Give Me Your Tips for an Organized Kitchen - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 42 Old 06-13-2005, 02:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My dear, super organized, clean-a-holic friend is going to come over next week to help me overhaul my cluttered kitchen. Yay! I am so lucky!

I'm pumped up to really make the most of this opportunity and want to prepare ahead of time. What do you think I should do to get started with the revamp?

I'm so excited she is doing this for me, I can't even sleep tonight. :LOL

So tell me... what is it about your kitchen that "just works?" What could you not live without? What makes clean up easier for everyone? Is it a kid friendly kitchen? How?

Thanks!
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#2 of 42 Old 06-14-2005, 11:09 PM
 
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I'm so excited for you!!!

But, I have NO tips to offer! My kitchen Is Not one that 'just works'.... but I think the layout is atrocious (not to mention that there are NO windows that open -- just a big square of like 16 glass blocks above the sink... so we get a bit of light, but not much.. and sometimes you just need to air out the kitchen!).

I hope somebody has a kitchen that works! Or maybe we *all* need the tips

Judy, wife to my Catholic deacon husband ... homeschooling mother to my four girls and now a rainbow1284.gif BOY!!! Forever remembering our loss (8/11) angel3.gif .

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#3 of 42 Old 06-15-2005, 01:07 AM
 
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Hi Julie, didn't realize you were on MDC too.

I really like my kitchen. Part of that is because the previous homeowners put in some nice things, but I also try to keep my kitchen tools streamlined. Kitchen gadgets can be really tempting, but make sure they're worth the space they take up. Take an orange peeler: I can easily use a knife instead to start peeling and the knife is much more multipurpose. My apple slicer/corer, on the other hand, earns its keep because I can take it with us instead of precutting apples or taking a knife and cutting surface. If you have drawers full of cool kitchen gadgets, look at which ones are really useful and which ones just get in the way of finding what you're looking for.

Do you have anything you don't use because it's a pain to clean? Get rid of it!

Think about how many of something (e.g. mixing bowls) you would ever use at a time, and if you have more than that, get rid of all but your favorites.

Two things we did to the kitchen that I love are my pull out trash and recycle bins on rails, and the chute for dropping dirty dish towels and rags to the laundry room.

I have a lazy susan for herbs and spices, but I like to have a zillion spices on hand and it can be hard to find the one I need. I used some clear plastic bowls to group together small spice containers that are often used together and just pull one of those out instead of having to hunt through all those little containers. As an example, I have ginger, cloves, and pumpkin pie spice together.
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#4 of 42 Old 06-15-2005, 01:16 AM
 
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I am just lurking because I was going to post the same question. :
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#5 of 42 Old 06-15-2005, 01:20 AM
 
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I thought of something else, which is probably obvious, but it helps so much. Try to put things where you'll be using them. If you don't have enough space there, put the things you most often use there. The most logical place for a soup ladle would be by the stove BUT I don't use mine that often and it takes up a lot of space, so I store it across the room and save that drawer space for the really important things like hot pads.
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#6 of 42 Old 06-22-2005, 10:52 PM
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In our kitchen pantry we have some really high shelves so we built some round rolling things (lazy susans?? you can buy them too). basically a board that spins that you put stuff on. Now stuff doesn't get lost jammed at the back of the shelf. It's really the only thing in my kitchen that really "works".

good luck.
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#7 of 42 Old 06-28-2005, 02:44 AM
 
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I have a rotating spice rack thing, but of course not all of my spices fit into it.

I used to keep the rest on a shelf in the cabinet; and obviously I was always moving them around looking for the right one.

When we moved, I decided to put those spices in a drawer. They're now in one "layer." I open the drawer, and with them all laying down, label up, I can see each one easily.
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#8 of 42 Old 06-30-2005, 04:45 AM
 
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Get rid of everything that you have not used in the last year.

I swear, DH looooves gadgets, like the sandwich press, the Foreman grill, the microwave popcorn thingee, the vacuum bag sealer,

But all that crap takes space away from things that we actually USE.
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#9 of 42 Old 06-30-2005, 05:52 AM
 
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I agree with getting rid of gadgets and weird utensils that you never use.

But you could take it a step further. Do you have 11 plates? 23 forks? 17 mugs? Lots of baking pans? You could neaten up the cupboards by packing up half of them.
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#10 of 42 Old 07-02-2005, 05:16 AM
 
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Someone beat me to it, but I'll second a drawer for your spices--this is the only thing that truly works in my poor kitchen--I went one above what the pp said though and I actually just bought small labels to place on the lids of my spice jars--so they can all stay standing up and I know what they are at a glance (I like to have tons of spices--so I didn't have room to leave them all laying down:LOL)

The only other thing that works is we have a pot rack which I do love, it frees up some cupboard space (which is sorely lacking here) and it meant back before I had a dishwasher and still now for my cast iron pans-after I wash them--I just hang them up, out of sight out of mind (my pot rack is over my kitchen sink)
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#11 of 42 Old 07-08-2005, 05:29 PM
 
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I'm a little late on this but:

Do you have a wall that is unuseable space? We have a galley kitchen. So the wall opposite th fridge is the "hallway". SOm what we did was got some 1X2 and a piece of lattice. It is about 7ft tall and 8ft wide. We use it to hang our pots and pans. It also has a paper towel holder, spoon holder, and a spice rack.

Non useable place is now usable! And it looks good too


I can post a link to a pic so you can see what I'm talking about.

Single Mom to 2 amazing little men. T(7) and B(5)
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#12 of 42 Old 07-08-2005, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by its_our_family
I'm a little late on this but:

Do you have a wall that is unuseable space? We have a galley kitchen. So the wall opposite th fridge is the "hallway". SOm what we did was got some 1X2 and a piece of lattice. It is about 7ft tall and 8ft wide. We use it to hang our pots and pans. It also has a paper towel holder, spoon holder, and a spice rack.

Non useable place is now usable! And it looks good too


I can post a link to a pic so you can see what I'm talking about.
I would LOVE to see a picture. We also have a galley kitchen and one end is the kitchenette area - but we turned it into a play area for the kids. We have two completely empty walls in the kitchenette! I though about getting a couple steel storage cabinets to put there for appliances. But dh is a design snob and wouldn't go for it. I would love a place to hang the pots and pans... as long as they don't fall down and bonk a kid in the head. :LOL
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#13 of 42 Old 07-08-2005, 05:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommy&Will
I would LOVE to see a picture. We also have a galley kitchen and one end is the kitchenette area - but we turned it into a play area for the kids. We have two completely empty walls in the kitchenette! I though about getting a couple steel storage cabinets to put there for appliances. But dh is a design snob and wouldn't go for it. I would love a place to hang the pots and pans... as long as they don't fall down and bonk a kid in the head. :LOL

So is my dh The last house we were at had lattice around the water heater, that is where we got the idea. We've used it for almost 3 years now and have never had anything fall.

Single Mom to 2 amazing little men. T(7) and B(5)
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#14 of 42 Old 07-08-2005, 06:01 PM
 
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This is the rack
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b3...y/IMG_1711.jpg

This is the whole wall
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b3...y/IMG_1710.jpg

Ignore the seperated laundry in the background :LOL

Single Mom to 2 amazing little men. T(7) and B(5)
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#15 of 42 Old 07-09-2005, 02:56 AM
 
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Meg~ That is REALLY cool! We have a galley kitchen as well. It is so small. I have really nice Wolfgang Puck pots and pans that I would love to hang up and it would free up shelf space. I think I'll show DH that. You rock (as usual).
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#16 of 42 Old 07-09-2005, 03:05 AM
 
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I bought the rack thingy at Home depot and the pots are hanging on s-hooks. I love it and it works so well. Our kitchen is small without a lot of cabinet space.

We are talking about adding small lighting to the back to light up the lattice. I don't kow if you can tell from the pic but the lattice is white and the wall is dark grey.

Oh, and you can buy plastic lattice that is already white. It is a tad bit more than wooden lattice but there are advantages, It wipes off easily, no splinters, you don't have to paint it, and it is easy to put up.

Single Mom to 2 amazing little men. T(7) and B(5)
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#17 of 42 Old 07-09-2005, 10:00 AM
 
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I'm getting some helpful ideas from this thread.

A great tip that a friend shared with me is to only have kitchen stuff in your kitchen. Get rid of the junk drawer, etc... It's definately a must for smaller kitchen.
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#18 of 42 Old 07-09-2005, 12:36 PM
 
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LOL! My kitchen is too small for even a junk draw.

Here is another Galley kitchen needing some help. How I wish I had counters! I need to find a space for the microwave, yk?

If you don't mind me adding....
http://pic2.picturetrail.com/VOL982/.../103825320.jpg
http://pic2.picturetrail.com/VOL982/.../103824967.jpg
http://pic2.picturetrail.com/VOL982/.../103824929.jpg
http://pic2.picturetrail.com/VOL982/.../103824701.jpg
Julie do you have photos of your kitchen, that would help me give you ideas.
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#19 of 42 Old 07-09-2005, 12:59 PM
 
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If you can't spare the drawer (or counter)space, funky old wooden-doored medicine cabinets make nice wall-hanging spice racks, and the solid doors keep your spices from deteriorating fron light exposure, which happens with open racks. Just paint 'em up.

We have a long, narrow, galley-ish kitchen, and I'm looking for a very old, distressed wooden ladder (to mount on the kitchen ceiling) from which to hang pots and pans and drying herbs and chiles.....

I would love to have those slide-out cupboard thingies in all of my cupboards!
(This basic idea:
http://www.shelvesthatslide.com/
http://www.kitchenshelves.com/sliding_shelves.htm

A wall-mounted fold-down work table (the one-legged kind)would be nice, too. Sigh. alsoSarah

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#20 of 42 Old 07-09-2005, 01:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by alsoSarah
A wall-mounted fold-down work table (the one-legged kind)would be nice, too. Sigh. alsoSarah
I wanted one of those too but dh said no We have about 3 ft of wasted space behind the back door.

PD-- What is above your stove??

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#21 of 42 Old 07-09-2005, 01:39 PM
 
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I wanted one of those too but dh said no We have about 3 ft of wasted space behind the back door.

PD-- What is above your stove??
Kind of in-step with the fold down work counter, I would love to have something I could fold up and down over my washer and dryer (that sit in between the stove and fridge). A counter space that I can use when I cook, and lift up when I need to load and unload laundry. Could I make one of those?

IOF- There is a narrow cabinet above my stove. It houses my measuring cups on one shelf and on the lower it houses my homemade honey and dill pickles

The cabinet next to my sink keeps my dishes and glassware.

The double cabinet above my wm and d are where I keep spices, dried goods like beans, coffee, sauces, etc.

I have the little shelving unit for canned goods and cannisters.

The 'closet' I mentioned is for our hanging clothes, an old broken dresser that I keep fabric and winter outwear in, and the clothes hamper. I have along one wall in the closet a 4 shelfed unit. It holds tupperware, blender, rice maker, blender, and my pots and pans I mentioned. I have two drawers, both narrow. One for flatware, the other for knives and extra cooking utensils.

:LOL I know you were dying for all this info!

BTW, our feng shui sucks as we have stuff under each of the beds
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#22 of 42 Old 07-13-2005, 03:51 AM
 
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Alton Brown (of Good Eats) recommends cleaning out 1 cabinet and 1 drawer and when you use something put it in the empty area making more room as you need. Over a month you will realize what you really use. Also make sure that everything in you kitchen can do double (or more) duty unless it is something you use a lot.

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#23 of 42 Old 07-13-2005, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mimid
Alton Brown (of Good Eats) recommends cleaning out 1 cabinet and 1 drawer and when you use something put it in the empty area making more room as you need. Over a month you will realize what you really use. Also make sure that everything in you kitchen can do double (or more) duty unless it is something you use a lot.
Hey that is a good idea. I'll try it.
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#24 of 42 Old 07-15-2005, 09:36 AM
 
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Alton Brown

We have tons of cupboards and our kitchen is still a mess. I'm impressed with how clean PD and IOF keep their kitchens!
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#25 of 42 Old 07-16-2005, 01:58 AM
 
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We built our house so had a chance to do what we wanted with the kitchen, even though it was a spec home we paid extra to change the kitchen to our specifications. Even so, over 12 years we've added and changed things.

FIrst thing we did as we built was raise the bench heights and make sure we had a microwave space built into the cabinetry. I hate microwaves on benches, in fact I hate anything on the benches. THe kickboards are hinged so provide hidden wine storage underneath them. We've got lots of drawers instead of cupboards - including big flat drawers to store plates. Our pantry is liek a huge double built in robe that originally had five big shelves in it - we ended up getting people in to fit it out with wire baskets, pull out shelves etc and that works much better, and we replaced the standard appliances last year for really good quality European ones - the difference that a good Miele oven and cooktop make over the crappy Westinghouse ones we had is unbelievable - suddenly I'm a good cook, lol, and I love our new dishwasher too. We've got pull out rubbish bins with separate recyclables storage and a space for a REALLY big fridge.

The kitchen's getting a bit dated now in terms of colours and surfaces - its just cheap old laminate but we probably wont stay in this house much longer anyway. If we were to, it just needs an update on the cupboard fronts/benchtops but the basic structure and layout is great.

I keep it uncluttered, the benches are clear, its just a matter of being organised. I regularly clean out cupboards and drawers and get rid of what I'm not using.
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#26 of 42 Old 07-18-2005, 02:19 AM
 
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A few random thoughts...

* If you don't already, only buy really good kitchen knives - not the cheapy sets from wherever. We have 2 Henckels paring knives, and I use them for *everything* (even thought I shouldn't - the rest of our knives [barring the bread knife] are crap). My MIL has had the same set of Wusthof knives for 20+ years and they're still going strong.

* An old boss of mine would get a spice carousel as a wedding present for a lot of the weddings she was invited to. It's somewhere on the Bed Bath & Beyond site - each rack holds 10 or 12 spices, they're refillable, and you can either shake out what you need, spoon out what you need, or use the handy-dandy 1/4 tsp measurement dispenser on the bottom. Although only let the person who actually cooks fill them up - dh went nuts when we first got them, and there's about 6 that have spices in them that I haven't used in 3 years. : But, you can put the carousels on the counter, or, like us, mount them on the underside of a cabinet.

* Try to have a spot for everything behind the cabinet doors. The less you have on the counter, the more working space you have and the cleaner your kitchen looks.

* Pot racks are awesome. You can hang your most used pots on it, and put the lids on the rack above. Don't overload it - but if you're simplifying and all that, it shouldn't be a problem. (If you do get one, make sure you put the hooks for the chains where it attaches to the ceiling in studs.)

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#27 of 42 Old 11-11-2005, 12:01 PM
 
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i read the book "escape from the kitchen" by denise schofield. excellent book on kitchen organization, creating "zones" and so on. as a matter of fact i read it twice(my local library had it) so much info.
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#28 of 42 Old 11-11-2005, 01:57 PM
 
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I have found an organized kitchen involves a combination of visable & close at hand things--those you use often--and placing them where they need to be--and where you can see if ingredients are low---and having other items --not much used ,put away--out of sight.

I keep out rice and oats and kosher salt in big glass mason jars on counter beside stove--as we use a lot. Coffee filters and coffee beans, grinder and coffee machine are by the sink.
All other cooking ingerdients are put away--in pantry--drawers or high cabinet/lazy susan.

Dishes & items for special occassions are way up high--highest shelf where I need a step stool--but I don't use that often. Plastic items for kids are in a low drawer where they can help themselves. Baking dishes--pans etc. are in a big cupboard . If everything has a distinct place , it helps.

Also, making emptying the dishwasher (if you have one) immediately ,a rule, helps greatly--I just started doing this and my kitchen seems much more organized as the sink is always empty and the dishwasher isn't a holding place for clean dishes anymore.

I have yet to tackle the getting rid of pans/utinsils etc. that I don't use often. For now I am holding on, in part because I have the space. We are lucky to have deep counters & a huge island w/ built in storage all under it.
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#29 of 42 Old 11-14-2005, 11:47 PM
 
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We're lucky to have a ton of cupboard space. Actually, no, we don't. We just don't have a lot of junk. I even have one big cupboard that is currently totally empty (it's DD's hiding spot), and another shelf that has nothing on it.

Anyway, we just recently moved, so it was the perfect time to declutter. Here is how we set up our kitchen:

-Spices in the cupboard above the stove. All duplicate spices were tossed out. All spices that were over a year old were tossed out. All spices that we NEVER use were tossed out.

-Pots in the cupboard to the left of the stove. It's a lazy susan style cupboard. I keep the lids to each pot on the actual pot they go with, so I'm not fishing around for lids and/or knocking over a giant pile of lids everytime I need one. I got rid of all the pots/pans we don't need. So we currently have 4 pots, 2 pans.

-Lunch boxes, picnic box, bread baskets, and other random things we only use once in a blue moon are in the cupboard to the right of the stove. It's the hardest to access (it goes deep, and you practically have to climb in to get anything) so it was a good "randomness" cupboard.

-We got rid of all of the mismatched cups, and just kept our single, Ikea set. They fit perfectly in the cupboard. The mugs go on the shelf above them. The shelf above that is empty.

-We got rid of all of the pointless kitchen gizmos. It turned out that we had several appliances that did the exact same thing.

-We got rid of all of the extra big spoons, spatulas, etc, so that now we only have what we need. Everything else went to Goodwill.

-We have one set of dishes. All of the mismatched hand-me-downs went to Goodwill.

-Under the sink, we have garbage, a bin for recycling (so that the counter doesn't get cluttered when people are too lazy to take it out to the garage), and a little canister of dishwasher soaps (so that DD can help with the dishes, by loading the dishwasher...she loves this).

-On the counter, we have the coffee maker, the microwave, and the tea kettle. Oh, and a set of knives (so that they're well out of DD's reach). Everything else is in cupboards. The tea kettle has a spot in the cupboard, but we use it so often that it ends up staying on the counter.

-We have a pantry beside the fridge, that ALL of the food goes in. I go through it once every few months to get rid of anything that's reached it's expiry date.

-I go through the fridge once a week to get rid of any leftovers, and food that has expired or gone bad.



The only other thing I can suggest when you get started, is to take everything out of the cupboards, and make "keep", "donate" and "trash" piles. With every item you pick up, ask yourself if it's something you actually use, or need. IE: Do I really NEED this strawberry de-topper (yes, I actually had one...) Wash out all of the cupboards, and put things back one "zone" at a time. Put things away in the areas that you actually use them in. It makes sense to designate the cupboards around the sink for dishes. The cupboards around the stove for cookware. The cupboards near the fridge for food (for ease of putting groceries away). The low, hard to reach cupboards for things you use, but not every day.

Good luck.
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#30 of 42 Old 11-16-2005, 09:19 PM
 
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I have to recommend a magnetic knife holder. It hangs on the wall and holds all your knives and kitchen shears wtihin easy reach, out of reach of little ones, and not getting dull in a drawer. I had dinner at my landlady's and she had 2 of them, full of knives, and I went and bought one for myself the next day. It is the best.

I have to second the hanging pots in unused space. I hated crawling under the counters to find a pot.

Also, I hang my colander right above the sink, then when I need to drain I just pop it in the sink and pour. Afterwards, I just hang it back up.

I am always figuring out ways to make my kitchen more organized. I love it.
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