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Got a drawer filled with kitchen utensils, lids that fall out of cabinets when you open them and stacks of mail you haven’t looked through? Join the club!
Since kitchen clutter can make cleaning seem impossible, TODAY Home asked organization experts and chefs for simple tips and inexpensive gadgets that help keep kitchens in order. They focused on the most common problem areas for many home cooks.
- 1. Royal 10-Piece Airtight food storage containers, $55, Amazon
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“There is a real enjoyment in opening your cabinet and seeing uniform containers clearly labeled and organized,” said professional home and office organizer Rachel Brecher, who is the co-founder of JR William, a company that makes acrylic trays and boxes. “Cereal, flour, beans, kids' snacks, coffee and even tea bags are all products that should be put into canisters and labeled.”
Clear, airtight, BPA-free, stackable bins like these Royal ones or these popular ones from Rubbermaid make it easy to see the contents inside at a glance, keep foods fresher longer and can be used to create upward storage when kitchen space is limited.
- 2. mDesign Refrigerator and Freezer Storage Organizer Bins, $30, Amazon
“Clear Storage is a must,” said Amanda Walker, a certified nutrition coach who blogs at AWalkMyWay.com. “When fruits, vegetables and other food items are visible, their colors can increase your senses, thus increasing the likelihood of their consumption.”
The mDesign storage bins are designed to organize clutter, contain messes and allow cooks to easily see what’s in the refrigerator and freezer. The four-piece storage set comes with an egg holder, condiment caddy and narrow and wide bins.
- 3. YouCopia StoreMore Adjustable Cookware Rack, $20, Amazon
“Lids for pots and pans can be annoying,” said Claudia Sidoti, head chef and recipe developer at the meal delivery service HelloFresh. “Depending on the size of your kitchen, I like adjustable lid racks that sit inside a cabinet to keep things in order! Having them all visible makes it easier to find everything you need to start cooking.”
The YouCopia rack also stores pans, trays, cutting boards and baking sheets. No installation is required. Here are some other YouCopia products we love.
- 4. Blu Monaco Mail Organizer, $21, Amazon
Do you bring in mail and set it on the counter never to be looked at again? “The kitchen often ends up being a major clutter zone for mail, magazine recipe tear-outs and even stacks of old newspaper,” said feng shui expert Tisha Morris, author of "Clutter Intervention: How Your Stuff Is Keeping You Stuck." “This can quickly lead to a desire to not even go into the kitchen or use it to eat healthier meals and spend time with the family.”
She advises tossing anything that's been sitting out for six months or more. “If it’s necessary to keep, put it away in an organizer or mount a drawer under a cabinet for storage,” she suggested, using a product like the Blu Monaco Mail Organizer, which can be mounted on a wall and also has hooks for keys and other things.
- 5. Kapoosh Bamboo Knife Block in Bamboo, $35, Bed, Bath & Beyond
“As the clutter builds, it's easy to cut yourself when you reach in the drawer to grab a knife,” he added. “It also dulls the blades by allowing the knives to rub together. My favorite storage solution is a universal knife block that can hold any size knife, because it doesn't have slots,” he explained, recommending the Kapoosh Bamboo Knife Block as his top option.
- 6. Joseph Joseph Nest Utensils Set, $28, Amazon
“It’s 2018 and almost every major brand has space-saving versions of their products,” said Brecher, recommending the Joseph Joseph nest utensils set. Buying these space-saving versions of products can help avoid clutter in drawers and on counters in kitchens with limited storage space.
This creative set of kitchen tools uses a magnetic handle to hold a slotted spatula, spaghetti server, slotted spoon, solid spoon and ladle together. Plus, it's dishwasher-safe.
- 7. Bamsira Bamboo Kitchen Drawer Dividers, $26, Amazon
Messy drawers pose a problem in many kitchens.
“Create a system in your large utensil drawer the same way you do with your silverware,” said Kirsten Fisher, founder and CEO of Imagine Home Organization. “Slotted spoons and spatulas tend to get unruly when not provided boundaries. I use bamboo drawer dividers to create sections for each type of utensil,” she said, suggesting the Bamsira bamboo kitchen drawer dividers, which comes in a set of four.
- 8. Deli Containers, $17, Amazon
Taming Tupperware with mismatched lids can also be a common challenge. “In restaurants we don't use Tupperware, we use recyclable plastic 'deli containers,’” explained Ramsey. “They are cheap, clear and completely standard in size; no more searching for the right top, because there is only one size and shape!”
He said the containers they use — like this set of 50 — range from 8 to 32 ounces, stack easily and can be reused five to 10 times. “You can see what's inside, and if you send a friend home with leftovers, you never have to worry about tracking down your missing Tupperware,” he said.
- 9. JR William Modern Decor Acrylic Tray, $45, Amazon
“Dish soaps, hand soaps, moisturizer (for after you wash) and a diffuser all have a great reason for being on your kitchen counter,” said Brecher. “But they can’t be running wild! Use a tray to corral those runaway must-haves." She recommends the JR William medium tray as a stylish way to maintain order for sink accessories.
For a less expensive option, try the Libman sink caddy (Amazon, $4), which is designed to store Libman-sized sponges, dish wands and brushes in one unit that can be hung on or placed in the sink, and has ventilation holes to help the tools dry more quickly.