4 Organizers That Just Aren’t Worth the Money — And 7 That Definitely Are

updated Jul 18, 2020
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Name an organizing dilemma and there’s almost always going to be some sort of specialized product out there that claims to solve that exact problem. Translation: There are so many organizers out there. Of course, some are better than others.

It’s true that a well-placed hook or, say, a lazy Susan can make your day-to-day life a little bit smoother and happier. But sometimes a DIY, hack, or clever thinking — rather than an expensive basket — can do the trick.

Here are some organizers that are worth every penny — and some you really don’t need to spend your money on. 

7 Organizers That Are Always Worth the Money

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

1. Over-the-Door Organizers

They’re versatile, inexpensive, and make use of potentially wasted space on the back of any door. You can use one to store spices, dry goods, snacks, or even your collection of water bottles that somehow keeps growing.  

Buy: Simple Houseware Large Over-The-Door Hanging Shoe Organizer, $10

2. Lazy Susans

You can almost never have too many turntables. They’re great for eking out functional storage from corners in cabinets or pantries. They’re also great for making items that would normally be unreachable in the back of a shelf (whether that’s in a cabinet, on a pantry shelf, or in the fridge) reachable again! Perfect for small baking items or bottles of condiments or oils, a turntable might be the most versatile, and likely the most fun, organizing product. 

Buy: Copco Lazy Susan, $10

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Tension Rods

You might not think of tension rods as organizing solutions, but they totally are. You can use them to file away cutting boards and platters, create more space in a spice cabinet, and even get your under-the-sink storage area under control.

Buy: Coco29 Adjustable Tension Rods, $6.50 for two

Credit: Minette Hand

4. Hanging Fruit Baskets

If you want to get your non-refrigerated fruits and veggies off the counter or put some empty space to good use, a hanging fruit basket could be just the thing you didn’t know you were looking for. We also like these for organizing cloth napkins or random odds and ends. Plus, they’re generally cute to look at and are totally in style again.

Buy: Fox Run 3-Tier Copper Kitchen Hanging Fruit Baskets, $19

5. Pot Organizers

There are few things in the kitchen that are more frustrating than trying to dig out a pot, only to send seven of them tumbling to the ground. Whether you go for an organizer that sits in your cabinets or hangs from your wall/ceiling, you’ll be so glad to have a better system in place.

Buy: Cuisinart Half-Circle Wall-Mount Pot Rack, $40

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

6. Command Hooks

Command hooks are oh-so-useful! Use a single one to hang up an apron, pot holder, or tea towel. Or line them up on your backsplash to hang utensils. Or get creative and use them to organize your pot lids (now that we’ve gotten your pots under control). Fact: No one has ever regretting buying Command hooks.

Buy: Command Hooks, $7 for seven

Credit: JulNichols/Getty Images

7. Shelf Risers

What’s better than one shelf? Two shelves! These can be used in cabinets and pantries and for so many things, from bags of dry beans or overflow brown sugar that didn’t fit in your modular container to the good set of matching mugs or a couple water bottles. These baskets and shelf risers help you make use of every inch of cabinet space without taking up much of their own. 

Buy: Smart Design Kitchen Storage Expandable Shelf Rack, $18 for two

Organizing Products That Aren’t Worth the Money 

In general, the organizing products that might be better left un-bought are the ones that are awkwardly shaped or bulky, or that serve only one very specific purpose. Organizers that can easily be made at home for much less can also be passed up. Here are a few examples.

1. Junk Drawer Organizers

You know those plastic, metal, or bamboo rectangles meant to organize every junk drawer in America? You can easily make your own using the bottoms of cereal boxes, jewelry boxes, and more. Gather some up and then configure them in whatever way makes the most sense for your particular drawer. 

2. Specialized Storage

Think twice about storage solutions that are extremely specific to one job, and consider whether there may be a more versatile solution that can be adapted if your storage needs change. For instance a regular shelf riser can accomplish the same thing as a corner-shaped shelf riser does, but without the limitation of only being of use in corners. 

3. Complicated Products

Organizing solutions that are too complicated may also cause more trouble than they’re worth. For instance, a sponge holder/sink organizer that has intricate drainage components could be a pain to clean. 

4. Unnecessarily Good-Looking Products

Finally, steer clear of solutions that look better than they need to. For instance, if you’re buying a basket that’s going to be stored behind closed closet doors, you don’t need to pay for a pretty woven one that’s easy on the eye; a plastic one will serve just as well and cost way less.