What Is a Lazy Susan? How a Traditional Turntable Can Help You Tidy Up

lazy-susan

What is a Lazy Susan? In its simplest form, it’s a spinning tray that sits atop a table or shelf. Add compartments, and it becomes a brilliant storage solution that makes everything from ketchup bottles to cotton swabs easier to reach. Lazy Susans are available in just about any material: wood, bamboo, glass, or acrylic.

Wondering how well a Lazy Susan would fit into your home? You can spin the concept a multitude of ways in just about every room. Here’s how.

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Lazy Susan for dining and entertaining

Photo by Barnes Vanze Architects, Inc

You may have grown up with a Lazy Susan on the kitchen table. It probably made passing the salt or the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter buttery spread easier for everyone. But tabletop turntables aren’t just for “Brady Bunch”–size families. A Lazy Susan made of dark wood or marble ($99.95, crateandbarrel.com) can be a chic, convenient solution for a formal dining table.

Lazy Susan for pantry organization

Lazy Susans in the pantry
Lazy Susans in the pantryRia Safford/RiOrganize.com

“We use Lazy Susans, also referred to as turntables, all the time,” says personal organizer Ria Safford of RiOrganize. In particular, she likes them for hard-to-reach corners of pantries, “because they allow you to maximize the space, while also making all of your items easily accessible,” she says. Her company uses turntables in the pantry for items such as oils, vinegars, spreads, and sauces.

For pantries, she recommends the bamboo turntable from The Container Store ($10, containerstore.com).

Certified organizer Amy Trager likes how a Lazy Susan can make use of deep corner cabinets.

“It’s just so much easier to reach and see what’s in there” with a turntable. She finds them less helpful in shallow cabinets, though.

“Putting a circle into a square or rectangle leaves corners unused on all sides,” she says. “It also means that items can’t be stacked, to take advantage of whatever height might be available in the space.”

Shortfalls of Lazy Susans


Photo by The Closet Works Inc.
Not everyone’s a fan, however.

“From an organizing point of view, I don’t like Lazy Susans,” says Ben Soreff of House to Home Organizing in the Northeast. “We see a lot of them in corner kitchen cabinets, and they never seem to work.”

It’s not easy for items to go in and out of those spaces. Worse, items such as container lids and spices can fall off the surface and get stuck underneath—Soreff calls these “Lazy Susan killers.”

That said, Soreff does recommend using a Lazy Susan as an appliance garage for juicers, mixers, and other “larger, bulky items that won’t fall over during the spin.”

Lazy Susan goes beyond the kitchen

A turntable makes sense of your personal items.
A turntable makes sense of your personal items.Ria Safford/RiOrganize.com

A Lazy Susan can be used in pretty much any space that needs more storage.

“Our favorite turntable to use all throughout the house is the Linus Divided Turntable ($16.99–$24.99, containerstore.com),” says Safford. “We use this product in pantries, medicine cabinets, and bathrooms. The divided compartments can hold loose items like cough drops and cotton swabs, and the raised exterior keeps them from falling over.”

Lazy Susans with compartments similar to these also work well under for under-the-sink storage.

Under-the-sink storage made more accessible
Under-the-sink storage made more accessibleRia Safford/RiOrganize
Leslie Sells Houseslazy-susan

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