The 10 Most Surprising Organizing Hacks We Learned This Year

updated Dec 30, 2019
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Every once in a while we run an organizing story that we just can’t believe we hadn’t thought of earlier. Like, of course there’s a better way to store aluminum foil and pot lids! This year, we actually had quite a few of those aha moments. In honor of the ball drop tonight, we thought we’d round up 10 of our best organizing ideas from the year. Read this now, make a few changes to your kitchen, and then you’ll be able to ring in the new year knowing that you have a more organized cook space. (You wouldn’t have been able to celebrate without this, right?)

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Foil and parchment paper should be hung up.

Currently keeping your foil and parchment paper in a drawer or piled up inside a cabinet? A simple wooden dowel and some Command Hooks can create a more efficient wrapping station. Set it up on the inside of a cabinet door or on a wall in your pantry.

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

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. A tension rod can help organize spices.

Create an extra “shelf” in your spice cabinet by installing a tension rod in the very back toward the top. It’ll act as a little perch for smaller bottles and still leaves you plenty of room for a tiered rise, if you wanted.

Read more: The Simple Yet Surprising Way a Tension Rod Can Help You Organize Your Spices

3. Your fridge door can help you with food waste.

“Instead of putting all the condiments and dressings on the shelves on the door, I put my most perishable food there,” one of our writers said. This way, she’s more like to see what she has, knows what needs to be eaten first, and wastes way less food.

Read more: This Little Fridge Change Has Me Cooking More, Wasting Less, and Feeling Better About My Kitchen

4. Kitchens, like closets, should be rotated seasonally.

There’s probably very little need for an ice cream maker in the middle of winter. Ditto that little cooler. And grill supplies. If you move all that seasonal stuff out of the way, you’ll have more room for winter-specific gear. Our point: Consider rotating your kitchen gear twice a year (in the spring and fall) to make space.

Read more: One Trick You’re Missing That’ll Help You Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

Credit: Emily Shwake

5. File holders can organize your freezer.

We love this hack, even if you don’t have roommates; you can use one file holder for, say, veggies, and another one for meat. These not only help to corral ingredients, but they also help take advantage of vertical space.

Read more: An Unexpected $6 Find Is the Key to a Better Freezer, According to These Organizing Pros

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

6. There’s still hope for everyone’s under-the-sink cabinet.

We have met very few people in this world who say they’ve got their under-sink cabinets figured out. They’re just so dark, damp, and hard to organize (rawr, pipes!)! We came up with nine super-smart tips and tricks to help every last one of you get that space under control. Our favorite idea: Use a tension rod to hang spray bottles, gloves, and cleaning rags.

Read more: The 9 Most Brilliant Under-the-Sink Organizing Tips and Tricks You’ll Wish You Knew About Way Earlier

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

7. A Command Hook can make your trash can a million times better.

This was probably our favorite tip of the whole year. Because we were SO tired of dealing with bags that had fallen into the trash can! Just stick an upside-down Command Hook to the side of your can and loop the drawstring around the hook — the bag will stay in place, no matter how much you toss into the can.

Read more: How a $6 Amazon Find Can Make Your Trash Can a Million Times Better

Credit: Emily Shwake

8. Spices should be organized alphabetically.

If this works in professional kitchens, it’s bound to work in yours!

Read more: The Brilliant (but Easy!) Spice Organizing Tip I Got from a Pro Chef

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

9. We all need a shoe organizer in the pantry.

Even if you don’t have a gazillion water bottles on hand (WHAT IS YOUR SECRET?), you can still put a shoe organizer to good use, holding ingredients or cleaning supplies. Add one to your pantry or even your coat closet.

Read more: 3 Smart Ways to Use This Surprising Organizer in Your Pantry

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

10. Pot lids belong on the back of cabinet doors.

Is there anything Command Hooks CAN’T do? Turns out, they CAN hold your pot lids against the back of a cabinet door so that you can free up some shelf space.

Read more: The $8 Trick to Miraculously Making Space for Your Pot Lids Where You Thought There Wasn’t Any

Did you learn any life-changing organizing tips this year? Share them in the comments below!