February is a great time of the year to organize the house. For one thing, it’s still pretty cold in most of the country, so it’s not like anyone is clamoring to be outside. At the same time, winter is outliving its welcome while spring is still several weeks from making an appearance. So if you start looking at kitchen and home storage ideas right now and get your house in shape, by the time the warm weather hits, all that hard work is in the rearview mirror.
To help you out, we looked at some of the most cluttered areas of the house. And, frankly, most of them are in the kitchen. Then we checked out how ordinary folks deal with their unruly pot and Tupperware lids, mountains of plastic bags, and chaotic drunk drawers. The best thing about getting kitchen and home storage ideas from regular people is that they’re not spending loads of dough on expensive clutter-proof cabinets and credenzas. These are ordinary kitchen and home storage ideas for every budget.
Kitchen and Home Storage Ideas: Pot, Pan and Tupperware Lids
Pot and pan lids can be a kitchen’s biggest eyesore. Even the experts at Epicurious agree. In 2018, Joe Sevier, associate editor and culinary expert, wrote “they take up too much valuable cabinet space…[and] their knobs make stacking them impossible.” So, what to do?
If your pots are already dangling from a wall-mounted pot rail (the kind that resembles a towel rack), then you can simply stash a few lids behind the rail. Of course, these rails can prop up only a few lids at a time. While stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon sell tons of handsome pot lid organizers designed specifically for this purpose, they may cost more than you want to spend. The good news is that there are lots of ordinary items you can repurpose to tame your chaotic lid collection, like a vertical mail organizer or a magazine file (with the spine lying flat).
Where a pot-lid rack from those other stores have a big advantage is that they’re designed to hold more lids and can accommodate knobs and handles.
Tupperware lids are another bane of kitchen organization. In May 2020, Better Homes & Gardens blogger, Jessica Banks, said “without a proper storage plan, you can end up with missing lids and mismatched containers toppling from your cabinets.” How true!
Fortunately, Tupperware lids are easier to manage since they’re flat. We suggest buying hard, square plastic baskets to contain your lids. Plastic bins may not be as attractive as woven or rattan baskets, but they’re easier to clean and keep their shape longer — or indefinitely. They’re also easier to stack so you can make the most use of your limited space.
Kitchen and Home Storage Ideas: Spices
Spices can be tough to organize if you don’t have a dedicated rack. While they can come in cute, small jars that seemingly take up little space, you can’t stack them. That means the top half of the cabinet is completely empty, unusable space.
First, and this may come as a surprise, when organizing your spices, purge! Last April, on Food52.com, Sara Dickerman suggested “sort[ing] through your spices to see if any have exhausted their shelf-life (five years can go by easily).” The professional food author recommends the “look-and-sniff test.” Old spices change color or lose their pungency. “Take a bit in your palm and take a whiff. Does it smell dull? Smell is a great way to detect freshness. And when in doubt, taste.”
Now that you’re ready to organize your spices, you can try putting them on a spinning caddy (also known as a lazy Susan). If you have a lot of spice jars, you can find two and three-tier designs. This way, you never have to rummage through a group of jars to find the one you need. Just gently spin the caddy until the right jar appears in front of you.
You can also save a lot of space if you put your spices in stackable storage jars, or on a rack that can mount to either the wall or inside of a cabinet door.
This is a very minor space-saving tip, but displaying your spices in the same style jar can help your kitchen look less messy and chaotic.
Kitchen and Home Storage Ideas: Magazine Holders
Magazine holders are very nifty organizational tools. Plus, they’re cheap, they come in different styles, different materials (cardboard or wire mesh) and they’re really easy to store side-by-side. Here are a bunch of different things you can stash in a magazine holder:
- Small canned veggies
- Fresh vegetables
- Party supplies: Paper plates and napkins
- Makeup bags, clutches, coin purses
- Kitchen storage bags, tin foil, saran wrap
- Pet supplies: Shampoos and conditioners
- Magazines and notebooks
- Party, holiday and wine gift bags
- Sort and organize your mail, coupons, stamps, envelops, printing paper
- Cutting boards
- Tupperware lids
Kitchen and Home Storage Ideas: Junk Drawer Solutions
The biggest problem with a junk drawer is not just all the stuff we all save for years (or decades, right?). Take a quick survey of your junk and then ask yourself: do you really need those baggie ties? Or what about that empty Zippo lighter? What you’ll find after you organize your drawer-o-stuff is that you have twice as much empty space as you thought you had. So to tame your junk, all you need are some ordinary drawer organizers and then start sorting.
For really small items, like tacks and paper clips, try stashing them in the compartments of a muffin baking pan or an ice cube tray, which you can pick up for practically nothing at a 99-cent store. Or what about this budget organization tip: If you have a bunch of cords — for phones, tablets, and other gadgets — wind them up nice and snug and then place each one into a cardboard toilet paper tube. You can save even more space by stacking the tubes on end, side-by-side.
And while you’re going through your junk, try this very easy rule: Toss any item that you haven’t thought about for the last four months. Cleaning out a junk drawer can be one of the most satisfying tasks to check off the to-do list.
Kitchen and Home Storage Ideas: Plastic Bags
If you’re like us, you never throw away a good plastic bag. So that means there’s a mountain of bags in a drawer or the corner of the pantry in your house. Here are a few ways to deal with reusable plastic bags.
First, throw away any bag that has a hole. That will help thin out the herd. Be sure to recycle them. If they have a #2 or #4 stamp, then don’t toss them into the recycle bin because they can jam your town’s recycling machinery. Since every state has their own recycling laws and procedures, the best thing to do is Google the recycling policies in your area.
Dealmazing can help organize your plastic bags with these kitchen and home storage ideas.
Old tissue boxes
You can stash dozens of reusable bags into an empty tissue box. Either a fancy plastic tissue box or an old Puffs tissue box will do. And you don’t even need to hide these out of sight. Companies like Puffs and Kleenex have some pretty good graphic designers these days.
If you store your bags in a closet or drawer, then there’s no need to get fancy. Simply carve a hole out of a gallon milk carton, insert the bags through the opening in the top of the jug, and then to get a new bag, pull one loose through the hole in the bottom. You can also do this with a used liter soda bottle.
Here are other types of containers you can repurpose as a storage receptacle and, at the same time, keep them out of your local landfill:
- Glass sauce jars
- Coffee cans
- Baby wipes containers
- Pringles cans