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Out of sight, out of mind. That’s what they say, right? We can see how that organizing mantra might work … until it’s time to pull out a frying pan and you accidentally set off an avalanche of pot lids. Just because you can jam a million different gadgets into a drawer or behind a cabinet door doesn’t mean you should. See, we believe that in order to be a good home cook, you also have to be an organized home cook.
And we’re here to help! Here are 31 of the very best ideas to get your cabinets (uppers, lower, and corners!) and drawers in tip-top shape. So that, you know, you can actually open the drawer you need without your potato masher getting stuck.
1. Use Velcro to keep drawer dividers in place.
If your organizers are getting unruly (because they slide around inside the drawer every time you open and close it, consider adding Velcro pieces to the dividers.
2. Turn a roll-up drying rack into a container lid holder.
Rest a roll-up drying rack on top of a dollar store plastic storage bin. Then use the slots to hold the lids to your food containers. Just slide the whole thing into a cabinet and pull it out when you need to put leftovers away.
3. Use tension rods to “file” cookware and bakeware.
Stack up all your baking sheets, cutting boards, and bakeware and it’ll be a struggle to pull out whatever’s on the bottom. Instead, use tension rods to “file” the pieces up on their sides. This way, you’ll be able to pull one out without sending the rest toppling over.
4. And to organize under your sink.
Under-the-sink cabinets can get pretty crowded with various cleaning supplies. Hang a tension rod across the top and you’ll have a spot for spray bottles, rags, gloves, and more. (Note: You’ll want to get a decently sturdy tension rod for this project. We like this $7 two-pack.)
5. And to create more space for spices.
Lest you start to think this post is sponsored by the Tension Rod Association (is that a thing?), here’s one last tension rod idea: Use a small one to create an extra “shelf” in your spice cabinet. It’ll be the perfect space for your smaller spice jars, and you’ll be able to see your entire collection at once, which makes searching for what you need so much easier!
6. Use an over-the-cabinet towel bar for cleaning supplies.
7. Store stuff on the sides of your cabinets.
Don’t let the sides of your cabinets go to waste! Consider hanging some rails or hooks and use the space as a newfound home for various tools or even cookware. This will make things easier to find and also free up drawer and cabinet space.
8. Use Command Hooks to hang pot lids on cabinet doors.
9. Or to hang pot holders.
10. Or to hang foil and parchment paper.
11. Use a dish drainer as an organizer.
If your cabinets don’t go all the way up to the ceiling, use that space as storage. Just do it thoughtfully, or else you run the risk of making it look junky. Tip: Use pretty baskets to hide less-than-pretty stuff (paper towels, for example) that you need to store.
How smart is this spice jar solution? Just hang up a magnetic knife rack and you can hang small jars for easy access. Similarly, we love the idea of adding hooks to the bottom of cabinets or shelves for mug storage.
14. Spread out spices in a drawer.
Speaking of spices! (How’s that for a transition?) Try storing them in a drawer instead of a cabinet or pantry shelf. You can spread them out like in this photo above or stand them up (just be sure to label the caps and you’ll always be able to find the cumin in a pinch).
15. Store utensils diagonally.
What’s better than one shelf? Two shelves! It’s true. When in doubt, add a shelf riser and you’ll have more space for dishes or pantry items. We’re big fans of these because they’re sturdier than others on the market.
17. And a lazy Susan or two.
We never want to suggest buying an organizer just for the sake of buying something, but you will never regret a lazy Susan. (Especially if it’s this lazy Susan. Or this one.) We like them for tight spaces because they allow you to see what’s in there. Tip: Put your tallest bottles in the middle and work from the center, out.
18. Use Mason jars to organize your utensil drawer.
File this under something we never would have thought of on our own! We spotted this idea in a smart before-and-after organizing story and couldn’t get over it. The jars help keep like tools grouped together and still make it easy to grab what you need.
19. Install some pull-out shelves — or, at the very least, baskets.
Fact: Drawers are always going to be better than shelves, because they help you see what’s tucked all the way in the back. If you’re able to add some actual hardware to your cabinets, we absolutely recommend it. If you’re a renter, not all that handy, or on a tight budget, we suggest big baskets, which you can also slide in and out.
20. Readjust your shelves.
When was the last time you stopped to think about the height of your various shelves? They’re adjustable for a reason. And even if you set them once, your storage needs may have changed. Don’t be afraid to rearrange!
21. Add hooks to the back of cabinets.
22. Or a magnetic knife strip.
You don’t have to limit yourself to hooks, either. A magnetic knife rack can be used for anything, well, magnetic. We especially love this tip for organizing all your food processor blades.
24. DIY your own drawer dividers.
Remember how we said we hate telling people to buy things just for the sake of buying them? Well, we will rarely suggest buying organizers for a junk drawer. Not because we’re against organizing those drawers — because we think you already have everything you need. Round up small boxes, bowls, and baskets and get creative.
25. Add drawers to your toe-kicks.
If you’re down for some handiwork, then hidden drawers in your toe-kicks (the space under your bottom cabinets) might be the storage solution you’ve been looking for. Family Handyman has great how-to instructions, and then you can use these drawers for platters, linens, or rarely used items.
26. Use a paper towel tube to keep baking mats rolled up.
Baking mats are floppy and not so easy to store. Keep them tidy by rolling them up and pushing them through part of an empty paper towel tube. Bonus tip: Use the rest of the paper towel tube to hold tongs (they won’t unlock in your drawer this way!).
27. Turn a drawer into extra counter space.
This tip is more about organizing while you cook, but it’s still drawer-related and it’s extra-brilliant, so we’re including it. If you’re short on counter space, pull out a drawer and put a cutting board on top. There you go! The perfect staging area for your mise-en-place ingredients.