Five ways to get cabinet clutter under control

Consumer Reports News: July 13, 2012 12:08 PM

Can't find the curry? Lost your lid? That's what happens when the inside of your cabinets are a jumble. But Julie Morgenstern, author of Organizing from the Inside Out, says a few simple upgrades to standard cabinets can make a big difference. She recommends a few organizational tools, widely available at home centers, to master the mess.

Spin it. Purchase turntables to store a variety of items, including mugs and glasses, she says. "Spin the turntable, and whatever you have in the back comes to the front," she says.

Bin it. Store collections of similar items—spices, teas, and baking supplies, for example—in plastic or mesh containers inside the cabinets. "Just pull the whole container out, get what you need, and then put it back," she says, noting that small containers also simplify the chore of cleaning shelves.

Eyeball it. Load shelves by height. "Low items like spices and cans can get lost when they're four rows back," Morgenstern says, "so you want to bring them to the front of the shelf. That way, you're not reaching over things and knocking them over to get to the back."

Track it. Install trays on guides or tracks in cabinets. "It's like installing a pull-out drawer behind the door." Or, install tracks inside the cabinet that holds the trash can, and the can will then pull out for easy access.

Shelve it. Mount narrow wire shelves on the insides of cabinet doors to hold sponges, cleaners, gloves, and towels, she says. Or, place one inside the door of the cabinet where plastic storage containers are kept to contain the jumble of lids. "These fixes are not expensive, and the installation is easy," she says. "You'll get more storage and make it all more accessible."

For more information on upgrading your kitchen, including the results of our tests of flooring, countertops and appliances, see Get the luxury look for less.

Adapted from Consumer Reports Kitchen Planning & Buying Guide.

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