Dish up storage.
For everyday dishes, here are several appealing approaches to storage:
• Store them in large, deep drawers. Line the bottom of the drawers with
pegboard, and use moveable pegs to corral plates and bowls in neat stacks.
• Plate racks, on their own or integrated
into a bank of cabinetry, put your dishware on display while
keeping it handy.
• If you intend to use a built-in plate
rack for drying your dishes, make sure it’s installed
where the wet dishes can drip intot he sink either directly
or by means of adrainboard.
• Should you choose to keep dishes in
a cupboard, check out the array of minishelves that allow
you to separately stack plates of different diameters so
that you can easily get access to them one at a time. A word
about glass-fronted cabinets: unless you have immaculately
kept cupboards, artfully filled with beautiful glassware
and dishes, think twice before giving the allclear on this
door-style option. Instead, consider using seeded, ribbed,
frosted or tinted glass panels on the door. You’ll
still reap the benefits from a lighter look, but you won’t
have to suffer the full exposure of your cabinets’ not
too neat or attractive contents.
Drawers. Within a straight expanse of cabinetry,
deep drawers are increasingly offered as an appealing alternative
to cupboards for several reasons. First, they conserve motion:
only one action is required to get access to drawers, versus
two – opening the door and bending to see inside – for
cabinets with doors. Full-extension glides that allow the drawers
to be pulled all the way out, thus bringing the contents to
you, make it easier to see and reach what’s inside. Finally,
deep drawers can generally support more weight than slide-out
Drawers can also be fitted with quite an assortment of accessories. Bakers
will find covered breadbox inserts in clay or metal handy for keeping the
fruits of their labors fresh. Acrylic or stainless-steel bins for flour and
grains keep canisters off the counter and a ready supply on hand.
Baskets. Some cabinet manufacturers offer
woven baskets dropped into a wooden frame that fits into side-mounted
drawer slides. In a kitchen with a rustic or traditional theme,
a stack of two or three of these can provide convenient pull-out
ventilated storage for certain varieties of produce while adding
an interesting note of texture to the room.
Inserts. Standard 5-inch-deep drawers remain
a vital stap le in the kitchen. Scaled for utensils and silverware,
even existing drawer storage can be maximized with segmented
or tiered cutlery inserts. For maximum flexibility, look for
trays with adjustable compartments or use individual bins that
Pullout cabinets. Pullout cabinets combine
the convenience of drawers with the capacity of cupboards.
They can range from a pair of narrow base-cabinet spice units
that conveniently flank the stove to a towering 6-foot-tall
pantry that can house just about anything.
Such full-height cabinets should be organized with larger, heavier articles
at the bottom and frequently used items on the shelves at knee-to-shoulder
height. If possible, opt for adjustable shelving so you have maximum storage
flexibility. Store food staples in groups with separate shelves for baking
ingredients, breakfast items, snacks and dry items, such as rice, grains
Corners. The 90-degree, turn-of-a-corner cabinet
is by nature space squandering, leaving the curved wedge of
room at the rear of the corner almost completely out of reach.
A 45-degree corner base cabinet is more forgiving, but its
primary benefit is really felt at the countertop level, where
the additional surface area can accommodate a cooktop or sink.
The door treatments for corner cabinets differ on a case-by-case basis and
may affect how efficiently you can utilize the cabinet. A pair of doors may
split open down the center. In kitchens with clearance issues, a doublehinged
door can open, fold in on itself andthen swing aside. In some instances,
there may be only one door to a corner cabinet, a particularly uncomfortable
condition that’s known as a “blind corner.”
While this may sound ominous for storage possibilities, the situation is salvageable.
Inserts – those wire, plastic or wood shelves, spinners and sliders
that can convert an empty-box cabinet into a shining example of custom-made
storage – will rescue the most recalcitrant corner.
There are numerous forms of cornercentric inserts. One solution to a blind
corner is to fit it with what’s sometimes called a “magic corner.” This
is a set of shelves that’s joined in the middle; with one end attached
to the corner-cabinet door, the shelves automatically unfold outside the
cabinet when the door is opened. Other examples of angular space saviors
include two- or three-level carousels and lazy Susans. The former, which
is also fastened to the inside of a cabinet door, rotates 270 degrees; the
latter spins a full 360 degrees.
Finally, a spinning, three-bin recycling center may be the best use of a corner
base cabinet. Accessibility isn’t an issue, as each container rotates
to the fore of the cupboard. Trash talking. Because trash and recycling bins
are used several times each day, the location of each is an important consideration.
Here are some tips to make them more convenient:
Plan a cutout in the countertop that allows you to drop vegetable peels and
other non-protein food scraps into an undercounter bin that can be carried
compost pile daily.
Concealed trash bins that tilt out or pull out on a platform installed on drawer
slides not only save floor space and keep pets out of the trash, but conserve
time and motion. You’ll find many configurations, including models
that hide behind a single cabinet door and conceal from one to three bins,
so you can recycle at the same spot where you dispose of trash.
If your kitchen has a pullout chopping board, consider installing a pullout
trash bin in the cupboard below it. Clearing cuttings off the board becomes
a one-step operation.
To prevent countertop storage space from looking too jumbled, consider an appliance
garage. When this cabinetry concept was first introduced, it wasn’t a
particularly pretty sight: a clunky box pushed into the corner of the counter
that usually featured a wooden tambour door, which had a tendency to stick.
But with advances in cabinet hardware come advances in design. Hinged panel
doors that flip up to open, or doors that slide back along the sides of the
cabinet, have opened up more attractive appliance garage possibilities. If
building codes in your area allow, you may be able to put an electrical outlet
inside the garage.
Here’s a novel, more architectural twist on countertop storage. Lately,
there’s been a lot of interest in setting a couple of shallow drawers
right on the counter, topping them with an elongated hanging wall cabinet.
This column-like design not only adds a vertical note to the kitchen, but the
assembly is a deft combination of storage types that’s responsive to
the needs of the user.
A simple way to get more storage mileage out of a standard 4-inch-tall backsplash
is to top it with a 3-inch-wide ledge. This makes a fine perch for small collectibles
or jars of herbs and seasonings and lends a custom finish to an otherwise boring
Rails and rods. Rail or rod systems
are not at all difficult to install (even on tiled surfaces),
but give some thought to the best place to locate them. While having ladles,
tongs and mixing spoons suspended close to the cooktop sounds
a great idea, there’s a potential drawback. They’ll be
directly exposed to steam and grease. If you don’t mind the
additional cleanup, you’ll appreciate the convenience; if you
do, look elsewhere for this kind of storage.
Wall cabinets. Several different paths are
available for installing wall cabinets. The soffits can be
boxed in to be flush with the face of the cabinets or remain
open. The first treatment gives a clean, built-in look to the
cabinetry but eliminates what amounts to a commodious, yet
inaccessible shelf. An open soffit, on the other hand, leaves
the tops of the wall cabinets unenclosed, and so depending
on which way you tend to look at collectibles on display, provides
either a spacious band of high-level display space or a roosting
spot for dirt and grime.
Open shelves. While they are perfect for putting
your collection of majolica platters or antique coffee grinders
on exhibit, open shelves are also suspectible to collecting
dust. Used as an accent element, they give visual relief to
the monolithic look of solid-front cabinets.
Even though they’re just 12 inches deep, wall cupboards have an uncanny
way of swallowing up the item you’re trying to find. Luckily, there’s
now an abundance of storage-supplementing inserts available for wall-hung cabinets.
Bottle and jar organizers. Bottles and jars
revolve into view when placed on a mini lazy Susan. Stair-step
organizers literally boost the visibility of back-of-the-cabinet
contents. For those who need a bit of extra help in reaching
upper shelves, there’s a double-decker insert that pulls
down and out of the cabinet to make life easier.
Storage for spices. The inside of the upper
cabinet doors is a great spot for storing spices. Look in retail
storage supply stores and catalogs for a variety of bins and
baskets designed to attach to the inside of the doors. Before
installing, make sure the unit is positioned clear of the shelves
inside the cabinet, or the door won’t close properly.
Pot racks. Best suspended over an
island or peninsula to avoid banging your head, hanging pot racks
offer practical storage as well as an eye-pleasing focal point. If
you’ve got lots of pots, shop around for a model that has a
center shelf as well as hooks, or divvy up your collection on more
than one rack. Make sure any hanging rack is secured to structural
members in the ceiling, and resist the urge to position it too close
to burners, or your pans will be enveloped by greasy cooking vapors.
* * * * * *
Carefully prioritizing your personal storage needs,
considering your available space and exploring the latest organizational
components will ensure your new or revamped kitchen makes cooking
easier and more enjoyable!