How to Organize the Pots and Pans Cabinet

A messy pots-and-pans cupboard is the bane of every home cook’s existence. Unfortunately, these chaotic storage spaces are just about as prevalent as they are frustrating. Tame your cookware by learning the how to organize your cupboard. Take inventory of what you have and store what you need using racks, hooks, and other tools that allow you to get the most use out of your limited cupboard space.


  1. 1
    Remove your pots and pans from the cupboard. Before you can organize your cookware, you need to take inventory of what you have. Lay the contents of your cupboard out flat on the kitchen floor, table, or counter.
  2. 2
    Get rid of cookware you do not or should not use. If you never use a pot or pan, having it in your cupboard only adds unnecessary clutter. Similarly, cookware that is in bad shape should also be disposed of.
    • Make sure that each lid corresponds to a pot or pan. You can use a pot or pan without a lid, but a lid that goes to nothing serves no purpose and only wastes space.
    • If a lid has a loose handle, try tightening it first. If the lid cannot be tightened, however, it becomes a potential hazard—loose handles can come off in the middle of cooking—making the lid something that you should replace.
    • Get rid of duplicate pans. Most people do not need three 8-inch skillets, even though they could benefit from having one 8, 10, and 12-inch pan apiece. If the pans are in good shape, you can donate them or keep them stored away in the basement or attic.
    • Toss or recycle cookware in poor shape, including any pots and pans that are warped, dented, peeling, or scratched. Damaged items may not cook food evenly or thoroughly.
  3. 3
    Move cookware you rarely use to another location. For instance, if you have a large roaster that you only use around the holidays, store it in an easy-to-get-to spot in your basement or closet. You have very limited space in your kitchen cupboard. You should reserve that space for the items you need frequently.
  4. 4
    Protect your pots and pans with shelf lining. Lay paper or rubber shelf lining inside your cupboard to protect your cookware. Rubber lining is especially useful in preventing your cookware from moving around too much. The less your cookware moves around, the less likely it will shift around or get scratched up.
  5. 5
    Keep pots and pans with similar functions close together. For instance, keep the pans you use for baking near your cooking bowls, and the pots you use for boiling pasta near your colander. By organizing your cookware in this manner, you create a system of sections, and you can quickly find an item you’re looking for by immediately looking in its correct section.
  6. 6
    Avoid stacking frequently-used pots and pans. If you use your trusty 10-inch skillet three times a week while preparing dinner, it does not make much sense to have it buried underneath your 8-inch skillet and a number of small saucepans. By setting the items you use most frequently off to the side instead of stacking them with the rest, you can save yourself the time and effort it takes to juggle extra pans as you remove them at dinnertime.
  7. 7
    Cushion stacked cookware with paper plates. Some pots and pans will inevitably need to be stacked in order to fit. Place paper plates in between your pots and pans to prevent the bottoms and sides from getting scratched or dented.
  8. 8
    Put your heaviest items on the bottom. Slow cookers, large metal stockpots, glass pans, and cast iron skillets are all worthy candidates for the bottom shelf. Putting your heavy items on the top shelf could cause unsteady shelves to collapse. Even if the shelf stays intact, there is still some chance that you may bump the cookware as you try to get something else out, causing it to crash into and damage other pieces on the bottom. Storing your heaviest items on the lowest shelf prevents most of these accidents from occurring.
  9. 9
    Make use of wire racks. Racks with stands create more vertical space, allowing you to “stack” your cookware without actually stacking pieces inside one another.
    • If you need to keep a frequently-used item separate, you can do so by placing a single-layer metal rack above your other pots and pans and positioning the special pan on top.
    • Use a tiered wire rack to store multiple sauté skillets or other pans.
  10. 10
    Hang a pan to the side, if you have a large enough cupboard. This offers you another way to keep a frequently-used pan separate from the rest. Fix a simple hook to the side of your cupboard and hang a narrow pan from it. This only works with narrow pans, however, since large pots may take up too much horizontal space.
  11. 11
    File your flat items vertically, rather than horizontally. Firmly fix tension curtain rods in between shelves to create narrow cubby holes that you can slide muffin pans, cookie sheets, and other long, flat items in. Organizing these items vertically saves you the hassle of digging through a large pile of baking pans later on.
  12. 12
    Move the interior shelf if necessary. In order to accommodate the size needed for large cookware, wire racks, or hanging pans and lids, you may need to move the inside shelf up or down to create additional space on the bottom or lower shelf.
  13. 13
    Install a door-mounted lid rack. These wire racks are specially designed to store lids vertically. Place a hook on the inside of your cupboard door and mount the rack onto the hook.
  14. 14
    Create your own door-mounted lid storage. If you cannot find a lid rack, create make-shift lid storage by mounting adjustable curtain rods onto eye hooks on the inside of your door. The handle of the lid will rest on top of the curtain rod, holding the lid in place.


  • Clean your cupboard while you have your pots and pans out. It may be a while before that cupboard is bare again, which means that it could be a while before you have the chance to give it a thorough cleaning. Take advantage of the opportunity while you can.

Things You'll Need

  • Shelf lining
  • Paper plates
  • Hooks
  • Wire racks
  • Curtain rods

Article Info

Categories: Home Organization & Recycling