- Stash plastic bags in empty paper towel tubes, hanging bag holders or even fold them so they take up less room yet still convenient to grab and go.
- A crock can be used to hold frequently needed utensils and set on the counter for easy access (wooden spoons, spatulas, soup ladles, etc.). Also helps keep the large utensils drawer better sorted since less is packed inside (dividers or shallow baskets come in handy here). Can also hang a wall basket to stash lightweight larger items.
- Store a hand mixer, its beaters and attachments into a basket before tucking away into a cupboard. No more fussing with wrapping cords, digging around for attachments-everything is neatly tucked in the basket. This works for all kinds of small appliances and their attachments (electric knives, food choppers, electric juicers, etc.).
- Spices can take up a lot of precious space–get them off the shelf and up on the wall. Mount a spice rack or crate on an inside pantry wall or hang a narrow basket shelf inside the door (not over the stove, heat degrades the quality of stored herbs and spices). I use small canning jars (5.6 oz) and organize them in wire racks hung on the walls inside the pantry. Best system I’ve had yet!
- A well stocked and sorted pantry will save time, money and effort. Fabric totes, plastic bins, big glass jars can be used as containers.
- Consider stashing measuring cups right in the bins along with the sugar, flour, etc. If you have big bins, consider sticking the sifter right in with the flour too. Great trick and no more digging for lost measuring cups!
- Use shallow tubs and boxes to contain like items in the refrigerator (idea from Susiej). Just pull out the tub and grab what’s needed (condiments box for relish, etc.). No more digging through the fridge trying to find that elusive jar of mustard!
- Keep pouches of dry soup mixes, seasonings, etc., in small bins (empty margarine tubs work great) or baskets…now they’re neat & tidy in one place.
- Insert kitchen reference charts and favorite recipes in clear plastic sleeves then hang on the inside of cupboard doors for easy access. They can easily be wiped clean and frequently referenced info will be right at your fingertips.
- Pack lids for plastic containers or Tupperware in a clear tub or large ziploc bags so it’s easy to see just where the required lid is…no more rampaging foot loose and fancy free!
- Get the knife block off the counter by installing a magnetic bar along a back counter wall–will hold knives securely. A magnetic bar can be installed on the pantry wall to hold small tools (screwdriver, pliers, etc.) or make a hanging tool organizer found on this page (look in the sidebar).
- Lazy susans are a great tool to store like things together and you’ll know just where to grab what’s needed.
- Cup hooks: Affix to the inside of cupboard doors and on pantry walls. Hang things like measuring spoons, large bbq & kitchen utensils (with straps or holes for hanging), trivets, etc.
- Ziploc bags neatly carry small like-items (like twisty ties, corn cob handles, etc.) then stash all the bags together in a basket or tub.
- Utilize the space underneath cupboards by installing a paper towel or plastic wrap holder, knife holders, etc.
- Charts or magnets will nicely track food items in the freezer…you’ll be able to keep on top of what should be eaten soon (less to throw out).
- A bamboo steamer makes an ideal countertop food container, stash bulbs of garlic, onions, shallots, and other items that don’t require refrigeration and need ventilation.
Pot Lid Taming Options
Here’s a hot tip sent in from Sarah (website SarahAnnSmith.com) that gives a couple new ideas for storing pot lids (you know — those things that get jumbled up and hide in the cupboards).
- Spring-tension curtain rods! Run them front-to-back in the drawer to make dividers.
- If drawer is deep enough for the lid to be stored standing up on its edge, buy 1/2″ dowling. Cut the length of the inside of drawer, front to back, plus 1/2 inch. Measure the thickness of the lid(s). Add 1/8″. Drill 1/4″ deep holes (that are a hair over 1/2″ diameter) on the front and back of the drawer. These holes should be the thickness-of-lid-plus-1/8″ from the side. Pop dowel into holes. Presto….a lid-holding-rod on the side.
These two techniques also work great in all skinny cabinets that you use to store cookie sheets and cutting boards…..
Many thanks to Sarah for sending that in, I think it’s a clever idea! (First published January 27, 2008)