While living in Ogunquit, Maine, for a summer, I occupied one of the smaller residences I’ve ever lived in. Were it not for the second floor where the bedroom was, it would have been smaller than my cabin in Lincoln of 300 square feet! One of the more impressive parts about this place, besides being walking distance to Marginal Way, was the creative and effective use of every nook and cranny for storage. I later learned the builder was a ship builder. He used his experiences on small boats to incorporate storage into shelves, drawers and cabinets throughout the home.
If you’ve been following along for the past few years you know I’m not a fan of clutter or unnecessary “stuff.” That said, we still do need places to keep our stuff, especially in the kitchen. You will want storage for spices, pots and pans, plates, utensils, etc. All of these things need to have their place, and most of them need to be easily accessible. Let’s take a look at a few sneaky spots to store your kitchen stuff all while staying organized and being ready for that next meal or dinner party.
The good folks I house/dog-sit for just had their kitchen redone. The home is not huge, so it was important to make use of all the space available. One of my favorite things they did was incorporate their spices into one of the drawers. This allows for easy access, you can see all of the labels since they’re not stacked in front of one another and it keeps them out of the pantry, cabinets or (worse) the counter. If you head down this route, consider buying or building a “tray” of some sort for the spices to lie. This keeps them in place, organized and easier to read.
A trend we have all seen growing over the past few years is pullout sections of drawers and cabinets. These are brilliant ways to store pots and pans (under the counter), and I’ve even seen them used for hanging wine glasses and other stemmed glassware in above the counter locations.
My favorite place for this is the pantry though. If your pantry is shallow like mine, you have no trouble seeing and accessing everything in there. But for those who have pantries alongside the fridge or in other “deep” pockets around the kitchen, pullouts can be a lifesaver.
One kitchen trend I have never really liked is the pot racks in plain sight. I find it “messy” looking, and it tweaks my little brain a bit since it looks disorganized. That said, hanging pot racks are a brilliant way to save counter/cabinet space. Considering the area above your kitchen bar or island is wasted anyway, put up an attractive pot rack and hang away. These can also be incorporated into walls around the stove or any other seemingly wasted space throughout the kitchen. The only caution here is you kind of need to have decent quality pots and pans and they need to be clean. Rusty pans with flaking non-stick surfaces will likely be an eyesore and (more likely) encourage your guests to suggest ordering pizza!
I don’t know if you are the same way, but every time we eat out at a restaurant our first choice is always to sit in a booth. Many folks have incorporated these into their kitchens especially those who have families and / or small children. It’s a great way to keep everyone corralled at dinnertime and allows for more seating when friends visit with just a little squishing.
These bench seats (or “banquets” as I’m told they are called) are another fantastic place for storage. If you are building your own you can incorporate drawers into the bottom and the sides for a myriad of storage options. Depending on how creative or industrious you want to get, you could even reverse engineer the ones you have in place to add some storage to them. I think we all have those items in the kitchen that we only use (after searching for an hour) when we have company or for other special occasions. Consider those items for these less accessible storage locations. You certainly don’t want to have to dig past four hungry teenagers every time you need a cookie sheet!
“I think a home’s storage is one of those top five factors buyers scrutinize when evaluating a home,” notes Badger Realty agent, Deirdre Lorway. She continued, “Kitchen storage is paramount on that list as well. The buyers need to know there will be a place for all of the tools they use when creating everything from a cup of coffee to Thanksgiving dinner.”
Deirdre is right on that storage notion. Throughout the home, storage is important in nearly every room. The kitchen takes the cake though (see what I did there?). Look around your kitchen (and other rooms) this weekend and come up with at least one creative way to store something that will free up space, make you more organized and tidy up the area a bit. You will appreciate the extra space and work room on the counters for sure. Now if you can just remember where you stored it!