Smart Ways to Organize Foil, Plastic Wrap, and Parchment Paper for a More Efficient Kitchen
From setting up a mise en place to stacking mixing bowls together, staying organized plays a key part in efficient meal-making. No one wants to waste precious time looking for an ingredient or implement, especially during a critical step in the recipe—and the same goes for aluminum foil, parchment paper, plastic wrap, and wax paper, products you probably rely on day in and day out.
If you've ever tussled with these kitchen essentials, searching, in vain, for a box or finding the box mangled due to less-than-ideal storage, there's a solution at hand. We reached out to baking experts and a meal-prep whiz to find out their methods for resolving issues of crumpled boxes and disorderly rolls. Here's how to organize foil and plastic wrap according to the pros.
Related: What's the Best Way to Store Flour and Other Baking Staples
5 Ways to Organize Foil and Plastic Wrap
Some cooks like to stow their paper, plastic, and foil goods in a cabinet, while others prefer to keep them in sight, like on a trolley cart. There's no right or wrong way, as long as the solution works with the job at hand.
Dedicate a Drawer
Nicole Presley, recipe developer, Mexican-American baker, author of ¡Viva Desserts!, and co-author of the forthcoming cookbook ¡Buenos Días! has a kitchen cabinet drawer that glides out on a roller and is dedicated strictly to plastic wrap, parchment paper, and aluminum foil. "Other people might find this a waste of space. I find it so useful and convenient for my kitchen style," she says. She uses parchment paper for cakes, aluminum foil for flan, and plastic wrap for empanada dough, arranging the items in the drawer by preference, or how often they're used.
Sarah Kieffer, author of 100 Morning Treats and 100 Cookies and the The Vanilla Bean Blog, takes a similar tactic, keeping the rolls tucked away in a drawer and pulling them out as needed. If you want to take your in-drawer storage to the next level, use a bamboo organizer, which will also hold sandwich, quart, and large zipper bags.
Use a Wall-Mounted Organizer
Tiny space? Look to your walls. "For a smaller kitchen or to hide foil, plastic wrap, wax, or parchment paper, use a wall-mount organizational system with a slicer," says Catherine McCord, the author of several cookbooks, including Meal Prep Magic (which emphasizes kitchen organization and prep-ahead recipes) and the founder of the family-oriented recipe site Weelicious.
Use a Vertical Organizer
Storing the rolls in a kitchen cabinet can be tricky (and messy), so the best way to control the sprawl and keep them organized is often with a vertical organizer, such as one made of bamboo or vinyl-coated wire. Stacked in the organizer on a shelf, the rolls and boxes are contained.
Opt for an Under-Shelf Organizer
These are generally smaller than vertical organizers, but take up less space in your cabinet; they can be a good solution if you only have a couple of rolls—say plastic wrap and foil—in your kitchen.
Repurpose a Magazine Rack in Your Pantry
Storage options for kitchen cabinets also translate to the pantry, but McCords favorite pantry storage solution for these long and skinny boxes and rolls in your pantry is using a magazine rack. "It's a great way to line up containers of foil, plastic wrap, or parchment and place them in a pantry so they don't get squashed and stay out of view," she says.
Another way to avoid a mess of rolls and boxes is to purchase different types of products.
Precut Parchment Sheets
As a baker who conjures up everything from coffee cakes and scones to snickerdoodles and brownies, Kieffer relies on one product in particular. Rather than using rolls, "I buy my parchment paper in bulk (1,000 full-sized sheets)," she says. These sheets are large (you can also buy smaller ones) and Kieffer cuts them to the size she needs. "I have a shelf near my baking station where I keep the cut pieces, so they are easy to grab as needed," she says.
Industrial Size Plastic Wrap
Presley also has a specific basic: "I like to buy the industrial plastic wrap boxes that come equipped with the roller inside for easy pulling, because we all know the plastic wrap can easily get stuck to itself and crumble," she says.
Don't Forget About Paper Towels
You probably wouldn't stash your roll of paper towels in a drawer with your plastic wrap—and it wouldn't fit in an organizer. The best way to keep paper towel accessible and organized is a classic stand that you can move where needed, or in an under-cabinet holder, says McCord.
Organization and Workflow
Also consider how you work in the kitchen. A cook's working method can inform or dictate their organizational approach. A disorderly space can throw you off track. "When you cut down on clutter in the kitchen, it automatically makes you a more efficient cook," says McCord.
Kieffer considers herself an orderly unorganized person; as such, she re-organizes her cabinets and shelves frequently. Her workstation, however, is something of a sanctuary. "If there are a lot of things out on the counters, I tend to feel overwhelmed as I work, so taking things out as I need them is helpful with how my brain works," she says.
Presley's organizational style is inextricably linked to the pleasure gained from the task itself. "Part of the magic of baking for me is having all my tools ready, kitchen clean, and ingredients measured out. More than being organized, I consider myself a baker who savors every minute of the process. It's soothing, so I take my time to enjoy it all," she says.
Check Your Inventory
Another aspect of maintaining working order: Take stock of the items you use repeatedly. After all, while disentangling foil or plastic wrap is a time waster, coming up empty-handed is even more frustrating. "Keeping tabs on when these items are about to run out is always helpful," says Kieffer. "Running out of parchment paper during baking a recipe is the worst."