9 “Zero-Dollar” Ways to Add Organization to Your Kitchen

updated Jul 18, 2020
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Yes, there are all sorts of snazzy organizers, racks, and dividers out there for anyone looking to turn their kitchen in a Pinterest-worthy space. And yes, those can end up costing you a pretty penny. Do you have to spend money to get organized? Nope! In the spirit of saving us all some money, we rounded up a few of our best “zero-dollar” organizing tips and tricks, using stuff you probably already have on hand.

The only thing you have to spend in order to get a more organized kitchen? A little bit of time.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Use empty cereal boxes to organize container lids.

Try this easy hack to (finally) create a system for keeping all your container lids in one place. Don’t just put all your lids in there and call it a day, though. First, make sure every lid you’re storing also has a matching bottom. Anything without a bottom can be recycled or tossed.

Credit: Cambria Bold

2. Use other boxes to organize your junk drawer.

Years ago, one of our staffers organized her junk drawer without buying a single organizer and we’ve used this as the gold standard ever since. Repurpose random boxes (like the ones your checks come in, little jewelry boxes, boxes from tea bags, etc!) and figure out a configuration that makes sense for your drawer.

Credit: Lauren Volo

3. Turn half of an egg carton into a condiment holder.

We have Alton Brown to thank for this tip: He figured out that half of an egg carton fits pretty perfectly into most fridge door shelves. And that the little cups make great holders for upside-down condiment bottles. This way, your bottles get organized and you can eek out every last drop of ketchup.

4. Use binder clips to label your freezer zones.

Steal some binder clips from your home office and use them to create shelf tags in your freezer. (You’ll also need tape and a marker, but we’re assuming you have those somewhere already.) This way, everyone in your household will know where the ice cream goes versus where the veggies belong.

Credit: Faith Durand

5. Use trays and stands to create purposeful vignettes.

A bunch of stuff sitting out on the counter looks like a cluttered mess. A bunch of stuff sitting out on a tray or stand looks like a well-styled scene! Round up your frequently used spices and bottles and group them on a tray. Arrange your dish soap, sponge, and ring dish on a cake stand by the sink. These little groupings will help make your space look less cluttered.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Turn a bread tag into a charging station.

If you use your phone, tablet, and/or laptops while you cook, you probably also have a charger or two in your kitchen. To keep your cords from becoming a dangly mess on the floor, use this bread tag hack to hold them in place.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

7. Roll up silicone baking mats with a paper towel tube.

Don’t be so fast to recycle your next empty paper towel tube. Instead, cut it in half and use it to hold a rolled up silicone baking mat.

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

8. Hang up your cleaning supplies.

Whether you live in an apartment or have a house with a laundry room, you probably keep at least some of your cleaning products under your kitchen sink. If you’ve got an old tension rod hanging around, fit it nice and snug under your sink cabinet and then hang your cleaning sprays. This way, you’ll make room for other things to sit on the shelf below. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

9. Get your cords under control.

Toasters, stand mixers, slow cookers, and coffee makers all tend to sit on our countertops, which is fine — as long as they’re used regularly. It’s their long, long, unsightly cords that we have problems with. Instead of letting them snake all around, cluttering up our counters, use a leftover bread twist tie to bundle them up. 

Got any more tips or hacks to add? Leave them in the comments below.