I Use a Pencil Holder as a Kitchen Organizer

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When my husband and I purchased our Chicago condo, we were thrilled to be out of our respective galley kitchens and into an open-concept dream. With plentiful cabinetry and even a kitchen island, I imagined our daily cooking routine free of clutter, with everything we needed at arm’s reach and neatly stowed away. But as it turns out, we still don’t have enough storage space even after combing through and paring down our pots, pans, cookware, and utensils. 

We’ve tried dozens of clever small space storage hacks to simplify our lives to varying degrees of success. Winners include our refrigerator lazy Susan, matching amber glass dish detergent dispensers, and the no-installation paper towel and dish towel holder. As helpful as all these storage hacks are, our best solution is one I came up with all on my own (hold for applause!) for our drinkware storage. And I found it, of all places, in the Office Products department on Amazon.  

Thanks to my husband’s coffee habit, our drinkware cabinet is full of mugs. And thanks to my spilling habit, all our drinking glasses require a straw and lid. I’ve tried various storage methods to keep the glass straws and bamboo lids securely snug next to their vessels. An adhesive cup holder kept falling off the cabinet door; similarly, an adhesive pullout drawer simply didn’t stay put. Throughout our trial and error, inspiration was just around the corner (literally!), stuck to the side of the refrigerator.

Since our kitchen drawers are occupied with utensils and spices, we don’t have space for a typical junk drawer. To remedy this, I purchased a magnetic pencil holder to contain a handful of pens, permanent markers, scissors, and washi tape. Then I had a thought … What if I purchased another holder for our straws and lids? I can confidently attest that the magnetic pencil holder is a game-changer for storing straws. Frankly, it’s a versatile organizer that belongs in everyone’s kitchen. 

Straws and lids don’t take up a ton of space, but they’re supplies I prefer to grab and go when needed. The magnetic holder rests conveniently and securely along the side of my fridge, and the magnet’s strength keeps the basket firmly in place. In one compartment we store lids, with our various straws in the second compartment. Since the straws are stored vertically, the different sizes are obvious and I never grab the wrong one. 

In the future, when we ditch our fabulous city home for the inevitable suburban relocation, we can easily repurpose our pencil-holder-turned-straw storage. I’ve started thinking of ways we can expand our refrigerator basket storage to even further organize our lives. 

For households with kiddos, the magnetic holders could corral kid-specific cutlery or hold grab-and-go first aid supplies like bandages and daily vitamins. Savvy shoppers can stash coupons there for easy reach — I know in our kitchen, coupons get stacked and forgotten under a clip where they expire before being used. Those with dry-erase command stations can easily store markers and erasers securely. They’d even work as a handy container for takeout napkins, menus, chopsticks, or other disposable cutlery. 

I love a repurposed storage item, and I know these simple office supplies will continue to serve our kitchen well! 

Buy: Magnetic Pencil Holder, $9.98

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