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If you’ve ever seen any of those viral lists containing dozens of “kitchen hacks” (and spent many minutes sifting through them all), then you know the allure of quick, easy, and clever ways to reorganize your kitchen, store your food, and improve your kitchen implements. Here are five kitchen projects from these lists that I’ve pinned over the years. It was the spaghetti knife storage block that made me think of these today. I might want to break down and finally make one.

Universal Knife Block

ingeniousDesign_1This Instructable covers how to make the wooden container for this knife block, but this would be even simpler if you could find an existing box the height of bamboo skewers (and I’ve seen these made with dry spaghetti). The wood box and a couple of packages of skewers, and you have your universal knife holder. Even when we did have a knife block years ago, the knives we actually had didn’t necessarily fit the block. No issues with that here.
Link: Instructables

Rake Rack

ingeniousDesign_7I loved these rake racks the first time I spotted them on Pinterest (and now see them over and over and…). Such a “Why didn’t I think of that?” solution. And rake racks can be used for pots and pans in the kitchen, wine glasses in the bar, and potting tools in the garden shed.
Link: This Old House

Fridge-side Pantry

ingeniousDesign_4This is such an ingenious use of that space that nearly everyone has between their fridge and the kitchen wall. This Instructable shows you building the entire unit from scratch, but you could luck out and find a large flat file drawer to use as your basic frame. Then all you’d need to do is add the dividers, the dowel railings, and caster wheels. Either way, unlike the other projects here, this one would be at least a day-long undertaking. But if you have a really small kitchen, this could be precious storage space.
Link: Instructables

Mason Jar Pour Spouts

ingeniousDesign_3I love this simple way of reusing the pouring spouts and paper lids from salt boxes to create re-closable spouts for regular canning jar rings. The only drawback here is how long it takes to go through a box of salt.
Link: Pinterest

Bonus mason jar tip: The tops of the metal lids for canning jars can be painted with blackboard paint. You then have an erasable surface for labeling what’s in the jars.

Chop Stick Training Wheels

ingeniousDesign_5There’s always that one person at the dinner party who can’t seem to figure out how to use chopsticks. Tease them and alleviate their suffering by whipping out a pair of these remedial sticks, easily made by combining the spring mechanism from a wooden clothespin with a regular pair of wooden chopsticks.
Link: Atelier V

C’mon, you know you’ve seen some of these kitchen improvement lists. What are some of the “hacks” in them that you find inspiring, or especially, that you’ve incorporated into your kitchen work?


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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