One of the most common complaints we hear is this: “There isn’t enough storage space in this house!” It’s almost a shout. Is that you? Is this especially true of your kitchen? Today we’re going to discuss the importance of having adequate storage space for all your kitchen essentials.
When we built our Four Gables house at HartLand we knew we had to plan the kitchen carefully. Like most of you, we’ve accumulated a lot of things over the years, especially utensils, pans, small appliances, and other kitchen gadgets. While we’re actually pretty good at purging, that seems to apply less to the kitchen. You just might need that 25 year-old crockpot from your wedding, right? Right. Sometimes it’s nice to take a dish somewhere without worrying about ruining or forgetting your new crockpot.
If you’re building from scratch or renovating, this post is for you. If you’re simply rearranging, you may get some good ideas or have some to share with us. Either way, we’re always interested in how you arrange and store items in your home.
The Kitchen Storage Dilemma
If you’ve read our other posts or followed us on Instagram, you may already know that our Four Gables farmhouse has been highly modified, including the kitchen. When the architect first drew the kitchen, we had a bank of cabinets along the wall that faces the barn-garage, which offered a TON of storage. Most people would have been overjoyed; I, however, was not. I immediately asked the architect to ditch the upper cabinets and give me four windows.
He was concerned that we wouldn’t have adequate storage space, and so was I, so I knew we had to be creative. I wanted to maintain the “kitchen triangle” (sink, refrigerator, and stove should form a triangle for the most functional work space) and try to incorporate as much cabinet storage as possible. After sitting for hours and drawing and redrawing the layout myself, I felt confident that I hit the mark, and I did with a few tweaks along the way.
I immediately eliminated the range in favor of a cooktop and double wall oven for a couple of reasons. We had a 48” professional range in our last house that was almost a dream. It looked great when it was all cleaned up, and it cooked and baked to perfection, but…it required a lot of maintenance. Crumbs were constantly embedded in that teeny tiny space between the countertop and the edge of the range. I had to scrape them out with a paring knife, being very careful not to scratch the stainless steel. When we decided to build and move for the last time, I knew that range would be history. We had a cooktop and double oven at our house in York, and I loved it, so that was an easy decision.
Trying to find a good location for the wall ovens in our new home was not easy. They needed to be close to the cooktop, but the only spot available was next to the bank of windows I wanted. That created a new problem: the walkway leading into the laundry room and mudroom area was now way too narrow. Fortunately, our fabulous interior designer, Tracey Rapisardi, came to the rescue.
Tracy was able to take about six inches off of the laundry room, which really only affected the counter space next to the farm sink. We were able to widen the walkway by six inches, which totally solved the problem. Since we decided to install a countertop over our washer and dryer, we had plenty of counter space and really didn’t miss those extra inches next to the sink. Whew! It was a relief to have a solution that worked well without throwing off something else.
How We Found Extra Storage for our Kitchen
Since we lost a lot of upper cabinet space to the bank of windows, we had to get creative. Turns out that not only do we have more than adequate storage, but we also have plenty of space for decorative items. So what did we do?
Our builder, Shawn, recommended that we take six inches off our powder room and give those inches to our built-in hutch, making it cabinet-depth. That sounds like a lot since powder rooms are typically fairly small, but thank goodness we listened! Our powder room is large even without those extra six inches. Our hutch was originally meant to be shallow, but now we have enough room for three long roll-out shelves. We have all of our dinner plates, large trays, coffee cups, dessert plates, and more stored inside. There are doors and drawers on either side as well with roll-out shelves for glasses and shelves for Tupperware and more.
Under the Cooktop
We picked up a significant amount of storage space under and next to the cooktop by installing cabinetry. The wall ovens are housed in a lovely cabinet that has copious storage above and below.
The Kitchen Island
Finally, the most ingenious storage area in our kitchen is hidden in the island, right behind the counter stools. Simply push on one of the three panels and the door pops open revealing three shelves in each hidden cabinet.
How We Set Up Our Kitchen
We designed our kitchen with an eye for detail.
By the Cooktop
We have three drawers under the cooktop: the left one for cooking utensils, the middle one for spices, and the right for knives. Each drawer has dividers/racks/holders for specific needs. We have two deep drawers under the spice drawer for pots and pans, and flanking those, two cabinets with roll-outs.
By the Double-Ovens
The doors above the ovens house all our cookie sheets and cutting boards with dividers in between. A shelf above holds large roasting pans while the drawer below the ovens contains all our casserole dishes.
Above the Refrigerator
We have storage shelves above the built-in refrigerator for items we don’t use very often (extra dishes, cast iron skillet, juicer, waffle maker, etc.).
Hidden Storage Under the Island
The hidden storage under the island holds other small items such as french onion soup crocks, our beloved GreenGate seasonal dishes, my creme brulee torch, etc.
Lower Cabinetry Below our Bank of Windows
The cabinetry below the bank of windows contains drawers with dividers for all our silverware, more cooking utensils and has two cabinets with additional roll-out drawers. We keep measuring cups, mixer utensils, microwave bowls, and odds and ends inside.
Built-In Coffee Bar
Our built-in coffee bar has storage drawers and a cabinet for the blenders, water bottles and our air fryer. We keep all of our small appliances and items that we use frequently within easy reach.
Tips for Organizing Your Kitchen
- Prioritize your items.
- Make room in your kitchen for your must-haves. If you use an item less than once a week, you can probably store it elsewhere if space is tight.
- Select items that fit your kitchen.
- In other words, if you have a relatively small kitchen, choose relatively small appliances.
- Do you have a storage closet in your basement?
- We do. We store our fryer, cake turntables, and slow cooker down there, simply because we don’t use those items that often.
- Use your kitchen island!
- Our farm sink is located on our island, as is the dishwasher and microwave drawer.
- If you have display areas but need to make them useful, place your pretty everyday items there (bowls, dishes, cups, etc).
- Create sensible zones.
- If possible, store your spices and pots and pans near the stove. Keep your storage containers and Tupperware as close to the refrigerator as possible.
- Make use of any space above appliances.
- Consider taking your cabinets all the way to the ceiling, even if that means you need to keep a step stool handy.
- We LOVE ours and use it every single day because we have 10-foot ceilings and 9-foot cabinets.
- Layer when possible.
- We have a double-layered silverware drawer so we can store twice as much in the same area.
- Keep a couple of your pretty appliances on your countertop.
- If possible, build a separate pantry for food.
- If you have a walk-in pantry, consider putting your coffee machine and/or microwave in there to save space in your kitchen. If you don’t have a separate pantry, consider purchasing a freestanding one, and if it isn’t an option, try to store most of your food in one area of your kitchen.
- Purchase stackable shelves to put inside your cabinets to double or triple your storage space.
- This is an inexpensive way to really increase shelf space.
- Have an awkward corner cabinet where things get lost?
- Again, stackable shelves or a lazy susan/turntable can make all the difference.
- Check out The Container Store for some fantastic storage ideas and options.
Whether you’re building a brand-new kitchen, remodeling, or just reorganizing your current kitchen, make the most of your space by following some of our tips. We love to learn from our readers, so if you have good ideas to share, we’d really appreciate hearing from you.
Need Help Organizing or Planning Your Kitchen?
If you are building or renovating your house we know how important it is to have an organized kitchen. If you need help finding the right flow for your kitchen or choosing the right finishes, contact Monica From the HartLand!
Until next time…