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When I moved into my current apartment, I knew I was going to get creative with the way I stored my stuff — especially in my kitchen. The space lacks a pantry, and though there is ample cabinetry, much of it is high up and hard to reach. For quite some time, I found cooking to be a headache. Only a few items could be stored within reach, and the other stuff was stashed away, forgotten, and eventually went bad. 

I tried rearranging, throwing stuff away, then rearranging again. Nothing seemed to work. Imagine one of those “before” clips from an infomercial that shows pots and pans raining down on a distressed and borderline-hysterical woman. That was me, until I landed  on the perfect tool for keeping my cabinets fully stocked, organized, and easily accessible: Lazy Susans.

Like many home chefs, I started with the purchase of a Lazy Susan-style spice rack. It contains two levels, perfect for stacking and storing all my herbs and spices in plain sight. Upon getting it, though, I realized the concept could work to store many other tools and ingredients in my cabinets.

I currently have eight Lazy Susans in rotation (pun intended), and I’m now cooking and baking much more than I was before. Here are some of my other favorite uses for turntables that might help organize your space, too. 

But first, a note: Before you equip your own kitchen with a fleet of Lazy Susans, be sure to break out the measuring tape. Lazy Susans come in a ton of sizes and variations, and to get the most out of your storage space, you’ll want to get a size that fits both your cabinet and the items you’ll be storing on it. 

I keep my everyday cooking tools right next to my herbs and spices. After getting the Lazy Susan spice rack, it occurred to me that the concept could work well for storing those, too. I popped a new single-tier turntable one next to the other one, and I use it to store those  frequently used cooking items, like salt and pepper, along with a vase full of my cooking utensils. Best of all, there’s still plenty of space to stash bulk ingredients, like extra boxes of salt and spices, behind it, so I can replenish the smaller jars at the front with ease.

Storing Cooking Oils in the Space Over the Stove

For the wide-but-shallow cabinet over my stove and microwave, I purchased an 11-inch Lazy Susan for storing cooking oils and salad dressings. The cabinet is about 7 feet off the ground, and being able to reach for any bottle I need without pulling out a stepladder is a lifesaver. 

Neighboring Lazy Susans for Canned Goods

Like spices, Lazy Susans are a great solution for storing canned soups, beans, and veggies. I purchased two of the same size to go on the second shelf of a cabinet with a generous depth and width. There’s so much storage space there, but without the ability to spin it around, I was unable to reach many of the items — and I had know idea what I did or didn’t have. Many a spaghetti night was ruined by the discovery that I was out of tomato sauce. Other times, I’d pick up a couple of cans at the store only to realize upon putting them away that there were already three of the same item hiding in the back of the shelf. Not anymore. 

Pro tip: I store duplicate cans in the middle of the Lazy Susans. That way, I’m still using every inch of the space while unique items are all front-facing and easy to see.

A Two-Level, Doughnut-Style Lazy Susan for Keeping Everything Front-and-Center

I store smaller cans, like tuna fish and cat food, on the second shelf of a cabinet that is only barely within my reach. It was hard to keep track of how many cans I had in stock when I stacked the cans in rows. I solved the problem with this two-tier Lazy Susan. It doesn’t necessarily save space, but it does allow me to more easily keep tabs on when I need to restock at the store. With room in the middle for taller items, I can store cat treats on it too, keeping all my pet supplies organized in one spot. Best of all,  I no longer need to constantly reach inside to rotate items in the back up to the front. 

An Extra Large Lazy Susan for a Deep, Narrow Cabinet

The most spacious cabinet in my kitchen is also the hardest to access. It’s nearly three feet wide, but the opening is only a few inches wide, making it hard to reach more than about a foot inside. A rolling storage shelf wouldn’t work for me here, as most require drilling – and even if I could reach inside to drill, my landlords probably wouldn’t be cool with it. What did work – you guessed it – was another Lazy Susan. I ordered this 21-inch behemoth for the space. It’s advertised for tabletop use, but it was perfect for my cabinet. Installation was much easier than a rolling shelf, too, as all I had to do was turn it on its side and set it down inside the cabinet. 

I used to use this cabinet for lesser-used appliances, and nearly got stuck on more than one occasion in an attempt to climb inside the cabinet to reach the stuff I’d stashed farther back inside. Now, I use it to store my dry ingredients, and the ability to simply spin the wheel to get to my bag of flour has eliminated the need to reach. 

Pro tip: The depth of the cabinet also means it’s pretty dark inside, too. To make it easier to see what I’m grabbing, I popped a tap light on the wall directly adjacent to the door.

Jen Ashley

Contributor

Jen Ashley is a writer based in Charleston, South Carolina who seeks to find the humor and humanity in all things. Yes, Ashley is her last name. Follower her at @jenashley_.

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