I love helping people unpack kitchens. I love to organize things and love the challenge of figuring out where things need to go. Sometimes friends are not picky about their kitchens and will give me free reign to unpack and organize their things.
Here are general rules I follow:
Put the silverware in a drawer underneath where your plates and bowls go. This way you have everything you need to set the table in one place. I recommend picking a cabinet/drawer closest to the table.
Place your glasses in the cabinet that is as close to the refrigerator as possible. You almost always fill a glass with ice before you place it on the table. Your mugs and teacups can go nearby.
Place large bowls and colanders you use often in a clean section under the sink. They are easy access but do not take up valuable cabinet space.
Your spices are supposed to be as far away from the heat as possible to make them last longer. I don't follow this rule because I didn't want to change everything (and heard the rule after I'd setup). But I usually do this for people when I help them. If where you'll prepare your food has an empty cabinet above, this is a perfect place for your spices.
Cooking utensils need to go in the drawer closest to wherever you are doing your food prep.
Make a baking section in your cabinets that has your mixing bowls, measuring cups, etc. in one place. If you wanted to keep baking soda, baking powder, etc. there, great! It is ideal if there is counter space below that for you to do your baking prep.
Place your dishcloths and washcloths in a drawer near the sink.
Think of the cabinets above the stove as a great place for pots and pans. They are easy access there, even though they are up high. You'll have to turn them upside down with the handles going sideways. This way they are easy to get in and out.
Store all of your plastic storage containers together. I personally like to buy all the same kind so they stack in each other with lids stacked beside. This makes less clutter in the cabinets. Square containers will maximize space and stack really easily in the fridge/freezer. I have the ziplock sandwich square ones. I do keep a few really small circular containers (the 1/2 cup kind made by glad) for sauces. They do not take up much room.
Stack baking dishes, casserole dishes, crockpots and other kitchen appliances in a lower cabinet. They are less likely to break if stored down low and easier to get out.
Put vases, serving platters, kitchen gadgets you only use 1 or 2 times a year in the highest/hardest to reach places.
Put your pot holders in a drawer as close to the oven as possible.
Don't forget the junk drawer. It needs to be as close to the phone as possible.
If you have any other suggestions, please post in the comments section!!