Over the years of writing about organizing and working with clients, I continue to be baffled by how to neatly organize a small number of items. Whenever I see these items or hear about them, I cringe. Organizing them successfully is a complete mystery to me. Maybe you have a few, too, in your home or office — a specific item that always seems to be out of place, cumbersome, or impossible to store well?

I’ve listed a handful of difficult storage items here, and I’m looking for some creative, ingenious, and amazing storage solution suggestions from you in the comments. If you are stumped by something in your space, share this frustration in the comments, too, and we can all work to help you find a solution.

  • I’m not a basket person, so I don’t have much experience with organizing baskets when they’re not in use. Their handles and shapes keep them from stacking well, some are delicate so you don’t want to stuff them into a box, they take up an absurd amount of space on a shelf, and they don’t hang well (especially those without handles). Even craft stores seem to have a difficult time storing and displaying them.
  • Cupcake and muffin pans drive me nuts. I’m always looking for suggestions for ways to store them if a cupboard isn’t designed to accommodate pans on their sides.
  • Plastic bags, like ones you get from the grocery store, if the person doesn’t like the look or idea of a wall-mounted plastic bag holder. (I’ve been successful at convincing folks to switch to reusable grocery bags to reduce the number of plastic bags, but even then it’s difficult not to accumulate a few plastic bags.) Obviously, any container would keep them under control, but what is really an amazing solution?
  • Light bulbs — they are almost always less expensive to buy more than one at a time, but you usually only need one. You can stack the boxes on a shelf if the person has retained the boxes, but not all bulbs come in boxes these days and not everyone keeps the packaging.
  • Personally, we’re at a loss for what to do with our two amplifiers for my pedal steel guitar, my electric bass, and my husband’s electric guitars. We don’t have a music room, so they’re just out like a piece of furniture. Since they weigh more than 70 pounds, they’re not items I can easily move from space-to-space. I regularly look at them and wish they would magically become less obtrusive in our space.

Okay, let’s get the answers rolling — I’m interested in hearing from you.

141 Comments for “Stumped!”

  1. posted by Aeon J. Skoble on

    RE muffin pans – I keep mine in that drawer thing underneath the oven. Maybe not all ovens have that, but that drawer holds 2 muffin tins, 3 cookie sheets, a pizza sheet, and a cooling rack.

  2. posted by Kyle on

    For lightbulbs, we use up a drawer in our kitchen. It keeps them out of sight, out of mind, but they are (almost) always there when you need them. Also, the kitchen is a pretty central location, so no matter hwere the bulb goes out it’s not to far away.

  3. posted by micayla on

    Not an attractive solution for the plastic bags, but an effective one- empty kleenex box.

  4. posted by Elizabeth on

    For plastic bags, we keep a tissue box in a cabinet near the place we unpack those bags, in the kitchen. Stuff them in the tissue box, and then pull them out when needed again.

  5. posted by Travi on

    I like to put several empty plastic bags in the bottom of a waste basket, so when I pull out the full one there is an empty ready to be used.

  6. posted by LouLou on

    An empty tissue box in the drawer with my other food wraps and foils is a great storage option for plastic bags. I like to tie them in a knot before storing to a) keep them compact and b) less of a hazard to little kids. I actually have one for reusing shopping bags and one for fruit and veggie bags (washed first)

  7. posted by Ally on

    muffin tins – replace muffin tins with the silicone muffin cups (that can be put in tins as a replacement for paper liners, BUT can also be used just fine on top of a normal cookie sheet) the stack of muffin cups takes up less space and is easier to find a spot for…

  8. posted by Ann on

    For solitary light bulbs, we put them in a drawer on top of egg carton-shaped foam. They nestle nice and soft.

    For muffin pans, we use a vertical folder/book sorter. Can use for pot lids, cutting boards, pie tins, etc.

  9. posted by Jillian on

    PLASTIC BAGS – I keep my main reusable shopping bag hanging in my coat closet, and put any plastic bags that I accumulate in there immediately. When I go grocery shopping, I bring the “bag of bags” and empty the plastic ones right into the recycle bin! (my supermarket recycles these, it is wonderful). And I keep a few in the car to collect garbage, kids stuff, and to control stray objects.
    MUFFIN TINS – i nest my muffin tins inside my roasting pans – they all fit together well! And sometimes we’ll keep the metal ones in the oven. If you preheat and they’re in there, it’s not a big deal – they’ll cool off!

  10. posted by Jaime on

    Okay, this is a little bit Unitaskerish, but we have a Simple Human Plastic Bag Holder like this one that is awesome at corralling all of those stray plastic bags you pick up. Plus it looks nice enough that even if you had to leave it out for some reason you wouldn’t be ashamed to.

  11. posted by shris on

    What we do:
    Baskets: I only keep easter baskets for the kids, and then only a few. So I nest those which will nest, and stuff them all into a giant cardboard box which gets stored in the attic. The box also contains the plastic eggs, the paper ‘grass’, leftover dye, egg dippers/cups, and other easter bits & bobs. The box is marked Easter on the sides. I have a few small baskets in the kitchen for stuff like rolls and popcorn, but these all nest and stack neatly in a cabinet. I don’t do other baskets.

    Muffin pans: My kitchen is due for a remodel, and it will be better later. For now, I have one stupid small lower cabinet shelf where the cookie sheets, muffin tins, and cooling racks live in a miserable stack. There are three half sheet pans, two large and two small cooling racks, and two or three muffin tins. I just throw whatever’s clean on top of the stack, and when it’s time to get one out it’s sort of a pain. But that’s all that goes in there, and none of the items are very heavy so it’s OK for now.

    Plastic Bags: I hang one bag on the hook with the brooms and mops, and stuff the others inside. The stupid bag caddy thing that mounts to the wall IS actually mounted to the wall, but it’s always full. We accumulate bags now that the kids are out of diapers, so when that one bag gets full of bags, we take the whole thing to daycare where they can be reused for other kids’ dirty diapers/clothes changes. We have a couple of reusable bags–giant ones from Ikea–but we don’t usually use them at the grocery because they’re too big. We’ll probably have to get some smaller ones when the kids start kindergarten because it won’t be as convenient to drop off the bags for reuse.

    Light Bulbs: I store them in a box on a high shelf. They mostly come with packaging that protects them, the box just keeps them all in one place.

    Amps & steel guitar: We don’t have these, but I can envision a wardrobe-type piece of furniture in which the items rest–with doors to close when you’re not using them. If you’re handy, then I would make a simple one where the sides completely fold out on piano hinges.. Another option would be a platform on casters and a separate box-type thing that can be removed from the top. If your stuff is low enough it could be a coffee table or desk when not being played. But that presupposes 1) space, 2) carpentry skills..


  12. posted by Amy on

    Baskets- We store ours (we only have 2) on the shelf in our closet.

    Muffin pans- I have all of ours and our decorative cake pans hanging on the wall in our kitchen. I just put in some fine nails and slip it on.

    Amps- I would make a simple bench or box to put over the top of the amps and put a table cloth over it. When you need to use it you can move it and play. It could give you a little extra seating when people are over.

  13. posted by Lori Paximadis on

    Everyone beat me to the tissue box trick for grocery bags. To get around the ugly factor, you can shove it in a drawer or get a cheap but attractive tissue box cover — TJ Maxx and Marshalls both usually have nice ones for $10 or so.

    Baskets: Keep only the nicest, ones that you will use (that’s a given). My mom stores hers on top of the refrigerator and on top of the upper cabinets. I “store” mine in plain sight, using them for other things (napkins, small bags of nuts & other snacks, tea bags, misc. stuff in the office). If I need one for chips for a party or something, it’s easy to temporarily stash the basket’s usual contents in a bag and toss it into a cabinet or closet.

    Before moving in here, I just stacked muffin tins on the bottom of a cabinet and put the other baking pans, pie plates, etc. on top. When the pans are in a cabinet, you always have to dig anyway. Now we have one of those handy narrow cabinets so cookie sheets and trays and cooling racks can sit on their sides, but that’s full so the muffin pans still get stacked under the other baking pans, just in the pan drawer instead of a cabinet.

  14. posted by Ed on

    For plastic bags, I fold them up into small triangles and drop ’em in the plastic wrap/aluminum foil storage draw. When they fill up their half of said draw, any new ones that come in get taken to the grocery store to be recycled. I grocery shop with a re-usable bag but my housemate doesn’t so he tends to accumulate a couple of bags a week for me to fold or recycle.

  15. posted by J on

    Muffin Pans: In my last house, which was huge, I found we had too many oven racks. I took one out, laid it in the bottom of the more awkward cabinet, and created a way to store the muffin pans and various other horizontal space hogs neatly and vertically.

  16. posted by Rebecca on

    I don’t really keep empty baskets. It either continues to hold something or out it goes. That said, I love the look and texture of baskets, and have several which function in various ways (clothing, yarn projects, remotes, dog tools). If it’s an Easter basket issue, buy one and after the baby finds what the bunny has hidden, put it away and use it next year.

    We don’t hide our plastic bags. Our grocer has a recycle bin for plastic grocery bags, so we put all our plastic bags into one and hang it from the same hook in our kitchen that holds our reusable grocery bags. It helps to remind us to take the plastic bags back to the grocers, as well as to take the canvas bags so we don’t bring more plastic ones home. On that note, I’ve also become quite fond of the envirosax (, which fit in my work bag for when I go straight to the grocer’s from work.

  17. posted by chzplz on

    I stuck a wall-mounted plastic bag holder on the inside of the door of one of my kitchen cabinets – the one under the sink where I keep recycling, kitchen garbage, etc. Though I use it less and less now that I’ve converted to reusable bags.

  18. posted by Shawn on

    LIGHTBULBS – I keep the various extra lightbulbs (with or without packaging) in a plastic storage bin. The bin sits on a shelf in the laundry and I am able to stack items on top of the bin as well (since I do not have to get into the bin very often).

  19. posted by Norah on

    My mother has a basket collection and has them all over our house in interesting places. In our living room, she has them on top of her bookshelves, where they make a really nice display. Inside a few of those, she keeps yarn, sewing supplies, and other crafty things she doesn’t use too regularly. She also has a couple of baskets under end tables (some filled with oversize pine cones from Lake Tahoe, some with smooth rocks from beaches). One sits by her favorite chair and holds magazines. Another used to hang in our kitchen by the sink and hold all of our tea boxes.

  20. posted by Laura on

    For platic bags, I made a fabric bag to hang inside my hall closet (similar to this: Easy to use, looks better than many options and you can make whatever size you need. If you don’t sew, try searching Etsy…you can probably have one custom made to suit your decor.

  21. posted by Ginger on

    Oooo, stuffing the plastic bags into a tissue box is a fantastic idea!! I will remember that one, thanks!

    Usually for plastic bags I store them much like Jillian, but they sit on the floor of our pantry as there isn’t a space in our closets to hang them up. Then we take the bag of bags down to the farmers market when we go because they are always in need of them.

    One time in replace of muffin tins, we got those individual silicone muffin cups which stacked into each other. The stack was about three inches wide and five inches high. It was perfect for saving space, but an absolute nightmare to clean and grease because they had those ridges. I’m on a hunt to find some that are easier to manage.

  22. posted by Mark Harrison on


    I used to run a training course for electricians about once a month, and as part of that, had to store 60-70 lightbulbs between courses.

    Now, this only works for “old-fashioned” style incandescent lightbulbs – the newer energy-saving ones are just a bit too large. (However, given they last 10 times as long, you don’t need to keep as many on stock domestically.)

    I don’t know whether they are available outside of the UK, but we have a company called “Really Useful Boxes” here in the UK that sell a range of sturdy plastic crates. The size that is most useful generally is the 35 litre one.

    Around Christmas, they sell them with inserts for Christmas tree decorations – these inserts are like trays that store 15 lightbulbs each – either keep them in the crates, or stick them in a drawer πŸ™‚

  23. posted by Kara on

    All of my pans, muffin tins included, are stored under my stove.

    My plastic grocery bags are stuffed in an empty trash bag box. The box is kept under my sink, on top of my actual trash bag box.

  24. posted by Marjory Thrash on

    When the first baby arrived, I moved all the cleaning stuff from under the sink. Even with the drain and the dishwasher tubing and garbage disposal, there are tall spaces in that area. I have 2 bricks (regular bricks)laid on the sides, and my spare cutting boards, cookie sheets are stacks on their sides. The bricks divide the area into 3 groups, one close to the wall and 2 divided by bricks. Since the muffin tins are used less frequently, they are next to the side wall; the cutting boards are next, and those frequently used cookie sheets are on the outside for quick grabbing or putting away.

  25. posted by WilliamB on

    1. Baskets.
    I’m not sure that baskets are necessary. But if you want them, get ones that nest. For Easter use, I’m hesitant to suggest this given I prefer to reuse but here goes: buy new-to-you ones each year. Goodwill, etc., always seem to have a generous supply.

    2. Muffin tins.
    There is no good way to store them flat. Best you can do is limit the different types you have, so you can stack & nest some of them. I have had bad results with using silicone “tins” without support.

    3. Plastic shopping bags.
    I stuff mine into the Sunday paper’s plastic sleeve, then shove that into a closet. I – finally – developed the habit of bringing reusable bags so now I’m in control of the flow of bags into my house.

    4. Lightbulbs.
    Store in smallish boxes, such as a shoebox; labeled of course.

    5. Musical accoutrements.
    Consider draping them with a large piece of pretty fabric that matches their environment. Or create a lightweight structure to go over them, and put the fabric over that; this would be another thing in your room, but it would be more pleasing to the eye than an irregular fabric-draped shape.

  26. posted by Awurrlu on

    Plastic bags: I do have a wall-mounted holder that goes under my kitchen sink. Easy access for when the trash can needs a new liner.

    Muffin pans: I second the silicone cups.

    Baskets: Buy ones that are rectangular and have handles that collapse!

    Lightbulbs: I keep them in a clear shoebox and write the contents on the outside.

    Amplifiers: If they’re heavy and unmoveable, how about either playing up their coolness factor with a smartly chosen piece of art that ties them in to the rest of your decor or making a slipcover for them? (My husband has long wanted to make a slipcover for our TV to make it recede into the background.)

  27. posted by Kathy on

    how about putting the light bulbs upside down in a muffin cup each ?

  28. posted by Erin on

    Baskets: same as another reader, Easter Baskets are stored w/other Easter decor in a clear plastic container in my storage room. Basket w/o handles are stacked together on my dining room server (has a nice lower shelf great for baskets, trivets, trays, etc but only if kept NEAT). I have one wonderful huge basket I use occasionally and I store that ON MY WALL. I hang it as decoration because I really do love it.

    Plastic bags: kept in one large plastic bag and used for dog poop. After re-use I throw away of course! If the population is too huge I recycle at my city drop off center.

    Muffin tins: Best solution I’ve ever seen (but don’t have myself) is a narrow cupboard where you can stand them on end like books.

  29. posted by Caroline on

    We keep our plastic bags in a basket of our cubby system at the front door. When it is full, we gather them up, and take them to the recycle station at our local supermarket. They stay out of the way, and are conveniently located if we do need one. Also up past the reach of our toddler too. He can get into the lower drawers and cubbies.

    Our re-usable bags are all stuffed together and put on the top shelf of the front closet. The larger ones from Costco get folded and stuffed on the side.

    Our muffin tins get stored on edge with our bakig pans. Works great! I would also think that hanging them is an option, since they all have hanging holes in one end.

  30. posted by Lilliane P on

    My mother (who was extremely organized and clutter free) had baskets with lids, some were square woven boxes really, all decorative and pretty, on the bookshelves of a medium sized 3 shelf bookcase. The effect was very attractive, and it was amazing how much could be kept there. The operative word here is that the baskets were lidded so there were no contents visible.

  31. posted by Nine on

    Don’t laugh but I store my muffin and cake tins and pans AND cookie cutters in a basket in my pantry. The can of spray-oil and all the muffin liners also go into the same basket. The basket is stored near my baking ingredients!

    As for lightbulbs, I store them all inside a labelled plastic storage box with a cover. You might want to try storing non-packaged bulbs safely with the help of an empty egg carton (I use this for the smaller bulbs).

    Good luck!

  32. posted by Wendy on

    My muffin tins sit down inside my 9″X13″ baking pan in the drawer under my stove.

    The biggest kitchen storage issue we have is storing our round and oval white baking dishes that don’t stack very well.

  33. posted by Barbara H on

    Musical Instruments: I “store” my husbands 7 guitars & basses each on their own stand; 3 in a row in our living room and 4 in a row in our dining room. They are artfully arranged and are a part of the decor. Also there are strap-hangers available that allow you to hang the instruments on the walls. His two bass amps slide under (upside-down)wooden “U” shaped cabinets he made from plywood that stand against the dining room wall. They are stained to match the decor. With tablecloths to cover them the cabinets function like buffet servers but hide the amps as well.

  34. posted by Dorothy on

    My muffin tins are stored in a cupboard on end. I just removed the middle shelf from one of my lower cupboards and I store lots of stuff — platters, sheet pans/cookie sheets, cutting boards, trays that way.

    For someone who mentioned needing “narrow” cupboard for this, it’s worth dedicating a whole cupboard to storing items this way. When you start looking around you’ll be surprised at how many items you have that can be stored on-edge.

    The big benefit to this method (vs. stacking these flat-ish items) is that you can remove one without displacing the whole stack.

  35. posted by Laurie on

    Baskets – We have an unfinished basement, and I put nails in the boards (the ones that support the flooring – don’t know what they’re called), and I hang the baskets from the basement ceiling boards. This works even with the ones that don’t have handles – I just figure out how far to drive the nail in to support the edge of the basket. I can always find just the one I’m looking for.

    We struggle with musical instruments, too: fiddles, acoustic guitars, a full-size keyboard, dobros, lap steels, electric bass, several assorted amplifiers and about 10,000 new and old harmonicas. Oh, and my djembe. My only solution is to only invite people over who are also musicians and understand. LOL!

  36. posted by Jenny on

    I bought a pillow case for a bolster pillow (the long cylindrical decorative pillows) at a thrift store, and I use it to store plastic bags. It is attractive and keeps the bags compact together. It is quite similar to what Laura suggested.

  37. posted by Leah on

    Oh man! You play pedal steel??!! That’s only my favorite instrument in the world.

    For the commenters who are taking their plastic bags to be recycled at the grocery store: I’ve worked at three different grocery stores in the last five years. Every time the plastic bag recycling bin got full, we closed up the bin liner and tossed the whole thing in the dumpster.

    It’s generally too expensive for companies to recycle plastic bags to make it worth it. I’m not saying I approve of it, but that’s why I’m so careful to bring my canvas bags shopping.

  38. posted by Robert on

    For plastic bags, I mounted this on the cabinet door inside my sink:

    It’s clean, nothing on the floor, and I don’t have to buy trash bags.

    Because I use reusable bags, the few plastic bags I still end up with are just enough to feed this amazing thing.

  39. posted by JC on

    In my current kitchen the cabinet maker made adjustable vertical storage to fit my baking pans. Another solution is to create an insert to achieve the same purpose. Insert dowels appropriately spaced to a board cut the needed length to hold the baking tins in place. It kind of looks like those plate displays at houseware stores.

    I stuff the baggies in an empty plastic container with a screw top lid in the pantry. I’m trying to be more consistent about using totes for shopping.

  40. posted by anniep on

    So I have a very small, storage challenged kitchen – I don’t have one of those special side storage cabinets, but I have figured out what stacks within one another and it all slides nicely in there – you have to make sure you put it back correctly – but other than that it works fabulously. I try to keep cooking supplies at a minimum. 2 muffin tins, 1 loaf pan, 1 (4) mini loaf pan. I might need to wipe it off to make my next batch, but how often do I cook for the masses?

    I have a small canvas bin on top of my dryer – it holds shopping bags that you might get from a store, as well as a couple of plastic bags tucked in. I have one of those ugly holders in my storage side of my basement for litter purposes only. Otherwise I use my reusable bags.

  41. posted by Jenni on

    I have a plastic box in my closet where all the light bulbs live…..

    I keep the plastic bags in one of the larger plastic bags hanging off my garage shelves.

    Muffin tins live in the drawer under my ovens. Would live in my cabinet that is designed for upright storage if I didn’t have the drawer.

  42. posted by Jonathan on

    Fold plastic bags as shown in this video:

    The folded plastic bags take up practically no room and don’t get stuck on each other. Once you get the hang of it, the folding takes about 15 seconds each.

    I keep my bags in an old paper-shredder bin behind the kitchen trash and use them to line the kitchen trashcan. I also keep a couple bags loose on a shelf by the cat litter, so that when I take the kitchen trashcan out to receive my daily scooping of cat litter, I can put a new liner in immediately.

  43. posted by Tanya on

    Baking pans were a headache for me too when we moved into our new home. My creative solution was to repurpose a desktop file stand. Placed in a lower cabinet it easily stores (and keeps upright) baking pans, cutting boards, a splatter guard, and other bulky items that are difficult to store.

    For deep pans such as my bread/loaf pans I nest and store in a lazy Susan style corner cabinet with the rest of my baking essentials. A quick spin puts them at my fingertips.

    For grocery bags we don’t have an issue since we use only reusable bags but my best friend created a bag dispenser using a disposable cleaning wipe container. By enlarging the whole at the top where the wipes dispense she was able to cleverly reuse something that would have otherwise been trash. And the footprint is small so the dispenser easily fits in a cupboard, drawer, or under the sink.

    Light bulbs are a bit trickier. We store ours in their boxes on a shelf designated in the garage. When we leave this home to move on to another we plan on taking them with us (they last a long time) so we keep the boxes. For us it makes sense, for others it may not.

    Amps! We have several. They have been a pain to find homes for. Heavy and bulky they are difficult to store and find permanent homes for while still being accessible for those times you want to play on a whim. Recently I created a wall of bookcases in our living room to accommodate storage and other items and managed to find places within the bottom shelves for the amps. With black tailored amp covers they are barely noticeable but still easily accessible to our family.

  44. posted by Tisra on

    I have a narrow tall cabinet that stores my muffin tin nicely with baking sheets and cooling racks, however, I have an unclutteter solution to get rid of the muffin tin if you prefer. One day when I needed to bake a ton of muffins (and didn’t want to do them in batches), I experimented with using the foil cupcake papers/baking cups placed on a cookie sheet. Totally works. The sides are rigid enough to sit unsupported. Muffins bake a bit faster, but otherwise were perfect!

  45. posted by Stephanie on

    My light bulbs go in a clear plastic bin in the linen closet. I keep bubble wrap in there and take them out of the boxes so that I can store more in the bin than if I’d left them in their original packaging.

    The light bulb bin is stacked next to the manicure/pedicure bin, the first aid bin, and the hair care bin.

  46. posted by Barbara on

    I decided that my muffin pans were nearly unitaskers, so I gave them away. Instead of blueberry muffins, I make blueberry-banana bread. Instead of cupcakes, I make a bundt cake (with no frosting to tempt waistline-conscious me or my diabetic husband. If I need frosted cupcakes for a child-centered event, I buy them at the grocery store.

    I also re-use plastic bags as wastebasket liners. Surplus bags are stored at the bottom of the basket.

    We have a large box of lightbulbs in the basement. My husband is a carpenter-handyman and we own a rental property, so we have collected quite an assortment over the years.

  47. posted by Wanda on

    How do you store cookie cutters?
    I hate storing lightbulbs, but we use a rectangular basket in the kitchen on an open shelf. Two others hold cloth napkins and dish towels.
    the muffin tins are a challenge since I have different sizes.
    Don’t know why you would want to store light bulbs in the muffin tin because what do you do with then when making muffins?
    Thanks for all the great ideas!

  48. posted by chrisbean on

    Muffin/baking pans go on top of the cabinets in our kitchen. We have 14′ ceilings, so there’s a lot of vertical space. They go upside down (to keep dust out), and longways-back (so they stick out over the edge and I can grab at the overhang).

    Baskets are stupid and get gross and dusty; we’re box people.

    Our solution to plastic bags is to keep a canvas tote full of them on a hook in the hall closet; it’s not super-convenient, but we always know where they are. And since we have about a half-dozen canvas totes, it works well.

  49. posted by Stephanie on

    Lightbulbs – we store them in a soft-sided zippered cooler on a shelf in our garage. Often they are stored in original packaging, loose ones can be padded with those stray plastic bags.

  50. posted by Julia on

    I fold plastic grocery bags (not QUITE so carefully as on the video!) and slide them into an empty detergent box in my laundry room. They take up very little room, are not as messy-looking as if I just stuff them, and I can see quickly whether I’m accumulating too many and need to be more aware/careful.

  51. posted by Karen on

    I take a large, empty tissue box and stuff my reusable grocery bags in it. When it’s full (or I have a bunch at one time), I send the rest of the bags to our local food bank – they always need bags to put groceries in!

  52. posted by Tidy Brown Wren on

    I use cabinet organizer that was made to hold pan lids or cookie sheets. It stores my muffin pans (regular and mini sizes) as well as a 9×13 pan, and my cutting boards vertically on end. I found the metal organizer at a local discount store.

  53. posted by Lee on

    Guitars – my husband used to keep them in their cases on top of our wardrobe, which was made by a commercial funiture manufacturer. Now he keeps them out on stands. I paid about $30 for one and he bought 2 a Best Buy a few weeks ago for $5 each.

    Amps – Can you get a console table and put a cloth cover on it that hangs to the floor and put the amps under the table.

    Baking sheets, cookie sheets, cooling racks – We removed a stationary shelf and put a letter sorter sideways on the bottom shelf. Great for thin pieces and 2 cooling racks can go in one opening if the fronts are on the outside and the feet are in the center.

    Cookie cutters – I used to sort by season or theme and run a string or yarn through them and tie it. Then they went in a big Tupperware layer cake container.

    Plastic bags – just thought of this, but cut a hole in a long sock that has worn out. Hang or lay in drawer. We keep some by the dog leash, too.

    Light Bulbs in Muffin tins – get a second one at a garage sale and consider it to be an organizational product. If it fits in one you have, they can stack.

  54. posted by Anita on

    Baskets — I’m not a basket person either; the only ones I have are constantly in use. Maybe “only keep the ones you have a constant use for” is an idea?

    Cupcake/muffin pans — I too keep them in the drawer under my oven. I don’t have a lot, so the drawer contains it all: 2 cookie sheets, 1 muffin pan, 1 square 8×8 pan, a couple of round cake pans, some liners and parchment paper, and a set of cookie cutters.

    Plastic bags — I switched to reusable bags as well, but still had a huge stash of plastic bags in the cabinet under my sink. I divided them into 3 piles: grocery bags that will become bin liners for my kitchen trash bin, smaller bags (like produce bags, for instance) which will line my little bin in the bathroom, and “everything else”. Then I purged the “everything else” pile, keeping only a few bags that are nice enough to reuse, in a pinch. Each of these 3 piles then get stuffed in a separate paper bag — so now I have 3 nice paper bags of bags under my sink (instead of the rolling hills of bags that used to spill out of the cabinet whenever I tried to extract one out of the pile) and whenever I need a specific size bag, I know exactly where to get it. I also like the tissue box idea, might give that a try…

    Light bulbs — I have a fabric-covered box from Ikea which holds misc. spare parts, including light bulbs. If I decided not to keep the box/package they came in, I’ll wrap them in paper towel for protection.

  55. posted by Jeanne on

    I think it’s sort of ridiculous to have baskets that aren’t in use. That’s what they exist for, and if they aren’t fulfilling their function they should go. But that could just be me, I hate my baskets and wish I had a better thing for the random objects I store in them (but they really have solved the problem of toys in the living room).

    I’m sure there’s a better spot, but I’ve yet to have an apartment where I couldn’t place muffin tins on their side (along with baking sheets) and stored next to the pans or other item. I know people who’ve placed a thin piece of wood their to create a little pocket, even a dowel will work to keep them from slipping, but since my pans stack they usually keep them upright.

  56. posted by Melissa on

    Plastic bags: Everyone beat me to the Kleenex box trick! By the way, it’s a good idea to keep a Kleenex box of bags in your car (in the trunk or under a seat) for times when you need a plastic bag.

    Light bulbs: Use one of the shoe organizers that hang from a closet door. Staple-gun the organizer to the inside of any door in your house, and put your oddball-without-a-box lightbulbs in the pockets of the organizer.

  57. posted by Louise on

    I used to store baskets on a high shelf that ran about 15 inches below the ceiling in my kitchen. They were quite attractive and out of the way up there. I started that after the California earthquake of 1989. Before that, I stored decorative glass plates up there. πŸ™

    Another option would be to hang the baskets from the wall on small nails. Arrange the baskets in a geometric shape, as if hanging a group of pictures. They could hang either from their rims, or the small nail could poke through the bottom so the rim faces out if the bottoms are dirty or unattractive.

    @chrisbean Here at Unclutterer, we don’t disparage anyone’s organizing technique as “stupid.” It isn’t necessary or nice.

  58. posted by Aimee on

    I use reusable bags that I store in my car, but I had a roommate who refused to use recyclable bags even though her cat routinely ate them. I started stuffing the bags into a cheap, freebie florist’s vase under the kitchen sink. The narrowed neck kept the bags down, but it was easy to grab one quickly.

    For baskets, I find a way to use them around the house, because I like the texture they add. One in the coat closet corrals scarves, gloves, and hats. Two beside my bed serve in lieu of bedside tables. Anywhere you need to impose order, such as under the bathroom sink (hair product in one, bath products in another) or where there is no storage (one beside the toilet holds spare rolls of tp). To hang baskets with handles (like easter baskets) those screw in hooks from the hardware store would probably do the trick. I use three of those to hang necklaces above my dressers and in other apartments I’ve used those to vertically organize my handbags (another tricky thing to store).

  59. posted by Lou on

    1. I’m another folder-of-empty plastic bags, and I keep one in the back pocket of my jeans at all times. Store them in the plastic cover that is meant for a tissue cube.
    2. cookie sheets & muffin tins – l shelf dividers, a kind of square grid of metal, with a longish hook so you can slide them onto a shelf. I hung a couple upside down (i.e., from the shelf above) and stash muffin tins, cookie sheets, and cake & pie pans vertically.

  60. posted by Alicia on

    The city where I live has an excellent waste management system: recycable items are collected every day except Sunday. The city has reached an agreement with local supermarkets, and they put your groceries in color-coded bags which you can then re-use for your recycling: yellow for cans and plastic, blue for paper and cardboard, and green for glass. I keep my plastic bags in a drawer together with the regular bin liners and go through them quickly enough that they never become clutter.

  61. posted by Ryan Waldron on

    We keep our grocery bags in a cloth bread bag (like this one: ), which hangs near the oven like it belongs there. we just shove them in, and then thye pull out almost like Kleenex, but it looks alot nicer.

  62. posted by Rue on

    Baskets: I don’t keep them, so no problem storing them. πŸ™‚ If I did buy baskets, I would only buy ones I could stack together.

    Muffin pan: I only have a six-muffin pan, so I nestle it inside my 9×13 cake pan. A larger muffin pan would stump me.

    Plastic bags: I keep some on hand for our bathroom trash cans. I have them all put inside one gigantic plastic shopping bag (got at Target on a Black Friday sale), and I keep that underneath my kitchen sink. Whenever I feel like I have too many, I take the extras to Wal-mart to recycle.

    Light bulbs: I keep them in the cabinet over our microwave. It’s a small, square cabinet so it’s not much use for anything else. They’re the only thing I keep up there, and you can’t see most of the cabinet whenever you’re standing on the ground, so if I don’t have a package I let them roll around. I buy bulbs in boxes though, and don’t chuck the boxes/packaging until all the bulbs have been used, so that helps.

    The amps are stumping me. Where do you play the guitars most often? That’s the room I would put them in. Beyond that, could you maybe build a box around them to make them into some sort of side table/coffee table? That way you could have a piece of furniture, but when you want one of the amps you can lift off the “table” and voila! AMP!

  63. posted by John on

    I guess I accidentally won the “kitchen cabinet lottery”: we have a tall, narrow cabinet that is just deeper than cookie/muffin/etc pans. I never really thought about how painful those must be to store.

    As for plastic bags, we take a few seconds and try to fold them back into their original shape, so they stack flat. It takes a little bit of time, but it allows us to have a nice, easily movable box full of them in case they’re needed. Once the very small box is full, the “shove in bag” method takes over and they get recycled. We’re slowly transitioning to the reusable bags, but it still helps to have a few of the old fashioned kind lying around from time to time.

  64. posted by Gillian on

    I use the paper-sort racks in many kitchen cupboards. Some of them have adjustable slots (they’re quite old) and they hold fry pans, lids, various baking pans, cooling racks, cookie sheets etc.
    The things in the drawer under the stove are not too commonly used and I try to keep them upside down to keep out the dust.

  65. posted by Jasi on

    Amps can be neatly stacked and you can cover the screen with fabrics to coordinate boxes or decor. They can also be painted.

  66. posted by Amy on

    Bags – yes reusable ones are the best. But for the few that make it home,

    I keep at most about 10 plastic bags in a box under the sink. When the box is full, plastic bags go directly to my recyclable can. (Our trash company gives us a BIG bin for recyclables and everything goes in the same bin. We placed it right outside the door from our kitchen to our garage for easy access and no more stashes of “put this in the recycle bin later”.)

  67. posted by Amy on

    regarding amps: you say they’re heavy. What about putting them on wheels or something with wheels – so you can move them to where ever you wish to store them? (My manual treadmill has wheels and it’s why I purchased that one – so I could move it!)

  68. posted by Joan on

    I used to keep my plastic bags in a kleenex box but found that I would end up stuffing it too full and it would tear appart. The most fantastic thing that I recently found was a gallon size plastic juice jug. This one happens to have a handle on top so I leave the top off and also cut a hole in the side. I stuff the regular bags in the side and the odd size bags in the top. The jug is sturdy enough to handle a ton of bags being jammed in there and with the handle on top, it’s easy to pick up. Loves it….

  69. posted by [email protected]'er All About It on

    A lot of people have already mentioned the tissue box for plastic bags. I keep one in every bathroom and, more importantly, I try to limit my intake of plastic bags from the grocery store. They’re pretty bad for the environment and I always get more than I need/use, so canvas/paper is the way to go.

    I have many guitars as well (including ones for the Rock Band game) and we have purchased two or three guitar holders like these:

    Yup, they’re uni-taskers, but then we can them up off of the floor and into a closet where I don’t have to look at them all of the time. The amps we try to store “out of sight” (behind the couch, in a closet, etc). Really, instruments are beautiful (especially guitars), so I always try to incorporate them into my decor.

  70. posted by Brigitte on

    For lightbulbs, you could use a special box designed to store them: Might be considered a unitasker, but I think you could always store other things in it, too, and it does reduce the clutter.

    For plastic bags, I use a homemade cloth bag-holder like several others have posted about. It hangs on a hook in my pantry, out of the way, but easy to get to. I use reusable bags whenever I can, but I also use plastic bags as trash can liners and for cat litter, so I like keeping some plastic bags around.

  71. posted by cat on

    For plastic bags: repurpose an empty kleenex box, storage and dispenser in one! I also have repurposed the large cylindrical box that dishwasher tabs come in (kinda like a large cardboardy coffee can). Just cut a smallish X in the lid and it becomes a plastic bag dispenser while corralling those little buggers.

    Regarding any long flattish bakeware, ikea and other places sell metal vertical dividers that screw into surfaces for only a couple of bucks. Store on side over the oven along with all the cooling racks, baking pans and cutting boards. Of course it would also work in a lower cabinet as well.

  72. posted by Meaghan on

    GUITARS: My husband has 6 and I have an electric bass. We hang ours on the wall! (Example of wall hanger here: They are all hung on a stud which is a great way to keep them uniformly spaced and having them up higher keeps them safe and they act as wall art, as well!

    AMPS: The amplifiers should be on casters (if you can’t attach directly to the amp I’d recommend buying or making a custom dolly for each) that way they can be easily be unplugged and moved out of the way (under the guitars, perhaps?) when not in use. Another option is to invest in a smaller amp (we moved to a condo and have had to do just that!)

    ACCESSORIES: We keep pedals, additional cables, and a small tupperware of picks in a fabric basket that fits in our bookcase. As for your pedal board, depending on the size, it could rest on top of the amp or behind the amp when not in use.

    Best of luck!

  73. posted by Debi on

    Plastic bags – We repurpose Sam’s Club-sized plastic tubs to store them, one upstairs and one down. The upstairs ones are in a bubble-gum tub that has an opening in the lid where my DD can grab one each morning to put her wet Underjam in. The downstairs tub is used for cleaning catboxes. We sometimes have to leave the reusable bags at home so we can replenish our stock of plastic bags for those purposes, because our trash rules specify that “waste” be double-bagged πŸ™‚

  74. posted by Annette on

    Baskets: I tied a piece of dental floss to each of the ones I wanted to keep and use and hung them on the wall in the dining room. One is an antique winnowing basket, one comes from Morocco, one is an antique and fragile Russian basket, one is our company bread basket, one is Easter bunny shaped, and one is Turkey shaped, and the last one my hubby made in camp one year when he was camp cook. I used to have many more but these are the keepers. The hanging loop makes them easy to take off the wall when I need to, but keeps them hanging on a pushpin when I don’t need them.

    I agree with the posts about using the amplifiers as tables or seating, and about keeping the plastic bags in the reusable shopping bag to take back to the store for recycling. My muffin tins (two 6 cup ones as we are empty nesters) fit in the drawer under the oven.

  75. posted by Grammie Linda on

    For the MUFFIN TINS and other things that don’t always fit in my verticle storage under the sink with trays and cookie sheets, I use those little metal shelves ( on my shelves. (My 20-something kids still call them “Barbie beds” because that is what they became if not used.) These will even stack, and they come in several sizes. I put two together, one in front of the other, and try to nest the pans that allow it, like the six-muffin tins nested with the 12-muffin size. (Come to think of it, maybe I should get rid of them, as they have not been used, other than the six-muffin size, for a long time!)

    PLASTIC BAGS: we keep them inside one of the larger ones until recycled, but recently realized that we should store the ones used as liners close to where used (like inside the can). I did find out, from my daughter recently, that you can fold up the average grocery store or Target bag much smaller–hold the handles and twist (like a hank of yarn, if you knit), until it twist into a little bundle that takes up very little room.

    AMPS: When reading this one, I thought of my side tables that have a little door and some room inside–you could put an amp in one (it has slats on the sides) to conceal it. Or those dog crates (;c=10710) and litter boxes advertised in Sky Mall that look like real furniture and would be actually nice looking in a living room–they would be multi-taskingfurniture!

  76. posted by Frederick Ross on

    For plastic bags, tie them in a reef knot and stuff them in a bag. Like this they’re compact, easy to handle, and easy to open again. For the reef knot, grab the bag by it’s bottom, drag your other hand from bottom to top to make the bag into a rope shape. Take one wrap with the bag around your hand, and tie a reef knot in it. This takes about three seconds once you’ve done a few. No need for a kleenex box or anything like that. It’s just another bag you put somewhere in your kitchen.

    Can’t help you with the guitar amps. I’m a violinist, which presents no such problems.

  77. posted by Anita on

    Sorry for the second post, but the tissue box idea gave me another idea.

    Many doctors’ offices have boxes of examination gloves mounted on the wall using something similar to this:

    I thought, wouldn’t it be good if you could get similar holders for tissue boxes (which are deeper than glove boxes) and mount them on the inside of cabinet doors, to hold plastic bags?

    … and sure enough, wall-mounted tissue box holders do exist:

    In any other context I’d deem this a unitasker, but now I’m considering getting a couple of these to store bags without taking up room under my sink.

  78. posted by barb on

    The old owners of my house took one of their old kitchen cabinents and put it in the basement. One of the drawers has a small divider system, that i currently use for light bulbs.

    However, when I lived in my apartment I used old coffee cans (the bigger ones) to store light bulbs. All of them were the same energy efficient ones but different wattages. I just used different cans and wrote on the outside the watts. This worked very well as they fit at least a package of bulbs and stacked nicely.

  79. posted by Kimberly on

    I use a decorative tissue box for plastic grocery bags. I also have one by the back door for bags to pick up doggie poo when I am walking my dog.

  80. posted by Maria on

    We keep our plastic grocery bags stuffed inside of empty paper towel rolls, they fit maybe 10 or 12 bags and don’t take up much room at all. The great thing is that it’s easy to just grab a whole roll to bring down to the car or throw in with our picnic supplies. I also keep one roll in my cleaning caddy so if I’m cleaning up and need a trash bag I have no need to go back the kitchen. I store the extra rolls next to the trash bags.

    Added plus of using this method–for those that are unlucky enough to have roaches they LOVE to hang out in loose plastic bags in the paper towel roll they are kept compact enought that roaches will not go in there. (so glad i don’t live in NYC anymore, I hate roaches!!!)

  81. posted by chacha1 on

    We have the simplehuman bag storage/dispenser thingie, mounted on the inside of the pantry door. Mostly use canvas bags now, but occasionally the plastic ones do come home, and they’re great for litter-box scoopies.

    Muffin tins, etc. I don’t have much baking gear anymore and just have it all in one dedicated cabinet in the kitchen.

    Lightbulbs are in the linen closet, baskets (a few that are good for transporting food to dinners/potlucks) on top of a big cabinet on our sheltered patio. The only basket *inside* the house is a lidded pine-needle basket shaped like a cat, which holds hair clips in my bathroom.

    The amps etc – I’m with those recommending a minor building project. Amps are the right size, generally, to double as a side table, stool, coffee table … they just need to be boxed in for protection.

  82. posted by Carrie on

    i nest muffin pans inside 9×13 baking pans. they fit perfectly and flat then.

  83. posted by Laura on

    Plastic bags: Stuff them inside an empty kleenex box. You can fit in a surprising amount and the kleenex box can easily be put inside a cabinet, closet, or pantry.

    Baskets: My mom nests hers as best she can and puts them on top of an armoire near the kitchen (in the space between the top of the armoire and the ceiling). Her baskets are nice enough to look presentable in plain sight.

    You could always store lightbulbs (and maybe muffin tins) inside a basket or two on a shelf or on top of a cabinet…

  84. posted by Ashley on

    Plastic bags– I took an empty gallon milk jug, cut a hole in the front, and cleaned it out. Then I shove all the bags inside through the hole in the front, and remove them the same way. You can jam a lot of bags in there if you need to, and they’re all in one place.

    Light bulbs–Last time I purchased new glasswear they came in a box with a bunch of those little glasswear dividers. I store all my light bulbs in those dividers.

  85. posted by Jen on

    My boyfriend’s amp has wheels on it, so it can easily be pushed about when it’s in the way or put into the closet. He uses an old suitcase with a hard plastic shell to store pedals. He thought about using velcro to secure the pedals inside so that he could just go to gigs, open up his case, and there were the pedals ready to go, but that didn’t work out.
    Having instruments sit around bug me, too. I’m a woodwind player, so mine all pack up nicely into cases and go into the closet easily, but guitars are difficult. My only idea would be to get a deep bookshelf or something and lay the guitar cases on the shelves, but that probably wouldn’t look any nicer or seem any less cluttered. You could always hang them up in the closet…I thought I remembered a post featuring guitar hangers.

  86. posted by Holly on

    We have a lot of baskets, all different sizes and shapes, which my husband uses for catering. They are indeed very unruly and cumbersome. We used to keep them in an outdoor shed, not in an organized manner, but out of sight. Then we had a moisture/mold problem in that shed, so out came the catering supplies. My husband took the two largest + handled baskets – and they are BIG, big enough for 15-20 loaves of bread – and arranged all other baskets inside of them. Then he hung the two huge basket handles from the ceiling of the garage. They are accessible, out of the way and protected from the pests and messes that could come with having wicker baskets resting on a surface…which is about as good as it gets, I think, with baskets!

  87. posted by Keter on

    I did not read all of the comments, so I may be repeating some tips.

    Baskets: I don’t get baskets precisely because they are clutter. If someone gives me a basket, it goes into my “regift” stash to be filled with goodies and sent on at the earliest possible opportunity. If the basket is ugly, it goes in the to-donate sack.

    Muffin tins: When I had a stove that had a warmer drawer, I stashed all such things there. When I lived in apartments, I typically raised the microwave up on a temporary base and used the area underneath for storing oversized pans, or stashed them over, on top of, or to the side of the refrigerator. There’s almost always a nook somewhere in a kitchen that can hide such things.

    Plastic bags: My first solution for that started with an old wooden clothes hanger. I took pretty material and sewed a bag, the “bottom” of which slipped over the hanger and had an elastic opening at the “top”, and hung this in my laundry room (which was right next to the kitchen). I would stuff bags through the elastic opening, and gravity would keep them near the bottom where I could easily snag them back out again when one was needed. In my current home, I mounted plastic Ikea bag holders inside kitchen and bathroom cabinets where they are still convenient for reuse but out of sight.

    Light bulbs: I keep all electrical stuff – bulbs, batteries, extra flashlights, extension cords, power strips, and a set of basic electrical tools and accessories – together in a single wooden crate stored on a shelf in my hall closet. Tiny bulbs are kept inside a plastic shoe box along with loose batteries and other small accessories. I knew one gal who stored bulbs in a Christmas ornament box…but I thought she had way too many bulbs…I typically keep less than a dozen total including tiny halogen bulbs.

    I would cover the amplifiers with something that looks like a piece of furniture (such as an end table or small table) that can be lifted off to use the amps. Check out the Ikea Hacker web site for ideas.

  88. posted by infmom on

    Muffin pans, we store face down on a shelf inside a lower cupboard, and we stack pie pans, also upside down, on top of them. We use them so seldom that stacking them like that doesn’t cause problems, and the face-down orientation keeps them from getting dusty inside.

    For plastic bags, we keep one solid thick plastic bag (like the kind you get from Target) hung from a hook in the laundry room. Into that we stuff all the others till it’s time to recycle them. (We keep the reusable grocery bags in the trunk of the car and try to take them into stores with us so we don’t acquire more plastic bags, but we don’t always realize we’re going to buy something when we get out of the car.)

    Light bulbs go into a plastic basket-style bin on a shelf in the pantry. That keeps the boxes corralled, and when we need a bulb we just slide the bin off the shelf, take what we need and put the bin back.

    Dunno about musical instruments. My daughter’s guitars and keyboards are sitting in what used to be her closet, waiting for her to come get them. πŸ™‚

  89. posted by mary b on

    I guess one of my methods kills 2 birds with one stone…I take the plastic grocery bags & do that little wrap into a knot thing and store them in an unused basket on my pantry shelf.

    Muffin tins & such I keep on a shelf in the pantry, nesting the duplicates.

    Light bulbs stay in original boxes, but if they do not have a box I use small gift bags and put like bulbs together, then all goes on the pantry shelf next to the batteries.

    Not sure how big your amps & such are, but if the table or cloth methods mentioned above do not work for you, then what about a small folding screen, possibly the type you can put photos on.

  90. posted by Karen Lebeter on

    A lot of the comments let me know that many of us are doing the same things. Did we all read all of the organizing books out there? I have an ikea bag holder in the kitchen pantry and another in the bathroom (to line small trash cans). I have used the cloth bag holders before (the tubes with elastic top and bottom). Although they usually have something on top to hang them up with, you can always store them in a drawer too. Tissue boxes are a good alternative. I hang my cloth reusable grocery bags on a cup hook on the front door so I can take them back out to the car. I keep them in the car except for when I shop and bring them into the house. If I get too many plastic bags, I put them all into one plastic bag and take them to the grocery store for recycling.
    If your amps are big enough, you could put a round mdf or plywood top on it and throw a tablecloth over it (or sew one up to fit). I’ve done that with speakers and file cabinets before.
    I keep my muffin and baking pans in the drawer below the oven also. One of these days I will build a cabinet/box over the fridge and store them on their sides.

  91. posted by Staci on

    For things like muffin tins and other baking sheets, I have two solutions: Right now, we use one of those shelf-racks you can buy at the container store etc– make a tiered system so you can store the flat stuff on top of the shelf. Even better, I take a narrow-profile book end (I bought L-shaped washable ones at Ikea) and stack my tins and trays on their side between the wall of the cupboard and the book end. No more sliding and crashing all over the floor.

  92. posted by Sharon on

    I have so many different light bulbs to keep up with:
    40 watt, 60 watt, 75 watt, 100 watt, several sizes of flourescent, different outdoor spot lights, halogen bulbs, oven and refrigerator bulbs, nightlights, candle flame shaped bulbs for the chandelier, etc. I got a large plastic bin and keep it on a shelf in the laundry room. We always know that all our light bulbs are in that box. I keep them in their protective sleeves until used. As I use them up I make a note to replace so we always have a spare.

    For my cookie sheets, muffin tin, pizza pan I have a cabinet under my stove with no shelves in it. This gives me a good height. I use a lid storage rack and store them standing up on their sides.

    I use a plastic wall mounted storage container. When that fills up then I put all the overflow bags in one of the plastic bags tie it up and take it back to the grocery store to dump in their recycle bin.

  93. posted by zac on

    chzplz said
    “I stuck a wall-mounted plastic bag holder on the inside of the door of one of my kitchen cabinets – the one under the sink where I keep recycling, kitchen garbage, etc. Though I use it less and less now that I’ve converted to reusable bags.”
    I do the exact same thing. Works great.

  94. posted by Countervail on

    Racks like this work for both pans and paper bags.;Nao=32;Nao=32

  95. posted by Sherry on

    Plastic Bags: When I get stuck with those, I store them up the dress of this bunny thing that was designed just for storing them. It has the head (with ears and the facial features) and shoulders of a bunny with a poofy dress draped over it. It’s almost closed up at the bottom, but the opening is stretchy because of embedded elastic. I hang it in the laundry area.

    Muffin tins: I put them inside of each other and stack vertically with my cookie sheets and cooling racks in pots and pans cabinet which is under my microwave. My kitchen is not well laid out, so this is an extra piece of furniture. They fit well just off to one side. Since I have several broiler pans, the muffin tins don’t fit under my stove.

    Light bulbs: I try to keep them in their packages, then in a plastic bin/basket in the cabinet above my washer. We have a variety of sizes that are needed, so the ones that have actual box like holders stack well. The ones that only come in blister packs are the ones that go in the plastic bins (they have to be deep ones.)
    Now this is more or less an unclutter faux pas, but I keep the burnt out ones to make Christmas ornaments. These go in a plastic storage bin in my attic, until I’m ready to paint and assemble them. Light bulbs just don’t recycle well, so this is the best way I’ve come up to recycle them (except the new curly ones) They contain a small amount of mercury, so they need to be disposed of in a special way I think.

    Baskets: I only have Easter baskets or ones that are waiting to be turned into floral baskets. I just store them in a box in the attic. I try to nestle them by side to maximize the space, otherwise, I have no good ideas on those.

    As far as the music equipment, I’m a musician too, so I always have instruments ’round about my house. Any guitars should be on a stand for safety, as should any other instrument. Work them into your decor? Make decorative covers for the amps, and put a light weight decoration on them to prevent someone from putting food or drink on them. If the amps are all enough, you could use them as a base for a table by covering them first and then use a piece of wood for a top. The shape the of amp should be notched out on the underside so the top doesn’t slip around. For extra security, place a piece of heavy duty Velcro on it and the top of the cover of the amp. If you didn’t need to move the amps around when they were being used during practice, make the covers so that the front and back just roll up and fasten in the up position (like with a strip of material to slip through a loop that could be fastened on the underside of the table part? Many possibilities!) so you can plug-n-play.

  96. posted by Erin on

    Plastic Bags: This is something my grandmother had for years in her broom closet, and I haven’t found anything better: it is essentially a tube of fabric with elasticized openings at either end (with a loop for hanging at one end). You put bags in the top and pull out the bottom. Great thing is that it is NOT bulky, you can fit a ton in it, and you can personalize it with your favorite decor fabric. You can customize to any length/width to put in a closet or even under the sink. While she sewed her own, I’ve been able to purchase at retail stores in the past.

  97. posted by Sue on

    I donate our plastic bags to the local baby/preschool program. They are always needing plastic bags for wrapping up used diapers and also to send home projects that the children have made.

  98. posted by Erin on

    I’ve used a diaper wipes box for storing those plastic grocery bags. Huggies even makes “designer” looking ones now that are more attractive than the ones with the big logo on the front.

  99. posted by Michelle on

    My plastic bag storage is a beautiful spherical ceramic pot with an opening at the top big enough to put your hand inside. Since I keep my counters mostly clutter-free, the pot stands out like the piece of art it is. It sits in the kitchen right next to the garage door so we can grab a bag if we need one for yard work. And if the pot gets full, we know we need to use the cloth grocery bags more diligently.

  100. posted by Jeri Dansky on

    Plastic bags: If you want something “amazing,” look at the plastic bag holder here:

    It’s sold here:

    Plenty of other people sell nice ones; it’s all a matter of what fabric speaks to you. And of course you could make your own, if you’re crafty that way. (I’m not.)

    And I like the simple Kleenex box option, too.

  101. posted by Gypsie on

    For the ampliphiers, I would cover them with a table cloth. It’s inexpensive, easy to remove, etc. I use the same trick for my cats’ litter boxes. The litter boxes sit under the table that I feed them on (in a wierd little storage room) so the cats still have access to the boxes, they arent in the open, and the dog cant get to their food.

  102. posted by Patty on

    place 12 lightbulbs in the 12 muffin tin openings! Ok, maybe not. Honestly my bulbs are in a box set on a high shelf in the laundry room. Some are still boxed and some are wrapped in tissue paper or paper towels. I’m imagining though that one could buy the cheap bulb sockets from a hardware store (or re-use facility) and mount them on a board to act as a wall mounted bulb storage similar to some of the battery recharger stations I’ve seen.

  103. posted by Jennifer Macchiarella on

    I also keep extra plastic grocery bags in a square kleenex box, but it’s covered by a ceramic tissue box cover that matches my kitchen.

  104. posted by Kathy on

    I use a rack like this one for my muffin tins:
    My lower cabinets are only 11″ high, and the muffin tins (nested inside each other), smaller cookie sheets and even small trays fit very nicely and are very accessible.

  105. posted by Lee on

    We moved last winter and one of our biggest challenges is for both of us to store a type of item in the same place, unless there is a reason to have duplicates. I found a light bulb stash of multiple types of bulbs in the basement, while I had been putting the in the storage closet on the first floor. My husband has now been storing them in a plastic basket with a metal handle – just a lighter weight version of what you might find at the grocery store as an alternative for the big cart. Compact, but hard to evaluate what we have.

    Since it’s pouring rain here now, I’ll mention that we keep a working flashlight, a sturdy candle (2+” in diameter) and base, and matches in a kitchen drawer and a drawer in the china cabinet in the dining room. We can find these points in total darkness by holding on to the wall as we walk. These have earned the right to our “prime real estate”, even though it may not be used often.

  106. posted by Jennifer on

    Baskets – not sure why you have any that you don’t use on a daily basis.

    + 1 silicone muffin cups. With the added bonus that you don’t need to use the paper insert. The cupcakes just pop out.

    I don’t understand why you have any plastic bags. This could just be living somewhere that has taxed people for every plastic bag for the last 8 years. Using them is just a bad habit that can be broken.

    I similarly don’t understand the requirement for spare light bulbs. I upgraded all of mine to energy efficient ones back in 2007 and haven’t had to replace any. I’m not prepared to keep spares for something that lasts years.

    With respect to your amps, best I can suggest is can you put a cover over them to repurpose them when not in use. I used to have 2 suitcases and lived in a 1 room apartment in Japan. I got some pretty material and a board and they became a temporary table.

  107. posted by Doreen on

    I use the clear shoe holders that you can hang on the back of a door for small items. I do that at home and in the closest of my classroom where I teach.

  108. posted by Christina W on

    I tuck my muffin pans in my square/rectangular cake pans. they can easily be stacked with other cookie sheets and baking pans this way or stacked on end. And since the muffin pans are inside the deeper pans, there is really only a small increase in the storage width needed than if they were stored separately.

    For the plastic bags, I use them as trash bags in our smaller cans. I fold up 1 or 2 additional bags in the bottom of can before lining with a bag, and not only do I stash away about 10 or so bags this way, it makes sure I always have a new bag to put in the can with out having to hunt one down around the house!

  109. posted by Karen on

    Muffin tins are stored on their sides (like books) in the lower cabinets in my kitchen. The pans are held up and separated by spring tension (curtain) rods. I use two small ones in between each set of pans. They are adjustable and cheap.

    Can’t wait till you boil down the comments on musical instruments. My husband is a professional clarinetist and his hobby is ukelele. We live in a 1200 sq ft cape with no storage. We are drowning in instruments.

  110. posted by Dylan on

    I hate hate HATE those silicon muffin forms. You now need to wash fiddly little bits. They droop. They slide around on the tray. You have to save them and bring them home from events. Bugger, that.

    For lightbulbs, I replace them so infrequently that I just suck up the cost of replacement, and buy bulbs in boxes.

    I don’t have any musical instruments.

    Pans are the bane of my life. I love to cook, so my kitchen is hella cluttered. My current strategy is going to be to buy a box from Ikea, with a lid, a big one. Put everything in it, along with my cake decorating stuff, my pattycake liners and my food colouring and all the other dross, and store it in a corner.

  111. posted by viola on

    I store lightbulbs (and lots of other stuff) in the Sterilite 18-qt. Latchbox containers. Not only do all the sizes stack well, the the latch closures are great. You don’t have to worry about the tops popping off and the handles are comfortable. They are clear so you can see what’s inside, and you don’t have to worry about the contents breaking (well, I suppose unless they were dropped from a great height.) I believe they are widely available. Love them!

  112. posted by Debbie M on

    Muffin tins – Mine are stacked on a shelf in the pantry, but you could also use a book end to hold it upright in a cabinet if you don’t have a plate rack with wide enough slots. If all your other cabinets are too small, you can usually fit them under your sink–I’ve never understood why people keep their poisons there. It is important to put only waterproof things there in case of leaks, but most muffin tins are waterproof, though some may rust. Or you could put them somewhere totally different like in under-the-bed storage.

    Lighbulbs – I keep mine (with batteries and the voltmeter) in their original packaging in one of those boxes that you get with reams of copier paper. I store that box on the high shelf in the coat closet. Lightbulbs are so lightweight that it is not dangerous to store them so high overhead.

    Um, our amp is being used as a doorstop. I do not recommend this to anyone!

    Wanda – I have just a few cookie cutters–I hang them on the wall on nails as decorations. Yes, two of them are Halloween decorations, but they still make me happy.

  113. posted by Malena on

    For plastic bags, I made a holder from an old pillow case. It has elastic at both ends and hangs in the pantry. You can buy them for about $3.00, but they’re ugly, and I always have a bit of fabric, old sheets, etc. and elastic around, so I’d rather make my own just the way I want it.

  114. posted by TMichelle on

    Until you get casters for your amps, you can always place them on furniture movers like these

    or if they are large enough a furniture mover with wheels like this one

    These would only work as a temporary solution because I’m sure you would want something attached eventually in case you wanted to pick the amps up to move them.

    What are their dimensions? I like the idea of storing them under a console table. I wouldn’t put fabric over it as I would want them to be more accessible, just out of the way.

  115. posted by Amy on

    On the basket angle, I have been very pleased with gleanings from local thrift stores. The stores vary widely in terms of quality and their inventory changes greatly, but my first choice for storage needs is to check with them first. I have scored several square (very useful) baskets lately for a few dollars each.

    Additionally, thrift stores offer many and various storage options, some new, from plastic lidded bins, to office organizers, to closet and wardrobe storage systems, for pennies on the retail dollar.

    Also Craigslist and Freecycle are a great way both to find useful stuff and to find new homes for usable stuff we can no longer use, with takers who pick up saving you the trip to the Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.

  116. posted by chantelle on

    MUFFIN TINS: I refuse to make muffins. Instead I make cakes and cut them up. Same difference then I don’t have these annoying pans.

    PLATIC BAGS: I don’t keep any or use any. I use reusable bins that I keep in my trunk.

    LIGHTBULBS: I do not keep any extra lightbulbs in the house. I wait until I need one, then I buy only what I need, never any extra. Since I only use cfc (law here in canada) it is always possible to buy just one at a time.

  117. posted by Alex Williams on

    I’m a musician, myself — but I mostly do home recording. I have a virtual amp which is designed to be rack mounted. Instead of keeping it in a rack, I have it on a shelf near my desk so I can run the line out to my mac. The guitars hang on the wall, out of the way but in plain site.

    Music gear is inherently messy, but I’ve done the best I can. Here’s a photo:

  118. posted by Jessica on

    I don’t keep baskets, but I do keep various sized glass / plastic containers that I don’t have an exact purpose immediately, but I know that I’ll use in the future in a “footstool” that I use under my computer desk. It’s actually a repurposed bulk food container, turned garbage can, turned foot stool, turned container holder = Multitasker FTW πŸ™‚

  119. posted by Janet Foster on

    Empty Pringle cans are a great way to store plastic shopping bags. The plastic lid keeps bags tucked in neatly so you don’t have handles poking out. We keep the can under the sink.

  120. posted by Pammyfay on

    Janet, the Pringles can idea is great. Only question: Don’t the containers still have metal around the inside edge? If so, can’t you cut yourself reaching in for a bag when it’s half-full?

    Here’s how I’ve decided to store my muffin tins: By putting them out in the tag sale. I’ve made a couple batches, but no longer do I have such a craving (or need) for them that I want to bake from scratch–the grocery’s baked good section does me fine. I realize, tho, that some people know cupcake baking time for their kids’ parties or school fundraisers is inevitable, or they just prefer homemade. If I thought that there were several once-in-a-while cooking/baking items in the kitchen that were taking up space most of the time, space that could be better used for other things, then I’d stash the stuff in a Rubbermaid tote and find a place outside the kitchen for it. I’d take the tradeoff of having more efficient space use for the daily stuff against having to go get the muffin tin when I need it.

  121. posted by dan on

    Musical instruments: I keep them in the office, where they are played. Though they do get dusty, because I do not play them as frequently as I could. Considering covering them with a cover of some sort to keep them nice and shiny.

  122. posted by RazMaTaz on

    Fold the bags as you would a flag and put them in an empty tissue box.


  123. posted by Emmie on

    I use plastic grocery grocery bags to line all my trash cans (including the kitchen) and store them in a (ta-da!) basket that hangs on a drawer pull. I use another old basket for recyclables, including a bag of extra bags to take back to the grocery store. Another old basket holds those loose lightbulbs (!) others are bedroom trash cans. I keep my clothespins in another old Easter basket. It often gets left out in the rain, but who cares? When it gets too rickety there’s always another one somewhere.

    During my last move I put all my seldom-used baking pans, including muffin tins, in a box in the coat closet. After a year it still hadn’t been opened, so I donated the whole thing. Now, on the rare occasions I need them, I use the tin liners that have a layer of tinfoil and are self standing.

  124. posted by SusanB on

    Muffin tins – mine sit inside my 9×13 pan but my grandfather made my mom a very nice vertical divider that has traveled from home to home with her – a file divider might work.

    Amps and Guitars — there is only supposed to be one amp permanently in our living room. HAHA. Wheels are good. We use those “metro” type shelving systems to construct a variety of carts and wheeled bookcases for music gear. Some get covered with canvas wardrobe covers that we picked up cheap. To a certain extent the music stuff is just part of the decor. No guitars on walls here though — too many climate control issues.

  125. posted by Lynda on

    I’ll ask my partner’s dad how he stores his 7 or 8 guitars in a way that his wife doesn’t find them…

  126. posted by Clare K. R. Miller on

    My mom uses baskets as decoration. Most people probably aren’t as obsessed with baskets as she is, but all the baskets hanging (bottom out) on nails on our kitchen walls make a nice, homey atmosphere.

  127. posted by Laura on

    I have to agree with all the people who suggested Simple Human’s plastic bag holder. I’ve had mine for years, and it’s the only thing that’s worked to corral the bags (they seem to breed when left alone). And it’s attractive enough that it’s no big deal if you need to pull it from under the sink.

  128. posted by Amanda on

    For my muffin tins & other large flat-ish bakeware I use a metal mesh file sorter built to sit on top of a letter tray that has a 2-inch space between each of the 5 dividers. It is flat, unlike a mail sorter, and is very sturdy. It is set on top of a rubbery shelf liner to keep it from sliding. This keeps the jumbled, clanging mess from happening that occurs with stacking and you don’t have to remove half of the pieces to get to the item you want like when they are in the oven bottom drawer.

  129. posted by AmandaLP on

    I cannot figure out how to store my pill bottles in an area where I can 1) see what they are, and 2) be able to access the ones I use more often, while keeping the less often used ones handy.

  130. posted by Randy on

    You already know the answer. I could practically read it between the lines as I read the post. Baskets are useless clutter. There is no good reason for keeping them at all. Just ditch ’em.

    Muffin tins are a horrible, single-purpose, awkward item. The best solution is to throw them away. (Or sell them for scrap metal.)

    Find oven-safe ceramic ramekin dishes. You can bake muffins in them, but they also work for puddings, desserts, sauces, general serving dishes, whatever.

    All of my plastic bags go directly into trash cans. First I change out the full bags with empties. Then, if I have any bags left over, they are the first trash in the newly emptied cans.

    Kept in the box, on a high shelf in the pantry. Light bulbs are light (forgive the pun) so I keep them up high and out of the way.

  131. posted by jmanna on

    Basket: I’ll reiterate what everyone else has said. I don’ understand why you keep them. You can pick them up at Thrift stores for a dollar a piece.

    Muffin Tins: I use plate wracks to store a lot of my cookie trays and such on end in a narrow cabinet. Less shuffling things out of the way. Another option is a small nail on the inside of the cabinet door as most muffin tins have a hole for hanging.

    Plastic bags: I tie mine in knots. Makes them easier to deal with and they take up less room. Just pull them into a string, fold in half then tie in a knot. Makes them quick and easy to grab. (Also keeps them from filling with bugs, which happened before I did this.) I keep mine in a bucket under the sink.

    Keep an eye out after Christmas, get a large ornament organizer. You can get ones with a varying number of slots. I can keep both the regular bulbs and the specialty bulbs in one container. Also? Switch to Compact Florecents, they are replace far less often. They are a pain to discard though, because of the mercury content.

    The amps: Yah got me there. Maybe IKEA has some decor table like thing you could drop over them? Then you can use them as end tables or something when they’re not in use. Putting them on wheels might effect the sound (weird vibrations and all) but it would make them easier to move. Look into the type made to fit under home filing cabinets. Or go all 50’s housewife and make giant Amp Covers with monkeys on them or something.

  132. posted by Sam on

    I stick my muffin pans to the inside of cupboard doors using these flexible adhesive-backed magnets:

    It works a treat!

  133. posted by Karen on

    Re: muffin pans — Don’t keep ’em around. Foil and silicone liners stand up on their own without a special pan, and they don’t create awkward space issues. I use the foil ones when i bake for work or parties, because losing silicone ones stresses me out more than it really ought to.

  134. posted by gypsy packer on

    Muffins are a calorie sink. Can they be replaced with puff pastries or something which doesn’t require a special pan? If you must have them, put the little paper liners in them and then use the muffin pan to store something else–paperclips, small screws, nuts, bolts, etc.
    Or roll those pesky USB cords up and label each of the paper liners.

  135. posted by James on

    Baskets – My wife ends up with baskets all the time. I pounded some nails into the wall in the garage and just hung them in there. Every so often she’ll go out and grab one to package up another gift.

    Plastic Bags – I keep them in an empty cat litter box. I go through two bags every day or two. So I hope that they never outlaw plastic bags at the grocery store because I hate the idea of having to buy them.

    Light Bulbs – We have a “supply cabinet” and inside a clear box and inside the box, all kinds of lightbulbs. When we use up the last of a specific kind, we just add them to our shopping list again so that we’re never caught in the dark.

  136. posted by Liz Kay on

    We just figured out a way to repurpose a wastebasket cabinet we weren’t using. The trash can now holds our muffin pan, cooling racks and the lids for our larger pyrex dishes. This creates more space in drawers to store our half-sheet pans, salad spinner and other items that were currently living on the counter or dish drainer for lack of better homes.

    Someday we might replace the wastebasket cabinet, but this works fine for now!

  137. posted by Melanie on

    @Wanda I use a wide-mouthed jar for cookie-cutters, which sits on the shelf next to my mixing bowls. I think cutters look nice enough to be on display like this, but you could always use an opaque jar or tin.

    Muffin pans – like many others, they go in the drawer under the oven. In my previous house I used a rack to stack such things on edge in a cabinet, but my current kitchen doesn’t have a suitable sized cabinet.

    Light bulbs live in a plastic box in the utility room, alongside the infrequently-used specialist cleaning products & the extra glassware for parties.

    Plastic bags are the bane of my life! I try to *always* carry a reusable bag or two (I favour Onyas as they fold up tiny enough to fit in any bag or pocket), but you always end up with some plastic ones. They get stuffed into another bag & reused for rubbish, collecting allotment veg, etc.

  138. posted by Turling on

    Ah, the muffin tin. Best storage I have found is on it’s side vertically; however, you have probably found that the bottom slides and it falls flat. Prop them against one side of any cabinet. Along the shelf the side is sitting on top of place a small strip of wood, plastic or whatever else you have laying around. It doesn’t need to be bigger then a book of matches. Glue it if you like, or use double stick tape if you don’t think it will be permanent. The pans will now stay against the side of the cabinet vertically and not slide out across the shelf space.

  139. posted by Michelle on

    Saw this today and thought of you and the guitars.

  140. posted by Lynn on

    For plastic bags, I cut the legs off an old pair of jeans, tied a ribbon to close the hemmed end, and put a caribeaner on the top. I stuff plastic bags into them, then hang them on the backs of the bathroom doors, where the litterbox is.

  141. posted by silk on

    You could store the muffin pan under a shelfboard. Jiust screw four brackets in place, and you have a hnaging place for the muffin pan.

    If the pan is sensitive to scratxhes just use some sugru ( and the brackets are covered in soft plastic and won`t scratch anything.

    My experience is there is always a shelfboard UNDER which therer are a few inches, and that`s all you need.

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