The 5 Best Storage Gems a Pro Organizer Can’t Live Without (They’re All Under $20!)

published Mar 9, 2024
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different storage bins
Credit: Photos: The Container Store, Home Depot; Design: The Kitchn

The quest to keep things organized in the kitchen is never-ending. After all, there’s a nonstop flow of things in and out, and despite all the best intentions, it’s way too easy for things to get out of hand — and fast. 

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m late to the game in working with a professional organizer, but now that I know, I know. And ever since I began working with the experts, I’ve learned to trust the recommendations that come from a pro. They see our messiest, most challenging spaces, day in and day out, and have the skills and the experience to help turn things around. This can involve spending some extra money, but in my experience, at least, it’s been money well-spent to invest in things that keep everything in my space easy to find and access. After all, when you know you already have things at home, you’re less likely to buy duplicates and end up with waste.

I’m fascinated by how organizers’ brains work, and what their absolute go-tos are. Kim Jones of Lock & Key Home in Louisville, Kentucky, and author of The No-Nonsense Home Organization Plan, was kind enough to share her tried-and-true favorites when it comes to organizing kitchens. Here are the five she says every kitchen needs (all for around $20).

1 / 5

If you haven’t come around to the magic of lazy Susans, this is your sign. This $17 spinning gem is indispensable, according to me — but not just me. “Lazy Susans are a must-have item in the kitchen!” Jones says. “This is a great place to store condiments, to easily be able to see what is available.” They work in the refrigerator, under the sink, in cabinets, on shelves, and beyond.

2 / 5

For $18, you can banish the junk drawer! Okay, you’re not actually banishing it. Better still, you’re organizing it with this smart organizer tray. “It is really easy to toss everything into a drawer and just shut it,” Jones says. “But it is so much easier when you can open the drawer and everything has a designated home. Drawer organizers help keep items categorized and easy to find.” Imagine if everything had a place and you could put your hands on the vegetable peeler, corkscrew, or measuring spoon without thinking twice! And that’s honestly how I’ve felt since Jones helped me organize my kitchen.

3 / 5

Okay, this organizer is just a touch north of $20, but what’s the price of doubling your storage space? “Under the sink areas can be hard to navigate with all the pipes and awkward space,” says Jones. With its space-maximizing double tier that slides out for easy access, “This is perfect to keep all items tidy and easy to find when needed,” says the pro.

4 / 5
was $70.99

At less than $60 for a four-pack, these multi-tasking plastic bins clock in at $15 apiece, and Jones can’t do without them in a kitchen organizing project. “These bins are awesome in every room of the home, but I especially love them in the kitchen,” she says. “The acrylic has a clean look and also allows you to see what is inside of the bin.” A bonus, she says, is the built-in handle, which makes it easy to grab the bins from shelves. Being plastic, they’re also super easy to wipe clean if they get messy. (The smaller mDesign storage bins are also great for the pantry and fridge.)

5 / 5

Two of these baskets run just shy of $30, making them just under $15 each. “Sometimes you don't want items to easily be seen if they aren't as pretty, so these are perfect for those items,” says Jones. They’re also great if you’re using them on a shelf or in the open somewhere you don’t want the look of plastic. She likes these baskets for storing napkins, dish towels, paper goods, and more. You can also add a bin clip to them, she notes, making it even easier to find what you’re looking for.