If 2020 has you operating more like Red and less like Rachel Ray in the kitchen, you’re not alone. In my house, I’ve got limited resources, hungry inmates, and the sneaking suspicion that someone is watching me. Kidding aside, it’s not the pandemic that makes me feel like a prisoner at home. It’s kitchen clutter, and the best way to confront it is to start by organizing cookware.
Here are 3 ways to get your pots and pans in order.
1. Organizing Pots and Pans: Don’t Hide. Glide.
Whether you’re team sauce or team gravy, we can all agree that stock pots are space suckers.
Avoid pushing these large pots to the back of the cabinet. While nesting or stacking may feel like you’re saving space, you’re really making items harder to reach.
Instead, look for a space where you can store pots side-by-side. A corner cabinet with a built-in lazy susan is one option. You’ll save time finding (and returning) items, because everything is “in the front” as you spin the cabinet.
Another option is a gliding shelf, or pull-out drawer. You can put your pots pretty much anywhere, because you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of everything when you open the drawer.
The drawer pictured below is from The Container Store, however, you can find similar solutions on Amazon or at your local hardware store. Just be sure to pick up wood shims before you install; you need to clear the trim in the base cabinet for the drawer to function properly.
Tip: Before you give up precious cabinet space, take a look at how often you use stock pots. You may find that a strategically placed shelf or space in a nearby closet is a better option for the items you rarely use.
2. Put a Lid On It
What’s worse than waiting for a pot of water to boil while your kid screams for mac and cheese? Waiting for said water to boil in a pot without a lid.
For fewer meltdowns and optimal cook times, keep your lids together and easily accessible. There are a few ways you can do this, based on your cooking style:
- You have several lids, and you cook with them often
- In this case, a lid rack is a good option. I like to put frying and sauce pans in a lower cabinet, with matching lids on the shelf above them. When shopping for a lid rack, look for one that’s adjustable or comes with a couple different slot sizes. This way, you can accommodate a variety of styles and manufacturers.
- You have a few lids that you rarely use
- In this case, I suggest hanging the lids on the back of your cabinet doors. Command hooks work well, or you can add an over-the-door solution.
- You have a few lids, and you cook with them often
- In this case, I match each pot with its lid. For optimal use of space, I invert the lids, and then stack no more than two pots at a time. In the example below, I’m using a lid rack to store my pans on their side. This solution works also well for cutting boards and baking sheets.
Tip: Treat your cookware like you would socks or tupperware; periodically inspect them to weed out lost souls.
3. Kick it Up a Notch
Still feeling tight on space? If all else fails, look up. Vertical space is your friend!
Here are few places where you can squeeze in some extra storage:
- Above the sink (wall mounted pot rack)
- Over your cooktop (ceiling mounted pot rack)
- On the side of your fridge (magnetic hooks)
- On the side of your cabinets (traditional hooks)
- On the back of a door (over-the-door hooks)
- On a corner wall (peg board)
Here’s a clever solution I created over my stove by adding swivel magnets.
Cookware might not be as sexy as decanting your oreos but a good system for your pots and pans sets the foundation for the rest of your kitchen organization.