A Peek Inside My Kitchen Cabinets

How-to tip to organize pots and pans so they don’t get scratched in your kitchen cabinets.

Like many of you at this time of year, I have been purging items I no longer need and organizing areas around my home.  January it seems is the perfect time to do this since most of us our house bound.

After making over the small pantry closet, I got the energy to delve into the contents of my kitchen cabinets, especially the base cabinets.

Two years ago when we moved into the house, I literally just placed “like” items into the cabinets thinking I would re-organize them once we were officially all moved in.  That never happened.

Kitchen-Cabinet-Organizing-tips and storage idea.

I finally found the time on a cold wintery afternoon earlier this month.  A perfect time to get something inside the house done. Completing the task also made me feel somewhat upbeat and productive since the cold weather has getting comfy on the sofa under a warm throw blanket a far more appealing past time.

Home DIY projects to do on a winter afternoon.

Organizing the contents of your kitchen cabinets is an easy and very rewarding project that can be done in an afternoon. It is a project that won’t cost you anything either, unless of course you want to buy a few handy storage and organizing racks.

Older kitchen cabinet organizing ideas.

The insides of my kitchen cabinets are basic, nothing fancy about them. They are made of plywood. You can read how I painted the exterior of the cabinets in this post, How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets.  As you can see I did not paint the inside, just the inside of each door.

Kitchen-base-cabinet-organizing and storage ideas

This base cabinet under the peninsula section of the counter has 4 doors, 2 open on each side making it one very handy and easy to access kitchen storage place.

There are all sorts of inexpensive wire shelves and storage racks that you can add to create more storage to use every inch of your cabinet space.  I thought about adding a few of these, but my base cabinets are deep and I opted to keep things simple since I don’t have a ton of items to organize anymore. Purging the un-needed feels so good.

Kitchen-storage-ideas-for-old-cabinets that have no sliders or racks.

Here is What I Did to Organize the Contents of My Kitchen Cabinets

  • I purged what I no longer needed along with items I have not used in a long time. If you use something only once a year, consider storing it on a shelf in the garage or another area that is easy to get to, but won’t take up valuable room in a kitchen cabinet. I placed all the unwanted items in a box and put it in my car to take to the thrift store.
  • I scrubbed the inside of the cabinets. I used dish detergent to make a bucket full of hot sudsy water.
  • I placed items back inside by category with the most used items right up front so they are easy to grab when I need them.
  • I placed like items inside each other.  Trays, bowls, etc. to save room inside each cabinet. To keep them from getting chipped or damaged I place felt rounds in-between each. (See more on how I do this further down in the post)

Once you complete one section of cabinets, you will be inspired to take on more…

Kitchen Cabinet Organizing in an older kitchen with simple cabinets.

After I had the peninsula base cabinet purged, cleaned and re-organized, I moved over to the cabinets under the stove top where I keep my pots and pans.

Kitchen Cabinet Organizing idea and tips that don't cost a dime

The Jenn-Air cooktop/downdraft housing takes up a lot of room, but the cabinets are deep so I still have plenty of room to store my pots and pans.

I thought about covering the plywood with new white vinyl shelf paper, but decided I really didn’t need it. Maybe someday I will paint the back wall inside these cabinets, but for now, I just wanted to purge and re-organize.

oven-mitt-kitchen storage-idea

I screwed in a cup-hook to the inside of the door to hang my oven mitts. Easy access to them while not taking up room in a drawer. I placed the cutting boards along the wall for easy access.  For me, I want the things I need on a daily basis, easy to get to and when done, easy to put back into the cabinets.

To keep the cabinet from getting crowded, I moved the larger flat items like cookie sheets and baking trays into the oven.  Saves a lot of space in the cabinets for other items.

how to protect pots and pans from getting damaged or scratched.
Blogger of DIY Decorating blog Diane Henkler of In My Own Style

Helpful Tip:

I store my pots and pans inside each other with the largest on the bottom working up to the smallest on the top. To keep their surfaces from getting scratched or damaged, I cut out rounds from felt to place in between each pot/pan.

How to store pots an pans so they will not get damaged.

One round of felt in-between each pot…


…and each pan. You can’t see some of them, but there is one felt round in-between each pot/pan.

I use a wood rack to hold the lids for the pots.  I recently purchased a set of new pots and the lids are larger in depth than my previous pot lids. I just ordered another wood rack to place inside this cabinet so the new lids can be spread out and not have to be placed on top of each other.

How to Make Felt Rounds to Protect Pots and Pans

How to store pots an pans so they will not get damaged or scratched. DIY kitchen storage hack.

I make most of the felt rounds for my pots and pans using a dinner size plate as a template, but if you have larger pots and pans, use fabric yardage and the item itself you want to protect to make a custom sized shaped template. For instance, in my china closet, I made large rectangular felt shapes to place in-between all my serving trays. I used one of the trays as my template.

supplies needed:

  • Felt squares or felt yardage
  • Dinner plate to use as round template
  • Marker
  • Scissors
How to make felt pots and pan protectors
How-to-keep-pots-and-pans-from-getting-scratched using felt.

1. Lay a piece of felt that is as wide as a dinner plate on a flat surface. Place dinner plate upside down on felt and trace around it with a marker.

2. Cut circle out with scissors.

How to protect pots and pans from getting scratched when storing them in a kitchen cabinet.

Place a felt round in-between each pot, pan, lid, or glass or ceramic dish to keep them from getting scratched or damaged.

How do you organize the items in your cabinets?  Any clever ideas you would like to share?

Kitchen organization idea to help keep your pots and pans scratch and damage free.

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  1. That Sassy Life coach says:

    Looks great!

  2. Andy Shepard says:

    Looks so good! All those steps are tedious, but make it look so nice! I’ve done the same thing with IKEA furniture and it works out great. We used a besta for our entry and built it in, in a similar manner, and now I love it!

  3. I am really surprised that you have your items sitting directly on the plywood. I always use shelf liners and even had my kids get them when they moved into their first apartments recently.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Christy – I guess I have always just placed items right on the shelves and never thought about adding shelf paper. Growing up, my mom never used shelf paper so I guess a “no shelf paper look” is what seems right for me. :-)

  4. Aquaguard RO Installation says:

    Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.
    Rejoice in the glory of India and freedom fighters on this republic day. We wish you all A Happy Republic Day and Vande Mataram.

  5. I’ve done a couple things. I have a tiny drawer and cabinet on each side of the range; long an skinny and mostly a waste of space. I turned the two skinny drawers into spice drawers and found gray plastic trays https://www.target.com/p/youcopia-spiceliner-174-6-pack-in-drawer-spice-organizer-warm-gray/-/A-50220200#lnk=sametab
    I removed the shelves from the skinny base cabinets and turned them both into tray / cookie sheet storage. Cookie sheets, trays, broiler pans, cupcake pans, all fit and free up other cabinets.
    My favorite kitchen organizers are a metallic knife bar that holds all my knives and a sliding wooden cutting board http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00309829/.
    All these tricks help my tiny kitchen function well.

  6. It must be this time of year! I also purged seldom used/once a year items and took a trunkload of stuff to the thrift store on the weekend. I store my glass topped pots and pans on top of each other, using non-slip shelf liner from the dollar store between them. They’re custom cut to size and protect the inverted glass lids perfectly. It amazes me when I go through kitchen items how seldom I use many of them and how easy they are to let go of.

  7. Potholders from the dollar store work nicely to separate pots & pans. I agree that paper plates & coffee filters are great for protecting dishes.

  8. Diane,
    Great job, looks amazing. I cleaned out my cabinets last week and it feels so good? one quick ?, my cabinets are white too, but I’ve noticed a couple spots where the paint has chipped or been scratched, how do I go about fixing this? Should I sand lightly then just dab some paint?

    Thanks Diane, have a terrific day☀️

  9. I absolutely love the pop of wood behind the white cabinets! Been following you for a while and it’s amazing what you’ve been able to do with a coat of paint to make your lake house gorgeous. Thanks for sharing, I appreciate seeing impactful updates that don’t break the bank.

    I’m probably going to sound like an ad, but I’m totally in love with my kitchen discovery…Have you seen the rev-a-shelf pots and pans unit? At $100 for an organizer, it felt like a splurge, but now I can’t live without it! It’s fully customizable and allows you to store pots and pans vertically, which has made accessing everything so much easier and saves trying to stack anything (my hubby can’t be bothered to nest things properly… so my perfectly stacked pans constantly turned into piles). Freed up an entire cabinet for more of that stuff I should probably purge…

    1. Melisa at High Falls says:

      I also splurged on Rev a Shelf for my lower cabinets that hold pots and pans. I had “sticker shock” at the price, but am so glad we splurged. They were absolutely worth it.

      Diane, I have followed your blog for a long time and always enjoy your posts. Thanks for “keeping it real’ for your readers and offering realistic and sensible solutions to everyday problems.

  10. Norma Rolader says:

    Congratulations I so need to do this and what a great idea with the felt to safe your pots and pans

  11. I love the felt idea, Diane… why didn’t I think of that! LOL I usually place paper towel between plates and platters… the felt is way better. Thanks, friend!! xo

  12. Mary Ann Howat says:

    Your organizing skills are awesome. I use round coffee filters between the pots. I need to go through my stuff as I am trying to purge our stuff. Way too much kitchen stuff.

    Love your blog. You are inspirational.

  13. I too use Command hooks on the insides of cabinet doors to hang lightweight items. Last month I said, “Merry Christmas to Me” and had a handyman install double level roll-out racks in my double base cabinet where I keep my pots and pans, my soup pots and my large baking dishes. There was even room for a rack for the lids. I am so in love with them and wish I had done it years and years ago. (In my younger years I would have done it myself, but age and arthritis …… sigh.) My lighter-weight baking pans, cookie sheets, muffin tins, cake pans, etc are in a different base cabinet without the racks, since retrieving them is not a problem due to their much lighter weight. I see that you have a downdraft in your lower cabinet, but these racks some in various widths to fit various circumstances. I also purged a box of “seldom or never” used items and feel so much better because of it. Now I need to get in my glassware cabinet since I really don’t need all of the wine glasses, goblets and other entertaining glasses residing there. My home is no longer the gathering place for family dinners – my children with spacious houses have assumed that honor – so it is definitely time to grit my teeth and part with some things I’ve kept far too long and for sentimental reasons only. I do love a neat and tidy cabinet.

  14. Diane, I know what you mean about the cold making you feel like snuggling under a throw on the sofa. We went from 50 degrees this morning (very rare for our area) to 25 degrees this afternoon. That’s all I want to do too. Great post for re-organizing your cabinets. I did that recently too. One suggestion, although I see you have hardwood floors, whenever we replace our kitchen or bathroom floor because we have done the replacing ourselves we use the leftover pieces in the bottom of the cabinets. It is especially great under the sink because if anything spills or gets dirty it can be wiped clean. I imagine you could buy a small piece of flooring if you really wanted to do this. Just a suggestion. Love the felt dividers and the suggestion from another visitor about using old washcloths. Never would of thought of that.

  15. I use cheap paper plates to separate my pots and pans. I use a stack of three between each pot or pan and they work really great. When they get dirty, I toss them and replace them. I DO NOT use the foam type plates – they are too expensive. I use the cheap paper plates for so many other uses, so I always have a large package of them in my pantry – they are also great for separating china plates and bowls.

  16. I have never found a way to conveniently store pot lids or plastic storage bowls and lids. The pot lid I want always seems to be the one on the bottom and the plastic bowls and lids…well they are just hopeless!

    Good job on your clean and purge.

    1. I use rectangular plastic baskets for smaller pot lids and for plastic lids–basically you file them. (Lids for the big stockpot and big skillet get stored on top of said items.) The plastic bowls get nested in each other and placed on a shelf; the basket with the lids is next to them.

  17. I need this all day, every day, LOL! I was so inspired by your pantry re-do too, I have to tackle mine this weekend!

  18. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    Must be great to have your kitchen so neat and clean! I tried to organize mine a couple weeks ago and failed miserably! I really need help.

  19. I just purged and rearranged my bathroom/linen closet, so all the washcloths that are too shabby to use are going to become pots-and-pans dividers. They may not match or look pretty but I’ll be able to toss them in the washer if they get dirty. My cabinet doors are too thin for nails or cup hooks, but Command hooks and Command caddies are awesome. Toe-kick drawers are another awesome thing–I’ll bet Ed could build you a few!