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Curing Kitchen Clutter

I’m a bit of a clutterbug. My husband just raises a skeptical eyebrow when I point to photos of Einstein’s messy desk as proof of my mad genius. If shelves overflowing with books makes me a “hoarder,” I reject all calls for an intervention. But when it comes to our shared spaces, like the kitchen, I’ll concede that the man has a point. When an opportunity arose to try some products from YouCopia, I was intrigued.

My household organizational skills could use improvement. Here are a couple of typical “before” photos of our kitchen:

wp-1481655550754.jpgAs you can see, everything starts out stacked, neat, fairly easy to find, but as it’s washed and returned to the cupboard, it sort of has an orgy in there and we end up finding scores of little condiment containers we never use.

This is probably my bad karma from childhood wonder and laughter at my aunt’s obsession with Tupperware. I mean, who empties a brand new box of cereal into a plastic tub specially designed for cereal? I grew up eating it out of the box – sometimes poured into a bowl with milk, sometimes pilfered with my fingertips straight from the box. Seriously, is there any better way to eat Lucky Charms?

I swear, she had a special container for everything and an endless fascination with plastic pantry organization aids. I’m pretty sure our spice rack was the only nod to kitchen organization we had in our household, growing up, and I don’t feel deprived.

Paradoxically, though, I can’t get enough of cheap, semi-disposable Glad and Zip-Loc containers. This is karmic justice for furrowing my brow at my grandmother’s deep drawer full of carefully washed containers that once held chicken livers or sour cream or potato salad – a remnant of Depression-era frugality that seemed almost exotic to me as a child growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. I remember opening up one of those containers from the back of the fridge, to find it growing hair. I don’t know what it was, but I had no intention, ever, of saving “left-overs” after that.

Oh, how times change. Some things are just too yummy to toss in the trash on the first day. And when you forget to toss them three days hence, there’s little to no guilt in simply tossing them, container and all. Can’t do that with the pricey stuff!

The Drawer StoraStack from YouCopia seemed like it would be the perfect solution.

Drawer StoraStack from YouCopia

It’s an ingenious little product that fits neatly into a drawer. You’ll need deeper drawers than mine, to make it work – but it would have been the perfect solution in either of my grandmothers’ homes. It adjusts to the length of the drawer so that there’s no slipping and sliding; it stays put perfectly. There’s room for two sizes of containers, which are ingeniously kept secured by a special dispenser clip. Dividers keep lids neatly organized, too.

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It’s important to measure your drawer depth before investing in these:

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wp-1481655346515.jpgAs you can see, this is never going to work. The retainer clip is too tall for this drawer – even if I could slide the drawer closed, it would catch on the back and permanently lock the drawer. Another point worth mentioning here is that the clips are pretty well secured. You are supposed to pinch them on the underside of the unit to slide them out again, but I’ve not been able to grasp the part with enough strength to do it – not with fingertips, alone, anyway. So place them carefully before locking them in! It’s important that they be secured, so that they don’t come out when you pull a container from the clip. Mine’s never going to come out with the force of dispensing a plastic container, that’s for sure!

Here’s how the StoraStack looks in my cupboard:

 

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Yes, it inspired me to do some overall organization! And it’s still useful – but it’s definitely designed to be used in a deep drawer, where it can keep these things handy and organized.

You can buy YouCopia StoraStack at Target online.

YouCopia StoreMore Lid Holder

YouCopia’s StoreMore Lid Holder is the “better mousetrap” to my improvised solution of pot and pan lid storage.

Our cupboards hold a lot. Dishware, glasses, coffee filters, collectibles, knick-knacks – but there’s just no room left over for the lids to pots and pans. Plus, who wants to rummage around in cupboards for the proper lid when the grease in the pan catches fire? I mean, when it’s time to gently sauté the seasonal vegetables… I’ve been using a dish rack. It’s not an elegant solution, but it keeps the lids handy and (somewhat) organized. The problem, here, is that it’s a dish rack – each slot is the same size, so the lids tilt and bang into one another. One or two don’t really fit, and end up perched atop two of the others. Why does this matter? As you can see, they’re all glass. I’d rather they didn’t get cracked or chipped! This first picture shows the “before” situation on the right:

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You can see the YouCopia StoreMore Lid Holder on the left. Doesn’t look like much, but those coated wire dividers are strong and easy on the lids! They’re also easy to insert, adjust, and remove, making it easy to fit them to the exact depth needed to securely hold each lid upright. No “one size fits all” solution, here! Bye-bye, dish rack!

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You can buy the YouCopia’s StoreMore Lid Holder at Target online.

YouCopia Spice Liner

I was a little skeptical about the YouCopia Spice Liner. Remember me mentioning, earlier, that we had a spice rack when I was a kid? Well, that’s one tradition that I’ve managed to observe through adulthood. In fact, my spices don’t just have a rack; they have stainless steel lazy susan that keeps my most-used spices handy near the stove. They also have a shelf (for the Costco-sized spice containers) and a plastic storage bin (for smaller, miscellaneous sized spices and extracts) in the pantry. My spice storage solutions runneth over!

But why not give this a try? This is not a “make money online” blog and I don’t review things for cash (but see the site’s terms to theoretical exceptions to the rule). I received these products in exchange for trying them out and sharing my opinion of them. None of the links here are affiliate links, so it’s honestly no skin off my nose if you buy or don’t buy. I just really like promoting good things (and warning friends to steer clear of horrible things). So why not?

I was pleasantly surprised. I mean, these are gray foam strips you lay down in the bottom of a drawer – nothing fancy or special here, and they’re $2.50 each! I wasn’t expecting much, and was pretty sure I’d be “re-gifting” them. But I like them, and so does my husband. There are ridges for the spice bottles to nestle into, to keep them from rolling around in the drawer – no matter how hard you pull or push on the drawer, they don’t move. The spice bottles stay quietly put, in neat rows.

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What else might these prove useful for? Those little bottles of wine or alcohol they serve on an airplane? Medicine bottles! Nail polish! Pens or pencils! Little tea tins! The possibilities are – well, maybe not “endless,” but use your imagination. I’m planning to use a couple of these in my bedside table. These little strips of foam rubber are well-designed and versatile. One of the questions on Amazon was, “Do they have an odor?” Nope. In fact, the material might make a good drawer or cupboard liner; perhaps YouCopia should consider making a flat, thinner version for that purpose.

You can buy the YouCopia Spice Liner at Target online.

Gift Ideas and a Chance to Win!

Any of these would make great housewarming presents, inexpensive wedding or bridal shower gifts, or stocking stuffers.  I won’t tell if you buy them for yourself.

Intrigued? Why not enter to win a free YouCopia product of your own choice?

Win a YouCopia Product of your choice #28

The giveaway will run out on the 11th of January. Read the full terms and conditions on the widget. The prize is a choice of YouCopia product for a value of up to $40. Good luck to you – and if you win, be sure to let me know what you think!

 

HollyJahangiri

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at http://amazon.com/author/hollyjahangiri. For more information on her children's books, please visit http://jahangiri.us/books.
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6 Responses to “Curing Kitchen Clutter”

  1. Well! Sounds like you’ve been busy.

    My contribution to diminished chaos was to throw out every single plastic contained in the house when we got our new kitchen a number of years ago.

    I then acquired a full set of Rubbermaid containers – square, clear plastic, with red lids. Three of the sizes use the same size lid, and two others ditto. The biggest and the littlest sizes have their own. And they all fit into one drawer in the kitchen because they stack. Best decision I ever made – and it wasn’t even expensive.

    You’re right – a system helps. Hope yours is easy to maintain. Mine sure is.
    Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt recently posted…Give a friend a book for ChristmasMy Profile

    • I like the Rubbermaid containers, too. But as I said, I like the relatively guilt-free aspect of the disposables (it’s especially nice feeling like I’m recycling containers – god, I AM turning into my grandmother!! – but seriously, if I take one to lunch and forget it at the office, or it winds up in the trash, it’s okay.

  2. Jane says:

    Holly, The blog post would be much more fun to read it it weren’t an advertisement. As for recommending it as a gift item? Title the post “How to Lose a Good Friend.”

  3. Indians are notorious gatherers of plastic bags and boxes. We’d like to think that we were eco-friendly long before it became fashionable. Just kidding.
    Now all these plastic containers are used to store and freeze the food we cook for our dogs, so there aren’t too many spare boxes.
    I do love this storage solution though.

    • Hahahah…maybe I’m part Indian. My husband periodically tosses the grocery bags I keep (I “recycle” them when possible, as trash bags or lunch sacks or whatever – they’re not even acceptable to our recycling company!) Inside me still lurks a child of the 1970s who grew up drawing anti-littering posters and was at the forefront of the whole “reduce, reuse, recycle” movement. It doesn’t always even make any sense (there’s a even a halfway good argument to be made for polystyrene or paper cups as opposed to wasting the energy to make and the water required to wash ceramic mugs – unless you keep the mug something like 7+ years). But it irks me, sometimes, that we live in such a “disposable” society. More because it’s a metaphor for something than that it’s totally crapping up the planet. After all, ancient peoples’ trash is now excavated and put into museums…

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