My Friend’s Zero-Cost Kitchen Storage Solution Caught My Eye

published Mar 1, 2024
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tomato can holding kitchen tool items on a kitchen counter with 2 white containers with wooden lids and a glass of back and white peas next to it. and a tiled backdrop
Credit: Alex Lepe; Prop Styling: Thomas Hoerup

I love learning about how other people do things in their homes. From methods for keeping up on laundry to clever ways to make after-dinner cleanup more efficient, having a window into how other households operate is one of the best ways to bring fresh strategies for home-keeping into my own home.

When I recently took a trip to help a good friend after she had her first baby, I had a front-row seat to how she maintains a beautiful and meticulous place. I saw how she uses sturdy boxes with the tops cut off to corral items in some of her cabinets and found out (after gushing at her luscious plants) that maybe I should try using filtered water to water mine. 

Another thing I saw was an adorable and completely free way to create storage in the kitchen: using a large 28-ounce San Marzano tomato can to corral like items. The key to making this storage hack work (besides, of course, using the tomatoes first!), is making sure the can is safe to use for storage. This means ensuring there are no sharp edges left from opening the can, which can be achieved by using a can opener like this one: the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Automatic Can Opener, which has over 67,000 reviews and a four-and-a-half star rating on Amazon. It opens cans without creating any razor-sharp edges. 

The other thing to pay attention to if you want to use one of these cans for storage is not allowing the label to get too wet when you’re washing out the can. Fill the can with water and a squirt of dish soap and use a bottle brush to scrub the inside. Then pour the water out, taking care to keep the label as dry as possible. 

Once you have a safe edge, a clean can, and a label that’s been kept dry, you’re ready to fill the can. My friend used her cute can to store pens and pencils near her kitchen junk drawer and recipe station, but there are so many ways you could use this can. 

You could set out utensils for a buffet or store shorter cooking or serving utensils. It would even make an adorable planter for a plant or a vase for fresh-cut flowers. Even if you don’t want to introduce the aesthetic of the can to your kitchen decor, the can is a great size to use for storing items within drawers or cabinets. You could stash to-go condiments, tea bags, or sauce mix packets in them, for instance. 

No matter what use you find for your repurposed cans, knowing that they are an excellent and cost-free option for kitchen storage will awaken you to the possibilities.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: My Friend’s Zero-Cost Kitchen Storage Hack Might Be the Cutest Thing Ever