Kitchens are mighty multi-purpose spaces and expected to contain a lot—all the equipment and appliances for preparing and serving food, all the products for cleaning up after preparing and serving food, all the containers for storing the food plus miscellaneous wraps, linens, and the requisite junk drawer. There never seems to be enough space, and even when there is you still find yourself wrestling with a load of pots to get the one you want or shuffling through a maze of jars to find the spice you need. But there are some clever solutions for a more efficient kitchen—ideas that makes the most of the space you’ve got.
Kitchen corners with a nice bare wall, cabinet or fridge side can be a great place to sneak in some extra storage that’s easy to access and not-too-visible. This Manhattan kitchen has sturdy stainless steel bars for hanging pots and pans that are within quick reach of the stove top.
This smart use of a corner is from blogger Jennifer Bridgeman. Simple Ikea shelves are mounted against the refrigerator housing and provide storage for the coffee pot, fruit, baskets, etc., and free up counter space below for flour and sugar canisters. Tucking the paper towel holder on the wall is another good idea—within easy reach but not taking up counter space or being an eyesore.
These magnetic spice jars are a smart idea created by Beth Weisberger who needed a solution for her crowded spice collection in her equally crowded and tiny Brooklyn apartment. Gneiss Spice (rhymes with “nice”) was born and now based in Maine. In addition to these clever reusable glass jars they also sell organic spices and accessories such as metal plates and labels. You can arrange the jars anywhere you have a bit of steel (or can mount a plate). Customers have put them along range hoods, refrigerators and even on the underside of cabinets. Gneiss? Genius. Set of 12 magnetic jars, $45 at Gneiss Spice.
Many professional chefs mount their knives on magnetic strips for good reason. The knives don’t dull bumping up against each other in a drawer and they’re within easy reach of the chopping station. Mike Allen started crafting these strips and boards in his garage as a solution to his small kitchen and limited counter space. He now runs his company, Elevation Rack, outside of Austin, Texas where he produces knife holders, cutting boards and this combination, the Chop Combo, pictured below. It includes a storage rack, magnetic knife holder, and a quick-release cutting board that comes off or can be folded up for storage (and free up counterspace). Black Walnut Chop Combo, $199 at Elevation Rack.
Like many style trends from the 1970s, simple pegboard is back and again appreciated for its utilitarian value and no frills aesthetic. Modular, they can be mounted on any spare wall space and used with a variety of hooks to hang just about anything. Julia Child had them in her kitchen (below), and today you can find them in a variety of colors. Wall Control Blue Pegboard, $57.99 at Houzz
Free Up Cupboard Space
It might seem counterintuitive to save cupboard space just to take up counter or shelf space, but some things can be displayed prettily (flour sugar, cookies, oatmeal) and some things cannot (canned goods, peanut butter). Inexpensive glass jars are a convenient and attractive way to store dry pantry staples and a really good idea for things you want easy access to and use a lot (cereal, oatmeal). One Gallon Glass Jar with Glass Lid, $7.29 at Webstaurant Store.
by Laurie Junker
Photos courtesy of Jennifer Bridgeman, Mike Allen and Gniess Spice