We get a lot of good ideas from you guys (like this one about how to put cheap cutting boards to good use!). So just for fun, we've rounded up 18 of the top tips you guys have given us recently. Steal some of them for your own kitchen and leave some other tips in the comments.
1. Use small lidded containers for the junk drawer.
Can't say how it makes me proud, but it makes me more organized and makes me think before saving yet another twist tie or rubber band: My junk drawer is full of cheap lidded containers that hold, among other things, each in its own container, rubber bands, miscellaneous hardware, twist ties, string, and even one for clothespins, because they occasionally come in handy. I can find anything within a few seconds because the lids are transparent enough to see the contents right away.
2. Use LEGOs for stacking cookie sheets.
Lego, or more specifically, Duplo: The 2x2 bricks, stacked a couple high, are great for stacking cookie sheets in preparation for baking a lot of cookies, or hors d'oeuvres for a party. They're dishwasher safe, store easily, and cost nothing — they're the only Duplo we still have in the house since the kids grew out of it into real Lego ... and another 20 years beyond.
3. Store measuring spoons in a jar by the stove.
I store my measuring spoons in a little glass freezer canning jar next to my stove. I saw it on the King Arthur Flour blog and not only is it easy to find what I'm looking for, it looks cute too.
4. Use a flatware organizer for storing long, skinny tools.
I used a flatware organizer in my junk drawer to corral the long skinny things that insisted on entangling themselves: straws, chopsticks, skewers, assorted power cords, plastic tableware, twist-ties, etc.
5. Tape magnets on the inside of wrap dispensers.
I taped rare earth magnets inside my plastic wrap, wax paper, and parchment paper boxes, so they stick to the side of the fridge and don't take up drawer/cabinet space.
6. Use a magazine holder to hold your cutting boards.
You know those cutting board racks you see, that attach to the inside of a kitchen cabinet? Well, rather than paying $50+ for one of those I found a $5 magazine holder online, and just attached to the inside of my cabinet with 3M hooks. Works like a charm, and keeps the cutting boards accessible but out of the way!
7. Load your silverware by like item in the dishwasher.
When loading my dishwasher, I also group my silverware by like item — it makes unloading it a breeze.
8. Store cooking instructions in glass containers with the food.
I store all dry goods in glass canning jars with swing-type closure. And I store cooking instructions, use-by date, or simply part of the packaging inside the lids, so I can read it from the outside.
9. Use adhesive hooks for hanging almost anything.
[I use] adhesive, removable hooks inside cabinet drawers to hang sifters, etc. Also the same hooks on the underside of upper cabinets to hang measuring tools right above spice rack.
I have 3M hooks on the inside of the door to hang an apron and canvas shopping bags.
[I use] large Command hooks to hang the beaters and dough hooks, etc. for my KitchenAid on the inner wall of the cupboard that the KitchenAid is in.
My kitchen had such minimal storage (and no drawers!?) that I had to buy a hutch. At some point, I realized I could screw in hooks along the side. Somehow hanging my mop and broom made them look neater. As well, my scissors share the hook with the mop and my oven mitts share the hook with the broom so they're both easily accessible whenever I need them.
10. Reuse baking powder containers for small amounts of other staples.
I save baking powder containers and relabel and reuse them for salt, baking soda, sugar, and flour. When I only need a bit I don't have to get out the big containers, they have a built-in level for measuring, and — laid end to end in a drawer — only take up a little space.
11. Use a cake pan to store spice jars.
[I use] a cake pan from the thrift store that is the same size as my cupboard shelf so I can pull out all my spices at once to rifle through them.
12. Hang a whiteboard near the refrigerator.
I have two whiteboards attached by magnets to my refrigerator door. One is headed "What's in the Freezer?" and the other is "Shopping List." When something goes into the freezer, I add it to the freezer list with the date, and when something is used, I erase it. Anything I need to add or replace in the fridge, freezer, or pantry goes on the list.
13. Keep Band-Aids in the kitchen.
[I store] a container of Band-Aids in the kitchen (in my "miscellaneous not-quite-kitchen-stuff" drawer next to the sink). I've rarely needed a Band-Aid for reasons not kitchen-related and it's nice to not have to dash off to the bathroom to stopper a nick from a slipped knife, etc.
14. Use cardboard tubes to store silicone baking sheets.
I use the tubes that are inside large packages of plastic wrap to store my silicone baking sheets. Just roll the baking sheet up tightly to be able to insert into tube. Label. Easy to store and free.
15. Use a plastic salad container in the freezer to hold small food items.
[I use] an empty plastic salad/spinach bin in the freezer to hold Ziploc bags with cheese rinds, butter wrappers, produce peelings for broth, etc. — all the random stuff that I want to freeze but don't want floating around in the freezer.
16. Tape your most-used recipes on the inside of your cupboard door.
My last tip is to copy down your most frequently used recipes, and tape them inside the cupboard doors. This makes it very quick to look up a recipe without having to dig out a cookbook.
17. Use lazy Susans.
Lazy Susans everywhere! I keep my spices on one in my cabinets so I don't have to dig them all out when I'm looking for something. I also have four huge lazy Susans in my pantry that help me maximize that space.
18. Use a boot rack to store placemats and napkins.
I got a 1 1/2-inch high boot tray from Crate & Barrel that just fits in the gap between the top of my fridge and the bottom of the fridge cabinet. I use it to store place mats and napkins in it. That little gap used to really bother me, so filling it in with something useful was great.
Have another super smart tip that wasn't listed here? Share it in the comments!