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Set aside one drawer for junk. That's right -- most organization experts agree that you can and should have a junk drawer! "There are always doodads in every home that nobody knows where to store," Lorie Marrero says in her book The Clutter Diet. "Just don't keep things in there that have a home somewhere else and that you have not used in more than a year or two." Marrero recommends using a drawer divider to keep items visible.
Store small appliances, such as a coffee grinder, handheld electric mixer, and toaster, inside a cabinet on a large lazy Susan. "A quick turn, and what you need is at your fingertips," author Meryl Starr says in The Home Organizing Workbook.
Group like items inside a pantry to simplify prep time. Organizing and productivity consultant Laura Leist suggests gathering baking supplies in a single container. When it's time to make cookies, just carry the container to your work area and all the basics will be at your fingertips.
Press interior doors into service. Line a door with cut-to-fit sheets of cork to create a message center, or attach a magnetic board to the inside of a door. Attach a basket down low to keep bags in line. Or coat a door with blackboard paint to give kids a place to entertain themselves while you're cooking.
Quickly customize any pantry with tiered shelf organizers. "Can risers are like bleachers for your canned goods," Laura Leist says in her book Eliminate Chaos. "They allow you to see canned goods placed behind one another."
Hang a shelf with customizable add-ons to the side of an island, and use it to store your go-to spices and utensils.
Slip a tiered rack inside a drawer to keep spices neatly contained. Arrange the canisters in alphabetical order. "Alphabetizing spices helps you find what you want at the grocery store; it will do the same thing at home," author Stephanie Denton says in The Organized Life. "Plus, you're less likely to buy a duplicate if your inventory is organized."
Make the most of the sliver of space beside a drain pipe with a narrow two-tier basket. This model features a top bin that lifts off and a bottom bin that pulls out for easy access. The portable caddy is perfect for holding kitchen cleaning supplies. To protect the cabinet from leaks or spills, line the base with a waterproof mat.
Try the one-month box test if your drawers are overflowing with cooking gadgets but you can't bear to part with that melon-baller. "Empty the contents of your kitchen utensil drawers into a cardboard box," author Peter Walsh says in It's All Too Much. "For one month, only put a utensil back into the drawer if you take it out of the box to use it. At the end of the month, seriously consider discarding everything that's still in the cardboard box."
Save time (and money, if you live in a state with bottle and can refunds) by presorting your recyclables as you toss them. Partitioned, pullout garbage cans built into these kitchen cabinets make quick work of dividing glass, plastic, paper, and cans. Check with your city's recycling program to find out what you can and can't recycle. Some cities only recycle certain numbers of plastic -- you'll find the numbers on the bottom of every plastic container.
Change family habits by positioning recycling bins in a prominent location. Clearly labeled containers make it easy for young children and guests to stick with the program. "Consider your garbage can and recycling bin as a few of your organizing tools," says Stephanie Denton in The Organized Life. "The larger they are, the more likely you are to use them."
Save space by storing bulky food items in coordinating containers. To retain the cooking instructions, attach a clear adhesive pocket (commonly used to hold business cards) to the outside of the container and slip the info inside. "Plastic containers work great for items you use frequently that come in plastic bags, such as beans, rice, pasta, and nuts," says Laura Leist in Eliminate Chaos. "They eliminate the possibility of the contents spilling out and keep out unwanted guests, such as bugs." For maximum function, ensure the containers are large enough to hold a standard bag plus some.
Identify food and cooking categories that suit your lifestyle -- for example, weeknight dinners, portable lunches, baking, and entertaining. Designate an area for each category inside your pantry, with the most often-used zones within easiest reach. Label all of the zones clearly so everyone knows where groceries belong.