Find a new food container
When you get home from the grocery store, transfer dried goods like cereal, penne, and flour into an airtight container, such as an old-fashioned candy jar with an angled lid. “Because a package has a lot of air to keep food from breaking, you might actually be disappointed when you unpack boxes because you think you’d have more food,” says Andrew Mellen, professional organizer and author of Unstuff Your Life!. “You don’t need space for air in your pantry.” You’ll find it easier to make room for a wide and short container than a tall package like a cereal box. (Read more about these other food containers you’ve been using all wrong.)
Use the top of the fridge
“Over the refrigerator is the most underutilized area in the home, or it’s totally misused,” says Nancy Heller, certified professional organizer and founder of Goodbye Clutter. “People either have a hodgepodge or it’s completely empty.” Make the most of the space by using it as intentional storage. Instead of leaving it empty or throwing on whatever doesn’t have another home (that tiki dish from Hawaii or random doilies), designate it as the permanent home for something you use only occasionally. Because you’re only reaching up a few times a year, it won’t matter that it’s hard to reach, but you’ll know exactly where to find your waffle maker when the time comes. (Don’t make these other sloppy-looking kitchen organizing mistakes.)
Adjust your shelves
“That’s the number-one thing I do in almost every home,” says Heller. “They’re too high and have maybe four inches of open vertical space on each shelf. You’ve lost a foot and a half of storage space.” Most shelves are adjustable, so change their heights to suit your needs, rather than becoming a slave to the way they were installed. Mellen suggests measuring the tallest object you’d keep in each space, then adding 1.5 to 2 inches so you have room to slide items out.