Most people enjoy adding kitchen appliances, gadgets, dishware and silverware. Keeping these accumulated kitchen goodies organized and out of sight can quickly become challenging, if not downright
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overwhelming. Fortunately, the kitchen storage industry has kept pace with the kitchen accessory industry. So, while there might be a limit to the storage space, there is no shortage of solutions to make the most of that space. These tips and products will help get any cluttered kitchen back on track.
Learn from the Pros Homeowners looking to maximize kitchen storage can learn a lot from the professionals. Certified Kitchen Designers (CKDs) must address the kitchen storage issue when undertaking a kitchen renovation or remodel project. “I find out who the client is, first,” says Joan DesCombes, CKD, founder of Architectural Artworks, Inc., a design firm in Winter Park, Fla. Clients complete an extensive questionnaire which tells DesCombes about their lifestyle, which helps to determine the needs and solutions. “I want to know who does the cooking, what is being cooked [and] how many times a week shopping is done,” she says. “Once you know who the client is and what needs to be stored, you can determine how and where you are going to store it.”
A homeowner doesn’t necessarily need to hire a kitchen designer to make use of the same process used by professionals to solve the kitchen storage problem. Evaluating one’s own family size, cooking habits, shopping schedule and kitchen habits are great first steps to take before running out to purchase new-fangled kitchen cabinet pull-outs and organizers. “I make sure every item has a place,” says DesCombes. “That way, when the kitchen comes in and gets installed, I know exactly what gets stored where.” Homeowners can do the same thing by creating an inventory and storage plan not based on where things are stored now but based on where the homeowner wants them to be stored.
How the kitchen is used will greatly impact storage needs, which is why a hard look at family lifestyle and habits is a good place to start. In one recent project, DesCombes recalls a wife who couldn’t stand her husband’s newspapers scattered all over the counter and a husband who loved to read his papers in the kitchen. “I created a space specifically to house the newspapers,” says DesCombes. The storage-challenged homeowner should similarly take stock: In addition to cooking, what goes on in the kitchen? What items or materials must be stored in the kitchen for those activities? Who uses the kitchen—how often and for what purpose? Answering these questions will put the homeowner on the right track toward a more functional and better-organized kitchen. (Read more on kitchen planning here.)
Out with the Old Part of revamping a kitchen’s storage capacity and configuration includes discarding items and gadgets that are no longer used. “Purging is what I always advise first,” says Elina Katsioula-Beall, CEO and chief designer for DeWitt Designer Kitchens of Studio City, Calif. “We all tend to accumulate more than we need. The first step is to let go of all that tired cookware, chipped dinnerware, worn-out plastic bowls and those hideous mugs. Keep only the good stuff and those timeless favorites, which can be enhanced with a few new basics.” This simple act of cleaning out undesirables will free up new space, open the door to fun storage products and bring the kitchen a little bit closer to a state of organization.