Kitchen Blowout

by Grace Bonney

Wednesday: The Kitchen
Growing up, the kitchen was the heart of my parents’ house. We would all belly up to the island and chat away while something scrumptious was being cooked up. With all of the action our kitchen got, I know anybody with a similar memory will indentify with the need for organization in this space. And even if your family is more the type that runs through the kitchen in need of a quick snack, there’s something for them, too!

Some of you have also posted for sources in the last two posts, and I really encourage you to do the same here. I promise I’ll search the web for something at least similar to anything pictured.

Quick Fixes

Photographs from and .

From left:
*If you have the space but not the time, just bring a working piece into your kitchen. I like the unusual apple keeper idea and could see all kinds of uses. Besides apples, you could store onions and potatoes, extras like napkins and utensils, or even baking trays. I like that there’s room on top, too.

*Jars, jars, and more jars. If you’re lacking cabinets or a pantry, I would go with an easy installation floating shelf and store goods in jars. Don’t forget that you can find cheap Mason jars at garage sales—just remember to clean them first! For easy transfer, use an envelope with a corner cut off (Thanks, Martha!) as a funnel.

Photograph from

*Another ladder idea! Only this one actually has to be a shelving unit and secured properly. This one came from IKEA, but you can find them at Target as well I hear. This would also be ideal for a small kitchen, as it can be budged up into the corner.

Photographs from and this Flickr photosteam.
From left:

*From a real-life home comes this amazing store-it-all hutch! Definitely not the easiest thing to find at a flea market, but it can be done. Otherwise, you may face a big price tag, but the result is just tops.
*And another real-lifer: an easy peasy bookshelf! Another “if you have the space” but this time you don’t need much money! Yard sale it, baby.

*And I don’t have a photo for this one, but I thought it was a useful suggestion to include. In our flat we have a rolling butcher block that acts as a coffee and tea station (a.k.a. the first stop of the morning). Rolling carts are the same type of deal and can be super-inexpensive. I like that you can roll it to the oven for easy cooking but then easily move it into a corner for storage.

CLICK HERE for the rest of Nicole’s post after the jump (including tips for small kitchens, storage, and making use of your walls!)

Small Kitchens

Photographs from and Real Simple.
From left:

*I love this DIY wine rack from Martha. Just two boards (measured and cut) connected at the middle and wedged into the cabinet. The good thing is that you don’t have to install this to your cabinet walls, so if you’re a renter you won’t mess up the digs.

*And how about these double-decker shelves! I would so use this as a coffee station (I love my coffee, OK!) by putting the maker on the top shelf and the coffee, sugar, spoons, etc… on the bottom. You could adapt this for just about any of your must-have combos. And it’s cheap! Can you tell I’m on a budget with all of this money talk?!

Photographs from and .

*These two under cabinet bars are one of my favorite tips, because even if you don’t have any cabinets at all you can use these. If you have a blank wall and can install a rod the length of the room, you can use S-hooks to hang just about everything in the kitchen.

Store It

Under the sink and bag saver photographs from . Lid rack and sliding storage photographs from .

Clockwise from left:

*I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to retrieve cleaning supplies under the sink only to find my rubber gloves and dishtowels have gotten wet and musty, which is why this oh-so-simple yet useful tip is a fave. I would just buy those Command hooks and use them again here. Nobody will see them under the sink anyway!

*Both my Mom and my mother-in-law save plastic bags from the supermarket (they make perfect trash bags for little bins and also great pooper-scooper bags), but before they found proper keepers the bags would be everywhere. I think there was one point where out laundry room at home was overflowing with plastic bags. And you know how they get that static cling? Not fun. Anyway, whether you use something like this bag saver or even one of those wicker laundry baskets with a lid, don’t let them take over your life.

*Sliding storage is one of those easy DIYs since the home stores carry complete kits nowadays. Plus, this way you won’t have to crawl inside of your cabinets to dig things out. The top-down approach really is a much better way!
*Lid racks are great for corralling, well, lids, but also Tupperware and plates.

Use Your Walls

I touched on this in the bedroom post as well as a bit in this one, but I feel I need to drive it home: this is the most untapped storage area in most of the rooms I see.

Utensil photograph from , wall organizer and pantry photographs from , and pegboard photograph from .

*For a tiny space, hanging utensils on the wall is ideal. You free up drawer space and countertop space without sacrificing convenience. And if you are really low on funds, you could even just use those headed push-pins.

*One person commented on yesterday’s post asking for mail storage ideas. I’ll get to long-term storage in the office blowout on Friday, but if your kitchen is your hub then having a system like this is perfect. You can designate a pocket in that wooden organizer for each family member and even leave notes for each other—like that honey-do list full of DIYs from this week!

*How cute is this pegboard solution? I love these wicker fishing and bike baskets, but you can use just about any basket for this project. Buckets could even be an alternative!

*Don’t worry! You don’t have to go out and find some specific contraption for this one. Just get your run-of-the-mill shoe organizer and stuff the pockets with pantry items. I think I would do spices at the top (they tend to get lost in the main cupboard) and then do something like a baking supply row with baking soda, sugars, vanilla extract, flour, etc. You could also use the lower pockets for kids’ snacks and juice boxes. Easy grab-and-go and height-friendly!

Good luck! x

Suggested For You


  • Cute ideas and I can’t believe I didn’t think of putting hooks up for the dish washing glove and towels BEHIND the cupboard.

    We have it hanging on top of the sink.. may be it will remind me to clean?

  • Love love LOVE the hook and grommet/rubber glove/dishcloth idea!
    I have grommets, I have hooks, this solution will be mine.

  • I am enjoying these posts so much. I am a tidy person myself (my son calls me Monica) but just seeing all of these beautiful photos makes me want to start sorting cupboards!

  • Do you know where the little square stacking jars from the first photo came from? My tea cabinet is calling for them.

  • Any hints on where I can find a chalkboard like the one pictured with the mail organizer? I’ve been searching high and low for one just like it and coming up empty!

  • Where do you get that “apple keeper”? The link to the magazine doesn’t seem to work, or it’s no longer there.

  • Wow! Lots of wonderful comments this a.m.! Thanks :)

    Amelia: For the square canisters, here’s a set on Amazon:

    Kim: I think that’s a magnetic board, which you can find here:
    But if you want a chalkboard, you can find inexpensive ones on Amazon or any big box store. I also like the idea of the chalkboard “sticker” seen at Paper Source:

    April: Country Homes & Interiors bought that one at a garden store, but I don’t think it’s still stocked online.
    Here are some on ebay but both international (if you’re willing to pay I’m sure you can organize shipping):

    You might also take the photo to a garden store (think warehouse types) or even an orchard if you’re near one. I grew up in apple country VA, and we used to call up and get all kinds of crates and things (have to pay of course!) :)


  • Thank you! I just moved into a smaller kitchen so this information is so timely. I’m going to hit up some restaurant supply shops in the Bowery to get some of those lazy susans (and whatever cool gadget-y things I can find)

  • Just bought a new house that had a trash compactor that was broken. Not caring to replace it, I installed the stainless steel drawer baskets in it’s place. There are four, they are open to the room and look awesome! Great for onions, potatoes, dish towels, etc!

  • Meg: They are wicker fisherman’s baskets. You can find this similar set at Amazon.com:

    But also look at your local sporting goods shop or flea markets to see if you can find truly old-fashioned ones!


  • While finding the perfect hutch (thrifted or otherwise) may be difficult, it is an easy-peasy DIY to attach a bookcase on top of a dresser. I’ve done this in the past and it works really well; a coat of paint and you are good to go.

  • Do you have any ideas on where to find that mail organizer (or similar) in the last set of pictures? It looks cute from the side.

  • i also would like to know what the ladder shelf from IKEA is called. i tried to search for it as well and couldn’t find it.

  • love all these suggestions. the ceramic holders on the under the cabinet bar look great. has anyone found those?

  • Great ideas…I am constantly struggling to manage space in my small kitchen…I am a renter, and have ample cupboards, but they just out of reach…And I am lazy, and don’t want to drag a stool, everytime I want just that particular pot! Y din’t I think of that shoerack before??!!

  • The apple keeper is available at other British websites like these:

    If you google “traditional apple rack” or “dorset apple rack” you can find some. Not sure if they all ship internationally though.

  • These are wonderful ideas! We just moved into a rental and while the kitchen is large, the storage isn’t well designed. I have a huge wall that is just sitting there all empty and unused. I love that pegboard and basket idea! Thanks!!

  • If you don’t want to mess with grommets for the gloves, just clip them with a bulldog clip and hang the hook on a nail or hook. I have half my life stashed on them behind closed cupboard doors. Recipes, paper, etc.

  • Would also like to know the name of the ikea ladder!! No response to questions on this yet though. Any chance of supplying the info?
    Great ideas – love it!

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