Behind Closed Doors

posted by Andrea | 07/24/2013

kitchen cabinets

Question: What’s behind your kitchen cabinet doors? And no, I don’t mean the actual stuff on the shelves. I’m literally referring to the back side of your cabinet doors.

If you answered “nothing”, my goal is to change that by the end of this post!

The inside of your cabinet doors is prime real estate for all sorts of goodies — and who can really afford to waste space in the kitchen?

That’s what I thought :)

The inside of several of our kitchen cabinets are lined with papers, sticky notes, grocery lists, to-do’s, contact information, take-out menus, etc. etc. all easily accessible at any given moment, but all completely out of site, off the counters, and out of the way.

It’s glorious!

Baking Cheat Sheet:

The inside of our upper corner cabinet has a mess of papers taped up inside — all of which help me when I can’t remember something while I’m baking.

Some note the different conversion rates (Celsius – Fahrenheit, cups-ounces, etc. etc.) Some remind me of proper cooking temperatures for different meats, candies, etc. Some list common substitutions and a whole bunch of other information I use on a regular basis but haven’t taken the time to fully memorize yet.

baking cheat sheet

Grocery Central:

I use the inside of our large pantry cabinet to hold 2 little dry-erase “tablets” — one for our grocery list and another for our weekly menu plan. We got these little tablets in a packet of junk mail trying to get Dave and I to sign up for something (I don’t remember what). I almost threw the whole thing away, but then saved these little sleeves for our grocery list and menu plan.

Any time I think of something we need to buy or start running low on an ingredient while I’m cooking, I jot it down on our grocery list. This makes it super easy to quickly make my finalized grocery list each Sunday afternoon.

I also have one other plain pad of paper for other things I might need to buy that I can’t get from the grocery store. This way, if I’m heading out to run errands, I simply grab the paper with my list of things to buy and if I see any of them at good prices, I know to buy them.

grocery lists

Contact information:

Inside another cabinet, we have a whole bunch of contact information for people, businesses, restaurants, and more.

Dave and I aren’t necessarily the best at remembering names of people we’ve met — it’s awful and we both wish we were better at remembering, but we’re not. So to compensate for this, we drew up a mini map of our neighborhood and marked out the names of all our neighbors and where they live. This way, if (when) we forget, we can just open our cabinet door and look it up again — because seriously, after 2.5 years, we really can’t keep asking for name refreshers :)

We also keep business cards of people we might need to call (the guy who helped us with our roof, the guy who changes the oil in our car, etc. etc) We don’t necessarily need to program these numbers into our phone (because we often can’t remember their name to search for them anyway!) but we still want their numbers handy for the 1 or 2 times a year we might need to quickly get a hold of them.

Important information:

This isn’t something we’ve implemented yet, but once our kids start getting older and/or once we have more babysitters, we’ll probably create an “important information” zone on the back of a cabinet door with emergency phone numbers and other information.

information

Laundry Cheat Sheet:

On the inside of one of the cabinets in our laundry room, I have a stain chart that details how to remove different types of stains from different types of fabrics. It’s so handy, but so out of the way — and I never have to worry about it getting wet or ruined!

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If you’re not using the inside surfaces of your kitchen (or laundry room) cabinet doors, you’re “wasting” a whole bunch of prime real estate. Depending on the type of cabinets you have, anything that’s somewhat flat and relatively light-weight could work for hanging on the inside of a cabinet door.

I know plenty of people who put white boards, magnetic boards, spice racks, and more all on the inside of their cabinet doors.

And while I realize my “presentation” of information isn’t amazing or Pinterest worthy, it still works fabulously for us and it allows us to have all kinds of information at our fingertips — but NOT on our counters!

Oh, and if you’d like to see how I organize the insides of my cabinets, read this post.

How do you use the inside of your cabinet doors?

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44 comments

  1. Carrie

    07/24/2013

    I do the same thing. I put the school lunch menus and medication dosages charts for tylenol and motrin. It looks so much neater in my kitchen.

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  2. Katy

    07/24/2013

    I utilize the inside of our cabinet doors as well. In fact, one of the things I have posted in my cabinets is your recipe for English Muffin Bread. My kids love it, so I have it posted in my baking cabinet. Makes it super easy to whip up a few loaves! I also post the dosage charts for kids’ over-the-counter meds in the cabinet where I keep those items. Thanks for the great ideas :)

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  3. Becky

    07/24/2013

    I have collapsible measuring cups that are hanging on the inside of a cabinet door. It’s been a huge help saving room in the drawers

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  4. Katie@I stay home for this

    07/24/2013

    I used the inside of my baking cabinet and hung up my measuring cups and spoons. I found the idea on Pinterest and it keeps me from digging though the drawers searching out measuring spoons with floury hands. :-) I love the idea of taping up papers, I should think about what to put in the rest of our cabinets. It would be great to keep my weekly menus and schedules off the fridge.

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  5. Tracy

    07/24/2013

    You know all those pictures people give you of you holding their new baby or school pictures from your friend’s kids, etc., Well, I tape all of those inside my kitchen cabinet doors. Maybe I’m showing my age here since I know people don’t print pictures nearly as often as they used to. It’s fun to reminisce when I see those pictures that would otherwise probably have been thrown away.

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    Andrea Reply:

    That’s an awesome idea tracy! I don’t hang many pictures, but I should tell my mom about this :)

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  6. Vivian

    07/24/2013

    I love this and I do the same.

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  7. Krista

    07/24/2013

    Oh this is funny, I usually agree with your organizing tips, but I think it would bother me to have to see papers every time I open the cabinet door! Do you have a copy of the stain guide? I’ve wanted something like that for my laundry space!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Here’s the link to the stain guide.

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    Krista Reply:

    Thanks so much! Any tips for getting drool or spit up out of clothes. Those are the worst stains!

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  8. Toni

    07/24/2013

    I have cork tiles in mine that I use push pins to hold things that I like to keep handy. I have an area that keep all of my baking supplies in and I put the recipe I’m using on a tile at eye level as I work. It keeps me from getting it messy, usually. ;)

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    Andrea Reply:

    That’s a good idea too — then you can mix and match stuff without all the sticky tape :)

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  9. Julie

    07/24/2013

    Hi Andrea,
    I love your site and have been a reader for quite some time now! I was wondering if you’ve received much feedback from readers on your recent addition of pop up advertisements. I often access the mobile version of your site and find the pop up ads highly distracting, time consuming to load and/or close, and somewhat distasteful. It has become increasingly difficult for me to access your content or navigate between pages with the new pop up ads. Just my two cents, I understand the need for advertising but would appreciate a different format!
    Julie

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Julie, You are the 4th person to email me about this in the last 24 hours so I looked into it this morning. I should have NO pop-up ads on my site ever, but I did just see that one of my ad settings was changed (not to my knowledge) to allows pop-ups on phones and tablets. I just changed that so hopefully I fixed the issues.

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    Shelly Reply:

    Thanks! I thought the same thing as the previous poster but had not gotten around to saying so. I understand the reason for advertising but that was yucky, especially since I often access your site many times a day to look at something. Your site has been my preferred reading while feeding my baby the first three months. :)

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yeah, there shouldn’t be any pop-up or video ads of any sort on my blog — so that’s frustrating for me too (and I rarely look at my blog on my phone or ipad so I wouldn’t have caught this). I think the issues have been fixed now — hopefully! Happy feeding :)

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  10. Chris

    07/24/2013

    I have a few things in my cupboards but you have given me more ideas. I also have inspirational sayings.

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  11. Barb

    07/24/2013

    Inside my kitchen cabinet doors, I hung the plastic cover sheets found in office supply stores. I attached them with little gobs of mounting putty (that you would use to put posters on wall). I slipped a white piece of copy paper into each one, after printing a ‘frame’ around the sheet on my computer. Then I can scotch tape notes, articles, etc. onto the plastic cover sheet and not have the scotch tape get stuck onto the actual wood of the door.
    Also, when I get greeting cards that have an especially beautiful or funny picture on the front, I hang them inside my cabinet doors, so I can enjoy them for many months each time I open the door, but not have to keep them displayed out on a table or shelf.

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    Barb Reply:

    to clarify: I printed the ‘frame’ around the white copy paper, not the plastic cover sheet. :)

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  12. Amy

    07/24/2013

    Great tips as usual:) This is TOTALLY off topic…but for the holidays I would love to see a post with what you do with Christmas cards you get in the mail. My husband loves to display them on the mantle. It drives me CRAZY! They just look so messy to me. I’d like to keep them out for his sake, but I’d like to find a neat way that doesn’t look so cluttered. Just a thought…I figure you have an organized answer :)

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    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Amy, you can see how we display our christmas cards in this post (you’ll need to scroll down a ways). Not sure if it’s totally de-cluttered, but we love looking at all the pictures and cards for a month, and then we recycle them :)

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    Amy Reply:

    That’s super cute Andrea:) Thank you!

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    Jennifer Reply:

    I saw a great idea to purchase and restore, or buy new, a window shutter. You can lean it on a wall on top of a table and hang cards on the shutters. You can decorate it Christmasy to bring out for holidays or make it a year-round decor item in your home and just use it for this purpose at Christmas. You could use a taller one standing on the floor if you need more card space.

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    Amy Reply:

    Love that idea :) Thanks!

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  13. Amy

    07/24/2013

    Oh, and thanks for fixing the popup thing:) It was driving me crazy not being able to read your blog from my iPhone.

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  14. Melissa

    07/24/2013

    I don’t have anything behind any of our cupboard doors. I keep business cards in a plastic business card organizer sheet in a binder that sits on a bookshelf. I keep recipes away in a box on the same bookshelf. I would think that these things on the back of the door might fall down and be annoying when trying to get at stuff in the cabinets. Don’t they?

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  15. Five4FiveMeals

    07/24/2013

    I keep an inventory on the inside of our pantry door so I know what’s in there and what to buy and what to stock up on when it’s on sale.

    It makes meal planning a breeze!

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  16. Kim

    07/24/2013

    We have a neighborhood map too! Made it when we moved into our new place and it has been a life saver! The other day we ran into a neighbor we’ve only met once, and she was floored that we not only remembered her name but her husband and son’s names as well :0)

    I keep frequently used recipes on the inside of my cabinets. I make pancakes, muffins, breads etc. more often when I don’t have to haul out the cook book. Also, our counter space is tight so I don’t have to fight for space with the cook book.

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  17. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    07/24/2013

    Great ideas. I don’t have anything on the inside of my cabinet doors but I’ve actually meant to put some of those types of things there. However, I’m not sure my husband will go for it. He’s kind of weird about clutter and I have a feeling he would call it clutter. However, I think it makes perfect sense! That’s unused real estate.

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  18. Kalyn Brooke | Creative Savings

    07/24/2013

    I have a spice inventory on the back of the cabinet door that holds all my spices. I was getting tired of looking for what I needed, only to realize that I didn’t always have that particular ingredient. The inventory sheet is so helpful in knowing exactly what I have, and what I have to buy!

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  19. Carolyn S

    07/24/2013

    My husband put a piece of wood with cup hooks on it and my measuring spoons hang inside one and the measuring cups hang in another. I never have to look for them.

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  20. JoDi

    07/24/2013

    The door to my spice cabinet has a clear organizer with pockets in it. The pockets are just the right size for gravy or sauce packets, and I put spare packets of duck sauce, soy sauce, etc leftover from takeout orders. Everything stays neat and easy to find.

    I bought it years ago from some catalog company and it’s going with us if we ever move. I don’t know if I could find another just like it again!

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  21. DT

    07/24/2013

    Sorry to say, but for all of your helpful organizational skills this is kind of a mess. And it could damage those new doors. I live in a house where the cabinets are 20 years old and over the years it is easy to see any overuse a particular door has received. Adhesives, push pins, etc. dissolve over time leaving marks and holes.
    I saw lots of empty cabinets when you gave a tour of your kitchen. Why not assemble those helpful items in a three ring binder, get some see-through 3-holed plastic sheets–they will wipe off easily. Drop the notes in there, tuck it on an empty shelf and grab it when you need it. If you buy a binder with a clear front pocket, the grocery lists could easily pop in there.

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    Andrea Reply:

    I think our definitions of “a mess” would be somewhat different :) I know exactly where everything is inside my cabinet doors and I can find the information I need in seconds — it would take me MUCH longer to pull out a binder, flip through the pages, find the information I need, then put everything away again.

    No one sees my “mess” except me, and since it’s organized in a way that make perfect sense to me and how I use my kitchen, it’s actually quite efficient and saves me loads of time over any other method I’ve tried in the past. As with all the tips and advice I provide (for free) on my website, this method definitely isn’t for everyone — it’s simply what works best for me at this point in my life.

    If there’s one thing I’m positive about, it’s that organization rarely looks the same in real life as it does in magazines or on Pinterest. The inside of my cabinet doors will never make it into a magazine but they sure do work well for helping us to stay organized in our kitchen — and that’s what counts.

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  22. M

    07/24/2013

    Why have I not thought of this yet? I have so many lists every where and they drive me crazy just hanging out in plain view. Brilliant.

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  23. Megan

    07/24/2013

    I have plastic pocket sleeves inside two of my cabinet doors. One holds recipes I tore out and want to try. The other holds a laminated copy of my daily checklist. I’m terrible with routines but they work so well that I’m trying to establish one for morning and one for evening. This is helping me with that. I go over it when I’m making breakfast and dinner to remind myself of everything I want to do to prep for today or tomorrow.

    I moved recently and was proud of myself for figuring out that I could cover the adhesive with wax paper once I peeled it off the old cabinets and re-use it in the new place. Worked perfectly!

    Can’t figure out how to put in a link but this is the one I use: http://www.staples.com/Martha-Stewart-Home-Office-with-Avery-Pockets-9-1-2-inch-x/product_SS1063524

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  24. Jennifer

    07/24/2013

    Love this post. I was just thinking about doing some of these ideas in my pantry. I am always looking for the conversion chart or substitution ingredients that I know I printed out, but can’t ever find. Thanks for the great ideas!

    I too am having trouble with pop up ads when viewing your site from my iphone. I have to watch the ad and wait for it to quit before I can read your post or even scroll down the page. I hope you can figure this out. I know it’s probably very frustrating for you as well. I love reading your blog and have used many of your ideas.

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  25. Ann

    07/24/2013

    I found some small clips at an office supply store, that are very good for holding papers, etc. The clip has sort of a sticky tack on it that holds it to the door, and the clip part holds the paper, recipes, or whatever you want to put on it. The clerk told me these clips are popular with teachers for displaying their students work, because they can stick them up wherever! (I had never seen them until that day)

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  26. Steph

    07/24/2013

    Like you I use the inside of a jelly cabinet for important forms (like school lists that we won’t need until late August) and pin our summer “fun list”. While you probably are not a big fan of fridge magnets what I have discovered is by using an acrylic 8×10 magnetic picture frame I can put up my favorite selection of artwork that my son brings home (he is 11 now and we have done this since kindergarten) and on the back side I keep important numbers for times when we have sitters, I then change it out from time to time-it is a great way to showcase artwork without going overboard and a great conversation starter for the grandparents.

    For business cards I used to keep a sheet of business cards protectors inside the cabinet and simply slip them in but now I just enter them into my smartphone for future use.

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  27. shelly

    07/25/2013

    The most important thing I have up inside one of my cabinet doors is a sheet with instructions and illustrations on how to administer infant CPR (which we received when my husband and I took an infant CPR class). When we had our first kiddo, I made copies for both of the grandparents as well to put up on the inside of one of their kitchen cabinet doors. So anytime I have a babysitter, I can open the cabinet door and show her it’s right there :) (I also have a sheet for adult CPR….you can never be too careful!)

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  28. shelly

    07/25/2013

    Another great idea I’ve seen is to use a 3M command hook (won’t leave behind any damage :) on the back of a cabinet door to hang up bibs. I’ll definitely be doing this!!

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  29. Cathy

    07/25/2013

    I also do this especially in the laundry room because I hate tags!!!! You know those annoying black ones that they put on white shirts?!?!?!? ugh. so I take them out and tape them to the inside of my laundry cupboard with 1/2 masking tape so I can write on them what article of clothing it belongs to, and I will know the washing and drying instructions. My kitchen cabinets are the same as yours lol Love this!!!

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  30. Jennifer

    07/26/2013

    Some great ideas here! I have a wipe board in my cabinet closest to the frige so I can write down leftovers that go in the frige. It has really helped me remember what’s in there and needs to get eaten or used in a new dish. I jot down ideas for uses for the leftovers, too. Ex. I recently made a huge batch of wild rice for a dinner side. I put away 1c and wrote it down with take note to make rice cakes soon. I hope this came out without too many errors. There is a pop up in the middle of the screen I can’t see around.

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  31. Kim

    08/05/2013

    I have a dry erase board for shopping lists as well. I snap a photo of it on my smartphone and use the picture as my list in the store.

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