Make the Most of Your Space
What do the catchphrases “maximize your space,” “avoid wasting space,” and “saving space” really mean?
They all boil down to getting more from the storage space you have (or plan to have in the case of remodeling or new construction). To do this, you may need to use all the available space in your kitchen, whether it’s up by the ceiling, on the floor of a closet, or buried deep in a corner cabinet.
The soffits above your wall cabinets, for example, can be fitted with small cabinets or shelves for less-used items, such as a collection of flower vases or a fondue pot. Put rolling tubs on the floor under shelves in a closet or walk-in pantry and store paper goods and cleaning supplies inside.
Use clever hardware to pivot and pull your way to the deepest recesses of any cabinet. Sometimes the “wasted” space is right before your eyes.
Open any kitchen cabinet and observe how much of it is actually used for storage and how much is empty. In other words, is there a big void above your collection of soup cans? Often, you’ll find you can add 30 to 50 percent more storage to a cabinet simply by optimizing the placement of shelves.
- The fundamental layout of the kitchen;
- Overall storage capacity of the kitchen; and
- Organization and functionality of different cooking areas It, therefore, goes without saying that the cabinet designs could very well make or break your kitchen’s function and style.
Think Size Before You Buy
Don’t buy bigger than you need. Careful selection of coffee makers, toasters, and wine racks can make the difference between ample and inadequate counter space. Similarly, bulky food packaging— especially when it comes to snack foods— can contribute to an overcrowded cabinet or refrigerator.
When possible, avoid buying individual-size packages because the packaging-to-contents ratio is high. Downsizing large appliances can make an even bigger difference when it comes to getting the most from the space you have. Many manufacturers, inspired by trends in Europe, offer compact ranges, fridges, freezers, ovens, and dishwashers.
Multi-purpose appliances offer space-conserving opportunities as well. Smart refrigerators are available with touch screens that help keep you organized and entertained. A convection microwave oven cooks in either mode, making a dedicated microwave redundant in many cases.
Save Money and Space
Buy non-perishable items and paper goods in bulk, but store only enough for a week or two in the kitchen. Put the rest on utility shelves in a basement, garage, or storage room. When you run low in the kitchen, replenish.
When space is tight, use stackable square or rectangular containers on counters and shelves and in the fridge because they take up less space than round ones and are easier to keep organized than plastic bags.
Seek out containers that nest or collapse when not in use.
Use rectangular baskets and other containers to store small items on shelves.
They store compactly, and you can quickly pull them down to the countertop, where it’s a lot easier to find what you’re looking for.
In the case of frozen meats, you’ll be able to defrost just what you need and no more. Caution: observe strict sanitary practices when repacking meats and poultry to keep from introducing bacteria as you handle them.
It’s fine to go with dark cabinet exteriors if that’s your preferred look, but you may want to use light colors for cabinet interiors and for shelves. As light from ceiling fixtures strikes the light-colored surfaces, it will reflect onto the items you store there, making them easier to see— and find. Alternately, use pullouts, which enable you to move stored items into the light.
To See or Not to See
Deciding whether you want to be able to see your stored items or not is often a compromise between aesthetics and functionality. Some people like to showcase items, but that’s not important to everyone. Others prefer a less-cluttered look and allow the cabinetry to be the dominant element. If you want to have your cake and eat it, too, check out these solutions.