One thing we Americans can't seem to get enough of is storage space. And nowhere in our houses is that more true than in the kitchen. This room is the heart of the home, as well as the scene of often-hectic preparation for weekday family meals and elegant dinner parties. As such, it works so much better when it is clutter-free and shipshape. Try using one -- or all! -- of the following gizmos to organize your kitchen and maximize your storage space.
Don't clog up your precious kitchen countertop with clutter. Instead, maximize the wall space right above your backsplash by installing an inexpensive spring-loaded tension rod from the hardware store (buy the thin kind designed for putting up lightweight draperies, not the bulkier shower curtain rod). Voila! You now have the perfect place to hang frequently used small items like a dish towel, scrub brush, measuring spoons … whatever you deem most essential for cooking and cleanup.
Under Sink Boxes and Baskets
The under sink space is a potential source of precious storage. In most homes, however, if this spot is not ignored completely, it is often overstuffed. The unhappy result? Not only may items be difficult to find when you need them, your water pipes, valves, or garbage disposal could easily be knocked into and damaged. A simple solution is to organize your stuff in dollar store plastic boxes and baskets scaled to fit comfortably into the space. You might want to glue a wooden "curb" to the cabinet floor. This will keep containers from sliding back and necessitating a plumbing repair.
If you happen to live in a home that has a dedicated pantry for stashing non-perishables, enjoy your good luck. Otherwise, do not despair. Open your eyes to an empty strip of kitchen real estate just waiting to be of use. Yes, we're talking about that tall skinny space next to your fridge. Narrow it may be, but it will still accommodate a slide-out pantry deep enough to hold canned goods and spice jars galore.
We all agree that kids' artwork is charming and memorable … so why not frame it and put it on display in your living room, leaving the exterior of your fridge for kitchen storage? Refrigerator casings are constructed of metal, which makes them the ideal surface for mounting magnetic containers. Another genius way to hang these handy little holders is by gluing a metal ruler to the bottom of your upper cabinets.
Wherever you attach them -- the ceiling, wall, or back of a door -- you will find that pot racks are an incredible organizing tool. What is their storage secret? Quite simple: they're not just for pots and pans. You can hang everything from spatulas or soup ladles to colanders on the rack's system of hooks or bars. No more frustrating searches through cluttered kitchen drawers to track down a utensil you need right this instant.
Speaking of drawers, they have amazingly useful storage potential … if they've been thoughtfully organized. However, watch out that they do not deteriorate into hold-alls for the many kitchen bits and pieces you don't know how to deal with. A drawer divider can be your best friend here; it epitomizes the motto "A place for everything and everything in its place." Get even more function from your drawers by stacking dividers -- one for less-frequently used items below and a second, for everyday necessities, on top.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.