10 Old Kitchen Items You Can Use to Organize Your Life

Use muffin tins for bathroom storage, plus more surprising ways to repurpose old kitchen stuff.

Whether you haven't baked since slap bracelets were in or just want to upgrade your kitchenware, there are plenty of ways to use those supplies outside the kitchen. Keep reading to see how common kitchen tools can be used as storage, like the muffin tin below that holds your bathroom toiletries — genius!

Multipurpose Muffin Pan

Multipurpose Muffin Pan

Vintage baking pans come with a pretty patina that makes them a favorite find at flea markets, though a pan dating back to the Mad Men era may be better suited for display rather than Sunday's blueberry muffins. Here's a new use for that old pan. Repurpose a muffin pan in the bathroom as a handy tray for toiletries that you can bring by the tub for at-home pedicures.

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Kimberly Ludy

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Ludy

Teacup Jewelry Holder

Teacup Organizers

Teacup Organizers

We can never have too many ideas when it comes to organizing and displaying jewelry. If you're not short on storage space, reserve a vanity or dresser drawer just for holding bracelets, necklaces and rings. Designer Lynda Quintero-Davids wanted to add as much style and function to her client's dressing table, so she used tea cups and saucers for storage.

You love grandma's vintage tea set, but probably have nowhere to display it. Use the saucers and cups to hold your favorite possessions like jewelry. It's a quick and pretty way to organize your drawers.

Vintage Meets New



Bring out your lunchbox from your elementary school days, and use it to store all the odds and ends that clutter up your shelves. Got a collection of boxes? They can double as decor. 

Unscramble Your Thread



Photo by: Photo courtesy of Michele Pacey

Photo courtesy of Michele Pacey

I seem to collect countless spools of thread and organizing them is nearly impossible. If you are anything like me, use an egg carton to keep them separated and easy to grab.

Grater Pencil Holder

Repurposed Cheese Grater as Pencil Storage

Repurposed Cheese Grater as Pencil Storage

Take an old box grater (you'll want one with dull enough openings to prevent cuts) and fill the opening at the top with floral foam cut to fit snugly inside. Loop a wire through two holes on one side of the grater to form a hook, then flip it and hang on the wall. Fill with colored pencils and pens. Photo courtesy of Alicia McDonald and Jamie Timmer

Photo by: Alicia McDonald and Jamie Ritter

Alicia McDonald and Jamie Ritter

Stick floral foam into an old grater, and stick pencils or other kitchen utensils into the foam to keep your kids' craft space tidy. Hang the grater on any surface to free up counter space, but make sure you use an old grater with dull edges to prevent cuts.

No Cookies in These Tins

Cookie Tins as Office Storage

Cookie Tins as Office Storage

Use leftover holiday cookie tins to store large office items, such as ink cartridges for the printer. Stack the tins to save counter space.

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Serena Thompson

Photo courtesy of Serena Thompson

Use colorful cookie tins to store larger office supplies, and label them to keep things organized.

Tuna Can Drawer Organizer

Clever Organizers: Can the Clutter with Can Drawer Dividers

Clever Organizers: Can the Clutter with Can Drawer Dividers

Get control over small odds and ends by nestling clean tuna cans into a drawer. Each little compartment can store thumbtacks, rubber bands, clips, or twist ties. Say goodbye to junk drawers forever!

For smaller office supplies, use recycled tuna cans. You can fit several in a drawer, and it keeps your most-used supplies right at hand.

Mason Jar Bathroom Organizer

Hung Up on Jars

Hung Up on Jars

Mason jars are a pretty and practical solution for organizing cotton balls and Q-tips, but glass in the bathroom is a risky matter and counter space is always at a premium. Here's a solution for getting everything up on the wall in style. All you need is a piece of wood, paint, pipe clamps, wide-mouth Mason jars, screws and picture hangers. Paint your wood board the color you want. Once it's dry, screw the pipe clamps onto the wood (be sure to measure out how many Mason jars you'll be adding and space them out on the board). Add picture hangers to the back of the board to hang it on the wall. Then, slide the Mason jars into the pipe clamps. Be sure the pipe clamps are tight enough to catch the lip of the jar. Now you have all your essentials within reach, and they look good, too. Design by Liz Marie Galvan

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Liz Marie Galvan

Photo courtesy of Liz Marie Galvan

Did you think we forgot about Mason jars? We're taking it to the next level with this clever way to organize your toiletries. You will need a piece of wood, paint, pipe clamps, wide-mouth Mason jars, screws and picture hangers to make this hanging organizer. Paint your wood board the color you want. Once it's dry, screw the pipe clamps onto the wood (be sure to measure out how many jars you'll be adding and space them out on the board). Add picture hangers to the back of the board to hang it on the wall. Then, slide the jars into the pipe clamps. Be sure the pipe clamps are tight enough to catch the lip of the jar. 

Cake Stand Turned Soap Dish

White and Green Cake Stand For Kitchen Soap and Sponge Display

White and Green Cake Stand For Kitchen Soap and Sponge Display

Keep kitchen sponges and soaps tidy and neat-looking with this cake stand soap dish. It's a stylish was to organize items and still have them readily available beside the sink.

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Natalie Wright

Photo courtesy of Natalie Wright

Let's take it back to the kitchen. Cake stands take up too much precious cabinet storage. Keep it right by the sink instead to hold your sponges, towels and soap. You don't waste any counter space either since you can store things underneath it, too.

Ice Cube Tray Snack Caddy

Ice Cube Tray Food Holder

Ice Cube Tray Food Holder

An ice cube tray makes a mess-free food holder for toddlers and small children.

An ice cube tray is an easy way to keep small household items organized or to separate food for your picky little eater. Sure, the food may not stay in its designated cubby by the end of mealtime, but A for effort.

25 Ways to Use Your Old Stuff

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Raise the (Shoe) Bar

Shoe clutter and closet disarray is an all-too-common problem for those of us with shoe addictions. Janet Lee conquered the dilemma of storing her abundance of shoes in a New York City apartment by creating a chic shoe bar that puts her favorite pairs on display and offers a vertical space-saving solution. The best part? No hammering or drilling required. To make, Janet found a lightweight polyurethane decorative molding cut into 24-inch-long strips. She then painted them in a cool blue hue to match her bedroom's palette. To attach to the wall, she added removable picture-hanging strips to the back (six on each piece of molding). Each bar can hold three or four pairs of heels.

"In a small space you, have to find ways to maximize vertical real estate," she says. "Lifting a dozen pairs of shoes off the ground and displaying them on a wall turns clutter into modern art." Photo courtesy of Janet Lee, author of Living in a Nutshell: Posh and Portable Decorating Ideas for Small Spaces

Rustic Jewelry Display

To keep your bracelets and necklaces nice and tidy, look no further than the garage. You would be surprised at how well a vintage rake head keeps necklaces untangled and hanging beautifully on the wall. Kevi Zupancic detached the handle and simply nailed the rake head to the wall to create a unique and rustic jewelry holder — for free!

Ice-Cube Tray Munchies

These days, ice-cube trays aren't just for freezing water. They make excellent drawer organizers for housing tiny odds and ends, and, interestingly enough, they are perfect food separators for picky little ones. Jennifer Bishop decided to integrate this colorful and creative idea at toddler birthday parties where all the kids, picky or not, would be happy with the variety of food choices in front of them. Plus, the trays are stackable, making a cute and colorful statement on the food buffet.

Mobile and Mess-Free Storage

Don't throw out an old plastic bin just when it starts to show some wear and tear. Instead, cover it with durable jute rope and add metal casters to create your own mobile toy box. It's never been easier or more fun for kids to clean up after themselves! Get the full instructions>>

  1. jute rope

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

New Home for Magazines

As babies transition to toddler beds, the cribs inevitably make their way to the attic or garage to take up space and collect dust. Nikki McBride thought of a new use for her child's crib railing that would be functional, space-saving and stylish, too: a clean-looking vertical magazine rack. Not only can she use the rail for magazines, but also for quilts, towels and wet laundry. It has become an instant organizing accessory in her household, but if it ever needs to convert back into a crib railing, it can in a snap.

Tea Tin Herb Garden

If you happen to have any antique (new works fine, too!) tea and coffee tins around, consider repurposing them into adorable magnetic planters for fresh herbs. You can attach them to the fridge, save counter space, and always have fresh herbs to cook with! Get the full instructions>>

Entryway Shutter Catchall

Holly Marsh set out to conquer the entryway clutter issue by turning a common household item into a clever organizational system. She found this vintage shutter at a local thrift store and hung it up next to the back door where everyone comes and goes. Then, she placed S hooks and clothespins on the wooden slats to hold everyone's keys and outgoing mail, invitations and other important memos. An old wooden box below keeps often-worn shoes contained, too. Now there's no excuse for missing keys, lost invites or misplaced bills.

Teacup Organizers

We can never have too many ideas when it comes to organizing and displaying jewelry. If you're not short on storage space, reserve a vanity or dresser drawer just for holding bracelets, necklaces and rings. Designer Lynda Quintero-Davids wanted to add as much style and function to her client's dressing table, so she incorporated antique china teacups and soup bowls into one of the lined drawers. Each dish serves as a perfect way to separate small pieces like rings, earrings and brooches.

Shipping Pallet Wine Rack

Pallets are an upcycling gold mine. Put a new twist on a basic wooden pallet by turning it into a rustic outdoor wine rack that can hold at least 25 bottles of wine and stemware, too. Get the full instructions>>

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Ladder Drying Rack

When laundry time comes around, do you find yourself hanging damp clothes all over the house? We thought so. Rebecca Kuenzi needed somewhere to hang-dry her clothes without taking over her small laundry room. She immediately found the perfect use for an old wooden ladder she had wanted to put to use. She cut the ladder in half, painted it turquoise and screwed four hooks into the top. She then added chain links and hung it directly from the ceiling. To hang her clothes from the ladder, she added multiple shower curtain hooks to each rail. Now clothing can be hung with ease and the drying rack can stay out of the way when not in use.

Paint Can Coat Hooks

Attention home decorators: If you've been wondering what to do with your old paint cans, we have a solution that not only adds vertical storage to your walls, but adds a bit of bare industrial charm, too. In her home, Kirsten Grove repurposed paint cans into wall-mounted mudroom cubbies to help corral clutter. They make excellent storage containers for hats, scarves, gloves and other winter gear. Or you can use them to hold mail, keys and any easy-to-lose accessories. Tip: If you don't have empty paint cans, get the same look by using metal buckets.

Revamp Soda Crates

Designer Holly Mathis needed a handy storage solution for her son's favorite toys, so she added casters to vintage soda crates and turned them into under-the-bed organizers. The small sectioned compartments are ideal for storing Legos and other small pieces, and the casters make cleaning up a breeze — simply put everything in its spot and roll the crates under the bed.

Rings to the Rescue

If you're not sure what to do with those tiny nooks around your house or apartment, then we have a solution to ensure they get used to their full potential. By using a tension rod from an old window treatment and some simple shower curtain rings, you can turn those once "dead" spaces into prime real estate for storing handbags, kitchen utensils, accessories and more. Photo courtesy of Brit Morin

Photo By: Brit Morin

Clever Clipping

A fun and inexpensive way to display 8x10 photos, drawings and other crafts in kids' rooms is to use clipboards. They're easy to hang, the images can be quickly changed out if necessary and they add a playful, unexpected touch to empty wall space. Photo courtesy of Ashley Ann Photography

Modern Canning

Attractive fruit and veggie tin cans make pretty containers for housing kitchen utensils. Choose cans that pull in hues from your kitchen or add a surprising dose of color, like these sweet blueberry tins. For a smart space-saving solution, attach them to a wooden cutting board and hang on the wall. It will free up your counter space and keep your spatula and whisk close at hand when cooking. Photo courtesy of Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil

Let 'Em Simmer

Virtually anything can serve as storage with a little creative thought, and designers Amie and Jolie Sikes, known as the Junk Gypsies, proved that by turning an old yellow pot into an attractive toy "box." The lid conceals the slew of toys, while the handle makes it easy to tote and move around. Bonus: It's cute enough to keep in the living room, we think!

Dish Drainer File System

Kitchen supplies have often made their way into the home office, like cookie tins for cord storage and cans to hold pens and pencils. But Brenda Pruitt really thought outside the box when she used a plastic dish drainer as a home office file organizer. The cutlery holder is perfect for housing pencils and markers, as the file folders stay straight and upright thanks to dish-drying slots. Photo courtesy of Brenda Pruitt

Functional Collectables

If you have vintage lunchboxes lying around, then put them to use by giving them a function beyond collecting dust. These clever containers are portable solutions for storing and organizing all kinds of household items, and their playful exteriors can bring an expected splash of color to any space. Fill them with electronic devices, instruction manuals and other home office supplies, and integrate them onto your bookshelves for a classic vintage look. Photo courtesy of Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil

By the Yard

Kids love to display their good grades and artwork, whether it's on the refrigerator or in their bedroom for daily motivation. Give them a place that's truly their own to showcase their proud markings by revamping a yardstick into a kids' clip-art rail. Simply add colorful extra-large clothespins to a yardstick and attach. Each pin will be easy for little hands to clip up their favorite drawings, photos and awards. Photo courtesy of Ana White

Junk Drawer in Order

Housing small items — like paper clips, rubber bands and thumbtacks — in the kitchen can be a nuisance. That's where recycled tuna cans come in handy. Nestled side by side, these short containers serve as the perfect separators for small accessories and junk drawer knickknacks. With this method, it will be virtually impossible for your drawer to slip back into its state of disarray. Photo courtesy of Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil

Recycled Utensil Storage Containers

If you hate tossing tin cans, this project is a great way to make use of your recyclables and create kitchen storage in the process. Here's how: Use a drill bit to create a hole just below the rim on the back of each can. Coat each can with spray paint. Then, embellish with washi tape, stickers or tags. Hang each tin can from an S-hook onto a towel bar. Fill with utensils, herbs or kitchen tools. Find more ways to upcycle tin cans here.

Photo By: Layla Palmer

Pot Rack for Planters

When your pot rack just doesn't seem to suit the kitchen anymore, take it outdoors. Blogger Erin Lepperd revamped a hanging pot rack in her outdoor space by arranging potted plants, succulents and tea lights inside Mason jars. Suspended over her dining table, the new "chandelier" is whimsical, organic and perfect for alfresco entertaining.

Clean Out Your Kitchen

Before you know it, you have three muffin pans, two loaf pans and more molds than you can count. Recycle them in your own home by using the handy compartments as organizers for tiny craft and scrapbooking supplies that desperately need a home. Designers Amie and Jolie Sikes, known as the Junk Gypsies, gave this French cookie tin a brand-new life outside the kitchen by using the sections to hold buttons, beads, shells and other easy-to-lose craft accessories. The tin is even attractive enough to keep out in the open.

Wine Crate Jewelry Display

Don't trash those empty crates of vino: Give them a brand-new purpose by turning them into jewelry display boxes that will showcase your stunning collection and keep it organized, too. Get the full instructions>>

A Simple Solution

When it came to corralling art supplies, HGTV Green Home 2012 designer Linda Woodrum turned to classic French canning jars. They keep the paintbrushes and markers organized, while pulling in a welcoming farmhouse style to the open and airy craft room.

License Plate Room Divider

License plates can be used for a variety of things, some decorative and others both decorative and functional. In this outdoor living space, designer Brian Patrick Flynn used several vintage license plates, small metal chains and S hooks to create a colorful and eclectic room divider.

New Life for Wooden Spools

You may not necessarily have an electrical spool lying around the house, but you can easily find them, and they're oftentimes free at many home improvement stores. Wooden spools are excellent for keeping the garden hose tidy outdoors; they can be cushioned and repurposed into an ottoman, or they can be turned into a flea-style craft storage table like this.


When you're in a small-space situation, dual-purpose items are a must. Instead of using vases around the apartment, homeowners Briana and Buzz pulled in serving pitchers to hold floral arrangements. This saves on kitchen space and keeps blooms displayed in a fresh way. Photo courtesy of Brian Patrick Flynn

First-Place Storage

Just like canning jars, Mason jars and galvanized buckets, a vintage trophy can also serve as a pretty container for anything from home office supplies to small flower arrangements. Designer Genevieve Gorder set up a romantic vignette with vintage and antique furnishings, using the trophy as the focal point with old metal scissors and a fold-up ruler.

Pull Out Your Drawers

Take the drawers out of a miniature dresser and mount them on the wall to create a unique shelving solution for any room in the house. They're especially useful in the bathroom, though, where storage space is at a minimum. Designer sisters Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil suggest adding a favorite picture in each drawer for embellishment and even attaching looped pieces of wire to hang jewelry. They're thrifty and space-saving! Photo courtesy of Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil

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