15 Ways to Organize Your Pots and Pans
Plates and bowls may be easy to stack, but pots and pans are a completely different story. With extraneous lids, and awkward handles, storing them neatly can be a real challenge. To help you achieve the tidy cabinets of your dreams, we’ve found 15 handy organizational tips.
With these pearls of wisdom, you’ll be well on your way towards an enviable organized kitchen. Below, we run through how to store pots and pans neatly.
One: Location, Location, Location
Before you start to organize your cookware, it’s important to find the perfect spot to keep it in. By keeping your pots and pans close to your oven or stove, you can avoid laboriously running back and forth whenever you cook.
For even more convenient access, you could consider installing a pullout drawer in the cabinet. This will make it far easier to reach supplies at the back, helping you to make the most of all the space at your disposal.
Two: All about Lids
Lids may well be the most inconvenient aspect of cookware. They’re an awkward shape, and always seem to go walkabout.
If you have the space, the best way to deal with lids is to keep them on your pots and pans when you put them away. However, we know that not everyone has room for this storage method. If you do need to stack your pots and pans, be sure to nest small pots inside larger ones, and avoid stacks of more than three. Their lids can be stowed in a simple rack, with larger lids on the bottom, and smaller lids on the top.
Alternatively, if your cabinets are deep enough, you could also store pan lids on the inside of their doors. You can purchase a pre-fabricated door mounted lid rack, or build your own pots and pans organizer, using tension curtain rods supported by eye hooks screwed into the door.
These methods make it easy to see if a lid is missing, and keep them all in a single spot next to their corresponding pots.
Three: Protect your Stuff
Kitchenware can be a real investment, so it’s important to weave some protective precautions into your organizational methods.
To protect the finish of your non-stick pans, be sure to position felt or silicone pads between each one in a stack. This will prevent the bottom of one pan from scraping the non-stick surface away from another. If you’re on a tight budget, paper plates can perform the same function as specially designed silicone or felt discs. Having a grippy layer in between your pans will also prevent the pile from toppling if you need to remove the whole stack from the cabinet at once.
While you’re on a roll, it’s also a good idea to protect the bottom of your cabinets – you should be able to find a plastic insert designed for the task. This will prevent items from sliding around inside, and keep the floor of your cabinets free from scratches and stains.
Four: Make your own Storage Space
Pots and pans are the largest cookware items that most people own, so you may find that they don’t fit in your cabinets.
Luckily, there’ an alternative – you can store items on a pots and pans storage rack, pegboard, or even a rolling kitchen cart, and use your newly liberated cabinet space for other items. Keeping your pots and pans in plain view makes it much easier to find what you’re looking for, and if you’ve invested in copper or cast iron equipment, you may even prefer to show it off.
If you decide to invest in this kind of storage, just be sure that it can take the weight of your equipment. Rack and pegboard manufacturers should provide information about how many pounds their equipment can hold.
Five: Have a Purge
When it comes to organising any room in your home, saying goodbye to items you no longer use is a must. There’s little point in squeezing your space to the limit with pots and pans you don’t really use.
Before you begin your organizational tirade, remove all of your pots and pans from their cabinets, and discard:
Items that are not fit for purpose – for example, pans with a loose lid, or scratched non-stick coating
Lids that don’t have a corresponding pot
Duplicate pots and pans
Pots and pans you haven’t used in the last year or so
You can take faulty equipment to be recycled, and sell on any items which are in good condition, but no longer needed. This process will free up space for keeping equipment that you actually want and use. Rarely used cookware could even be moved to another location, such as a basement or attic, giving you more space on a day to day basis.
Six: Stack with Care
Unless you have a particularly large kitchen you’ll probably need to stack some pots and pans. However, you can make life easier for yourself by not stacking those items you use all the time. For instance, if you use a large frying pan to prepare dinner every night, it doesn’t make sense to bury it under items you only use now and then. Setting this kind of item to one side can save you considerable time and effort.
Another good stacking tip is to always ensure that your heaviest items are stacked on the bottom shelf of your cabinet. If their shelf gives way, heavy items will do much less damage when they are closer to the ground.
Seven: Use Tension Curtain Rods
You can easily maximise the cupboard space at your disposal with one neat little trick – all you’ll need are a few tension curtain rods.
Fix the rods between cupboard shelves to create extra, rack-like surfaces -ideal for storing flat items such as muffin trays, baking sheets, and chopping boards. Storing these items flat rather than turning them onto their sides is a great space saver, and makes it much easier to access these baking essentials, too.
Eight: Hooks are Your Friend
If there’s one storage trick that has stood the test of time, it’s hooks. These versatile little pieces of hardware can also come in handy when you organise your kitchen:
Hooks mounted on the inside of cabinet doors can hold frying pans or other flat items
Hooks can also be placed on the end of your cabinet, or in awkward nooks
You can also place hooks at the back of a cabinet to hang up rarely used items
Two hooks with a wooden dowel in between them can be used to easily store aluminum foil and plastic wrap inside a cabinet door – saving more space for your pots and pans
If you’re a keen baker, you can mount a hook on the side of a storage jar to keep measuring utensils right next to your ingredients
If you’re a little shy when it comes to DIY, you can use an adhesive hook rather than drilling into your surfaces.
Nine: Consider Overhead Storage
Another great way to store your pots and pans out in the open, is to hang them on an overhead rack. If your kitchen has a high enough ceiling, this can be a great way to display your collection, while freeing up space in your cabinets – two birds, one stone.
If you opt for this storage method, be very careful about the height at which you mount your equipment. Too low, and you might end up hitting your head; too high, and you might find it difficult to reach essential cookware. This technique works best if you have an island or breakfast bar to mount the rack above – the countertop will prevent you from walking into your forest of pans.
Ten: Mount a Towel Bar
In many kitchens, the flat surface on the side of the end cabinet goes to waste. Luckily, this space is easy to take advantage of.
Simply find a towel rail that matches your kitchen decor, and mount it on the side of the cabinet. Next, place a series of s-shaped hooks on the rail, and use them to hang up your favorite pans.
With this storage method, it’s a good idea to hang up either your most attractive pots and pans, or the ones you use most frequently. Not only will this technique utilise otherwise dead space, and save room in your cabinets, it also gives your kitchen a little shabby chic flair.
Eleven: Divide Deep Drawers
We’ve discussed cabinet space and open-air storage a lot in our guide so far, but now it’s time to run through how to organize pots and pans in drawers.
You can get the most out of your deep drawers by creating your own dividers. Cut a series of ¼ inch pieces of plywood to fit the width and depth of your drawer, and use them to divide pots and pans from each other. This technique allows you to store your equipment on its side, creating more room. It’s also great for keeping matching pan and lid sets together.
This handy tutorial from Seed at the Table will run you through the DIY behind this versatile storage solution.
Twelve: Magic with Magnets
Magnets can also be a useful ally in the quest for an organized kitchen. If you’re unconvinced by the lid storage solutions on offer thus far, using magnets might pique your interest.
If your lids are made from metal, or have metallic outer rings, you can keep them all together – and in order – with a magnetic knife strip. These strips can be had for under $20 – simply mount in your desired location, and place your lids in whatever order you want along its surface.
You could place the strip on the splashback behind your stove, on a wall, or on the side of a cabinet. Before you go ahead and mount the rack, just make sure that your pan lids are metallic enough to be held up.
Thirteen: Make Use of Boxes
If you’re looking for a quick-fix organizational solution, look no further than the humble plastic tub. These rectangular boxes will slide easily into cabinets, and you can use them to keep all sorts of items together.
Lids, utensils, and other tricky items can all be tucked into plastic tubs and hidden away. This not only prevents kitchenware from going walkabout, it also makes awkwardly shaped items easier to access – rather than ferreting for the item you want, causing havoc, you can simply slide the relevant box out of the cupboard.
Fourteen: Get the Most Out of Corner Cabinets
Corner cabinets have more space than the others in your kitchen, but due to their tricky shape, it doesn’t always feel that way.
You can get the most out of your corner cabinet by fitting a Lazy Susan. The device consists of two spinning shelves, which you can rotate in order to access items at the very back of the cabinet. When stacking pots and pans on a Lazy Susan, remember to place a protective layer between each item for protection.
Fifteen: Repurpose a Ladder
It might sound strange, but you can actually give an old ladder a new lease of life by transforming it into a cookware storage solution.
Hanging the ladder horizontally from the ceiling makes for fun and quirky overhead pot storage. Alternatively, you could brace the ladder against a bare wall, for a multi-tiered effect.
If this sounds like the storage hack for you, we recommend using a wooden ladder, to prevent rusting. You can pick up a ladder like this for as little as $40, making this unusual storage solution a thrifty one.
Bringing it all Together
As this guide has made abundantly clear, there is no single solution when it comes to organizing your pots and pans, though hopefully we’ve given you a few ideas.
- For the best results, just follow these simple tenets:
- Remove unused or broken items from your kitchen
- Make the items you use most frequently the easiest to access
- Find a use for dead space
- Let the size and layout of your kitchen inform your storage decisions
- 10 Organization Tips to Keep Pots and Pans From Being an Unsightly Pile – Reader’s Digest