This is super important, and may help a lot when you first start trying to organize your kitchen. If you find that you go to a certain area in your kitchen to make coffee, put away everything you'll need there. For example, we have a small section in our kitchen at home which houses all of our coffee and tea accoutrements, as well as bread and peanut butter. This is where all of us make breakfast before we head out the door. We keep all of our glassware and alcohol in our dining room, because that's usually where we have parties. Similarly, we keep all of our cooking liquids and spices by our prep surface in our studio kitchen. Keep things where you would normally use them, and group by like items.
Putting things away right away
We try as hard as we can to put items away as soon as we get home from the grocery store. If we don't, we'll later put things away quickly and not correctly, which leads to piles of stuff on the shelves and in the fridge.
Grouping like items
The best way you can keep any space looking uncluttered (even outside the kitchen!) is to group items that are similar to each other. We keep all cooking liquids on the same shelf - then, we group together vinegars, oils, and liquid sweeteners into sections on the shelf. Same with dry goods - all beans go together, and the same with grains, dried fruit, flours, baking ingredients and more. Not only is it easier to find things, but it looks way better too!
Using great tools
We don't buy a lot of specialty organization tools, mostly because there aren't a lot of good-looking pieces, they're expensive, and they end up being more trouble than they're worth. Here's what we use all over our kitchen.
I'm a big believer in reusing cardboard boxes. My favorite kind is the ones that oranges & clementines come in - they're really sturdy and look natural on the shelves. We store all of our teas and spices in these, because otherwise they get out of control. Use shoeboxes (clean ones, of course) with their tops cut off in cabinets that are really deep if you have trouble keeping messes under control. They're easy to pull out and can be used in neat ways - for example, put all of your common baking ingredients (salt, baking soda, corn starch, vanilla, etc.) in one box so you only have to pull out one thing when you want to bake. Or, use a box labeled "URGENT" in your fridge for items that need to be used right away, like raspberries or asparagus.
labels (washi tape & marker)
Rather than using an expensive label maker that leaves leftover stickiness when you peel them off cleaned jars, we use neutral washi tape and a Sharpie to label all of our jars. You can buy plain washi for quite a small price at any craft store, and they're easy to remove. This makes it easy to tell the difference between all purpose flour and cake flour, and are less fussy than chalkboard labels or professional label makers.
Some mason jar packs went on sale one week at our local grocery store, so we bought a bunch to organize our whole kitchen. I think we paid $45 (about $1 per jar) to store all our myriad of flours, beans, rice, spices, and much more. They're cheaper than specialty jars made for organizing, they're easy to find if you need more, and they can be used in the fridge or on shelves. They're more secure (and environmentally-friendly) than lots of opened plastic bags stuffing your cabinets. They make your kitchen look uniform and you can see just how much ingredient is left in each one. We just love using them!
Dating our refrigerator
Any time we prep for our weekly meals, we put the date on the container of any prepared food. This makes it easy to say "hey, this thing has been here for a couple of weeks" and toss it. It keeps things clean and all you need is a dry erase marker (if using glass or plastic.)
Not using drawers
I've found that drawers tend to suck up anything I put in them, making it impossible to find things later. Keep only silverware and utensils in drawers, using dividers, and stick smaller items (like toothpicks) on shelves using boxes.
And by "decluttering", we mean actually using our ingredients and cooking. When you cook more, you find out quickly where things need to go in your kitchen, you find a better "flow" of movement while cooking, and ingredients are actually used. Things become disorganized when you let things sit and don't think about them. Donate or sell kitchen appliances that you find that you don't use often. And if you can't use foods in time, be sure to go through your kitchen/pantry every month to toss any expired ingredients. Keeping up with your kitchen leads to a fresher, cleaner space.
Got any good organizing tricks for your kitchen? Let us know in the comments!