how to organize open shelving in a kitchen

open shelving organization

Let me start this post with the disclaimer that I'm not the most organized person in the world by any means.  I have found, however, that after having kids and all the clutter that comes with them,  I crave less clutter and spaces that are a bit more neat.  It makes me feel better when things have a place and they are in them, and when there isn't an over-abundance of underused things all about.

(sources for above: prismatic glass smoke bowls; metallic barware; light pink coolers; pistachio kitchen aid mixer

how to do open shelving in a kitchen

We have lived with open shelving in our kitchen for awhile, so it's not new to us, but the new kitchen gave us the inspiration to make it work even better.  While these photos are styled, they are pretty authentic to the way these shelves look day to day and it's working great for our family.  Here is how we do it.

Firstly, when we started the kitchen renovation, we had to pack up all of everything and store it while the construction was in progress.  Nothing inspires de-cluttering like having to pack things up!  We got rid of anything we weren't using on a regular basis, that I didn't love, or that was looking like it had lived past its expiration date (such as cookie sheets or baking dishes, etc.).

how to organize open shelving in a kitchen

When we moved everything back in, we once again pared things down to just what we needed or really loved.  The glass cabinet above holds all of our plates and nicer bowls, and some pretty glassware.  Also, for the sake of keeping it real, you can see the arrangement of bottles and pumping parts on a drying rack above the dishwasher.  It's not my favorite, but it just doesn't make sense to put those things away when I'm using them every couple of hours, so I just try to keep it as neat as possible.

how to organize open shelving

On the shelves next to the refrigerator, we have our glasses, cereal bowls, and coffee/tea cups.  We used to have about 8 or 10 coffee mugs, which was really just too many for just Chip and I.  We ended up with an abundance of dirty cups, whereas now, we wash them or put them in the dishwasher immediately, which just cuts down on mess and also the time it takes to empty the dishwasher.  I have also found myself doing a lot of hand washing.  The kitchen is just so pretty and I love the new sink and faucet, so I don't mind washing things quickly and putting them back in place.  I know it sounds a bit silly, but it's true!  I also have some casserole and baking dishes in those drawers, as well.

how to make open shelving work

I keep some of my baking supplies (flour and sugar) in those glass canisters on the counter top, and my teas and tea brewer on that bottom shelf, since I use those every day.  A few favorite baking dishes are on the second shelf.

The organized cabinetry also helps in a big way.  There is so much space that it's ridiculous.  I keep more baking supplies in that super cabinet (which also stays really neat simply because of all the shelves and places to put things) and we keep the girls' melamine dishes in that top pull out drawer so they aren't seen.  You could also put sippy cups in those drawers, as there is enough space between each drawer.  It's also great because the girls can reach their plates to help set the table.

how to organize open shelving

how to make open shelving work in a kitchen

On these shelves, I keep some of the little bowls I use frequently for the girls' snacks or cooking, and some more baking items on the shelf above.  Really, the lower cabinets are so well organized that these shelves don't have to be over-loaded with stuff, which is so nice!  The pots and pans are in the lower cabinets (you can see that feature better in this post).

Lastly, our dirty little secret is the pantry from the old kitchen (the one thing that is still there!).  It's really tiny, and only holds so much, but that is where the sippy cups go and other things that just don't really have a home.  You also couldn't see that cabinet to the left of the fridge in the other post, but it also holds a ton of things, such as dry goods and other random items.

So, that is how we make it work!  I really think paring down on what you have and just getting creative with where you store items makes it easy.  I have found that with fewer dishes and with doing some hand washing along the way, I don't dread unloading the dishwasher as much, because it's not crazy full.  I know the open shelving thing can seem really intimidating, but it's a great incentive for keeping things neat, which honestly makes me feel much calmer in the toddler storm!



    Thank you for posting a comment!