i’m a basket case

Ever since I wrote the pantry post last week, friends and readers have been sending me requests for help with their out-of-control kitchen stockpiles. (Seriously, I was offered a plane ticket by one, a cup of coffee by another.)

Please note: It will take more than one trip to Starbucks to get me into your kitchen.

But in an effort to be a Good Samaritan, I’ve been scouring the internet for baskets, bins, and gizmos of all shapes and sizes, then sending the info to my favorite hoarders. The result of this is that I went on a bit of a binge, myself, this weekend, as the family was out of town and I was left alone with my organizational urges.

Some people binge and purge…I purge and bin. Here’s how I brought order to my court….


I thought having a jewelry organizer in my dresser drawer was sufficient, but since I get dressed in my closet, where accessories are nowhere to be found, nine times out of ten, I walk out of the house unadorned.

Fortunately, oversized, hanging jewelry organizers were on sale for $12.99 at T.J. Maxx this week, so I grabbed one and it’s already changed my life. (I wore three different pair of earrings plus a necklace in the last few days. Not all at once.)


For the past few years, I’ve kept them in one of those long, under-the-bed bins…except it was on my closet floor. And the belts were a jumbled mess.

Guess what was right next to the oversized hanging jewelry organizer at T.J.’s?


In trying to help a friend figure out a place for extra water bottles, I got the idea of using a wooden wine rack in lieu of tripping over Costco packs. I realized that if I turned one on its side in my own pantry, it could work for me, too. And it did.

Pine 44-bottle wine rack; $69.99, www.costplus.com


My builder followed my husband’s suggestion to “use all that under-the-stair-space” when crafting the kitchen cupboards. That means a large bank of cabinets—in which I store all my pots and pans—measures a full 44 inches deep. This may sound like storage heaven to some, but imagine them stained a dark shade of espresso (like, really dark)…and now imagine that your 13-inch fry pan has somehow been pushed to the back of the cupboard.  For the last few years, I’ve been employing a technique I’ll call “Use A Flashlight And A Long-Handled Kitchen Spoon To Find Lost Pans And Coax Them Into Reach.”

The brilliant salesman at my local Storables shop had the solution: Take a 35-inch-long under-the-bed bin (What a coincidence! I’ve got one that no longer holds my belts), and fill it with cookware, so finding a pan simply means pulling the bin towards you.  Done, done, and done.  I store the most-reached-for items separately, though.

Under-Bed Box; $12.95; www.storables.com


The corn holders you use once a year…that darling butter spreader in the shape of a peapod…the crazy-cool strawberry slicer that impresses the guests. I’ve got them all. Only now, they’re resting in their very own compartmentalized drawer dividers.

Every cutting tool imaginable: from garlic to apples, herbs to olives.

Spreaders that won't "spread" all over my kitchen....

I feel much better now, thank you.

If you read the pantry post, and felt inspired, please tell me about it. (Can this be considered “paying it forward?”)

  • David, Your Husband

    I noticed that you didn’t organize MY side of the closet. Are you afraid?? 🙂

    March 19, 2012 at 8:27 pm
  • Sherry

    Have a found memory of Debbi sending you a pic of my pantry!
    Was wondering what you think of the various discount sites, like 1Kings Lane and Rue La La?

    March 19, 2012 at 8:30 pm
  • As one of those friends who contacted you, I am grateful for the advice, diagrams, links and product suggestions that you provided, and the emotional support to actually carry out the purge/re-organization process. The offer of a plane ticket and a cup of coffee still stands. I am willing to add a croissant and a tuna sandwich to the mix, if that will turn the tide. I’m still not quite finished with the renovation, and could use a few hours of hands-on help right now to complete the job.

    March 20, 2012 at 4:44 am