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30 Brilliant Ways to Organize Your Kitchen for $20 or Less

updated Jul 31, 2020
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Have you ever looked at a kitchen or pantry on Pinterest and wondered how many hundreds (or thousands) of dollars the homeowners must have spent on organizational products? Those ridiculously cute baskets and bespoke drawer features don’t come cheap! Of course, it’s still totally possible to get an organized kitchen without spending a small fortune.

For inspiration, we’ve rounded up some of our best tips, hacks, and product suggestions — each of which will only set you back a maximum of $20. And actually, most of these ideas will only cost you just $10 or less! Let’s take a look.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Use a tension rod to add a shelf in your spice cabinet.

While we love a tiered spice rack (especially this $10 one!) we love this trick even more: Put a tension rod in the very back of a cabinet. It’ll create a bonus shelf for your smaller spice jars. Actually, pair the tension rod with the $10 spice rack and you’ll always be able to find what you need.

Buy: Wellgoods Tension Rod, $8 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

2. Hang measuring cups from a key holder.

Don’t waste valuable drawer or shelf space on measuring cups. Instead, steal this idea and add hooks or a key rail to the walls inside a cabinet and hang the cups from the hooks. This one just sticks onto the cabinet, so it’s a great option for renters.

Buy: Command Key Rail, $9

Credit: Anik Polo

3. Add shelf risers.

Shelf risers can almost double your usable cabinet space. They’ll let you store things on top of each other without stacking or having to pull things out unnecessarily. Free bonus tip: Don’t be afraid to rearrange the height of your shelves! Just because you’ve had them set this way for years doesn’t mean you have to leave them like that.

Buy: SimpleHouseware Expandable Shelf Riser, $15

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

4. Use Command Hooks to store pot lids on a cabinet door.

Pot lids take up more space than you realize and a stack of them is really just a constant avalanche threat. Command hooks come to the rescue again: Use them to hang your lids on the back of a cabinet door (or on a blank wall in a pantry). You’ll need two hooks per lid and then you’ll never have to worry about toppling lids ever again.

Buy: Medium Command Hooks, $8.50 for six

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Prop Stylist: Stephanie Yeh/Kitchn

5. Use a tension rod to organize cleaning supplies under the sink.

Under-the-sink cabinets can get crowded pretty quickly (pipes! Cleaning supplies! The lack of shelving!). String up a tension rod or two, across the top of the cabinet, and you’ve got a place to hang all of your spray bottles and cleaning cloths. This frees up the bottom of the cabinets for other cleaning supplies.

Buy: Coco29 Powder Steel Adjustable Tension Rods, $6.50 for two

Credit: Kitchn

6. Stick a shower caddy to the side of the fridge.

If your fridge is starting to get overrun with little packets of ketchup from takeout, string cheeses, packs of herbs, and other little odds and ends, you need this tip. Stick a suction-cup caddy to the side of your fridge and use it as a storage compartment for all the things that usually get lost in the fridge.

Buy: mDesign Plastic Suction Shower Caddy, $8

7. Keep flatware in a narrow drawer organizer.

Even if you don’t have the narrowest silverware drawer known to mankind, a narrow silverware organizer will hold all your utensils and leave room in the drawer for other things. This organizer from Joseph Joseph is seriously brilliant and almost everyone on the Kitchn team is obsessed with it.

Buy: Joseph Joseph DrawerStore, $10

Credit: Sarah Crowley

8. And use drawer dividers for utensils and tools.

Most utensil organizers waste a shocking amount of space and a utensil drawer without any sort of organizer becomes a jumbled mess. What to do? Install two of these dresser drawer dividers. You can set them up however you like and they barely take up any space. You can even label them so you know what tools go where.

Buy: OXO Good Grips Expandable Dresser Drawer Divider, $20 for two

Credit: Sarah Crowley

9. Turn an IKEA picture ledge into a spice rack.

Yes, IKEA does also make spice racks, but we find that they don’t hold enough. Instead, we suggest using a picture ledge for spices and little bottles of oils and vinegars. This will free up a cabinet or pantry shelf for something else.

Read more: The Easy, $10 IKEA Hack That’ll Get All Your Spices in Order

10. Put hooks on the sides of your cabinets.

In case it isn’t clear just yet: We love hooks here at Kitchn! Put them anywhere and everywhere — especially on the sides of your cabinets. Those surfaces would otherwise go to waste. Hang a few hooks on them (Command Hooks or something even nicer) and you’ve got space for tools, linens, cleaning stuff, and more.

Tour this space: This Is One of the Most Beautiful, Livable Tiny Houses We’ve Ever Seen at Apartment Therapy

Credit: Joe Lingeman

11. Use a dish rack to organize your kid’s plates.

The problem with storing your kid’s dishes is that they don’t always stack neatly. Instead, file them in a dish drainer and pack the whole thing away in a single cabinet.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Prop Stylist: Stephanie Yeh/Kitchn

12. Use an over-the-door shoe rack for water bottles and travel mugs.

Raise your hand if you have more water bottles and travel coffee mugs than you could possibly use in a week? You may want to whittle down your collection. And then store the keepers in an over-the-door shoe rack, which you can hang in a pantry or coat closet.

Buy: SimpleHouseware Over-The-Door Hanging Shoe Organizer, $10

13. Hang your dish towel from your fridge.

Keeping your dish towel on your oven door not only blocks your view to the window, but it’s also a little dirty, as the towel can hit the floor when you open the oven. The best, most logical place to put it? On a hook on the side of your fridge.

Buy: Better Houseware Stainless Steel Magnetic Hook, $12

Credit: Joe Lingeman

14. Create a foil and parchment dispensing station.

Why waste a drawer or shelf space for all your foil and parchment paper boxes? Instead, mount them to a wall or the door of a cabinet with some Command Hooks and wooden dowels (which you can get at your local hardware store).

Read more: The $8 Hack That’ll Make Storing Your Foil and Parchment Paper a Million Times Better

Credit: Sarah Crowley

15. Use a mail organizer to hold container lids.

Container lids are somehow harder to manage than cookware lids! Hang up a mail organizer and file them away in size order. This will make it easier to stack the containers and also find the lid you need when it’s time.

Buy: AmazonBasics Mesh Bin, $10

16. Hang a basket.

You can find legitimately cute baskets at the dollar store. Pick up some the next time you’re out and hang them on a wall in your kitchen. You’ll end up with near-instant, display-worthy storage. (Just be sure to use anchors if you plan to load your basket up with anything heavy like a cutting board or a cookbook.)

Credit: Joe Lingeman

17. Set up a cake stand.

A cake stand next to your sink or oven can corral things into purposeful vignettes instead of straight clutter. If you don’t already have a cake stand, please allow us to suggest this fun neon option!

Credit: Lana Kenney

18. Hang some mugs.

Free up some cabinet space by hanging your mugs from hooks under shelves or upper cabinets. You’ll just need a few screw hooks … and to pick out your favorite mugs.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

19. Mount your trash bags to the cabinet under your sink.

Your box of trash bags doesn’t stand a chance of surviving until the roll is gone. No matter how organized you are, that box always deteriorates somehow. Use some hardware to hang the roll up and out of the way. It’ll free up space and make the bags easier to pull out.

Read more: The $8 Hack That’ll Make Storing Your Trash Bags a Million Times Better

20. Get a lazy Susan.

Lazy Susans should be renamed to hard-working Susans! Because they really do so much to keep your pantry organized. Without one it’ll be hard to see the bottles you have stashed toward the back of the shelf. With one, you can simply rotate everything and gain instant access.

Buy: Copco Lazy Susan, $9

Credit: Joe Lingeman

21. Put a cheap cutting board under your small appliances.

Maybe you’re lusting after one of those pricey shelf lifts for your stand mixer? A cheaper option is to just put a plastic cutting board under your stand mixer. And your toaster. And your coffee maker. This way, when you want to pull out the appliance to use it, you just slide the board. None of that annoying skipping down your counter!

Credit: Kaitlin Garske

22. Put small appliances on rolling plant stands.

This idea came from our brilliant Senior Social Media Manager, Kaitlin Garske. Tired of not being able to easily access her small appliances, she put them each on a rolling plant stand. Now, she can easily pull out what she needs. This idea works for any large basket or crate that you want to store on the floor of your closet-style pantry. Just add wheels or put the whole thing on a rolling stand!

Buy: Rolling Planter Caddy, $13 at Home Depot

23. Hang pots and pans across a window.

Don’t have a ton of wall space? Maybe you have a window? Hang a curtain rod across and use S-hooks to display your cookware and some cooking utensils.

Credit: Amazon

24. File cutting boards, platters, and various cookware.

We believe that the best way to store bulky cutting boards and platters is to file them vertically. (Avoid those avalanches at all costs!) This organizer is technically meant for pot lids, but if you’ve got yours on your cabinet door (see tip #4!), then it can be used for those bulkier items.

BuySimpleHouseware Kitchen Pot Lid Rack Holder Organizer, $10

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

25. Hang bags of snacks with pants hangers.

Pants hangers serve as both chip clips to keep contents fresh and as hangers to keep bags from flopping everywhere and chips from getting crushed. Steal this idea if you have wire shelves in your pantry.

Buy: Wooden Pants Hangers, $15 for 10

Credit: Kitchn Video

26. Use magazine holders in the freezer.

Create makeshift shelves in a freezer by storing magazine holders on their sides. Freeze things flat (soups, sauces, and meat, for example) and you can file things away neatly.

Buy: Plastic Magazine Holders, $16 for four

Credit: Lauren Volo

27. And egg cartons on your fridge door.

This tip won’t cost you any extra money and comes from Food Network star Alton Brown. When you’re done with an egg carton, separate the top and bottom and use one to line the bottom of the shelf on your fridge’s door, then store condiments mouth-side down. It’ll keep the bottles organized and help you squeeze out every last drop. You can also use a plastic egg holder if you want something a little more polished!

Buy: Greenco Stackable Refrigerator Egg Storage Bin, $12

Credit: Amazon

28. Get a special rack for canned goods.

If you’ve ever had a can of green beans fall on your foot, then you’re probably with us in recommending a can organizer. It’s simply a must-have for anyone with a decent bean/veggie/soup collection. This one is a bestseller on Amazon and has a 4.6-star rating.

BuySimple Houseware Stackable Can Rack, $20

Credit: Joe Lingeman

29. Add labels to everything.

Even if you’re working with mismatched containers and upcycled jars, a few pretty labels will not only make the space look neater, but will also help you take inventory or find what you need at a glance. These come in cute shapes and with a chalk marker.

Buy: Chalkboard Labels, $11 for 96

Credit: Joe Lingeman

30. Add Velcro dots to the bottom of drawer dividers.

A sure-fire way to make your junk drawer even junkier? Letting the so-called organizers get jostled around every time you open and close the door. Add Velcro dots to the bottoms and stick them to the drawer to help the containers stay in place.

Buy: Velcro Brand Dots, $12

We could keep going with this list, but now it’s your turn! Share your favorite budget-friendly organizing tips in the comments below!