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11 Easy Organizing Tricks That Helped Me Love My Kitchen Again

This kitchen isn't big enough for the four of us, but now we can make it work.

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Hey, I'm Emily! I love cooking, but hate my kitchen.

Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

It's cramped, the "pantry" is a mess, and the fridge is tiny. The icing on the cake: I share it with three other people. Feel that? Yep, that's the sensation of the walls closing in around me.

I was totally over it. So, I tried a few different hacks to organize my kitchen, cut down on the clutter, and make cooking fun again. Here's what worked:

1. Hang pots, pans, and kitchen tools on magnetic hooks to create more vertical storage space.

Emily Shwake / Buzzfeed

We have a random metal door in our kitchen that was supposed to be a pantry, but ended up housing a radiator. (Don't ask.) So, I made lemonade out of those lemons. I found magnetic hooks that hold up to 12 pounds, which means they can hold everything from pots and pans, to measuring cups and potholders. Now, we have so much more cabinet space and I don't have to take everything out to get to the big pot. Bonus: these also work on the side of our fridge.

Get a 12-pack from Amazon for $9.99.

2. Stick file holders in the freezer so you aren’t balancing your chicken on top of your berry mix on top of your broccoli.

Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

I used to feel like I was playing Jenga every time I made a freaking smoothie. Now, the file folders work as both shelves and separators — fruit and vegetables go on the left, and meat goes on the right. Simple!

Get a 6-pack from Amazon for $10.87.


3. And use file holders in the pantry because, I mean, you aren’t using them for files so you might as well.

Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

Here, I used them to neatly ~file~ my bags and wraps. I love them so much, I'm going to buy a few more to use in every room of the house.

4. Choose some funky stickers to label your food, so you know what’s yours and what’s not.

Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

Nobody in my house can keep track of which groceries are theirs, meaning things are constantly left to go stale and moldy. I've tried a bunch of different systems: tape, writing my initials on packaging, keeping all of my items in the crisper drawer (don't do this), but none of those tricks worked as well or as efficiently as my sticker system.

Once I get home from my epic journey (25-minute walk) from Trader Joe's, I put a sticker on each item and put them away. Easy as pie.

Get 600 stickers from Amazon for $6.40.

5. And use clothespins for bag clips because they're way cheaper (and cuter!) than the ones you were probably buying before.

Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

Chip clips are annoyingly expensive for things that break and disappear all the time. I labeled the clothespins with washi tape, so I know for sure that the bag of plantain chips is mine. Practical and cute as heck.

Get a 50-pack from Amazon for $5.99.

6. Stack your spices on a Lazy Susan so you can easily find exactly what you're looking for.

Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

We used to keep our spices in baskets which was…fine. But we had to pull one out at a time to find what we were looking for! I found this two-tier Lazy Susan, which holds almost our entire supply of spices. We have three jars of paprika and one of espresso powder (???), so you better believe that Susan is doing some heavy lifting. So simple, so satisfying.

Get it from Amazon for $12.99.


7. Ditch the decor and put your prettiest pantry items on display instead.

Emily Shwake

This shelf sits right above our dining room table, so I wanted to keep it pretty but make it more functional. I took down the knickknacks and replaced them with cute tea tins and jars filled with pantry staples. It's so satisfying to look at and is actually super handy for one of my housemates who does a lot of baking and drinks a lot of tea.

8. Eliminate the headache of fumbling with random containers by replacing them with a stackable set.

Emily Shwake

These lids click together and click to the bottom of the container — it's so satisfying. Our cupboard looks so much neater and it's way easier to find what you're looking for.

Get a 42-pack from Amazon for $19.99.

9. And tape a cardboard box to the inside of a cabinet door to hold any loose container lids.

Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

I kept a few larger containers during my clean-out, so needed a way to keep them tidy. I didn't want lids swimming all over the shelves and messing with my organization, so I cut the top off a box and stuck it on the inside of a cabinet door with a couple of adhesive strips. You could paint or cover it with decorative duct tape if you wanted to make yours a bit more aesthetically pleasing.

10. Stack pasta boxes horizontally, so you can see what you have without taking up valuable pantry real estate.

Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

Thanks to this ridiculously simple hack, we can see everything we own without having to designate a whole shelf to pasta. Why the frick-n-frack have we not been doing this the whole time?!


11. And slide on a few wire baskets if your shelves are unnecessarily high.

Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

These under-shelf baskets kinda do the same work that the file folders do in our freezer: they capitalize on vertical space without forcing us to stack bags on bags on bags.

Get a set of two from Amazon for $19.99.

After all of that, my kitchen is still tiny, the "pantry" is still just a set of open shelves, and I still have three roommates...but it feels like I can breathe again!

Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

Does my kitchen look like it belongs in a catalogue? Hell no. But, I can cook in it without wanting to tear my hair out. Everything we have is visible, I can distinguish my food from that of my roommates, and it looks way less chaotic. The kitchen has officially renewed its status as my happy place. ☺️💖

Tell us about the organization tricks you've tried in your kitchens in the comments!