Last spring your version of cleaning might have involved scrubbing the shower walls with vinegar or dusting every last ceiling fan blade. But if you really want to take your tidying skills to the next level (and we suggest you do, given our lives pretty much revolve around our homes now), turn your attention to the kitchen. And no, we don’t mean giving the inside of your refrigerator a once-over.
Spatulas, wineglasses, placemats, pasta—odds are you might not be storing these items in the most efficient way. So we did a deep dive into some fresh tips and tricks for kitchen storage and organization. At the top of our to-do list: Re-creating Camille Styles‘s walk-in pantry. The founder of lifestyle site CamilleStyles.com recently collaborated with California Closets to maximize the space with special drawers and shelves. “We counted the exact number of cans, boxes, cereals, and bottles of vinegar,” she recalls. “It feels twice as big now.” Read on to learn more about how she made the most of her space, plus other must-try solutions you haven’t thought of yet, from clever utensil drawers to savvy appliance cabinets.
For Your Ever-Growing Napkin Collection
The pantry doesn’t just have to be a spot for dry goods and cookware. Styles carved out space for her napkins, dishrags, and other table linens using a grid-cubby system that’s actually intended for shoes. Other lesser-used items like liqueurs, watering cans, and picnic baskets live in the pantry, too, except they’re on high shelves closer to the ceiling. “In general I place my most frequently used items within easy reach,” she says. Things the kids may need to access are kept low enough so that they can get to them on their own.
For Your Awkward Sauce Bottles (Part One)
“The keys to keeping your spices tidy are: consolidate, replenish, label, repeat,” says Styles. She prefers to organize her spices in little jars with cork tops and a sticky label on top. Oils and sauces, on the other hand, lay flat on a pull-out system that’s exposed in the pantry.
For Roly-Poly Produce
Unpacking grocery bags is less of a hassle when you know exactly where things go. Styles has one drawer dedicated solely to cans (it holds close to 30), and even one just for potatoes and onions. Lining the boxes with detachable fabric panels makes cleaning up a breeze and provides plenty of ventilation.
For Your Awkward Sauce Bottles (Part Two)
Professional organizer Meggie Mangione incorporated a number of Rev-a-Shelf products into her newly renovated kitchen in Houston, designed by Jacob Medina, including this super-slim pull-out drawer for tall, awkward bottles. Now she doesn’t have to sift through an inconveniently placed cabinet above the stovetop.
For Dishes That Double as Art
Out of sight, out of mind is one approach to storage—but it’s not the be-all and end-all. Cookbooks, serveware, plants, vases, candles—all of the above can live out in the open. Well, sort of. We love this steel-lined glass cabinetry system that Toronto-based designer Andrea Kantelberg came up with because it wards off dust while doubling as a statement piece.
For Everything That’s Got a Plug
Countertop appliances have the tendency to detract from the beauty of a space, so give them a home (hidden from view) to call their own. Designer Alison Lewis laid out the cabinets in her kitchen so her microwave and teakettle fit comfortably inside. Then she had her electrician run wiring to the selected cupboards so the outlets and cords would be disguised, too.
For Your One-and-Only Cabinet
Small-space dwellers: Don’t assume you can’t fit all your dishes and glasses in your kitchen if you’ve only got one or two cabinets to spare. Risers are your best friend (and you can get them for as little as $5). The tool allows you to take full advantage of the height of the cupboard by stacking.
For Cleaning Supplies
So you don’t have a dedicated closet for your cleaning supplies? Think again. All you need: a few spare inches to incorporate a super-slim spot for brooms and surface sprays. Save that nook under the sink for something else.
For Handheld Apparatus
Labels aren’t just for jars. Take your tool drawers (you know, the ones that hold weirdly shaped essentials like spatulas and whisks) up a notch by installing expandable dividers and labeling what goes where. It makes it less of a guessing game when a helpful guest unloads the dishwasher for you.
More kitchen organization ideas:
How to Finally Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets—For Good This Time
7 Chefs Share Their Top Kitchen Organization Tips
Big Impact, Small Budget: 7 Kitchen Upgrades That Make a Difference