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10 Ways to Use Shoe Boxes to Organize Your Kitchen {Guest Post}

Katie’s Note: I’m so happy to have Lisa Woodruff from Organize 365 to help you organize with shoe boxes in your kitchen and the rest of your house! Her shoe box organization ideas were a game changer for me! There’s so many options when you organize with shoe boxes. 

Organize with shoe boxes in your kitchen

Shoe Boxes for Organization: Quick and Easy Organizing

You don’t need fancy organizers, new cabinets, or a professional organizer to make a big difference in your kitchen. Often, simple organizers that you already have around your house will do the job just fine.

You can easily organize with shoe boxes from recent purchases or a plastic shoe box that you can get at dollar stores or for two dollars in any hardware store.

10 Ways to Organize With Shoe Boxes in the Kitchen

1. No More Lost Lids Floating Around Your Cupboards 

A plastic shoe box will contain all of the various sized lids that you have for your plastic, glass, or stainless steel containers.

Or remember that other containers might work too that take up just the right amount of space – a circular cottage cheese tub for certain lids, a quart-sized clamshell from strawberries for another, etc. And think free! If it doesn’t have to be see-through, a regular cardboard shoebox will do (that’s how I just reorganized my Lunch Packing Supplies and the 1-pound clamshells from spinach are great too.)    -Katie

RELATED: In this excellent interview with organizer Susan Santoro, we talk all about using containers that already come into your home for free for organization!

2. Free up Space in Your Utensil Drawer

Extra kitchen utensils that you use on a rare basis can be put in a plastic shoe box and stored on the top shelf in one of your cabinets. This will give you more dedicated space in your drawer for more frequently used items. The other items are still within reach, but not in the way.

3. Organize Snacks for Easy Reach

Plastic shoe boxes are a great way to divide the drawer or shelf and corral snack size chips (or individual bags of trail mix ready to go and small containers of homemade snacks, easy to grab).

organized kitchen utensils and snacks

4. Corral On-the-Go Snacks

Have a dedicated box for cereal bars or other on-the-go snacks. You could even grab the whole box if you’re going on vacation or camping. (Try <title=”healthy snacks=”” to=”” go”=”” href=””>Healthy Snacks to Go for lots of ideas to take on the run!).</title=”healthy>

5. Categorize Small Kitchen Supplies

Plastic shoe boxes are a great way to organize decorative sprinkles and toppings, or the supplies you use for natural food coloring…or of course, herbs, essential oils, or supplements, right KSers?” 😉 Any small bottles or containers that fit in the same category.

6. Gather Mail 

Plastic shoe boxes can be used to hold your mail pile until you are ready to sort it so you don’t misplace or lose it. 

7. Create Easy To Grab Toy Kits 

A plastic shoe box of toys like Play-doh is the perfect distraction for a child while you are making dinner. (I’ve got an excellent recipe for playdough here! -Katie)

organizing mail and sprinkles with shoe boxes


8. Store Bulk Purchases in Easy to See Bins

Opening bulk purchases like boxes of instant oatmeal packets and putting them into a shoe box will allow those packages to take up less space. It will also give you a visual reminder of when you need to buy more oatmeal. Mini boxes of raisins or other field trip treats are easy to stow away like this as well.

9. Organize By Category

Plastic cups, water bottles, sippy cups, thermoses, stainless steel water bottles, and baby bottles are easily corralled in a plastic shoe box.

10. Give Each Family Member A Shoe Box 

I like to have a plastic shoe box with each child’s name on it in your kitchen. Then, when the area gets too cluttered, I grab the shoe boxes and divide the clutter that I see among the children that I have. Each child can then be given their shoe box and sent to put their items away.

organize play doh and lids with shoe boxes

A stack of shoe boxes is also great for mom. By laying the shoe boxes out on the kitchen counter, you can divide overwhelming tasks into smaller piles.

For example, if you need to make cookies for the kids’ bake sale, put everything that you bought to make the cookies in one shoe box. In the next shoe box, you might have mail. The following shoe box might have a birthday party gift, the card, and the wrapping that you need to have for your child’s birthday party this weekend that they’ve been invited to. And the last shoe box might be full of mail that you need to take to the post office and copies that you need to make on your next errand day.

By taking the time to break all of these activities into shoe boxes, you can grab one at a time, complete the task, and put the shoe box away.

Organize With Shoe Boxes

I love shoe boxes because they are economical, they stack and they are easy to use!

You can even reuse actual cardboard shoe boxes in lieu of the plastic bins. 

From Katie – My favorite tip was number two by far. See more tips on organizing with reused containers to save the earth and your budget!

Which is your favorite kitchen organization tip?
Professional Organizer Lisa Woodruff Lisa Woodruff shares her organizational tips, her entrepreneurial spirit, and humor to encourage other moms on her blog Organize 365. Organization is all about making your time and your space fit YOUR priorities.
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.
Category: Organization

8 thoughts on “10 Ways to Use Shoe Boxes to Organize Your Kitchen {Guest Post}”

  1. Great tips!! Thank you. I too LOVE number 2, and also number 9. As far as what I do, I organized our pantry (finally!) with those cloth closet cubes (ClosetMaid or other brands) and big manila shipping tags tied to the handle of each and labeled with what is in each. For an example, one cube’s label said “Tomatoes, sauce, beans, broth” and in it I stored canned beans, canned diced tomatoes, jarred pasta sauce, chicken and vegetable broth. In another, I kept all my dried pasta and rice. It really helped make better use of the space in a very shallow pantry with wire shelves that are sometimes tricky to store things on. It also made putting pantry items away very easy. And it looked really nice, too!

    1. PS– I put this in the past tense b/c we just sold our house. I think the pantry was one of the easiest spaces to “stage” since it was pretty much already staged from this process!

    2. I have wire shelves too, and am constantly knocking over smaller things like soy sauce that don’t stand up well on the wires. I like your idea & might have to keep my eyes open for shoe boxes or cloth cubes.

      1. Yes, agreed! I was always knocking stuff over too. And this also makes it easier to find things, since you just pull the box / cube out a little and tip it to find things, rather than having to move things out of the way first (knocking over even more in the process if you are clumsy like me!).

  2. I am an organizer: it’s what I do 🙂 I recently cleaned out and organized my mother-in-love’s kitchen cupboards. I love using boxes to store like items for higher cabinets. For instance, all of her dehydrated foods were in ziplock bags, so I put them all into a single box and on the top shelf. It’s lightweight enough to not hurt her pulling it down or putting away, and she doesn’t have runaway bags cluttering the shelves and getting lost.

    I don’t know what others do who take an assortment of vitamins, supplements, and herbs, but I have a lot of very small baggies, like 2″x 2″. I lay them out on the table, maybe 3-4 weeks worth at a time, then go through my bottles laying them out on top of the bags. Then I fill each bag and they go into a pretty bowl or box, wherever you’ll remember to see them. Right on the table works best for me, so we can see them when we sit down to eat. If you have more than one family member using these, with different contents, just use a Sharpie or nail polish to identify them.

  3. For years I have used freezer zipper bags and plastic coffee containers. I found that if you wash the coffee containers and lids is soapy water nearly hot enough to burn you they wont flavor the foods you store in them. I keep all sorts of dry goods in them from pastas to sugars and flours all labeled with sharpie. The odd thing to find in my pantry is a coffee can with coffee in it. I keep coffee next to the coffee maker

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