Cutting board storage solutions

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Cutting Board HolderCutting boards can be awkward to store efficiently.  The variety of sizes and thicknesses makes it difficult to keep them orderly.  Effective cutting board storage also requires good air circulation so you can put the boards away when they’re not quite dry.

Here are three different types of cutting board storage solutions:

  • Cabinet door or wall mount. The steel Cutting Board Holder features a screw-mount system and pre-drilled holes for easy installation on cabinet doors, inside a pantry or on a wall.
  • Under shelfUnder-shelf storage baskets require no installation. Made of coated metal wire, these handy storage solutions are designed to slide onto a shelf and provide open storage below. They’re available in a range of sizes and finishes.
  • Roll-out.  The Roll-Out Kitchen Cabinet Tray Divider features smooth epoxy-coated roller slides, a half-inch-thick wood laminate base, and heavy-gauge steel wire tray dividers with a white finish. The unit fits in cabinet spaces with at least a 9-inch opening.

Other ideas for cutting board storage can be found here.

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Space-saving cabinet trash containers

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trash containerCabinet trash containers solve two common dilemmas: how to hide away a trash receptacle yet still have it easily accessible; and what to do if there isn’t enough floor space for a wastebasket.

Here are three types of super space-saving cabinet trash containers:

  • Both the Rack Sack Bathroom Trash System and the Rack Sack Kitchen Trash System (pictured) are wire-frame trash bag holders that mount directly to the inside of a cabinet door. The bathroom trash system can hold a 1-gallon Rack Sack trash bag. The kitchen trash system is larger and can be adjusted to hold either 3-gallon or 5-gallon trash bags. Both systems have plastic lids that are cleverly designed with a storage compartment for conveniently storing extra bags.
  • Sliding Cabinet Trash Cans consist of a slide-out steel frame that mounts to the base of cabinets and holds a removable trash container, available in several sizes.
  • Swing-out Trash Cans mount inside the cabinet and pivot out when the cabinet door is opened; a lifting mechanism automatically raises the lid and then closes it when the door is shut.  A removable interior container lifts out with a handle for easy cleaning

Other types of cabinet door trash containers can be found here.

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Lazy Susan turntable organizers

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lazy susan organizersLazy Susan turntable organizers aren’t just for kitchens and dining tables.  They’re also useful on desks, inside bathroom cabinets, and in craft rooms or workshops. The rotating design lets you easily access a variety of items from all sides.

A classic Lazy Susan consists of a single circular surface that spins on a base.  But there are several variations that make them more effective as organizing tools.  Here are three different types of Lazy Susan organizers that are worth a whirl:

  • Turntables with compartments.  The spinning Paper Napkin Holder has three sections: a large middle slot designed to store paper napkins (but also useful for holding notepads), and a small tray on either side for keeping small supplies handy. The Silver Mesh Spinning Organizer has four compartments for simple storage of frequently used items such as condiments on a tabletop, spices and toothpicks in a cabinet, or office supplies.
  • Two-level turntables. The 11-inch Two-Level Clear Lazy Susan Turntable can instantly help organize a cluttered kitchen cabinet, or be used on a table or countertop.  The two-level design consists of a raised level in the center measuring six inches in diameter, and a bottom level with an 11-inch diameter.
  • Double-shelf turntables. The Two-Tier Stainless Steel Lazy Susan Turntable features a pair of shelves to maximize vertical space. It offers approximately 5-1/4 inches of space between the bottom and top shelf.  Two-tier Lazy Susans also come in several other materials, including bamboo and plastic with non-slip rubber surfaces.
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Rolling pantry organizers

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Rolling pantry organizers are sanity savers as well as space savers. These handy storage solutions make it easy to store and access items in awkward spaces, such as the narrow gap alongside a refrigerator or on the floor of a pantry closet–places where it’s easy to lose or overlook stuff.

Many rolling pantry organizers (sometimes called pull-out pantry organizers) require installation–here are three space-maximizers that don’t:

  • The 5-Tier Slide Out Pantry is a 54-inch-tall rolling shelf caddy that’s a mere 5.25 inches wide and 18 inches deep, so it can easily fit between your fridge and counter, cabinet or wall.  The five shelves provide plenty of room to organize packaged foods, canned goods and cleaning supplies. The raised sides on each shelf prevent items from falling off when the unit is rolled out.
  • A similar option, but smaller, is the three-shelf Slide Out Storage Tower–it’s just 5 inches wide but over 21 inches long and about 30 inches high (which also makes it useful as a laundry room caddy, since it can fit between a washer and dryer).
  • The heavy-duty steel chrome wire Slide Out Pantry utilizes your pantry floor while keeping items off the floor.  The ventilated design makes it ideal for storing produce. It expands from 16 to 24 inches wide to fit your available space. Slide Out Pantry Image

More ideas on this topic can be found in my post Kitchen Pantry Organizers.

 

 

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Answer: Studio apartment kitchen storage

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Q. I’m furnishing a studio apartment to be used as a vacation rental.  I need a way of utilizing the space over a mini-refrigerator for storage of kitchen supplies, small appliances, etc., without having to install shelves.  What can you recommend for a space no wider than 26 inches and no deeper than 20 inches?

A.  You’re in luck–there’s a rack designed specifically for the needs you’ve described.  The Mini Fridge and Microwave Rack is 24 inches wide and 18 inches deep, sized to fit over most types of mini-fridges.  It has two adjustable shelves that are ideal for storing kitchen supplies and appliances such as a microwave.  

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Kitchen Utensil Organizers

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kitchen utensil organizers
Every kitchen has certain essential utensils that are used so frequently, you hate to put them away.

The ones with long handles–spatulas, strainers, wooden spoons, slotted spoons, tongs, whisks–often end up jumbled together in countertop crocks. A better option is to hang them up. (That’s probably why so many long-handled utensils have an aperture at the end.)

Hanging up kitchen utensils makes it easier to see what you need and also easier to access each tool while you’re cooking.  But how should you hang them?  You could just hammer some nails or hooks into your kitchen walls–or, if you prefer a classier look, opt for one of these handy hanging kitchen utensil organizers:

  • The ultra-sleek Umbra Under Cabinet Utensil Holder is designed to be installed along the underside of your kitchen cabinet or directly to a kitchen wall.  It features flexible rubber grippers under the utensil rail that securely suspend up to four long-handled utensils. The grippers instantly “grab” and hold kitchen tools of almost any size, releasing each one easily whenever you need to use a specific utensil.
  • Wall-mount pot racks can be used for holding a variety of long-handled utensils.  For small kitchens, the space-maximizing Large Corner Bookshelf Pot Rack is especially useful–it includes 12 angled hooks that hang down from a metal grid shelf capable of holding cookbooks or cooking supplies.
  • The 32-Inch Kitchen Utensil Holder is simply a wall-mounted heavy-duty steel bar with 12 sliding hooks.  There are six straight pot hooks plus six angled pot hooks that let you angle your utensils to save space. For smaller walls, the Utensil Holder for Kitchen is very similar but only 22 inches wide and includes eight sliding hooks.

More types of kitchen utensil organizers can be found here.  And for more ideas on organizing cooking implements, read my post on cookware storage solutions.

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Kitchen sink organization ideas

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kitchen sink organizers

Do you have “everything but the kitchen sink” around your kitchen sink? I’m talking about dish wands, bottle brushes, sponges, scrubbers, dish soap, hand soap and lotion…all those necessities that unfortunately tend to make the sink area look cluttered.

Whatever is in regular use at the kitchen sink deserves its own home.  But it can be challenging to find a storage solution that fits in such a limited space. Luckily there are several well-designed caddies that make it easy to keep your sink looking tidy. Here are three outstanding and affordable kitchen sink organization helpers:

  • Alongside the sink–the Kitchen Sink Organizer ($7.99) has an exceptionally thoughtful space-saving design.  The main storage compartment provides ample space for holding a dishwand, a dish soap dispenser and a scrubbie, with a ventilated base and removable drip tray underneath; a pullout sponge-holder hangs over the sink to allow mess-free drainage.  Plus there are two hooks (one on each side of the main compartment) for holding your rings safely, minimizing the risk of losing your jewelry down the drain. A nonslip base keeps the organizer safely in place.
  • Over the sink–the Bamboo Over the Sink Shelf ($17.99) lets you utilize the vertical space above the faucet area, keeping all your dish washing supplies handy yet out of the way.
  • Inside the sink–the Clear Blumz Divided Sink Organizer ($8.99) is a type of organizer known as a “sink saddle”; it’s designed to straddle the center of a divided kitchen sink, with two self-draining clear plastic holders for sponges and scrubbies.  If you don’t have a double sink, the Adjustable Dish Brush and Sponge Holder ($5.99) features an adjustable strap that fits neatly around most kitchen sink faucets; hanging from the strap are two self-draining compartments sized to hold a dish wand and scrubber or sponge.

For more kitchen sink organization ideas, see my post on kitchen sink organizers.

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Answer: Vertical storage

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Q. My husband had a stroke that affected his swallow mechanism, so it takes him a long time to eat and therefore a meal can take two hours. Because he is at the table so long, a lot of items he needs stay on the table for a long time.  I have tried baskets and trays, but the result is the same – a spread out mess on the table.  The table is next to a wall, so I know there must be some way to use that wall for vertical storage, but I don’t have time to shop.  Your suggestions will be much appreciated.

A. To create vertical storage on your dining table, I recommend a stand-alone, three-level tiered shelf organizer, designed to sit on a flat surface so you don’t need to attach it to the wall.  Also known as stair-step risers, they’re available in a variety of sizes and styles.

You might also consider using a three-tiered rolling cart next to or under the table that can be easily rolled away after mealtime.

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Conquering kitchen clutter

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Trying to keep an over-stuffed kitchen organized is a losing battle.  No matter how many clever containers you use, the real problem is TOO MUCH STUFF.

But organizing becomes easier when you habitually let go of excess clutter instead of just cramming it into overcrowded cabinets and cupboards. Here are five steps you can take to conquer kitchen clutter:

  1.  Ask yourself which items really deserve to live in your kitchen cupboards and pantry cabinets, and which ones you’re ready to jettison (discard or donate).
  2.  Weed out common clutter-causers like multiple mugs (often caused by a fondness for “free gifts”), dozens of bags, countless condiment packets from fast-food eateries, and enough cleaning products to stock a store.
  3.  Let go of things you don’t use that have been taking up space for so long you can’t even remember acquiring them.
  4.  Set limits by deciding what quantity of each item it’s reasonable to have on hand–for example, do you really need over 80 grocery bags, or six types of glass cleaner?
  5.  Make a conscious effort to stay within those limits. It also helps to adopt environmentally friendly alternatives that reduce clutter, such as reusable bags (canvas, vinyl or mesh) and nontoxic multipurpose cleaners.  
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Spice Organizers

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If “Old Spice” makes you think of what’s in your spice rack, maybe your spice collection is due for an overhaul.

Although spices and herbs don’t spoil, they do lose their taste over time.  According to spice experts, the shelf life of properly stored spices and herbs is approximately 4 years for whole spices, 2-3 years for ground spices and 1-3 years for leafy herbs, depending on the herb. To test if it’s time to toss, simply taste or smell the contents of your spice containers. A lack of scent and/or a bland flavor means the contents have turned into clutter–time to discard.

Decluttering your spice collection can help you reevaluate the way you store your spices. There are three main types of spice organizers: hanging (mountable on a wall or inside a cabinet door), drawer inserts, and free-standing (for counter-tops or inside cabinets). Here are the best examples of each:

To explore more spice organizers, click here.

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