How To Organize Your Pots And Pans

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My kitchen isn’t small, but the bane of my life is working out where I should put my cookware!  There’s nothing I hate more than having to empty a whole cupboard just to get that paella pan I stuck in the back.

So what’s the best way to organize them?

Hang them up

Sometimes the simplest is the best.  Pots and pans tend to be quite bulky and take up valuable cabinet space.  What’s more, if you aren’t careful, you might accidentally damage the surface of one.

Hanging them up can help save space and stop them from getting damaged.

Most pots and pans actually come with a hole in the handle – they are designed to be hung up!

But what’s the best way of hanging them?


Hooks tend to be quite a simple way of doing this.  What’s more, they come in different types:

  • Sticky hooks – just stick it to the wall and you’re golden.  Not as robust though.
  • Screw-in hooks
  • Hooks you nail to the wall

Pick the type that suits and go for it!


Rails will likely need or come with fitted helper hooks.  

Alternatively, a wire thread through the holes in the cookware handles might work.  I don’t think this is very practical though!

For an industrial look, a rail could be an old towel rail or even a small piece of pipe.


Pegboards are kind of meant for this sort of thing.  If you mix cookware with regularly used utensils you could even get an interesting aesthetic!

Use Cabinets 

Pots and pans absolutely eat up precious cupboard space.  But for many people, having them out in the open just won’t work with their kitchen.  What’s more, it’s often not practical to have more than a few pieces hanging from the walls!

If you are planning a kitchen redesign, then give some thoughts to the cabinets.  You could get a part of the cabinet set up to store pots and pans efficiently.

There are other ways of saving space in your cabinets though:

Consider separating lids and pans

Lids and pans can be easier to organize separately, you may find that by separating them you save space.

What’s more, some lids and pans are interchangeable, so they don’t belong to a particular pan anyway.

Turn Lids Upside Down

If you don’t want to separate the lids from the pans, consider turning them upside down.  Lids tend to curve upwards and then have a little handle sticking out on top.  Right way up, they take more space and are awkwardly shaped.  Turning them over saves a little space and makes stacking easier

Can you nest your cookware?

Be careful!  Nesting non stick pans within each other is likely to damage the non stick surface.

But not all pans are non stick – cast iron and stainless steel should be fine if you are careful.  And even some non stick cookware is designed to be nested.

Finally, whatever pans you have, if you are worried about them getting damaged by nesting you can always stick kitchen paper or paper plates between them.

In fact this is what I do!  I save loads of space by nesting my pans with pieces of paper between them.  Yes it’s a bit more effort, but it shouldn’t be a problem.

Use a slide-out or roll-out shelf

I’ve got a little corner cupboard that extends to the side of my dishwasher creating an inaccessible dead space.

Well, it’s not entirely dead – I put my less used cookware there, but then I have to pull everything else out of the cabinet to get at it.  (As well as almost performing gymnastics just to reach the cookware.)

One of these days I’m going to install a nice slide-out shelf there.  You know the sort that rotates itself out so you can get at the stuff at the back.

These are great for lesser used cookware items and allow you to recover dead space.


There are dedicated pan organizers you can use to help stack your pans.  By putting the pans on their sides they normally help you make better use of your cupboard space.

There’s also no harm in creating your own organizer.  This is particularly easy with a deep drawer.  You can install some vertical sheets of wood along the drawer that divide it into sections.  Then slot a pot or pan into each section.  (Of course, make sure you’ve measured the sections correctly first).  Again, by stacking the pans on their sides you make better use of the space.

Where to store your pots and pans?

I have a small rail with hooks above my stove.  It came with the kitchen.  I hang 3 pans from there as it is convenient, and they don’t look out of place.

Generally, the kitchen can be a nice place to hang pots and pans.  It does depend a bit on your kitchen though – aesthetics and available space both play a part.

You could hang them inside a cupboard if you don’t want them in sight.  If you have a rail going along the inside of the cupboard, you may even save space while minimizing contact damage.

Finally, you can use an out of the way room like a pantry or utility room.  I use my pantry to store the pots and pans I use less frequently.

So, what should I do with my pots and pans?

Here’s what I recommend:

  • Keep the 2-3 most  used pots and pans close to hand
  • Display the nice looking cookware, if you have it
  • Keep the ugly stuff locked away in cabinets – use dividers if necessary


Finally, if it doesn’t all fit, consider what changes you could make to your kitchen.

About The Author: Beatriz Garcia is the founder of Clan Kitchen, a pots and pans focused site.  When she’s not there writing about cookware, she’s busy being a mom or actually cooking.  One of Beatriz’ constant frustrations is finding the space for everything in the house, including the kitchen.  She believes that a well-designed house can really help with space.
Photo by Niki Nagy from Pexels

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