The number one complaint homeowners have about their kitchens isn’t the color of the cabinets or lack of counter top space; it’s having enough storage. It doesn’t matter if the kitchen is small or spacious, there never seems to be adequate, easily accessible storage space for all of the kitchen gear and gadgets.
Fortunately, there’s a relatively easy and affordable way to increase kitchen storage without adding on to or renovating the existing space. Visit the kitchen showroom at your local home-improvement center and there you’ll find dozens of storage racks, shelves and organizers specifically designed for customizing kitchen storage. These hardware items come in a wide variety of sizes and configurations to fit virtually any kitchen cabinet, and most feature easy DIY installation.
Here, we’ll take a detailed look at six cleverly designed products that solve very common, but also very specific kitchen-storage problems. Keep in mind that this is just a small sampling of what’s available: The average home improvement center carries over 200 different kitchen-storage products ranging in price from about $10 to more than $650, though most cost between $40 and $120. Now, let’s get organized!
1. Food Container Organizer
Plastic food-storage containers have become a staple of every home kitchen, and it’s easy to see why: They’re affordable, surprisingly durable and have snap-tight, stay-fresh lids. The containers also come in countless sizes and shapes—and therein lies the problem. With so many plastic tubs, bowls and matching lids, it’s virtually impossible to keep everything neatly stored away in a kitchen cabinet or on a shelf.
The solution: Install this spacious pullout organizer. It’s specifically designed for neatly storing and organizing plastic food-storage containers and consists of a two-tier hardwood box fitted with stainless steel storage racks. Place the lids in the upper tier, and the containers in the bottom section.
To get the most out of your organizer, Alexander Harris of SpareFoot suggests purchasing items that are built to save space. “Collapsible items like a salad spinner, colanders, and mixing bowls are the best options, as well as products that nest neatly together—long as you are diligent at keeping them that way.”
2. Pull-Out Filler Cabinet
Think that a 6-inch-wide cabinet isn’t very practical? Think again. This narrow slide-out storage unit fits into the space beside a base cabinet, which is typically occupied by a blank filler strip. While the storage space is narrow, it’s perfect for storing small bottles and cans of spices, dried herbs and condiments.
This tuck-away cabinet features a hardwood frame, three adjustable shelves and full-extension slides. When fitted with a custom front, it blends perfectly into the surrounding cabinetry.
3. Back-of-Door Storage Rack
To maximize the storage in your kitchen, it’s important to utilize every square inch of space, including the backs of cabinet doors. Even though back-of-door storage space is relatively shallow, it’s perfect for storing boxes of foil, waxed paper and plastic wrap; cleaning supplies and detergents; and flat pans and cutting boards.
Now, there are basic wire shelves that clip onto doors, but a wooden storage rack is well worth the extra cost. This one has an attractive maple hardwood frame that consists of a lower shelf for storing tall products and an upper shelf for smaller items. Both shelves are lined with removable plastic bins. The storage rack shown here is 13½ inches wide, but 10½-inch and 16½-inch-wide models are also available. Mounting hardware is included.
4. Pots and Pans Storage
Keep your pots and pans—and all their lids—neatly stored away, yet within easy reach with a two-tier cookware organizer. It features two independently operating chrome-plated steel-rack shelves. Store pots and pans on the bottom shelf and place the lids on the upper shelf. Adjustable dividers on the bottom shelf allow you to customize the storage to accommodate your specific cookware.
Note that the slide-out organizer can be installed in one of two ways: inside the cabinet behind a hinged door, or with the cabinet door mounted to the front of the organizer, as shown above.
5. Fold-Away Mixer Lift
Storing small kitchen appliances has always been a challenge, especially the ones that aren’t used all that often. They usually get buried in the bottom of a cabinet or left on the countertop, taking up valuable workspace. Here’s a better solution: Install a fold-away mixer lift. This articulating shelf is ideal for storing and using stand mixers, blenders, food processors, toasters and other small appliances.
Mount the spring-loaded hardware inside the cabinet, then cut a wooden shelf to fit. The mixer lift requires a minimum base cabinet opening of nine inches and can support an impressive 60 lbs.
Once fully deployed, the shelf comes to rest flush with the countertop. When you’re done, simply push down on the shelf and it’ll swing back into the cabinet.
If you do more chopping than mixing, you may want to swap out a mixing stand for a cutting board. Harris notes, “Installing a pull-out cutting board rather than storing it horizontally or leaned against the wall on the counter saves a lot of space. You can also install a magnetic knife holder to the backsplash for knives you use most often.”
6. Under-Sink Organizer
Sink cabinets are often the largest base cabinets in any kitchen, so they offer the most amount of storage space. Unfortunately, sink cabinets are also the most undervalued and inefficient of all storage cabinets. That’s because they’re typically haphazardly filled with cleaning supplies, detergents, sponges, scrub brushes and all sorts of other stuff that can’t be stored elsewhere in the kitchen.
Help end the clutter and restore order with this under-sink organizer. Sturdily built out of steel, the organizer mounts to the cabinet floor and glides out on full-extension slides. It features a large bottom shelf and smaller upper shelf. Both shelves are lined with leak-proof plastic bins.
Store large or tall items on the bottom shelf, and use the upper shelf for paper towels, sponges and cleaning brushes. But the really cool thing about this organizer is that it converts into a portable caddy. Simply disengage the organizer from the slides and lift it up by the top handle. Now you can conveniently carry cleaning supplies to any room in the house and return them neatly to the sink cabinet when you’re done.
Do-it-yourself expert Joe Truini has taught many homeowners the finer points of DIY kitchen design and organization. Joe’s work has appeared in several national magazines, including This Old House, Popular Mechanics, Woman’s Day and Today’s Homeowner. Joe writes his tips for the Home Depot, where you can find a number of storage solutions for your home.