There really is nothing more frustrating than having to play a game of Tetris every time you want to take a baking tray, roasting dish, or cake tin out of your kitchen cabinet. If, like most of us, you've been stacking your dishes on top of one another Russian doll style, then we're pleased to tell you that there's a much easier way, and it's one that professional organizers swear by.
The good news is, you're not alone. As it turns out, most of us have been storing our baking dishes completely wrong all this time. 'When organizing kitchen cabinets, it's best to have no more than one item in front of the other; the same is valid for piling different items,' says organizing expert Di Ter Avest. 'It's okay to pile many plates of the same size and shape, but if you try to stack some baking sheets of different sizes and shapes in your cabinets, you will just set yourself up for frustration anytime you need something out of that pile.'
If you want to make your life a million times easier just by making one tiny change to your kitchen cupboards, you've come to the right place. For a more efficient way of how to organize a kitchen, here's how to correctly store your bakingware.
'Picture this - you want to bake a cake, but you need to remove everything out of the cabinet to get something in the bottom, and then you need to put everything back,' says Di, owner of Di is Organized. 'After you bake and do the dishes, you have to get everything out again to store what you got out earlier. It sounds like a lot of wasted time, doesn't it?' There really is nothing more pointless or time-consuming and yet we're all guilty of it, but now that's all going to change with this pan storage hack.
Rather than stacking your tracks and dishes on top of each other, the simple solution is to store them vertically. One of the best ways to organize a kitchen, this then allows you to slide your dishes in sideways for super easy access, and you can instantly see all the bakeware you own at a quick glance (no more losing your favorite roasting pan in the midst of the pile!). 'This will improve vertical space usage, and you can reach one item at a time without disturbing the systems and wasting time,' notes Di.
The year is 2023, so there's a variety of ways to do this. Some kitchen fitters will install dividers within cabinets especially for the likes of trays and chopping boards, but the far more versatile way to go about it is with a trusty organizer. 'You can use free-standing organizers, pull-out drawers, or custom-made vertical dividers depending on what works best for you,' Di adds.
She's not the only one praising their benefits, either. 'One of my favorite tricks for baking pan storage is to go vertical,' explains California-based organizer, Melissa Gugni. 'It makes such a huge difference in terms of efficiency and ease of use.' She likes to use a vertical storage solution like this one from Amazon, or an extendable one like this for customizing the gap to fit different-sized dishes.
'I have lined up several of them in a row across a wide cabinet to create a large vertical pan storage that will include all of the different types of pans,' Melissa says. 'This is also great for non-stick and cast iron pans that you don't want to stack and cause scratches which can damage them.'
Or add a horizontal solution
If you don't have enough cabinet space to fit an organizer that stands your trays and baking dishes vertically, a freestanding horizontal organizer is the next best thing. 'You can maximize your vertical space by adding a horizontal organizer to pile the baking sheets but still have the division in between them for easy access,' says Di.
These organizers are typically designed for frying pans and saucepans and stand on the corner of your kitchen countertop to display a matching set, but there's no reason why it couldn't double up for your baking dishes, too. You can usually turn a regular pan divider on its side, although you will need to ensure it has a steady base to stand on.
Of course, what works for one household won't work for everyone. 'When choosing the system for your space, consider what would be the best solution for your lifestyle and kitchen configuration,' says Di. Once you find a method for organizing your baking dishes so they're not stacked in a disorganized heap, a smooth-running kitchen will soon follow suit.
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Lilith Hudson is the News Editor at Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.
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