seal properly. Then, use one of the many specialty dividers available to help you sort and separate your lids and containers by size, making your storage space more manageable and less chaotic.

Minor Activities Stealing Time From Your Day

women shopping at grocery store.
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Some mundane tasks can take far too much of our time if we let them.