How to Organize Kitchen Cabinets:
Dishes, Glasses, and Serving Pieces


One very important step in how to organize kitchen cabinets involves organizing dishes, bowls, plates, glasses, mugs, and serving pieces so they are easy to reach, convenient to use, and (in my opinion) look really nice on their shelves.


Declutter First:


The first step in any area you plan to organize (especially how to organize kitchen cabinets, because they are often catch-alls for so much stuff!) is to declutter, because once you have gotten rid of the items you no longer use or love, organizing is MUCH easier.

Do you love what you have? Taking a look at your dishes, water glasses, bowls, wine glasses, teacups and saucers, mugs, and serving bowls and platters, do you find any that:

  • are broken, cracked, or chipped?
  • you never did love?
  • have a souvenir logo on them?
  • are mismatched (and not in an eclectic, fun-loving way...they're just mismatched because you accumulated an item here, and item there, and nothing really goes together)?

These items are a great place to start getting rid of some of this stuff.

Next, take a look at how many of each item you truly need. Most people rarely look at how many of anything they truly need as they figure out how to organize kitchen cabinets, like plates, wineglasses, mugs, sheets, towels, and so on. But if you step back and really look at it, how many items are serving you, and how many are just extras?

Before you decide how to organize kitchen cabinets, decide for yourself how many of each item you'd like to have, and then get rid of the rest. One simple rule of thumb that may work for you is to add up the number of people living in your household, add 2 to that number, and that's the maximum of items like plates, cups, and so on that you would keep.

For example, if you have a family of four, you'd add 2 to come up with 6 plates, 6 cups, 6 sets of silverware. And then you'd get rid of all the rest. Just imagine how much kitchen cabinet space you'd have then!

Obviously, this wouldn't work if you entertain often. Or would it? Could you rent or borrow what you needed? Or reconsider your entertainment desires?


Decide Where To Put These Items:


For how to organize kitchen cabinets full of dishes, plates, bowls, glasses, and mugs, organize them in the cupboards right above the kitchen sink and/or dishwasher, so they'll be very easy to wash, put away, and get out again on a daily basis. (For more details, see Zone 3: Cleanup Zone).

  • Plates:  stack same-sized plates together; for different sizes, either create separate stacks or add space-saving wire racks for the next size plates to avoid having to lift up one stack to get at a different size plate
  • Bowls:  stack same-sized bowls together; for different sizes, either create separate stacks or add space-saving wire facks for the next size bowls to avoid having to lift up one stack to get at a different size bowl
  • Glasses:  for different size glasses, place them in columns from front to back in your kitchen cabinet (tall glasses on the left and shorter glasses on the right, for example) so that you always have easy to access to whatever size glass you want right in front
  • Wine Glasses:  can be stood on shelves or hung upside down on those racks that hold wine glasses, either inside the cupboard or under the kitchen cabinet. For different size wine glasses, place them in columns from front to back in your kitchen cabinet (tall wine glasses on the left and shorter wine glasses on the right, for example) so that you always have easy to access to whatever size wine glass you want right in front
  • Mugs: can be stacked right on cabinet shelves (three high is usually the maximum height for mugs) or hung on hooks under the cabinets or under shelves
  • Teacups and Saucers: can be stacked on cabinet shelves, teacups in one row of stacks, front to back in the cupboard, and saucers in another stack next to the teacups. Teacups can also be hung from hooks under the shelves or cabinets.

Adjust shelving, if possible, so that you’re not wasting space in your cabinets. For example, on one shelf stack your plates and bowls…once you’ve seen how tall that space needs to be, see if you can lower the shelf above to a few short inches above the highest stack…giving more room to the shelves above.

Also, how to organize kitchen cabinets means keeping items you use on a daily basis within each reach, and moving rarely used items to higher shelves or out of the kitchen entirely (for example, move crystal glasses you only bring out for special occations to the china hutch in the dining room).

For serving bowls and platters, keep them near where you serve your food. (For more details, see Zone 4: Food Serving Zone).

  • Serving Bowls:  similar sizes can be nested inside each other, with paper towel or napkin between bowls if they might get scratched or damaged
  • Serving Platters:  similar sizes can be stacked on top of each other, with paper towel or napkin between the platters if they might get scratched or damaged

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For more information on how to organize kitchen cabinets and drawers, check out organize kitchen cabinets for tips on organizing pots, pans, and bakeware.




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