Kitchen remodels are expensive, but the lack of storage space is a very real problem for many people. What to do when a remodel is not possible, but you are out of the room? You may be surprised at the amount of room that is available if you stop and look. Very few kitchens are designed to make use of all available storage space. With that in mind, return to your kitchen and look at it with a fresh set of eyes.
If you have a pantry, you may be able to solve all of your storage problems by reorganizing this area. To use your pantry more efficiently, make sure that your shelves are properly spaced. You may want to leave some area open at the bottom for bulky items such as pet food, potatoes or onions, and equipment such as a food processor that is not used every day and takes up a good deal of room. If you store the majority of your canned goods in the pantry your shelves should be closer together than if you store boxed goods such as cereal. If there are more than three inches between the top of what you are storing and the bottom of the next shelf, consider lowering the shelf. The goal is to have enough room to easily find and remove items, but no wasted space. Also, consider adding a door rack to the inside of the pantry door. This is a great way to take advantage of the wasted space inside the door and makes an excellent storage spot for boxes of plastic wrap and aluminum foil as well as tall bottles or other oddly shaped items.
Many of the ideas that are used in pantries can be carried over to cabinets as well. Look in each cabinet to see if there is any wasted space. If there are empty spots in the cabinet, use drawer organizers or rolling shelves to maximize the space. There are also racks, much like the pantry door rack, that fit on the inside of the cabinet door and nearly double the storage space available in each cabinet.
Next, look at your countertops. What is on them? While many people prefer to keep their countertops cleared off, by investing in some organizing tools you can use your countertop for storage without risking a cluttered look. Canisters, knife holders and countertop spice organizers all provide you with a way to maximize your storage space without having your countertop looking cluttered or messy.
Some inexpensive solutions turn near useless space into a storage bonanza. A tiered wooden corner shelf, for example, lets no space go unused. It could hold spice shakers, knickknacks, cookbooks, and some kitchen gadgets, freeing up valuable counter space. Or try adding extra free-standing furniture storage. A counter-height portable pantry can be a super-efficient solution, adding shelf space as well as a comfortable workspace. Styles with a tilt-out drawer for trash and recycling are particularly efficient and good at hiding unsightly kitchen debris. Some of these islands or pantries have an integrated paper towel holder as well as towel bars for easy-to-grab convenience. Free-standing furniture may also come with rotating wheels to allow you to easily move it from place to place.
If you still do not have enough room, maybe it is time to rethink what you are storing in your kitchen. If your kitchen is small or your family is large, there may not be enough room for everything, no matter how organized you are. Some items that are not used often, for example, that large turkey roaster you may only pull out at Thanksgiving, may best be stored in another area of your home. Invest in some nice storage bins and clearly label them so that you can find your equipment when you want it. Also, if you need more storage for food, consider installing shelves in a spacious closet, garage, or basement for bulk items or food that you will not use often.
While everyone wants a beautiful and clutter-free kitchen, getting to that point requires an investment of time and money. Once you establish a system that works in your kitchen, however, it will make all areas of food preparation much more enjoyable. It is easier to keep the area organized once you establish a system. Simply return each item to its home after use, and on grocery day, take the time to put your groceries away as soon as you walk in the door. By implementing these habits, you will find that your organizational efforts are not wasted. With your newly organized kitchen, your grocery bills decrease, because you know exactly what you have and what you need, and you can prepare meals quicker, and with less stress, because everything is clean and you know exactly where it is. If this is not enough of an incentive to get started, consider the decorative aspect of attractive storage canisters, baskets, and bins. Once your organization project is complete, you may forget that you ever considered a remodel.