Homeowners almost universally long for more storage space. It doesn’t seem to matter whether home is a condo, a retirement villa, or a large suburban ranch. Sometimes, it just seems that “stuff” expands on its own. It’s not a problem easily solved by a “junk drawer” or even by serious spring cleaning.
However, collecting “stuff” is part of what makes us human, and finding better ways to store the things we use and treasure may not be as difficult as one would think. The first step, of course, is to simplify, sort, pare down and eliminate duplications. Still, there are also some practical ways to create additional space to store those things you want to keep, particularly in the kitchen. The key is to tailor your storage to your individual needs.
Consolidate Your Belongings: Get Rid of What You Don’t Use
Collections are part of every family’s unique history. No one would suggest that you get rid of anything that has meaning in your life.
But never feel guilty about eliminating or replacing broken or damaged pieces, whether they’re “Grandma’s china,” your wedding crystal, or seldom-used small appliances. Hold a yard sale; in addition to the old toys and furniture, sell seldom-used dishes, glasses, and flatware, cooking pots, and serving pieces; take them to a thrift store or consignment shop, or donate them to a shelter. Someone will make good use of your castoffs.
Once you achieve that first goal, it’s easier to complete a “deep clean” of your kitchen cabinets and pantry, assess your priorities and reorganize your storage space.
Small Storage Solutions Make a Big Difference
If you’ve ever studied professional chefs at work during a TV cooking show, take inspiration from their solutions. Then adapt some of their ideas for your kitchen.
They’ll reach for a knife from a wall-hung magnetic rack or grab a wooden spoon from a vintage crock; frequently-used spices are often on display, and cutting boards and mixing bowls are stacked or nested in plain sight.
If you can’t manage a professional chopping block, get a cutting board that fits over your kitchen sink to save space and facilitate clean-up. Install a sleek utensil rack or spice shelf near your cooktop or range. Not all kitchen storage needs to hide behind closed doors.
Make use of inside surfaces on cabinet doors as well. Hang pot lids and kitchen towels from simple screw-in hooks; add wire racks to hold boxes of foil and plastic wrap, sandwich bags and spray bottles, even cookie sheets and muffin tins.
Corral table-setting necessities, including placemats and napkins, salt and pepper shakers, water glasses, and everyday flatware, on a simple tray or decorative basket right on the countertop. This can be especially helpful if your kitchen table does double duty as a planning desk or homework center, and it’s a real-time-saver at mealtime.
Adopt a section of countertop as a beverage center or snack bar:
1. Install open shelving for coffee cups and glasses, snack plates, napkins, and utensils.
2. Hang stemware and coffee mugs from an attractive wall or overhead racks.
3. Locate a coffee pot and toaster, nearby, and finish off the space with a drawer with custom inserts to hold supplies.
4. Or go one step further and include an appliance garage that will hide your small appliances when not in use.
Depending on your kitchen, this would be an ideal location for an under-counter fridge, ice maker or wine chiller, or a dishwasher drawer. The goal is to personalize your kitchen to reflect the way you live.
Customize Cabinets and Drawers to Maximize Storage
Kitchens have evolved over the decades from the strictly functional, utilitarian workspaces they once were. Today, the kitchen is not only for food storage and preparation, but it’s also frequently open to the main living space, so it must be as attractive as it is functional.
If a kitchen renovation is on the agenda, plan ahead by researching the innovative storage ideas widely available from cabinet manufacturers and by working with your design-build contractor. Rethink traditions, and re-envision your kitchen in a way that makes sense for you and your family.
Here are just a few of the best creative storage solutions:
● Eliminate unneeded doors to showcase china and artistic serving pieces on open shelving.
● Take cabinetry to the ceiling; add lighted glass-door display space at the top, or use that out-of-the-way space for party supplies and holiday storage.
● Take full advantage of an island or peninsula with storage that can be accessed from both sides, or install narrow shelves at each end to hold cookbooks, linens, or decorative pieces.
● Install a pull-out step ladder into a base cabinet to reach upper shelves.
● Locate a pull-out drawer in a base cabinet to serve as a pet feeding station that can disappear from view as needed.
● Install pull-out shelving, even under the sink, to eliminate getting on your knees to locate items in the back of cabinets.
● Use telescoping shelving in tall, narrow cabinets, and install telescoping blind-corner shelving to maximize corner storage areas.
● Take advantage of space between the studs for a recessed spice shelf.
Your remodeling contractor will have a wealth of other ideas for you to consider. The range of options is almost limitless, from baking centers with built-in flour and sugar bins to recycle bins in the pantry to a custom utility closet. Be open to possibilities — kitchens of the future don’t have to look anything like kitchens of the past.
Design a Walk-In Pantry
If your kitchen is currently short on storage, a walk-in pantry may seem like the ultimate luxury. However, even if a luxurious butler’s pantry is a reach too far, it might be possible to carve additional storage from floor space as compact as 3×5 feet. A space-saving bi-fold door will keep it hidden from view, but you’ll gain 15 square feet of floor space for customized shelving for food storage, large cooking pots, party supplies, table linens, and perhaps even cookbooks and a planning desk.
Think about your options, and work with your design-build contractor to make the most of the “found space.”
Discuss Your Ideas with a Professional
In the Lafayette area, Riverside Construction is your trusted resource for advice on all things remodeling. An award-winning design-build firm with a team that excels at listening to client ideas and then translating those dreams into reality, Riverside stands ready to help you redesign your kitchen.
If you’re still gathering information and thinking about possibilities, we understand. Why not add your name to our mailing list? We’ll share design ideas and remodeling tips with you via a monthly e-newsletter. Browse through our portfolio of completed projects to get your creative juices flowing.
When you’re ready to move forward, we invite you to contact us to schedule an initial no-fee conversation.
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