Everyone uses their kitchen differently. Kitchens store everything from food and cooking equipment to pots, pans, small appliances, and more. For effective kitchen storage have a place for everything and have everything in its place, regardless of the size of your space. Good storage is all about pulling things out easily when needed.
How to plan your storage space?
A lot of thought and planning goes into designing an efficient kitchen storage space.
You need to answer many important questions.
What needs to be stored? Guesswork is just not enough here. You need to figure out exactly what would be stored where, to make sure that nothing would be forgotten, and that cooking and moving around would be as intuitive as possible. So you need to pull out that list we talked about here.
How much storage do you need? If you know what you need to store, you can define how much storage space you need. This will be a major deciding factor in other aspects of planning your kitchen, as well.
What do you prefer: cabinets or drawers? Although cabinets often cost less than drawers, deep and wide drawers can be more useful. They allow you to use the entire depth of space and are handier to use. Deciding whether to use a cabinet or drawer in undercounter kitchen storage is often determined by the available width. If space allows, use a wide and deep drawer. But in smaller spaces, a cabinet can work better.
If you have a small kitchen, or just have too many things to store, maximize your kitchen’s storage potential with floor-to-ceiling cabinets. The advantage of devoting one wall entirely to full-height storage is that it makes a kitchen feel more open because there are fewer visual interruptions to catch the eye and there will be less countertop clutter.
If you feel like your space is not big enough for all the things you want to store, don’t worry! There are tons of brilliant ideas about how to maximize kitchen space, just go to Pinterest and start researching.
Where to Store Items
The rule of thumb is this: place items as close as possible to where you use them. Make the things you use most easy to reach.
Deciding on what a cabinet will hold in place depends on its location and its size. Group items by task and find the nearest place to store it. Items used less frequently can be placed farther from the main work triangle of stove, refrigerator, and sink.
Store around the work-triangle
The main areas are the preparation area, cooking area, and storage area.
The main piece of the preparation area is the sink and dishwasher. Many items are common sense to store nearby, some are just recommended.
You’ll definitely want to have a drying rack or mat at your sink. You also need a kitchen towel holder there.
You’ll also have your trash bins in this area and your paper towel holder.
You want to store your cleaning supplies (sponges, brushes, dishwasher tablets, detergents, trash bags, etc.) under your sink.
Those preparation tools you use at the sink, such as colanders, strainers, funnels, etc. should have space nearby.
You want your bowls and plates, glasses and cups, mugs, silverware, prepping and baking utensils (peeler, whisk, grater, ice cream scoop, can opener, measuring cups and spoons, etc.) mixing bowls, cutting boards, and knives be stored near the dishwasher for easy cleanup.
In the cooking area, near the range or close to the cooktop you want to have your cooking utensils (spatulas, spoons, and whisks), spoon rest and oven mitts. Spices, oils, vinegar, and commonly used condiments must be within reach too.
You’ll have your pots and pans, lids, skillets and saucepans, dutch ovens and trivets in this area too.
All other items may go to the storage area of your kitchen. Group them by task and decide their place by groups: eg. keep all your baking supplies in one spot. Food storage containers also go together. Wraps and foils, sandwich bags, clips, parchment papers make another group. So do small appliances, then serving platters, bowls, dishes, cake stands, and all that sort. Carve out some space for cookbooks, too. Linens (tablecloths, placemats, and napkins) live together, as do coffee and tea supplies, as well. – You get the idea.
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How to Store Items
The options are endless. Only your imagination and creativity, and your budget – of course – can be the limit. There are some essential tips and ideas to mention here, though.
First, use handy cabinet organizers and inserts to make the purpose of each drawer and cabinet clear. Cabinet accessories can be implemented upon installation, or after, designed to be adjustable and fit existing kitchen cabinets of various sizes. Check out all the amazing organizers on the market.
With no claim of being exhaustive, here is a list of possible organizing accessories:
- wall rail system – for utensils and possibly spices,
- silverware organizer,
- pot rack,
- spice drawer insert,
- roll-out shelves: they’re a great option for base cabinets.
- swiveling system: works well in upper cabinets. It offers accessibility, flexibility, and organization by bringing items closer.
- pull-down system: allows you to access those sometimes hard-to-reach upper cabinets.
- lazy Susan: great solution for a corner cabinet. If it is a pullout lazy Susan, that’s even better.
- pegboard inserts in drawers: the boards can be sized to fit existing drawers and the pegs can be adjusted to secure stacks of bowls and plates.
- sliding insert: makes the most of a deep drawer by dividing the space.
- sliding shelf: keeps a drawer organized. This vertical sorting style allows you to see everything at once. No more digging for what you need!
How to organize kitchen storage?
Store frequently used cooking spices and oils in an upper cabinet near the cooktop or keep them neatly contained in a drawer. Arranging the containers in alphabetical order makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.
Make food prep easy by storing items off the counter but within reach. A thin strip of stainless steel may help organize spices, utensils, and other cooking essentials.
Knives can be stored in many different ways. However, when deciding about knife storage, you have to consider children’s safety first. Wall-mounted magnetic knife bar is a great way to keep knives in a handy, easy-access location, yet out of reach of small children, and it also frees up a drawer or counter space. Knife-blocks are also space-saving and safer options than drawers. You can even insert it into the countertop.
Place pots and pans in a cabinet with roll-out shelves right next to the range or in a large, deep drawer. If you have a cooktop, underneath is ideal. Roll-outs are more practical because you can see what you need, as opposed to drawers where you have to pull out the pots on top to get to the one on the bottom. If you have a smaller kitchen, and can’t dedicate enough space for pots and pans in the cabinet, a pot rack is a perfect answer. It can be a ceiling pot rack or a wall-mounted bar style or shelf style one.
The most annoying and difficult things to keep organized are the lids. A dedicated lid drawer can be useful with an organizing insert.
Store dishes in lower drawers to minimize overhead lifting and to make putting them away easy.
Food storage containers are also more practical in drawers so they don’t topple on your head when opening a wall cabinet.
Light non-essential appliances or vessels (salad spinners, cake boxes) may live in top cabinets but in drawers, too. Cookie sheets, baking pans, casserole dishes, cooling racks, and cutting boards are more easily accessed when stored on their sides rather than stacked. A narrow cabinet is a convenient spot for them.
Use open shelves to display dishes or collectibles.
A section of framed pegboard is a great alternative to open shelving. You can arrange it any way you like, then change your mind when you purchase a new kitchen tool or desire a new look. You can use it for pots and pans, colanders, cooking and serving utensils and many more items.
A built-in hutch is perfect to store extra dishes, serving platters, and linens. Shallow drawers keep tablecloths, placemats, and napkins organized.
Everyday appliances (coffee maker, toaster, blender, etc.) may live in an appliance garage. A roll-down or a handy slide-back door keeps the appliances accessible without making clutter on the counter. A lift-up shelf provides a well-suited and secure spot for the mixer and can easily fold into the cabinet after use. The appliances you use less than once a week may go in a drawer or closet.
Under the sink, use clear containers to hold cleaning supplies. Add a tension rod to hang bottles and sprays. Locate pullout receptacle bins behind a cabinet face between the range and sink to make food prep and cleanup convenient.
Well, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The point is once again, that PLAN your storage, either you’re building a new kitchen or reorganizing the old one. Make a list and find a place for everything on that list.
If these ideas helped or inspired you, please share it with a friend who might also find it helpful. Thank you!