17 Things You’re Storing the Wrong Way — And What to Do Instead

updated Aug 13, 2021
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I spend a lot of time thinking about where my various kitchen appliances, pots and pans, and gadgets go. This is especially true right now as I’m getting ready to move. A new kitchen brings with it all sorts of new possibilities. Can my kitchen be even more efficient? Can I find new ways to bring organization into chaos? Turns out, those answers are yes and yes! I’m always surprised by how many things I’m doing the wrong way — and what a big difference doing it the right way can make. I’m going to generalize and say that this is probably true for you. 

Here are 17 things you could be storing in a smarter, more optimized way. Whether you’re moving, too, or you’re staying put in your Forever Kitchen.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

1. Pot Lids

Have you ever reached for a lid and sent the rest of them tumbling in a clang-y metal avalanche? Of course you have. There are a few better ways to store your pot lids (compared to that oh-so-precarious stack), but this one, featuring Command hooks, is probably the most brilliant.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Baking Pans, Sheet Pans, and Platters

Those oversized platters and trays and pans? Instead of stacking them (more opportunity for avalanches!), add tension rods to a cabinet to create a filing system. This way, you can pull out what you need without disturbing everything else.

Credit: Ana Kamin

3. Cutting Boards

Similarly, wooden cutting boards can be stood up and filed like cookbooks. Better yet, file them with your cookbooks!

Credit: Lauren Volo

4. Stand Mixer Attachments

I firmly believe that stand mixer attachments belong in the mixer bowl. If you’re storing them anywhere else, try this: Put a dish towel in the bottom of your mixer bowl to protect it from scratching, then tuck the attachments inside. The next time you go to use that mixer, you’ll have no trouble finding the right attachment, and you’ll have a fresh dish towel, which always comes in handy. 

5. Food Processor Attachments

So many small appliances with so many attachments! While some newer food processors come with storage cases, that might not be, um, the case for yours. If you need a place to stash all the extra blades, consider adding a magnetic knife strip to the inside of a cabinet. The blades can be hung up and accessed when you need them.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil and parchment paper don’t take up a lot of space, but the boxes can fall over and get messy pretty easily. Instead, hang them on a cabinet door (or a wall in your pantry) with some Command hooks and wooden dowels.

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

7. Water Bottles

I know very few people with a manageable collection of water bottles and travel mugs. They just have a way of multiplying! Get them in order by storing them in an over-the-door shoe holder. Hang it on your pantry door or in a nearby closet.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

8. Kiddie Plates

I don’t have little kids, but I know how hard their various plates and bowls and utensils can be to store. (How is it that they never see to stack neatly?) Put a wire dish drainer in a cabinet and you can use it as an organizer.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

9. Spices

Forget the spice cabinet: I’m all about the spice drawer. If you can dedicate a drawer to spices, do it. Lay them on their sides or stand them up (just label the tops), and you’ll always be able to see what you need.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

10. Baking Mats

How to store a floppy baking mat? Roll it up and slide it through a portion of a paper towel tube! Brilliant!

Credit: Joe Lingeman

11. Little Condiment Packets

All those condiment packets you get with your takeout? Put a sponge holder on the inside of your fridge (or your cabinet), and load it up with whatever you’ve got.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

12. Utensils

Instead of storing your utensils straight in a drawer, consider working on a diagonal. This gives you much more flexibility in terms of how you use the space inside your drawers. And while you can buy a diagonal organizer, making one is relatively simple and is guaranteed to fit, no matter what size or shape your drawer is.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

13. Cast Iron Pans

If you have multiple cast iron pans and you are nesting them one on top of the other, here’s a smart trick: Use a paper towel (or two!) to separate each piece of cookware. This prevents scratches or damage to the inside of your cookware — and can absorb any moisture that might lead to rusting. Just swap out the paper towel whenever it starts to look dirty. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

14. Your in-Use Slow Cooker

I know more and more of us are relying on our slow cookers to make dinner while we work from home. The best to place set up that slow cooker while it works? On the stovetop, actually. Here’s why.

Credit: Dana McMahan

15. Your Instant Pot

Turns out, Target makes a cart that’s practically perfect for storing an Instant Pot.

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

16. Spray Bottles

Cleaning supplies stashed under the kitchen sink can get messy, quickly. Rather than trying to jam stuff in there, hang a tension rod across the top and hook spray bottles over the bar. The triggers act as built-in hooks and you’ll free up space on the bottom of the cabinet. (Note: You’ll want to get a more sturdy tension rod for this project. Like this $5 two-pack.)

Credit: Joe Lingeman

17. Kitchen Linens

Kitchen linens are the bane of my existence. They almost always end up in some sort of disheveled stack that started out neat and tidy, but then fall over immediately. Right now, they are jumbled in my IKEA Raskog Cart, my napkins and my aprons with my dish towels with my ratty dish rags. The right way to store those linens? The Marie Kondo way. Kondo’s towel-storage method involves standing the towels up in a drawer, basket, or organizer, side by side. This allows you to see each towel at a glance and avoid the leaning tower-of-linens.

Got any other smart ideas to add to this list? Leave them in the comments below!