What is a lazy susan? Plus 4 ways to use one

I’ll admit I didn’t always like lazy Susan. Before getting into the professional organizing industry, I neglected to use them in my home because I had a preconceived notion that they were a waste of space. However, once I started trying them out at clients’ homes, I had a fairly quick change of heart.


When used properly, a lazy susan can be a change agent in home organization and maintenance. Suddenly getting to something on a deep or high shelf becomes easy. Plus, Lazy Susan allows you to quickly scan to find what you need or know when it’s time to renew an item. The key is to use the correct size turntable for the area, as well as making sure that you are storing the correct items.


Below, learn where and how to use a lazy susan throughout your home to make life easier and keep your space tidy.


Andreas Trautmannsdorff


A Brief History of Lazy Susan

There are some theories as to how the lazy Susan got its name, so it’s hard to know its exact history. What is known is that the round staircase, which rotates via ball bearings, was originally called a lower cistern starting in the 1700s because it essentially eliminated the need to have staff in the dining room.


As far as the secondary name came from, some believe it was devised by either Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Edison because they both had two daughters named Susan. Jefferson’s daughter was said to complain about being the last to be served at the dinner table. Meanwhile, some believe that Edison invented it to put his phonograph on it. However, these theories remain unsupported.


The modern phrase “lazy susan” appeared in a 1917 edition of Vanity Fair that advertised a 16-inch turntable for $8.50, though the term wasn’t entered into Webster’s dictionary until 1933. The stocking staple became popular in Chinese restaurants in the 1950s Last century, lazy Susan has become a household name.



Best ways to use lazy susan

Now that you’ve got a history lesson, albeit a mystery one, here are some places to use Lazy Susan, plus what you can stock up on.



1. Kitchen and pantry

Since the original use of lazy susan was for meal times, it makes sense to keep a couple in your kitchen. The storage unit is ideal for round (or round) bottles, which make the most of the space. Consider putting one in the refrigerator for seasoning, or use one in the pantry to store cans of soup or vegetables. In my house, I have two turntables in a cupboard next to my stove for unrefrigerated oils, vinegars, and sauces.


The best place to store a lazy susan is in a corner kitchen cupboard. Placing one on a top shelf prevents items from getting lost in the abyss of a deep or wide cabinet.





2. The bathroom and linen closet

Another space you can cuddle with is a lazy Susan under the bathroom sink and inside a linen closet. Shower spray and toilet cleaner fit snugly into a small one inside a vanity cabinet. In addition, the storage element prevents damage to the cabinet if one of the bottles leaks. Or store hair-care items in a closet with a linen closet within easy reach when rushing out the door.


Lazy Susan also works in the bathroom cabinet to stack extra toilet paper. For clients, I’ve used Lazy Susans for makeup and nail polish organizing, and as a hub where the whole family can find sunscreen, bug spray, or even first aid kits. And if you have a nightstand that lacks storage, consider using a nifty two-tier turntable on the counter for skincare products along with your daily toiletries, such as deodorant or toothpaste.



3. Laundry room

While many laundry products are too big for a lazy Susan, there are a surprising number of quirky little items that could benefit from one of them. Invest in a divided turntable and sort laundry essentials, such as dryer balls or fabric sheets so that they each have a home but are within easy reach. I leave it above my front loading dryer, but if you have a shelf or closet nearby, store your less-used laundry accessories there.



4. The Ministry of the Interior and the Chamber of Crafts

Divided turntable with compartments for pens, pencils, binder clips and more works well with office supplies. However, make sure you have space on your desk, or a shelf nearby, to store it. For kids, Lazy Susan makes it easy to grab markers, paintbrushes, or crayons when they’re on hand at the crafts table.

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