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5 kitchen hacks to get things organized

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | August 31, 2016

Did you know that kitchen clutter can actually make you less healthy? A 2016 study in Environment and Behavior journal found that test subjects in a messy kitchen ate more snacks than those in a clean, neat kitchen. Besides that, there's a reason why popular 'cut the clutter' gurus like Fly Lady recommend making your sink shine and never allowing dirty dishes to sit there; in addition to so many other negatives, a dirty kitchen makes you more tempted to eat out rather than clean.

There are many other benefits, too. Anyone who has ever struggled to find a can of beans at the back of an overburdened cabinet will immediately understand the benefits of pull-out shelves. Any cook who has ever winced at the terrible sound of pots and pans clanking in a cabinet will appreciate a hanging rack. And those who have had the unfortunate experience of a knife wound (ouch!) when reaching into a drawer know the value of organizing all that silverware.

These affordable changes will ensure that your kitchen gets neat and tidy, you can find everything you need, and the heart of the home becomes a fun place to be instead of an annoying mess.

Invest in pull-out shelves

This is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself, and your back will be the first to thank you. Rather than struggle to find that elusive can of beans that migrated behind everything else, simply pull out a smooth-rolling shelf and all ingredients will be at your fingertips.

At anywhere from $50 to $100 each, the cost of the shelves might add up if you have a large kitchen, but the savings in frustration and time is worth the price. Even better: most of these shelving units are designed to be installed by the homeowner. Measure carefully to get the right size, then spend a weekend making your kitchen much more enjoyable.

Organize drawers

How many times have you opened the drawer, fished around for silverware or a cooking utensil, and found everything but what you needed? More often than not the result is frustration, cursing and maybe even some burned food.

Put an end to that issue with simple drawer organizers. For only a few dollars each at the local discount store, you can find organizers that fit perfectly into almost any drawer and keep all your utensils nicely corralled. For the pieces you use most, such as spoons or spatulas, invest in a sturdy crock for the countertop.

Magnet boards for knives

Reaching into a drawer and winding up with a bloody hand is nobody's idea of fun. Your knives should be up and out of the way, so they are easy to find. And besides, being able to actually see the knives obviously reduces the risk of inadvertently grabbing one.

There are two ways to do this. A sturdy, simple knife block can be had for anywhere from $10 to $50. Or go the cool route and install a magnet board on your kitchen wall, close to the stove or prep area. These helpful strips can be picked up at the big box store for about $20.

Hang up your pots and pans

Who doesn't hate the banging and clattering when pots and pans slam against each other in the cabinets? It's even worse if you choose to store them under the stove. There has to be a way to organize it all so that choosing the right pot or pan doesn't lead to a migraine before the cooking starts.

Those big pot racks aren't just for showing off a gorgeous set of copper cookware -- they serve the very functional purpose of keeping the ungainly pots and pans out of cabinets and easier to reach. When it comes to cost, the price is entirely up to you. A very simple, affordable rack can be had for $50 or less, or you can go all out and spend thousands on a showpiece. Either way, as long as it holds those pots and pans, it's a win.

Park it in an appliance garage

Sometimes the things we need on a day-to-day basis aren't all that attractive in the kitchen. Honestly, have you ever seen a toaster that looked like a work of art? Most of us have toaster ovens, mixers, and everything else imaginable that are too big to fit in a drawer yet look awful sitting on the counter.

Appliance garage to the rescue! You can choose to hire a pro to install one that matches your cabinets, or you can go it alone and choose a free-standing appliance garage that fits neatly on the countertop. Again, the price range is entirely up to you. It will be money well-spent when you see a counter that is finally neat and clean.

Choose the options that are right for you, research the prices, compare the styles, and then get busy with installation. What are you waiting for? That kitchen won't clean itself!

About the Author

Shannon Lee is a freelance writer and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.