Is your kitchen a disaster area crammed with appliances you never use, mountains of plastic containers and tea bags spilling out of drawers?
Conventional wisdom says you should just start getting rid of stuff, but a shopping trip actually might help you get your mess under control.
Here are seven types of appliances, gadgets and tools that can reduce clutter in your kitchen.
1. Collapsible Kitchenware
“I’m a big fan of collapsible items,” said professional organizer Crystal Sabalaske, owner of Cluttershrink.
Her favorite collapsible item? The Dexas Turbo Fan Collapsible Salad Spinner, which collapses to 5 inches in height for easy storage. “Regular salad spinners are space hogs,” Sabalaske said.
2. Multiuse Gadgets
Save space on your counter and in your cabinets by using small appliances that perform several functions, said professional organizer Janine Adams, owner of Peace of Mind Organizing. For example, she recommends an old-school KitchenAid stand mixer (pictured at top), which can be used to make anything from bread to ice cream to sausage. Avoid single-use cooking appliances like quesadilla makers, she said.
For extremely tight spaces, the MoMA store offers a colorful all-in-one kitchen tool set that takes up about as much space as a wine bottle. It includes a funnel, a lemon juicer, spice and cheese graters, an egg separator and a measuring cup.
3. Nesting Tools
Nesting items that fit snugly together can help you save space, said professional organizer Betsy Fein, president of ClutterBusters.
Joseph Joseph makes the Nest Collection, a line of space-saving kitchenware. The company’s Nest Utensils sit together in their own holder, and the Nest 7 includes a mixing bowl, a smaller mixing bowl with measurements, measuring cups and a measuring spoon. And the MoMA store offers nesting measuring spoons designed by Ken LeVan that are magnetized to hold together easily.
One caveat: Nesting products actually can cause clutter if you throw them haphazardly into a drawer. “Can you maintain it? If yes, then it’s a great idea,” Fein said.
4. Stowaway Items
One great kitchen clutter reducer: pull-out cutting boards like the EZ Slide N Store Wood Breadboard. Cutting-board storage can be a challenge for some people, Adams said.
“Cutting boards take up a lot of room if stored horizontally, then things get piled on them, making them harder to access,” she said. “Storing cutting boards on their edge and leaning them against a wall on the counter can work, but that creates counter clutter.”
A pull-out board is a great solution: It’s neatly tucked away, but it’s handy when you need it.
5. Flexible Storage
Traditional slotted knife blocks accommodate only a certain number of knives, which must be the right size to fit. But Kapoosh’s slotless knife blocks hold “way more” knives, said Fein, adding that she’s used the product in her own kitchen for years. “It fits any size knife or scissor whatsoever,” Fein said.
Another flexible storage option: Custom Drawer Organizer Strips from The Container Store. Unlike traditional drawer dividers, they can be moved to accommodate long, wide or oddly shaped gadgets like egg slicers, salad tongs or large knives, Sabalaske said.
“You can customize any drawer in your kitchen to prevent the contents from getting disorganized,” she said.
6. Minimalist Appliances
Forget fancy—go for simple appliances that get the job done with minimal muss and fuss.
For example, pod-type coffee makers like the ones manufactured by Keurig are popular, but the machines take up a lot of counter space, Adams said, and you’ve also go to store the pods.
Her alternative: a stunningly simple Hario ceramic dripper that can be used to brew coffee right into a mug for “one-cup-at-a-time convenience,” Adams said. When you’re not using the dripper, it can be neatly tucked into a drawer or stuck right in the dishwasher, she said.
7. Clutter Organizers
If your kitchen is overrun with small items like plastic bags, plastic containers and condiment bottles, consider products to corral the clutter. A simple lazy susan is a great way to keep oil and vinegar bottles neat and handy, said professional organizer Elizabeth Penn, owner of Bneato Bar Professional Organizing.
“The space acts as a boundary—if it starts to get too crowded, it’s time to get rid of some stuff,” Penn said.
Also try the SimpleHuman Stainless Steel Bag Holder to gain control of your plastic grocery bags, and the YouCopia StoraStack Food Container Organizer for plastic storage containers and their lids, Fein recommends. “It’s a great space saver,” she said.