You know those lifestyle gurus who wax poetic about how leading a life with minimal material possessions and absolutely no clutter promotes inner peace and serenity? Don’t you just want throw to a $400 thoughtfully curated pepper mill found on Goop.com at them?
For those of us too busy actually living to “consciously uncouple” from every extraneous item in our home, perhaps the answer to finding inner peace isn’t existing without the benefit of the myriad of kitchen equipment needed to actually get dinner on the table every – or most – nights. The saner solution is to simply hide the stuff.
Luckily, there are tons of options for us humble “non-goop-ites” designed with just that in mind.
A go-to solution for professional organizers is maximizing vertical space. Open a cabinet in your kitchen, and you’ll likely notice that there is an empty space between items on a lower shelf and the one above it. Slide in a simple under-shelf basket, such as those offered by Rubbermaid, and you’ve gained a few precious inches.
With a bit of effort and a screwdriver, you can retrofit an existing cabinet with slide-out shelves, nearly doubling its storage capacity. The one above, on the left, is from Lowe’s. Urban Outfitters also offers ingenious, easy storage options such as the over-the-cabinet basket shown on the right.
Hidden in Plain Sight
With getting out the door every morning a constant challenge, who has time to stow the coffee maker and toaster? So there they sit – every day, all day long – a crumby mess in the middle of your kitchen. For these small appliances, an appliance garage can be a game-changer.
An appliance garage is basically a cabinet without a bottom that sits directly on a countertop, allowing appliances to slide out when needed and then be tucked away behind a cabinet door when not in use. A carpenter or handyman may be able to retrofit your kitchen with an appliance garage, such as the one of the left from RealSimple.com. If you’re building or remodeling, one can be custom built, and several semi-custom and stock cabinet makers offer them as well. The one of the right is from BHG.com.
Skinny Storage Solutions
Keeping spices organized can be a challenge. If you enjoy cooking and love trying new recipes, you probably have dozens of different spices, which are most likely crammed into a cabinet near your range, leaving only those few in the front clearly visible. If that’s the case, it’s time to consider a skinny, pull-out spice cabinet.
It is possible to have a narrow cabinet next to your range retrofitted, but getting it right – ensuring that it’s sturdy enough to stand up to constant use – goes beyond the DIY ability of most people. Best to leave this to a pro. With a new kitchen, a pull-out spice cabinet is an easy, space-efficient addition. The one above is from a Cape Cod home, designed and built by Patriot Builders.
In the kitchen below, one of the displays at the Clarke showroom in Norwalk, CT, a skinny, pull-out cabinet has been added to either side of the range. With slightly larger shelves, the cabinets are perfect for storing cooking staples such as gourmet oils and vinegars.
In the same kitchen display, which was designed by Vincent Cappello and incorporates Dutch Made custom cabinetry, a long, lean pantry cabinet is a brilliant use of space.
Have a Seat
When it comes to multi-tasking miracles in the kitchen, banquette seating is where it’s at. Whether built in or freestanding, they’re a space-savvy way of creating an eat-in kitchen. They’re also charming!
We found this one on Pinterest. Its L-shape beautifully fills what could have been a wasted corner and, with added stools, this petite banquette can seat as many as six people. Take a closer look and you’ll notice the three roomy drawers, perfect for storing items that aren’t used often, such as holiday serving pieces. Brilliant!
A Pantry for Storage Perfection
A pantry is perhaps the holy grail of kitchen of storage. A small room with floor-to-ceiling storage on every wall, often in a mix of cabinets and open shelving, all hidden behind a door, is clutter-control nirvana.
If you don’t happen to live in Highclere Castle, the famed abode where Downton Abbey was filmed that had several conveniently located pantries, think about the rooms that surround your kitchen. Is there space in an adjacent home office or guest bedroom where you can borrow a few feet to create a pantry? Build what is essentially a closet, albeit one with cabinetry and shelving, and add a door between it and your kitchen, and you will be in hidden storage heaven!