House & Home

A Few Ingenious Kitchen Organizing Systems

Posted January 28, 2013 2:35 p.m. EST

"Kitchen organizing systems" conjures up images of expensive custom closet solutions (at least in my mind). However, there are kitchen organizing systems that are free or cheap, and can be made with items that you already own. With time, patience, and some creativity, your kitchen could become the organized haven that you always dreamed of. Here's how to get magazine-quality results, on the cheap.

These kitchen organizing systems are especially useful if you are staging your house in order to sell it. Systematizing your kitchen organization is an important part of the clearing of clutter that you need to do when staging a house for a sale.

Keep clutter off the counter: I spotted this ingenious kitchen organizing system on Christina K. from the blog No. 29 Design did the coolest thing: she took all of the objects that she stored on her kitchen counters, and she suspended them above the counters. She did it in a very aesthetically pleasing way. Christina K. hung rails above her counters, and hung cute matching baskets from those rails. Into the baskets went matching canisters with chalkboard labels, in which she stashed all of the stuff that had been living on her counters. A word of advice: Find the studs in your kitchen walls before hanging the rails, as Christina K. did. She avoided a costly call to a Boston drywall repair contractor by patiently and assiduously using a stud finder.

Create zones: This system of kitchen organizing takes zero dollars, but a lot of sense. Divide your kitchen storage spaces into zones. Group items by type and by frequency of use. For example, divide your cooking utensils into two groups: The utensils that you cook with on a daily basis, and the utensils that you cook with less frequently. Store the utensils that you cook with on a daily basis within reach of your range or food prep area. Group pantry ingredients by type and by the frequency in which you use them. Put the spices that you cook with every day on the lowest cabinet shelf, and store lesser used ingredients on the hard-to-reach top shelf. Group pots together, plates together, and cups together. Thank you to Anna Moseley of Ask Anna for posting pictures of how she organized her own kitchen this way.

Man the command center: Do papers and mail clutter your kitchen counters and/or table? If the answer is "yes", you need a kitchen command center. A kitchen command center is essentially a staging area for paper. A bulletin board and three wall-mounted bins are a perfect solution. Mark bins according to the kind of paper clutter you have, for example: Unopened mail, bills to be paid, and coupons. A local handyman can hang the baskets for you, or you can do it yourself.

Chaya Kurtz writes for

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