The Best $20 I Ever Spent on My Kitchen
After publishing my list on the best and worst things I’ve ever bought for my kitchen, I realized I’d forgotten to include one key purchase that has definitely made my life in the kitchen a little — well, a lot! — better.
I’m dubbing it the best $20 I ever spent for my kitchen, and because that’s too good a secret to keep to myself, I asked my fellow Kitchn editors and writers, past and present, to chime in with their own picks! If you want to treat your kitchen well but don’t want to spend a lot, take a peek at our definitive list of the best kitchen items under $20.
Full Circle Organic Cotton Dish Cloths, Set of 3, $9 from Amazon
I go through dish cloths like a maniac. Between wiping counters, washing dishes, and washing a toddler’s face after every meal, my small stock of cloths headed into the laundry pile with more frequency than they came out of it. I was always running out of clean ones!
Finally, I realized there was no law that said I could only have three dish cloths to my name. Eureka! So I went ahead and bought a few sets of these Full Circle dish cloths, which are my favorite dish cloths by far. (Unlike other dish cloths I’ve had, these don’t get raggedy and tattered after a few months’ use.) Now I don’t have to resort to using paper towels or a hand towel from the bathroom because I ran out of clean dish cloths. This stash is now enough to get me through laundry loads. – Cambria Bold, Contributor
OXO Good Grips Locking Tongs, $11.99 from Amazon
“A good set of tongs is one of the most indispensable kitchen tools, in my opinion. I actually have three of them. They’re just so handy for so many things. I use them everyday for prep, cooking, and serving.” – Kelli Foster, Associate Food Editor
Madesmart Interlocking Drawer Organizers, $10 from Amazon
“It’s not at all luxurious, but the best money I ever spent on my kitchen was picking up a few packs of these drawer organizers. There are enough sizes for just about everything from the rubber band ball to the can opener to a chef’s knife, and they can be arranged in so many different ways to fit any drawer. They also interlock, so they’re less likely to slip around and get jumbled. So easy.” – Emma Christensen, Contributor
All Purpose Pantry Towels (Set of 4), $19.95 from Williams Sonoma
“I’ve been on the hunt for kitchen towels that actually do a good job of absorbing water. Many of the decorative ones just don’t do a good job of drying dishes, but these thick towels from Williams-Sonoma have a finished and unfinished side that both work well. They’re pure white and easy to just bleach white again should any stains set in, and they’re my go-to kitchen towel now! They’re worth every penny.” – Christine Gallary, Food Editor-at-Large
Nordic Ware Baker’s Half Sheet (Set of 2), $16.99 from Amazon
“The best money I spent was on two half-sheet pans. I use them for baking cookies or granola, roasting vegetables or big batches of chicken thighs, carrying my grilling supplies outside, freezing items flat for better storage in the freezer, and catching the juices while carving large cuts of meat or cutting extra-juicy fruit (I got this tip from a reader — just put your cutting board inside the sheet pan).
They’re strong, don’t warp, look almost as good as the day I bought them, and if you buy them at a restaurant supply store, they’ll be cheap enough that you can also pick up a quarter-sheet pan and still pay under $20. (Helpful for narrow freezers and smaller jobs!)” – Anjali Prasertong, Contributor
Scotch-Brite Greener Clean Dishwand, $12.99 from Amazon
“The day I finally tried out one of these dishwands was the day I was able to clean dishes with a smile. There are a lot of dishwands out there, but I like this one because of its size, its softer scrubbing fibers (or so it seems?), and how well it cleans my dishes without leaving the sponge gross. It doesn’t get your hands wet or dirty, and you can put dish soap in the handle of the wand and it slowly comes out of the sponge. So fancy!” – Ariel Knutson, News & Culture Editor
Libbey Vina Stemless Wine Glasses (Set of 4), $19.99 from Amazon
“Once I found these Libbey Vina wine glasses I became a total stemless convert. I love how easily they fit in the dishwasher and how versatile they are; I use them for water, juice, and smoothies, too. Bonus: It makes me feel like a Real Adult when I pull out the ‘correct’ glass for the type of wine I’m drinking.” – Lauren Kodiak, Managing Editor
Helen’s Asian Kitchen Spider Strainer (5-inch), $9 from Amazon
ZeZaZu Parchment Paper Sheets, $13.99 from Amazon
“I split a pack of restaurant-grade parchment with a friend and I’ve used it for years. Those flat sheets were worth every last penny. It feels like I’m lining my baking sheets with liquid gold every time — which is admittedly a weird analogy.” – Sarah Rae Smith, Contributor
SKOGSTA Chopping Board, $14.99 from IKEA
“It’s wood and sturdy and so affordable.” – Gina Eykemans, Contributor
Madesmart Basic Twin Turntable, $13.99 from Amazon
“This goes in my cabinet — my spice bottles are alphabetically organized with the label facing out so I never have to hunt them down.” – Marge Perry, Contributor
Readers, now it’s your turn! What’s the best thing you ever bought for $20 (or less) for your kitchen?
This post was originally published on September 15, 2015, and was last updated on March 11, 2019.