A. There are storage containers designed to solve this specific organizing issue. One example is the BPA-free clear plastic Sliced Cheese Storage Container–it will hold up to 16 individually wrapped cheese slices. A more whimsical design that actually holds more slices (24) is the Moo Moo Cheese Singles Container (also made of BPA-free plastic). Either of these clever cheese containers can help keep your refrigerator neatly organized instead of having cheese scattered all over it.
Q. What’s the best way to store dried spaghetti and other long pastas so they don’t get buggy or stale? I’ve always kept them in their original boxes but lately have had a problem with bug infestation (ugh). I don’t want to use glass containers since I’m afraid of breakage so I guess that leaves plastic but I’d want the BPA-free kind. Any suggestions?
A. I recommend the Progressive Pasta ProKeeper. It’s crafted from BPA-free plastic with an air-tight silicone seal that keeps stored pasta fresh and safe from bugs. (Tip: Bay leaves are supposed to repel pantry bugs; there are many claims that keeping a bay leaf in with your pasta will deter insects.) The container also features a unique body shape that funnels pasta toward the spout for easy dispensing. With an approximate 2.36-quart capacity, this pasta keeper can hold up to 2 pounds of spaghetti noodles. The hinged lid swings back so you can easily access the inside of the container, and the snap closure keeps the lid secured. The lid has a sliding door so you can measure out 1 to 3 servings of pasta.
Q. Is there a tidy & hygienic way to store a stick of butter that lets you keep the wrapper on it? I’ve tried various butter dishes but those all seem to be designed for wrapper-less butter. Also I need it to fit 5-inch by 1/4-inch sticks.
A. I think the Stick Butter Container could be exactly what you’ve been looking for, and it’s only $1.99. Perfectly sized to accommodate a 1/4- pound stick of East Coast-sized* butter (5 inches by 1-1/4 inch by 1-1/4 inch), the form-fitting design doesn’t waste any space inside the fridge. And it lets you leave the wrapping on the butter so you can easily measure out tablespoons later. Crafted from clear BPA-free plastic, it has a hinged lid that snaps closed to keep the stored butter fresh.
* Find out why sticks of butter are long and skinny in the East but short and fat in the West–this article explains the mystery.
Q. I’m looking for a small laundry cart with a bar for hanging up clothes. I’ve seen this type of cart in laundromats but I don’t need the industrial size, I only want it for my home. Can you help?
A. I think the Chrome Rolling Laundry Cart from Household Essentials is exactly what you’ve been looking for. It has a pole with a hanging bar above the basket section; the basket is 7 inches high by 23.5 inches wide by 19.5 inches deep, There’s also a wire shelf below the basket for holding detergent, softener and other laundry accessories.
Q. Your recent blog about Lazy Susans got me thinking I’d like a revolving organizer for my vanity counter. Are there any with more & deeper compartments than the ones you wrote about? I’d like something that can hold toiletries and haircare supplies so they won’t fall over.
A. Depending on how many toiletries and supplies you want to keep on your vanity, there are two main types of vanity turntable organizers to choose from:
- The clear Spinning Vanity Organizer has four small slots, four small sections, and one center section, all sized to hold hair and makeup accessories. The center section is 3-7/8 inches high by 3 inches in diameter; the adjoining four sections are 2-1/2 inches round and 2-7/8 inches high; and the four slots are 1-1/2 inches wide and deep, and 2 inches high.
- Metal mesh Makeup Carousels (available in a variety of colors) are double-decker spinning organizers that feature six storage bins (three on each level) spinning around a center section on each side of the handle. The center section is designed for storing long and slender supplies such as makeup brushes and nail files.
Q. I recently started using a flat iron and I’m getting frustrated trying to figure out how to store it while it’s still hot. Any suggestions?
A. What you need is a heat-resistant silicone hair tool holder. The Hair Straightener Holder is a good example. It’s designed to keep a hot flat iron or curling iron safely stored on the bathroom counter, and it also folds up easily for travel. Heat resistant up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, it can store any curling iron or flat iron measuring up to 1-1/2 inches in diameter. A plug catch on the side keeps an electrical cord tidy and easily accessible.
The Curling Iron Storage Rack Hot Sleeve is another space-saving option–it can be hung from a towel bar.
Q. I am looking for a three-holders bin to hold bottles, cans and paper. What I have found is too small for a couple weeks collection. Any suggestions?
A. I’d recommend Stackable Recycle Bins –they are large capacity (18 gallons each) and come in a set of three, each a different color so you can easily color-code your recyclables. The bins are designed to stack with or without the lid to save space, and each has a carrying handle and a front flap that can stay open or be left closed.
Q. The cabinet under my bathroom sink is 32 inches wide, 20 inches deep and 15.5 inches high; however, there is the plumbing trap and hot & cold water cut offs near the center of the bottom of the cabinet. What kind of storage would you suggest for me to maximize this under cabinet space? I would like two levels to maximize the storage.
A. There are two under-sink shelf organizers that should fit your cabinet–each is 15.5 inches high, 15.5 inches deep, and expand from 17 to 27.5 inches wide: the Under Sink Shelf Organizer and the Expandable Under Sink Organizer. Both have two levels and are designed with adjustable panels that accommodate under-sink plumbing.
Q. As a new mom I’m finding out how much stuff I need to carry along everywhere. I always seem to end up with too many tote bags hanging off my stroller handles and it’s often frustrating trying to find what I need in them. Is there some type of stroller organizer you can recommend?
A. The Stroller Organizer Bag solves the problem you’ve described. It keeps everything right where you need it: Velcro straps attach to your stroller handles and support a large mesh pouch (you can easily see what’s inside), a smaller pocket with Velcro closure, and two drink holders.