If you're tired of digging through your kitchen cabinets for all the bowls, utensils and spices for dinner, it's time to get organized.
Storage is an important consideration in today's kitchens, as people look for ways to make everyday routines more efficient. This is true even in large kitchens, where large pockets of space can become cumbersome if left undivided. In small kitchens, the challenges are different, as it can be tricky to maximize the storage space.
The ideal time to tackle kitchen storage is when building a new home. As the builder or kitchen designer is laying out the kitchen cabinetry on paper, take some time to think about how you will use the kitchen.
"Plan where you're going to store things you use every day and how you will use them," said Anita Borgen, selections coordinator with KLM Builders.
Those who regularly prepare large pasta meals will want storage space near the stove for large pots and serving dishes. They also will want a convenient location for pots and pans. A base cabinet with roll out drawers next to the stove can be the answer.
Another consideration is how to store all the cooking ingredients. The boxes of pasta and jars of spices can be stored in a tall pantry on one side of the stove. Deep drawers could be added in a nearby base cabinet to house the colanders, large spoons and other utensils.
The goal is to store everyday items within easy reach of the cooking activity, Borgen said. This type of layout can help eliminate unnecessary trips across the kitchen.
By planning ahead, one can move past old storage methods that are inefficient and do not fit with today's lifestyles. Many cooks store spices in a large mass inside a wall cabinet, for example. This often forces them to walk several feet to the cabinet, open it, reach inside and dig around for the right jar. In the process, other jars often fall out.
Among the solutions is to install tiered spice racks inside a wall cabinet and place it close to the cooking center. Another idea is to install a narrow base cabinet designed to store spices.
KraftMaid Cabinetry, and other companies, make spice rack cabinets that have the same decorative door as the other cabinets. The door pulls straight out and the spices are stored in divided sections that are designed for small jars.
While all this organization is designed to make working in the kitchen easier, it also saves time. "When you're organized, you don't waste time looking for things," said Kelly Vrtis, a spokesperson for the Container Store, based in Coppell, Texas. "We're a busy society and whatever ounce of time we can get back is very valuable."
This will be welcome news to anyone who has slammed a kitchen drawer in frustration after searching in vain for the soup ladle or pasta rake. In that scenario, the key is to start with deep drawers that can house all those odd-shaped utensils. Then use dividers to create niches for the various spoons, tongs, and other items.
Among the popular options with many consumers are wastebaskets that pull out from a cabinet door, tiered spice racks that fit inside cabinets, cutlery dividers for drawers, and wire baskets for pantries. The wire baskets are particularly handy as they can be carried around the kitchen to different prep or cooking stations as needed, Vrtis said.
When building a new home, pantries offer a host of storage options as they come in several shapes and sizes. In larger kitchens, there often is space for a built-in pantry along one wall.
In smaller kitchens, a pantry might take the shape of a cabinet that has drawers that pull out and Lazy Susan mechanisms that help with storing food items. "You really have to get creative" with some deep corner cabinets, Vrtis said. "Those lower cabinets are so deep and so dark that it's easy to lose things."
Among the other kitchen storage options are:
* A shelf that holds a mixer. It can be raised and lowered to bring the appliance to countertop level.
* "Appliance garages" that provide cover for small appliances on the countertop.
* Pull-out cutting boards that recess under the countertop.
* Roll-out drawers for existing cabinets.
* Suction-cup organizers that fit inside a sink.
* Wire vegetable bins that slide into a base cabinet.
* Shelves that mount on the inside of sink base cabinets. These can hold dish detergent, paper towels or other cleaning supplies.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times