How to Organize a Dining Room in 3 Easy Steps

by | Home, Organization

Don’t overlook your dining room in this season of organizing!  You can organize your dining room with some simple and practical steps. Here’s what helps me and hopefully it will help you too!

Who else spends part of January decluttering, cleaning, and organizing all the things?!  That’s definitely the case every January over here!

Fortunately, for me, I took a few Saturdays in the fall and did a ton of cleaning out.  I can’t clean things out without organizing as I go, so I thought this would be a fun time to answer one of the most asked questions:

Where do you store all of your tablescape items?

That’s a fair question!  If you follow me over on Instagram, you know that I do a #tablescapetuesday every week…or almost every week, at least!  It seems like I would definitely have a LOT of tablescape items, right?

Actually, the reality is probably somewhere right down the middle.  I have a lot more table items than a minimalist and a LOT less than a dishes hoarder.  Haha!

Other than my wedding china and a set of dishes from each of my grandma’s, I only have one set of white dishes and a set of ironstone plates, along with hodgepodge ironstone pieces that I’ve picked up along the way.

In my defense, I wouldn’t categorize that as a dishes hoarder, right?!

On the other hand, I have an exceptional amount of napkin rings.  It’s the truth.  I love them and don’t apologize because I use them all!

Keeping an organized dining room is literally crucial to my sanity, especially when I’m setting a new tablescape almost every week!

I’ve had to adjust and switch things around, but I’ve finally figured out some organization that makes sense, is convenient, and WORKS!

Organizing, in general, is a really personal thing.  When I read blog posts or books about organizing, I know in advance that almost none of the exact things are going to work exactly the same in my spaces.

However, it almost always sparks an idea or a different way of thinking that can help me organize my spaces in ways that work for our family.

Every home is different, every layout is different, every lifestyle is different, every collection of items is different…so every organizing will also be different!

My goal today is not that you’ll be able to organize a dining room exactly like mine because we all have different spaces and different needs. Hopefully, however, it will give you a little motivation, inspiration, or a new idea that will help make your dining room even more functional and joyful!

Step One to Organize a Dining Room

Start to organize a dining room by taking everything OUT!

I know that sounds super overwhelming.  It’s my least favorite part.  BUT, there is no way to properly organize a space without knowing exactly what you have.

Even if you think you know, there is something about laying it all out (I use my dining room table) that helps the puzzle pieces fit together a little better for optimal organization.

As you lay things out, group them into sections.  You could group them different ways (and I’ve tried all of them!):

  • Group by season
  • Group by how often you use them
  • Group by type of item
  • Group by style of item

For me, grouping by kind of item has worked the best.  Other than napkin rings, I really don’t have much seasonal tablescape decor.  I do have pieces that I mix and match depending on the seasons!

If you really watch, you’ll notice that I use the same pieces over and over and over, just mixed and styled a little differently to create a variety of looks for each season!


Step Two to Organize a Dining Room

Carefully consider what is going to back into your dining room.

As you’re grouping items, weed out any items that you don’t use or don’t love.

Pieces that you want to keep for sentimental reasons should be stored all together in their own special spot.  For me, the hard-to-reach cabinet over the refrigerator is perfect!

You probably have some kind of storage area in your home where you can keep sentimental, fragile pieces without taking up precious real estate in your most convenient places!

I’m not here to tell you what you should or should not keep.  Goodness knows that most people would take a look at my dining room and tablescape items and say I should get rid of a bunch of it!

I think I get a little bit of leniency since I’m setting so many tables, though, right?!

What I will say is as you organize a dining room, to carefully consider what you put back in your storage.  When I did my big clean out in the fall, I didn’t realize how many of certain items I had.  Since I am never setting the table for 20 people, I kept 12-14 and put the rest in my yard sale pile!

Here are a few things to consider getting rid of:

  • Extra items
  • Pieces that aren’t sentimental, but don’t fit your style any longer
  • Things you can’t remember even using
  • Items you picked up for special events but no longer need
  • Pieces that no longer match your decor
  • Anything that isn’t in good condition (because you won’t end up using it, even if you still like it!)
  • Napkins or towels that are stained or too worn

Step Three to Organize a Dining Room

What works for me won’t work for you!

I could give you tons of links of great organizational tools, drawer organizers, bins, baskets, and totes.  The truth is that they are such a personal preference and a space preference too!

Instead of diving into the details of what divider to use in each drawer, let me give you a few rules of thumb that help me organize a dining room in a tidy, functional, and enjoyable way!

  • Keep the items you use the most often easily accessible.  Store functional items in plain site: Dishcloths rolled in a pretty dough bowl, flatware in a vintage crock, or everyday dishes on open shelves.
  • Store things that you actually use…just not often…in the high cabinets!  This is exactly why I chose kitchen cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling!
  • As much as possible, store things in the room you’ll use them in.  For a long time, I used the little apothecary drawers in my music room to house my napkin rings.  It worked, but now that I have drawers in my dining room (check out my apothecary makeover HERE), it is very helpful to have them in the dining room.
  • Use your pretty things!  I love ironstone jelly molds...I don’t know why, I just love them!  I keep one by my sink to hold my dish sponge!  The sponge is an unattractive but needed item.  Housed in my pretty dish keeps it convenient AND looking nice too!

If your dining room is near your kitchen, it is likely an extension of your kitchen storage and organization!  Consider how you can make both spaces more functional by having them work together for optimal organization!

Sometimes my dining room items tend to spill over into the kitchen and a quick reorganization can keep both rooms more tidy and items more easily accessible!

Miscellaneous Tips to Organize a Dining Room

  • Side tip: Don’t overbuy items.  You really and truly don’t need a drawer full of dishcloths and another one for pot holders!  I promise!  Just because it’s a cute dish towel, only purchase it if you need to replace what you already have!
  • Invest in quality items that you truly love!  Rather than buying 5 different sponge holders that you don’t really like, invest in the one thing…for me, the jelly mold…that is functional, interesting, and pretty!

Maybe your dining room and kitchen areas are already super organized.  But maybe, just maybe, you have a few places that you need to do a quick clean out and declutter.  Here’s your motivation and hopefully a few ideas that can help make these important spaces as enjoyable as possible!

I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  











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