Features + Lifestyle

Solving Common Organizing Challenges

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve felt the undeniable urge to muck out everything.  My aunt once told me that to recover from a period of upheaval, most people need less.  You get weighed down by stuff and tasks and expenses and the best way to get out is to purge.  So let’s talk about organizing.

Kitchen Organizing

How do you store your spices?  In a drawer, a cupboard, a rack?  Ours are in two huge rubbermaid containers in the pantry.  Finding things is a challenge.  Kyle often finds himself asking if I’ve seen the Paprika only to look down and see it’s right in front of his face.

This YouCopia Spice Organizer ($13) is just extraordinarily useful.  The rubber mats come in a pack of six and can be cut to fit in almost any size drawer.  Now your spices are available, visible and organized without taking up cupboard or counter space.

Another good option? This Zevro Zero Gravity canister set.  Attache the magnetic shelf to the wall, and store 12 of your most-used spices right above your stove.

Also, speaking of drawer organizers, are you just throwing your utensils into a drawer like a barbarian and then struggling to find things?  Yeah, I used to do that.  Then, my realtor gave me this bamboo utensil organizer as a housewarming gift.  It’s long enough to hold wooden spoons and spatulas, so everything stays organized.

Kyle loves condiments.  Whenever I marvel at the 6-8 condiments that must be used with any meal, I get the inevitable, “All the sauces, Belke, all the sauces.”  The man knows how he wants to gussy up a meal.  But storing all the condiment jars and bottles, oy.

First off, they leak and drip.  Second, to find a sauce in the back, you need to move or remove all the sauces in the front.  And third, if you can’t quickly inspect which sauces are empty and which are expired, you can’t replace them prior to their next use.  Do I think about this too much?  Probably, but I’m organized person, and having 40-50 condiments in my fridge is a problem that needs to be solved.

Enter these InterDesign storage bins (2pk, $31).  They’re long enough and deep enough to hold a lot of condiments.  When the bottles spill, I can clean the bin, and not have to scrub the shelf.  I can also group condiments by frequency of use so I know where his beloved sauces are.

Amazon also has a larger set of six organizers, in case you need more.  These type of packs always offer an egg one, personally, I’ve never used mine.  I see no reason to load the eggs into another container, and if you lose track of the expiration date you could be in for a world of hurt.

Lids of pots are always in the wrong place at the wrong time.  You need one?  You can’t find it.  You don’t need it, it’s falling out of the cabinet and scratching your floor.  Perfect.

This $10 lid organizer eliminates the clanging and dropping of lids and keeps them safely tucked away.  Hurting for cabinet space?  Or buy this organizer that mounts to the inside of cabinet doors.

Bathroom Organizing

Large bathroom cabinets always have so much wasted space because you fill up the bottom and have all of this unused vertical space.  Not anymore.  This under-vanity two-tier drawer system ($25) is great for doubling up your storage.  If you fall into the category of “goo hoarder,” you can buy this larger one from Lynk, with room for all the beauty products ever, for $69.

How many curling irons do you have?  I have one regular iron, one jumbo iron, one Beachwaver (love it!), and one straightener.  Plus, a hair dryer.  Storing them can be a mess.

This over the door hair tools organizer ($15) is a great option.  I use mine to store my round brushes because I hate when they leave hair in the drawers that then gets on everything.  The one issue is that it’s plastic, so if you accidentally put a hot tool in there, you’ll melt the organizer.  For a metal option, try this one from Amazon with an added hairdryer mount.

I bought these Seville bamboo drawer organizers when I moved into my house three years ago.  They are a great way to organize bathroom drawer litter.  I put hair accessories in one, small skincare products in one, etc..  You can also buy other trays to make sure you have all of your beauty accouterments organized.  And the bamboo really takes a licking and keeps on ticking, scratches and scuffs just blend right in.

Another awesome bamboo storage piece?  This bamboo magnetic strip that can be affixed inside your bathroom drawers or inside a medicine cabinet door.  I use mine to store bobby pins that would otherwise end up all over the house.

What are your favorite kitchen and bathroom storage tips?  Any products that changed your life?

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  1. Mallory says:

    Don’t be afraid to look outside of “room” you’re trying to organize! Kitchen organizers can work in a bathroom, and vice a versa. I have a teeny tiny NYC kitchen with a weird corner (thanks, steam pipe!) and found the perfect metal shelving unit in bathroom section of Target.

    August 24, 2018/Reply
  2. Another option says:

    You’re so classy! You know what I bought to store not-hot hair utensils like curling irons or tall but skinny bottles of hairspray or similar items? A cheap plastic magazine holder from Target dollar spot. It’s lower in front so I can see what’s in there, and easy to just put a thing into from the top. It sits just inside my sink cabinet. I thought I was so Real Simple but I’m loving your option!!

    August 24, 2018/Reply
    • Saramel says:

      I bought a metal magazine holder and mounted it to the cabinet door. It worked great for storing my hair styling tools! Just make sure you use a short screw that won’t go through the front of your cabinet door.

      August 24, 2018/Reply
  3. Shelley says:

    I love this post so much. I love to organize and I love the bathroom organizing options you posted. Organizing makes me very happy. We just moved to a new bigger house and though I have more space I don’t want my home to get cluttered, and the kitchen has such deep cupboards that I need little racks and shelves to keep my dishes and spices and food accessible.

    I have added a bunch of these to my list! Thank you!

    August 24, 2018/Reply
  4. Julia Rine says:

    I use spice racks like this for cabinets: https://www.spicyshelfdeluxe.com/?mid=9264160

    I like that you can see the spices and use a good amount of space- and any that are too big can fit in the center.

    We also make great use of our label maker in the kitchen! Using reusable organizing containers for things like oatmeal and flour makes everything fit in the small space a lot easier.

    August 24, 2018/Reply
  5. Meg says:

    I bought two of these vertical spice racks and they are life changing. https://www.amazon.com/Vertical-Spice-22x2x11-Drawers-Capacity/dp/B00F4N0UT4

    August 24, 2018/Reply
  6. Kate says:

    The kitchen tip, for me is less is more. I have a small kitchen so whenever I buy anything, ideally, it should be muti-functional. Even with spice and souces, I buy the ones that go well with veggie and poultry. Costco has a really good chicken rub that goes well with sea foods.

    August 25, 2018/Reply
  7. Kayleigh says:

    I have a candle obsession / love visiting breweries. I have ended up with a million small tasting glasses and I like to reuse my old glass candle jars. I put the candle jars in the freezer and then remove the little bits that are always left. You can find all the instructions on pinterest. Now I keep everything I can think of in those glass containers in my bathroom – candles and beer tasting glasses- makeup brushes in one, bobby pins in another, lipsticks in another, etc. Plus it’s kinda nice to be reminded of places you have visited while getting ready for work, little trips down memory lane!

    August 27, 2018/Reply
  8. SC says:

    The under-vanity organizer is genius — I’m going to measure the space I have tonight and see if it’ll fit!

    August 27, 2018/Reply
  9. Kelly Stoner says:

    I use the same technique for my skincare / beauty items that you have suggested for Kyle’s condiments 😀 I keep three bins under my sink – one for my morning routine, one for my evening routine, and one for pamper items (masks, scrubs, etc.) that I use less frequently. In the morning when it’s time to do my skincare, put on deodorant, etc. I just pull out the bin and put it on the counter. When I’m done the items go back in and then the whole thing gets tucked back under the sink. It is such an easy way to keep the counters cleared off but without having to reach under the sink 10x in 5 minutes.

    August 27, 2018/Reply
  10. Jen says:

    This is a recent find and sanity saver. For less than $5 you can keep sponges or those sponge/soap 2-in-1’s from laying around your sink! It’s super flexible and can hang around the faucet.


    September 9, 2018/Reply