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We Want To Know: What Are Your Cleverest Kitchen Organization Ideas?

2/8/2012 3:23:20 PM


Spice Jar OrganizationI recently completed a kitchen organization project I've been eager to do for a long, long, loooong time. I've always thought that the spices, beans, grains, nuts and other dry goods hiding behind my cabinet doors are absolutely beautiful. I've just been waiting for the kitchen infrastructure that would finally let me show them off. After ripping off ancient cabinets, installing sturdy open shelving, and spending an almost-painful several days of picking, scraping, soaking and goo-goning the labels off of many, many glass jars, bottles and little spice vials, I finally have the kaleidoscopic work of art I wanted so badly. (It doesn't hurt that I live with an LED lighting aficionado who knows how to really show it off.) 

Not only is it now lovely to behold, but it's also incredibly handy. I can find and grab whatever I need without fishing around for it. It's easy to see what we're running out of or to be inspired to cook with what we have in abundance. Plus, we have the satisfaction of knowing these recycled jars will be put to good use for a good long time. 

I bet y'all have some great ideas, too. You can share your cleverest kitchen organizing ideas in the Comments Section below, or email them to me at with "Kitchen Organization" as the subject line. We're especially interested in hearing about strategies that help you save money, space and time. If you have corresponding photos to share, you can email those to me, too. Your ideas will be reviewed for potential inclusion in an upcoming issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

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5/26/2012 7:28:41 AM
I needed a way to access my pots and pans that didn't involve rummaging around while bent over or kneeling (bad back/knees). So I decided to hang them up within easy reach, and I didn't want them dangling over my head. I used the end panels of my upper cabinets, on either side of my kitchen window over the sink. I arranged my pans on a table until I had a layout that would fit the best, then simply screwed in (8) large-headed screws, leaving about 1.5 inches exposed. I just hang the pans on these pegs, and can see at a glance which pans are clean/available - and they are simply effortless to retrieve and replace. I did this a few years ago and it has worked so nicely that I've also hung up the pan lids against another cabinet, and also my oft-used measuring cups and spoons. No more searching for them in a chaotic utinsils drawer!

2/26/2012 6:17:15 PM
Now that's impressive!! Looks amazing! Great idea and thanks for sharing! I'm printing the pic and taking it to show my husband that I do have a use for all the glass jars that I insist on keeping.

Debbie Givens
2/26/2012 1:42:25 PM
I hate to throw out beautiful, oddly-shapled liquor bottles; so, I've collected several different kinds, took the labels off and washed and throughly dried them and now use them for all of the different oils I use. I also use them to store dried beans, rice, peas and vinegars. I get rid of all of the plastic bottles and they are gorgeous on my shelves! I get compliments all the time, and I am saving new empty bottles for friends.

Vicki Fotheringham
2/25/2012 7:45:36 PM
I had purchased a bunch of one gallon buckets complete with lids, for a business idea that was unable to get off the ground, due to family emergencies. I started placing dry foods we use a lot of, quiona, wheat, etc. in them and labeling them with a sticky back label I can replace easily when the bucket is empty and needs to be used for a different product. It is quick and easy!

2/24/2012 9:06:40 PM
I built spice shelves between the studs in my pantry. The 3" shelves are perfect for 2 rows of smaller spice bottles or a single row of large or jumbo spices so nothing gets lost out of sight. I have over 8 feet of spice storage that doesn't take up any room! For the spices that I use most often in my every day cooking, I mounted a self-stick sheet magnet to the inside of the upper cabinet door closest to the stove, transferred 2-4 oz from my bulk spice bottle into metal tins with window lids, and stuck them (literally!) to the back of the cabinet door. Using the magnet sheet was much less expensive and time consuming than buying a metal sheet and gluing a bunch of magnets to the back of the tins.

Gale Green
2/24/2012 8:05:49 PM
Well, it's 'kind of' an organization idea: what to do with all those plastic grocery bags? And, I also needed waste baskets for 5 places in my house. So. . .as I was browsing in the "$1" aisle of our local True Value Hardware Store, I saw they had plastic buckets for $1 each. I bought 6 of them (used one for water for the chickens). For the trash baskets, I put a plastic bag in, tucked the handles around those on the pail (to keep bag in place) and yaaa! Trash baskets. On garbage eve, I, or whoever, just has to go around and collect the 'liners'. A small handful of bags (for replacement liners) can even go in the bottom of the bucket before you put in the liner.

2/24/2012 1:29:56 PM
When I built my new kitchen, I put in a 10-inch lower unit with four drawers right next to the stove. That's where I keep all my herbs and spices, in recycled jars of course. Doesn't look anything like the fancy spice drawers in the magazines, but it's out of sight anyway, and it cost a fraction of those space-wasting expensive slanted racks.

Helena Alkhas
2/11/2012 1:01:45 AM
I started to use Ikea food containers for all dry goods, snacks the kids take to school, cereal, anything that I can take out of the original box! My pantry looks a lot nicer and I can find everything on the spot. I also love shelf risers, as the shelves in this kitchen are pretty high and my favorites are lazy suzans and spice racks. Everything looks so neat! I'm loving my kitchen!

Kathleen McK
2/10/2012 10:49:33 AM
I like the open layout of your shelves and jars. Excellent idea!

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