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Give your kitchen a new look and boost its storage capacity at the same time. These open shelves keep dishes neatly organized and the bottom shelf is the perfect spot for small appliances. To boost efficiency, have electric outlets installed within the shelving space so you don't have to move the appliances to use them.
Conquer your undersink space with an simple, on-a-dime solution. Keep your most frequently used items (dish soap, dishwasher detergent, sponges, and scrubbers) in an over-the-door wire organizer for quick access.
Make mornings easier with an all-in-one coffee station. Use a basket to hold filters, coffee beans, and travel mugs, and keep it next to your coffeemaker, so brewing a fresh pot is a one-step task.
Shift dry goods into airtight, stackable containers. Packaged food products can be stored more compactly when transferred from their packaging into stacking containers. Cut out the necessary information from the package (instructions, nutritional information, etc.) and tape to the outside of the container.
Stock your freezer with storage-smart ideas to make use of every inch of shelf space. Use plastic baskets (an affordable organization tool) to store foods by type and put a labeled tag on each. (We used scrapbook paper and luggage tags.) Keep small adhesive labels and a permanent marker on hand to label individual containers.
Keep dish towels in a cubbyhole close to the cleanup zone. Use a pullout towel rack with more than one bar to air-dry and store towels.
Give order to a collection of small appliances with a system of cubbies. Tuck in the necessary attachments and manuals that accompany each appliance so everything is on hand.
Store spice bottles on their sides with labels visible; lay them in shallow drawers instead of stacking them, says organization consultant Ginny Scott of California Closets in Portland, Oregon. The best location for spice storage is below a cooktop or to the side of a range. The flavor of spices stored above a cooking surface might be adversely affected by the heat.
Store shallow items, such as cutting boards and platters, upright. Even narrow spaces next to your range or your sink can be used in this manner. Use dividers to separate items for easier retrieval.
Group items by size. "This is the best way to use space more efficiently," says organization consultant Alice Winner of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, especially when you size shelves to fit the groupings. Keep in mind, however, that grouping similarly sized items that serve different functions, such as tall cereal boxes and a blender, might take more time when you're searching for something.
A two-bin unit lets you sort recyclables and trash, then conceal them behind doors. The most convenient location for this unit is next to the sink so cans and bottles can go straight from a rinse into the appropriate bin. Or, choose a location near the door where you exit the house to limit how far you must lug the bins.
Set up a streamlined household communications center. Conceal a message board or calendar on the back of a closet or cabinet door. Use baskets or cubbyholes, one for each family member, in a closet or cabinet to sort mail, and stash pens and notepaper nearby.
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