Smart Storage Solutions for Your Kitchen

Is clutter taking over your kitchen? These simple steps will help you create instant space.

Antique armoires make great storage units in kitchens with a period or country style. Make sure that the shelves within can withstand the new loads they will have to bear.

Wine cellar in a cabinet. Take out the shelving from an existing cabinet (pick one that’s well away from any heat source or cooking appliance). Install in its place two pieces of plywood, each slotted halfway through and assembled diagonally so that they form an X. Each quarter of the cabinet can then hold bottles lying horizontally.

Cookbook collectors can save space by looking for visible — but out-of-the-way — places to store little-used volumes. One solution is to mount shelves above doorways and windows.

Avoid nesting. Stacking pots or mixing bowls within each other may save space, but it takes too much time to dig them out when any item except the one on top is needed. In the most efficient kitchens, containers are stored where they can be grasped immediately.

Proper placement. When stocking kitchen cabinets, think creatively. Why store all the cookware in the same place? Stash the pasta pot — and any other pot routinely filled with water — near the sink instead of the stove.

Custom fit. Can’t find an appliance garage to suit your needs? Paint several small shutters, hinge them together, and hide the appliances behind them.

Light the way. In a tall, deep pantry closet, a door-operated switch is the ultimate convenience. The light automatically comes on when the door is opened. Best of all, when your hands are full, the closing door hits the button and automatically switches off the light.

Number it. Number-code those pile-ups of plastic container tops and bottoms so they can be put together in a flash.

Putting a lid in it. If pot and pan lids are creating a mess in a cabinet, mount an ordinary towel rack on the back of the cabinet door and organize the lids in a nice neat row.

Spin the wheel. For tough-to-reach corners in a cupboard, a lazy susan will do the trick. You won’t have to pull out half the cupboard’s contents to locate an item.

Free up drawer space by placing aluminum foil, wax paper, and plastic wrap under the sink in a six- or eight-pack plastic soda holder, or beneath an upper cabinet in a tilt-out drawer.

Drawer space at a minimum? Put utensils in a large heavy pitcher rather than in a jumble in the drawer. A lightweight pitcher will tumble over every time you remove an item.

Open up a drawer. Install dividers and organizers in drawers to keep things in order. Items won’t shift around or get mixed up when the drawer is opened and closed.

Old kitchen cabinets are wonderful storage vehicles for attics, basements, or garages. The combination of drawers, shelves, and cabinet space will hold many different types of household items.

Declutter a hall or kitchen by storing children’s school notices, bills, and other pending paperwork out of sight in a vertical file (or even in a retired napkin holder). Stash the file in a convenient base cabinet.

Wire wall storage. A vinyl-coated wire grid wall system is not only waterproof — a handy characteristic in a kitchen — it is snazzier than plain old perfboard. Equip it with a variety of handy hooks, baskets, and other clip-on accessories.

Bag it. Stuff those plastic fruit and vegetable bags from the grocer’s into an empty paper towel tube. The tube looks a lot neater than a pile of bags, and you’ll be surprised at how many it holds.

How to brown bag it? To organize a bevy of brown grocery bags, clamp them in an old wooden pants hanger and hang them in a closet.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest