The Pro Organizer Tip That’ll Save You Money and All the Frustrations

updated Feb 9, 2021
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A cluttered kitchen isn’t just an aesthetic bane. Too much stuff in the kitchen can also interfere with your space’s functionality. What good is any drawer if it’s so packed, you can’t easily find what you’re looking for?

The problem is, that stuff is likely useful. Or will be useful. No, we’re not counting that ice cream maker that hasn’t been put to work since it was brought home (that can go): We’re talking about the Bonus Tongs and the Bonus Bonus Tongs.

Pro organizer Jamie Novak, owner of Novak Organizing, once found herself in this tricky situation: She wanted a neater kitchen, but she couldn’t part with some of the kitchen tools standing in the way. She says her kitchen drawers were once so full she could hardly budge them open. 

Credit: Raymond Forbes LLC/Stocksy

“They were overflowing with multiples, like four pancake turners, just in case I needed them one day,” she says. Her brilliant solution to crammed cabinets and drawers? Don’t ditch the extras, because reality is, you may need them one day. Instead, Novak recommends this trick: Tuck multiples away in a storage bin outside the kitchen.

There are a few reasons Novak’s approach works so well. Of course, removing excess gadgets and accessories from your kitchen storage space solves the immediate problem of overly full, disorganized drawers and cabinets (ultimately making finding and grabbing what you need much easier). 

But the real trick is that instead of burying the extras in a random storage bin, where she’s unlikely to remember them later, Novak puts them in a designated spot. Because she can “shop” her own stash as needed, she won’t need to run to the store (or Amazon) every time she needs to replenish a kitchen essential. “When I need to replace my turner or need a new garlic press or even a replacement roll of tape for the junk drawer, I shop my stash,” she says. This way, her kitchen is less frustrating to use and she can shop what she already owns, which obviously doesn’t cost her any extra money. (Unlike, say, a trip to Target, which always has a way of adding up.)

To make Novak’s trick work for you, parse through your kitchen storage and find all the multiples — extra utensils, coffee mugs, glasses, gadgets, and accessories. Grab a box or basket and label it, then put it somewhere you’ll remember, like a closet or in your basement storage area. Next time something breaks or becomes unusable, go to your bin and grab what you need!