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(Not) Cooking Off the Cuff: Simple Do-It-Yourself Pan-Lid Storage

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If Jackie and I lived in a suburban house - or a vast pre-war New York apartment for that matter - our kitchen would probably be the size of our current living room and would offer seemingly limitless storage space. But we don't; it isn't; and it doesn't: I'm generous in estimating that the kitchen measures 10 feet (3 meters) square, which doesn't hold much of the equipment and gadgetry I've been accumulating since a slice of pizza cost 20 cents here in New York. We stow the overflow all over the apartment, along with cans of sardines, sacks of flour and bags of dried mushrooms.

One of the hardest things to accommodate is pan lids. Because of their loop or knob handles, they can't be stacked, and all the ready-made storage gizmos take up too much room. Years ago I came up with a simple and elegant (the word used by the architect who designed the space) solution that holds lots of lids on the inside of a (wooden) cupboard door, easy to get to but not stealing precious storage space.

All it takes is a package of picture-hanging wire (I used the most typical braided galvanized kind) and some eye-screws. For each tier of storage, drive two eye-screws into the door (the thicker frame part if your doors are constructed that way - if not, be careful not to go through to the other side), one toward the left edge, one toward the right. Affix wire to one (the package will probably illustrate the way you need to twist it), then pull it fairly taut and affix the other end to the second eye-screw as you would if you were hanging a picture. Job done. Slip lids under the wire; their previously pesky handles will keep them from falling through. You can overlap them too, making this more capacious than it looks.

Because they're so slim, you don't need to drill pilot holes for the eye-screws, though poking a placement hole with an awl (or a steel cooking chopstick) will make the job even easier. The only trick is to make sure the wire is placed so that the lids won't get in the way of the door's closing. Depending on how tall the door is, you can install two or three wires and lavishly festoon the surface with lids.

I can't see any reason why you shouldn't use coated electrical wire for this; indeed, it would look better, especially since galvanized picture wire blackens with time, as is probably obvious from the photograph. Maybe some day I'll upgrade, but the old wire is still working fine, and it's out of sight anyway. What a terrible attitude to home improvement!

Simple Do-it-yourself Storage for Pan Lids