There are certain organizing solutions we all know–I’m talking about laundry baskets, drawer organizers, and shoe racks. But what about the organizing problems we don’t even realize we have, or realize there are solutions to, like ice cube trays that hog freezer space, or toilet paper rolls that are always out of reach?
Are these problems that are ruining our lives? Certainly not. But will finding unexpected solutions to a Tupperware drawer make your day a little bit brighter? I think so. Here are nine affordable ways to be a little less cluttered and a bit more put-together.
This toilet paper organizer doubles as a toilet-side table, and ensures that you and your guests will always have an extra roll within reach. Photo: Amazon
Toilet paper is one of those things that manages to be just out of reach just when you need it. It’s also great to buy in bulk, but can then proceed to clutter up undersink areas. This sleek solution from Yamazaki creates a stealth storage space for up to twelve rolls at a time. The top becomes an attractive shelf for reading materials, candles, or whatever you want, and removes for easy loading of new rolls.
A sink caddy can keep sponges, soap dispensers, and other grimy things off your clean counters. Photo: Amazon
Doing a quick wipe-down of kitchen counters is an easy way to do “maintenance cleans” between bigger cleaning projects. But inevitably, a few items that live full-time on the counter wind up being spots where grime and crumbs build up. For that reason, I prefer keeping olive oil and spatulas in cabinets rather than stored on the counters. But some things–like dish soap, scrubbers, and sponges–really can’t be put up between uses. This caddy, which attaches to most standard kitchen sinks, is a sturdy spot where soap, sponges, and even dishtowels can be stored, keeping them off the counter when not in use.
Umbra’s UDry combines a microfiber dish mat with a dish rack that can be easily stored away when not in use. Photo: Amazon
Speaking of clean counters: drying racks take up a lot of real estate and can grow a lot of grime. But if you have a dishwasher, you may find you also use it infrequently. A microfiber drying rack allows you to use it when needed, then easily whisk it away when you’d rather use the counter space for something else. Even if you handwash all your dishes, you may enjoy regaining the counter space as well. There are lots of drying mats, on the market, but Umbra’s also has the distinction of having a place to rest things like plats upright to dry. You can wait for it to dry before storing or find a place for it to hang dry.
Freezers often serve as a space for both long-term and short-term food storage, often in one small space. Ice trays can become an item that takes up way more space than they should since they don’t stack nicely-essentially requiring a flat surface and eliminating a lot of vertical storage options. That is, unless you have OXO’s No-Spill ice tray. Once you fill it with water, you seal it with the silicone lid, creating a watertight seal. That means you can store this sideways, on top of pint of Ben & Jerrys, or nestled precariously on bags of frozen peas. The silicone lid also keeps it from absorbing flavors.
Cordies combine a non-slip rubber with a weighted base to keep your cords untangled and in place. No more fishing them out from behind your nightstand. Graphic: Shep McAllister
I am embroiled in a forever war against tangled cables and cords, which I find both unsightly and inconvenient, but Cordies are a simple and effective way of keeping them close at hand in a minimalist way. The weighted base keeps it firmly in place, but also requires no hardware or adhesives. In other words: it moves easily and also stays firmly in place. Unlike complicated docking stations, it also doesn’t take up much space when not in use.
I don’t want to point fingers, but it seems like lids cause way more than their fair share of chaos in the food storage drawer, since they defy stacking like the container counterparts. That is, unlses you have an organization system designed to keep them upright and easy to find. The movable dividers of the YouCopia StoraLid allow you to further organize by size, type, or whatever system you see fit.
What the heck do you do with plastic grocery bags? You stuff them in mDesign’s over-cabinet organizer, that’s what. Photo: Amazon
Plastic grocery bags are a pernicious kitchen problem: they can easily take over an under sink area, or even drawer. If you want to store them for later use or to recycle at participating grocery stores, mDesign’s over-cabinet organizer keeps them neatly in one place. The design also easy to use at all steps: both when you’re storing the bags, and when you’re retrieving them later.
If you have limited room for bookshelves, but still want to store more books, I’ve used these Umbra floating shelves for years. An L-shaped bracket might offer a less expensive solution, but Umbra’s design allows you to completely conceal the shelf itself and better supports the books. The secret a tiny lip beneath the shelf. Starting with a hardcover book, you secure just the back cover to the lip, then rest the book’s pages and top cover on the shelf itself. It makes an incredibly sturdy base for a small stack of books. The bottom one can’t be removed easily, but I’ve used the top books as a spot for my rotating “read next” stack.
Limited drawer space? Joseph Joseph’s DrawerStore stacks your silverware vertically for the most efficient possible use of space. Photo: Amazon
I never thought cutlery organizers were inefficient space-wise until I was introduced to Joseph Joseph’s narrow version. In the space that would normally just be reserved for one eating implement, you can stack knives, forks, and spoons. Each slot comfortably holds six pieces of silverware, and the smaller, top area is for teaspoons, grapefruit spoons, cheese knives, or whatever is small enough to fit there. Even if you have a regular silverware organizer, you may find that this is a handy spot for lesser-used tools like steak knives.