Kitchen Organizing

The kitchen is one of the most frequently used rooms in the house, and one that holds a lot of stuff. Kitchens are all about drawers and cupboards and storage, but I bet few of us ever feel like our kitchens are truly organized.

I like to have real life “spill over” a little; I want to see that a home is lived in. But there is a balance that you can find, with a few practical and attractive organizing staples.

Here are a few of the organizing items I like to use to keep a kitchen in order:

We all know magnets are a great way to hang pictures, homemade artwork and takeout menus on the fridge, but did you know you can get great-looking magnets like these? I found these guys at Anthropologie and it seems like they have a different variety every time I visit.

While you’re at Anthropologie, pick up some of these charming recipe cards, too. They’ll help keep those heirloom recipes in order and add a decorative flourish at the same time.

I love magazine files — for magazines, of course — but also for cookbooks, bills, etc. Lots of cooking magazines wind up in our kitchens these days instead of proper cookbooks, and these attractive magazine files keep them stowed away. This woven version from Ikea would look so pretty on a counter or kitchen writing desk.

And for even less, you can pick up a pack of four of these decorative cardboard magazine files. This set from Ikea costs under $5!

Cork boards are a must in any family kitchen. But don’t skimp and get a tiny, useless board. Head over to Staples and get a nice big one like this and you’ll have it covered in no time. You can always paint the frame and the cork itself to blend in with your wall, or paint it an accent colour. (Learn how to paint and decorate cork boards in this Online TV segment.) Be prepared to spend a little more for this useful size (48” x 36”). This one costs about $45, for instance.

One of my all-time favourite organizing tips is to use big, beautiful canisters. Glass versions like these can be found at Walmart for next to nothing. Fill them with sugar, flour, pasta or whatever dry goods you like! I keep four on my counter: one with white sugar, one with oatmeal, one with brown sugar and one with flour — the four main dry ingredients in my famous oatmeal chocolate chip cookies! Canisters keep everything close at hand and they look great, too.

Junk drawers are a huge problem, but you can keep some semblance of order if you use these Rubbermaid drawer organizers. The various sizes let you customize the configuration. Now you’ll have compartments for batteries, elastic bands, scissors and so on. Genius!

One of the most useful, and again good-looking, organizing tools is this pot rack from Ikea. It’s sold as a shelf, but works with metal “S” hooks so you can hang pots and pans from it. I’ve had one of these since I was in university. It was totally affordable and yet has given me years of organization and style. Mine’s full of copper pots these days, which I love.

Finally, there’s the classic utensil holder. No need to cram your drawers with tongs and wooden spoons – keep them out where you use them and enjoy the warmth they add to the kitchen. I love this simple white bain-marie style from Williams-Sonoma, but you can hunt around for any old ceramic vessel to do the job with style.

Hope that helps cure some of the clutter! For even more storage tips, watch this Online TV tour of my own kitchen.

Photo credits:
1-3. House Beautiful
4. Yoruba Magnets, Anthropologie
5. Fleur Recipe Cards, Anthropologie
6. Fläta Magazine File, Ikea
7. Lingo Magazine File, Ikea
8. Quartet Economy Cork Board with Oak Frame, Staples
9. Heritage Hill Jar, Walmart
10. Plastic Drawer Organizers, Rubbermaid
11. Grundtal Wall Shelf, Ikea
12. Pantry Utensil Holder, Williams-Sonoma

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