What to Put in High Kitchen Cabinets? Ideas & Solutions

Last Updated on August 7, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

In every home, the kitchen is often considered the heart of the house. It’s where meals are prepared, where conversations happen, and where memories are made. But all too often, the space in our kitchens is not utilized to its full potential, especially when it comes to high kitchen cabinets.

These cabinets can seem out of reach and therefore, underutilized. However, with strategic planning and organization, these spaces can be transformed into useful storage areas that will help keep your kitchen tidy and functional.

The purpose of this article is to provide practical tips and insights on what to store in your high kitchen cabinets and how to do so effectively.

Proper utilization of these cabinets can not only help in keeping your kitchen organized but also make cooking and cleaning tasks more efficient. So, let’s delve into the world of high kitchen cabinets and explore how to maximize their potential.

Understanding High Kitchen Cabinets

High kitchen cabinets, often referred to as overhead or top cabinets, are the storage units that are installed above the countertops and appliances in your kitchen. They typically reach up to the ceiling or near-ceiling height, hence the term ‘high’.

These cabinets come in various designs and sizes, allowing homeowners to choose what suits their kitchen layout and aesthetic the best. Some high kitchen cabinets have solid doors, while others feature glass panels that allow you to display decorative items or keep an eye on what’s stored inside.

Description of High Kitchen Cabinets

High kitchen cabinets are usually mounted 18 inches above the countertop, leaving enough space for small appliances like coffee makers, toasters, or microwaves. The standard height for these cabinets is 30 to 42 inches, but this can vary depending on the overall height of your ceilings.

The cabinets are typically deep enough to accommodate large dishes, pots, and pans. Some high kitchen cabinets also feature built-in shelving systems or pull-out racks for more organized storage.

Benefits of Using High Kitchen Cabinets

There are several benefits to utilizing your high kitchen cabinets:

  1. Maximized Storage: High kitchen cabinets make use of vertical space, providing extra storage areas in your kitchen. They can significantly increase your storage capacity, especially in smaller kitchens where space is at a premium.
  2. Organization: With proper planning, these cabinets can help keep your kitchen organized. You can store less frequently used items in these cabinets, freeing up lower cabinets and countertops for items you use daily.
  3. Cleanliness: Items stored in high kitchen cabinets tend to gather less dust and grime than those stored on open shelves or countertops. This can help maintain a cleaner kitchen environment.
  4. Aesthetic Appeal: High kitchen cabinets can enhance the look of your kitchen. Whether you opt for modern minimalist cabinets or traditional designs, they can add a visual element that ties your kitchen décor together.

Items Ideal for High Kitchen Cabinets

High kitchen cabinets provide an excellent storage solution for a variety of items that aren’t used daily. By storing specific items in these cabinets, you can keep your kitchen organized while ensuring that everything has its place. Here are some items that are ideal for storing in high kitchen cabinets:

1. Seasonal Items

seasonal items in high kitchen cabinets

Seasonal items refer to things that you only use during certain times of the year. These could be holiday-themed dishes, cookie tins, or even decorations like pumpkins for fall or evergreens for winter.

Since these items are not in regular use, storing them in high kitchen cabinets keeps them out of the way yet accessible when their season rolls around.

It also ensures that they are safe and free from dust and damage that could occur if they were stored in more accessible areas where they might be moved around frequently.

2. Seldom Used Appliances

Every kitchen tends to have a few appliances that are only used occasionally. Perhaps it’s a turkey roaster that you only need for Thanksgiving, a fondue set for special gatherings, or a large slow cooker used for big family meals.

These items are perfect for storing in high kitchen cabinets because they don’t need to be within easy reach all the time. This keeps your countertops and lower cabinets free for items you use every day.

3. Special Occasion Dishware

wine glasses in high kitchen cabinets

Special occasion dishwares like your good china, wine glasses, cake stands, or cupcake stands are items that you likely don’t use daily.

Storing these items in your high kitchen cabinets protects them from accidental breakages that could happen in lower, more frequently accessed cabinets. Plus, if your high kitchen cabinets have glass doors, these items can double as decoration, adding a touch of elegance to your kitchen.

4. Bulk Items

Buying in bulk can be cost-effective and convenient, but storing those extra items can sometimes be a challenge. High kitchen cabinets are the perfect place for them. Whether it’s extra mason jars, a large pack of paper towels, or canned goods, storing bulk items up high keeps them out of the way until needed.

By strategically using your high kitchen cabinets for these items, you can maximize your kitchen storage while keeping your space tidy and organized.

Organizing High Kitchen Cabinets

Effectively utilizing high kitchen cabinets requires more than just storing items in them, it also involves organizing these spaces in a way that makes sense for your needs. Here are some strategies that can help you get the most out of your high kitchen cabinets:

Use of Cabinet Organizers

Cabinet organizers such as baskets, bins, or shelf dividers can be incredibly useful for keeping your high kitchen cabinets tidy[^1^]. They allow you to group similar items together, making it easier to find what you need when you need it. For instance, you could use a bin for all your holiday-themed items, or a basket for spare baking supplies.

Additionally, pull-out racks or lazy Susans can be installed to improve accessibility and visibility of items stored at the back of the cabinet. This way, nothing gets lost or forgotten at the back of the cupboard.


Labeling is another effective tool for keeping high kitchen cabinets organized[^1^]. You can label the shelves, the baskets, or even individual items. This way, you’ll know exactly where everything is without having to search through every shelf. Labels can be particularly helpful for cabinets with opaque doors where contents aren’t visible at a glance.

Step Stools

Given the height of these cabinets, having a sturdy step stool or a small ladder is essential[^1^][^2^]. It allows for easy and safe access to items stored in your high kitchen cabinets. Choose a step stool that’s sturdy and stable, and ensure it’s always close at hand for when you need to reach those high storage areas. Remember, safety should always be a priority when accessing high places.

By incorporating these organizing techniques, you can make your high kitchen cabinets an efficient and functional part of your kitchen storage system.


[^1^]: Organizing High Kitchen Cabinets – The Spruce [^2^]: Safety Tips for Using a Step Stool in Your Kitchen – Safety.com

Safety Measures for High Kitchen Cabinets

While high kitchen cabinets are an excellent way to utilize space in your kitchen, safety should always be a priority when using them. Here are some precautions to consider:

Precautions When Reaching for High Cabinets

  1. Use a sturdy step stool or ladder: Always use a sturdy and stable step stool or ladder when trying to reach items in high kitchen cabinets. Never use chairs or other furniture pieces that are not designed for this purpose, as they could easily tip over.
  2. Avoid overreaching: Overreaching can lead to loss of balance and potential falls. Ensure you’re always positioned directly in front of the cabinet you’re reaching into.
  3. Ask for help if needed: If an item is too heavy or difficult for you to reach safely, ask for assistance.

Safe Handling of Items from High Kitchen Cabinets

  1. Store heavier items lower down: To avoid the risk of injury, store heavier items in lower cabinets. Lighter items should be stored in higher cabinets.
  2. Handle items with care: When removing items from high shelves, take care not to drop them. Use both hands and ensure you have a firm grip before removing the item from the cabinet.

Proper Installation of High Kitchen Cabinets to Ensure Safety

  1. Securely fasten cabinets: High kitchen cabinets should be securely fastened to the wall to prevent them from tipping over. This is especially important if they’re loaded with heavy items.
  2. Professional installation: If you’re not confident in your ability to install the cabinets correctly, consider hiring a professional. They have the necessary skills and tools to ensure the cabinets are installed safely and securely.


High kitchen cabinets, if used effectively, can offer a wealth of storage space in your kitchen. This article has discussed various items that are ideal for storing in these cabinets including seasonal items, seldom-used appliances, special occasion dishware, and bulk items.

We’ve also explored some organizing strategies such as the use of cabinet organizers, labeling, and the necessity of a sturdy step stool or ladder for easy access.

Safety measures have been emphasized throughout this discussion. Precautions when reaching for high cabinets, safe handling of items from these cabinets, and their proper installation are all crucial to ensure a safe kitchen environment.

Whether you have a small kitchen or a large one, high kitchen cabinets are a resource that shouldn’t be overlooked. By using them intelligently and safely, you can significantly increase your storage space, reduce clutter, and keep your kitchen well-organized. So, go ahead and make the most out of every inch of your kitchen, high cabinets included!

Frequently Asked Questions about “What to Put in High Kitchen Cabinets”

What items are best stored in high kitchen cabinets?

High kitchen cabinets are ideal for storing items that aren’t frequently used. This includes seasonal items like holiday dishware, special occasion appliances and utensils, and bulk items that you don’t need to access daily. You can also store extra supplies such as additional coffee filters, baking sheets, or pantry items.

Can I store heavy items in high kitchen cabinets?

For safety reasons, it’s recommended to store heavier items in lower cabinets. Storing heavy items up high can increase the risk of injury if they fall or if you strain yourself trying to lift them down.

How can I organize my high kitchen cabinets effectively?

Using cabinet organizers like baskets, bins, or shelf dividers can help keep your high kitchen cabinets tidy. Group similar items together in these organizers for easy access. Labeling shelves or baskets can also help you quickly locate what you need.

Is it safe to reach for items in high kitchen cabinets without a step stool?

Using a sturdy step stool or ladder is recommended when reaching for items in high kitchen cabinets. Avoid overreaching or standing on unstable furniture, as this can lead to falls.

Can I install high kitchen cabinets myself?

While it’s possible to install high kitchen cabinets yourself, it’s recommended to hire a professional if you’re unsure. Cabinets need to be securely fastened to the wall to prevent them from tipping over, especially when loaded with items. A professional installer has the necessary skills and tools to ensure safety.