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Try these different strategies to better store and organize cookware |

Try these different strategies to better store and organize cookware

It’s a chef’s major pet peeve: You open that lower kitchen cabinet door and a heaping cluster of cooking utensils comes crashing to the floor in a cacophony of clanging metal, with skillets, saucepans, pots and lids scattered about the floor. The sound is loud enough to wake the dead, and the frustration level you feel is boiling-point high.

Solution? Stop stuffing that cookware haphazardly in cabinets and drawers and consider more efficient storage solutions instead.

“Homeowners often have too much stuff, especially in the kitchen. We inherit pots and pans from family members, receive them as wedding gifts and purchase new ones — accumulating more than we’ll ever need,” says Corinne Morahan, founder of Boston-based professional organizing firm Grid + Glam.

“They’re bulky and take up so much space, and having too many can cause a major mess in our kitchens.”

The first remedy is to clean out the clutter.

“Purge cookware annually,” says Marche Johnson, owner of Major Organizers in Montgomery, Alabama. “Any pots and pans without lids or that haven’t been used in a long time should be donated. Your goal is to only keep full sets of quality cookware that you’ll actually use.”

Step two is to take stock of your current storage capabilities. Most cookware is kept within base cabinets or pantries or on racks. If, after paring down your collection, you have more room, now’s the time to practise good organizing habits within that reclaimed space. That means stacking consistently, which never goes out of style, says Felice Cohen, author of 90 Lessons for Living Large in 90 Square Feet (. . . or More).

“I recommend putting the largest item on the bottom and adding up with smaller pots and pans, but keeping the lids separate, which can be stacked in an adjacent container,” Cohen suggests.

Still lack the proper real estate for your metal meal makers? It may be time to think outside the box. One approach is to hang ’em high — above the kitchen island via a rack anchored in the ceiling — that has hooks or pegs.

“This can work if it matches your kitchen’s esthetics and you have beautiful pots and pans to display, like a set of handsome new copper pans in a rustic kitchen,” Morahan says.

“This method saves money on home decor and frees up your shelves for storing other kitchenware. The downside is that a bunch of mismatched pans hanging front and centre can make your space look and feel cluttered and messy.”

Another option is to purchase a hutch or baker’s rack on which to hang or stack cookware.

“I use wire shelf racks to add space and height to the kitchen,” says Carrie Kauffman, owner of Carrie’s Essential Services in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. “Or, if you have available wall space, I suggest using a pegboard system to hang pots and pans on the wall instead of adding another piece of furniture to a crowded kitchen.

Got a corner cabinet? Consider installing a lazy susan rotating tray within it — a handy platform for storing and accessing pans, pots and the like.

“With a lazy susan, I recommend keeping each pan separate with its lid on it and having the handles face out so you can easily grab them,” Morahan says.

If you’ve got ample open space in your base cabinets and want an alternative to stacking, try installing pullout drawers or pullout hook organizers, which can keep things much tidier within.

Once you’ve implemented any new hardware or racks to help manage those metal containers, don’t forget to follow the golden rule. “Consistently put back and neatly place each pot, pan and lid in their designated spot,” Morahan says. “This will eliminate the pot and pan clutter for good.”

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