How To Organize Your Pots And Pans

When I have clients looking for more space in their kitchens one of the first places that I like to visit is where they store their pots and pans. What we usually find is that we can eliminate sometimes up to half of what they have and gain much needed space in that heart of the home, our kitchens. Often cabinets are jammed with pots without lids or lids without pots as well as pans that are never used. This is an area that most everyone can improve and find new space in their kitchen once the steps are properly taken.


1. Pull all of the pots and pans as well as lids all in one spot so that you can assess what you have.

2. Wipe out the cabinets.

3. Match lids with the pots and pans. I usually always find a lid with no match. Sometimes I get rid of the pan but forget about the lid, you may do that too.

4. Look at everything that you have and figure out what you use and don’t use. I know right now that you are thinking that you don’t want to break up a set. It is OK, this is your kitchen. If it is more important for you to have a full set and be crowded in your cabinet, it is up to you.

5. Look at the pans and see if some can do double duty. Do you need every size of saucepan or can you just keep two? Do you need four sizes of frying pans but you only use two?

6. Now asses the space that you are storing these in. Placing heavy pots and pans in a bottom cabinet while necessary may cause strain on your back. I have my heaviest pot always sitting on my stove. I use it about 3 times a week and it is pretty, so it is a great fit. Store the pots and pans that you use most in the front of the cabinet.

7. Nesting pots and pans with or without their lids is a guessing game. It is all about how well they balance and if your pots will get ruined by stacking another pot inside of it. If you never use the lids, store them somewhere else.

Hot tip: Having pull-out cabinets for pots and pans are always a nice option, but not everyone has this option. They do make kits that allow you to retrofit your cabinets. Mine is pictured here and it cost less than $100 and took my husband about 15 minutes to install. What I love is that it saves me from bending over and grabbing what I need. Is this an option for you?

Want to try a neat trick? not sure what pots, pans and lids you use? Place a post-it note on each one and label with today’s date. When you use the pot, pan or lid take off the post-it note. Give yourself a period of 6 months and if you have not used that item, it is time to get rid of it. You can simply look and see which ones still have the post-it note on them. Note: this should be used on items in home not necessarily people in your life. But then again….


To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity


MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at


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5 Responses

  1. Melissa, make allowances for pans used mainly during the holiday season. They may be used several times during the season, then stored for 10 – 11 months.

    1. I agree…..but these pans that are used once a year really can and should be stored somewhere else in the house (if they are even used at all). The point that I like to make with the post-it notes is it really is a visual cue as to what we actually use. When people have small kitchens they need to be smart about every square inch of space.

  2. SB

    Another trick is to mount a sturdy shower curtain bar and hang the pots from them. I have a little nook where the bar fits perfectly. It keeps them up and out of the way. Then you only have to worry about storing the lids somewhere.

  3. Lisa

    We use pegboard & hooks on both sides of a narrow broom closet to hang our pots & pans. In a pantry across from the broom closet we hung a very long rack for pan lids (it was originally a store display for magazines). We’re able to store a large number of pans & lids using otherwise wasted wall space. Love the post-it note and shower curtain rod ideas!

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