Plus, why you should keep a lint roller in your kitchen.
Over the years, Real Simple editors have tested out countless kitchen organizers, cleaners, and products that promise miraculous results. Along the way, we've honed in on the ones that really work (hello, clutter-free cabinets!) and have discovered a few surprising tricks along the way. Here are 15 favorites, from tried-and-true tips we've been using for years, to the innovative handheld vacuum we didn't even know our kitchens needed. Whether it's your countertops, cabinets, or kitchen-cleaning routine that could use a refresh, these tips will help get your kitchen ready for summer entertaining.
The Multi-Tasking 'Lil Chizler
Originally intended to scrape ice off windshields, the 'Lil Chizler can do a lot more than that (in fact, there are quite literally 1,001 ways to use it!). First recommended by a former art director at Real Simple, now several editors swear by it for everything from removing gunk around the kitchen sink, to scraping cooked-on food off pans.
To buy: $4; amazon.com.
Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
One of our standout cleaning discoveries of 2017, the microfiber cloth contains tiny fibers so tightly woven that they actually clean on the microscopic level and can wipe away bacteria from kitchen countertops. Plus, they won't leave lint on your appliances the same way paper towels do. Tip: Fold each cloth in quarters before you start cleaning, so you can simply turn to a clean side as you work and wash the cloth less often.
To buy: $5 for 3; amazon.com.
A Quick-Cleaning Lint Roller
Do you keep a lint roller in your closet? Absolutely. But in the kitchen? You should! A lint roller quickly picks up crumbs from countertops or inside the utensil drawer—simply run the sticky roller over the surface for a quick clean.
To buy: $10; amazon.com.
A Powerful Handheld Vacuum for Counters and Crevices
This powerful, cord-free vacuum is just what you need to fight the never-ending battle against crumbs. The best part: the convenient crevice attachment that gets around the baseboards and into every nook and cranny in your kitchen cabinets.
To buy: $199; amazon.com.
An Expandable Shelf Riser
To prevent stacking dishes so high that they risk toppling over, add a metal riser between shelves. It maximizes vertical space, so every single inch of your kitchen cabinet is put to use.
To buy: $17; amazon.com.
Coffee Filters as Plate Protectors
When you're stacking your nice plates (you know, the ones you pull out when you really want to impress), place a coffee filter between each dish. It will help prevent scratches.
To buy: $5; amazon.com.
A Genius Lid Organizer
To stop the avalanche that happens every time you open the cabinet where you stash plastic food containers, invest in a handy lid organizer. Finding the matching lid just got so much easier.
To buy: $13; amazon.com.
Hard-Working Command Hooks
To make the inside of your kitchen cabinets work harder, install removable Command hooks to the inside of the door so they can stash dish towels, spatulas, or other tools nearby.
To buy: $7; amazon.com.
Space-Saving Spice Rack
No cabinet space to spare? Order a magnetic spice rack that attaches right to the side of your refrigerator.
To buy: $28; amazon.com.
Cake Stand, Turned Countertop Organizer
If the area around your sink is a mess of sponges, brushes, and dish soap that leaves your entire counter soaked, invest in a small cake stand that will elevate and contain all of your dishwashing supplies. This way, the sudsy mess stays off your countertop.
To buy: $35; amazon.com.
Magnetic Dish Towel Hooks
If you typically keep your stash of dish towels right on your counter, order a set of magnetic hooks to hold them on the side of your fridge. You'll save valuable counter space, and make use of an underutilized spot in your kitchen.
To buy: $17 for 4; amazon.com.
A Low-Maintenance Herb Garden
Think you don't have space for a garden? Think again. This tiny garden sits right on your kitchen counter and is less than a foot long. Insert the plant capsules, and the self-watering system and grow light take care of the rest.
To buy: $100; amazon.com.
Clear Kitchen Canisters
If you're storing your food in the bulky plastic and cardboard packaging it comes in, you're likely wasting space in your pantry and cabinets. Instead, decant everything from sugar and flour, to tea bags and chocolate-covered nuts, into glass canisters. These stackable ones don't waste an inch of space—and the airtight closure keeps food fresh for longer.
To buy: $25 for 3; amazon.com.
Paint Pens to Label Everything
Paint pens probably aren't on the top of your list of organizing essentials—but they should be! Once dry goods, snack packs, and tea bags are decanted into glass canisters, use the pens to label them. This 5-pen pack is ideal if you want to organize your pantry by color.
To buy: $14; amazon.com.
A Hard-Working Lazy Susan
To keep your countertop as clear as possible for food prep, but still stash the basics within reach, use a lazy Susan to store the essentials: salt and pepper, olive oil, and Sriracha—whatever you reach for on the regular. When your stash spills over the edge of the turntable, you know it's time to curate the growing collection. Tip: Choose a turntable with a lip that can help contain any spills that happen.
To buy: $45; amazon.com.