Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kitchen Utensil Storage: Mistakes to Avoid

As a follow up to my post on Kitchen Utensil Storage Options (which you can scroll down to read), here is a list of Mistakes to Avoid when designing your dream kitchen. By providing this list, it is my hope that I have stimulated your thought process and helped prevent avoidable mistakes. My goal is for you to end up with a functioning and aesthetically beautiful home, avoiding mistakes that might become a daily irritant.

Mistakes to Avoid

Before you begin designing your kitchen, identify all of your kitchen utensils. The best way is to lay all of them on your counter. Decide how they need to be grouped together, i.e. all wooden utensils, all baking utensils, etc. Then decide the type storage option you want to use and the location of the storage option. Will you store them in a drawer or drawers, in a container on the counter, hanging on the wall, hanging vertically behind a pull out cabinet door, in a basket under the counter, etc.  Next, decide the area of the kitchen where the storage option will be located. Keep in mind their use and then determine the location of the drawer(s), container(s), wall hanger(s), baskets, etc. so that the utensils are handy. For those items used when cooking on the stovetop, you would want the drawer or container near the stovetop.  For those items used when baking, you will want them stored near the counter where you will prepare the food for baking. I am sure you get the idea.

Storage in Drawers-Mistakes to Avoid

1. Make sure the drawer is tall enough so that the utensils will not jam when opening and closing the drawer. Don’t you just hate it when a ladle, large whisk, or rolling pin get jammed in your drawer and you cannot open it!  I usually add at least a half inch to the standard measurement for drawer height.. However, it is best to take the actual measurement of the tallest utensil you plan to store in the drawer.  I like how deep the drawer is in the photo under number four below.

I am a huge fan of having drawers in a kitchen instead of lower cabinet doors. You might want an extra tall drawer to hold items such as a sifter, four-sided grater, and other items requiring extra drawer height.  Perhaps you have a drawer for mixing bowls and a divider in the back of the drawer for some taller items such as the sifter.  I recommend putting the actual items you plan to store in each drawer on your counter and take measurements for your cabinet maker.  Then take a photograph of each group. Print the photograph on regular paper and fill in the measurements. 

2. Don’t waste valuable storage space with thick drawer dividers. Looking at both the photo below and the photo after item four, doesn’t it make you wonder why the dividers are so thick?


Source unknown: If you know the source of the photo above, please contact me and I will note it. 

3. Discuss with your cabinet maker if the drawer can be built so that the dividers can be moved around or removed to accommodate new items you might pick up. I can see grooves being cut in the drawer bottom and being able to lift the dividers and move them into another groove to change the configuration.

4. Think about the use of the utensils and the drawer being close to that area. If the utensils are for cooking on the stove, when designing your kitchen cabinet layout, put the drawer either under the stovetop or next to the stove so that they are an easy reach when cooking.  If the utensils are used when baking, put the drawer near the counter where you will prepare the food for baking. If  you own quite a few utensils, you might need more than one drawer stacked on top of each other that are designated for utensils. IMG_0005

Source: Tauton’s Home Storage Idea Book by Joanne Kellar Bouknight

5. Make sure the drawer runners you select are adequate for the weight of the drawer and the items you will be storing.  Decide if you want self-closing drawer runners. 

Storage in a Container-Mistakes to Avoid

1. Make sure the container when filled with utensils will still fit under the upper cabinets. I love using an urn in the photo below. The height  works because  it is located under the vent hood.  IMG_0006

Source: Great Kitchen Ideas

Storage on a Wall-Mistakes to Avoid

1. Hanging utensils from a wall rack creates the look of a professional kitchen and can be handy for the gourmet chef.  However, if you do not cook often, the utensils will gather dust. IMG_0007 

Source: Great Kitchen Ideas

Vertical Storage in a Pull Out Cabinet-Mistakes to Avoid

When looking at the photo below I can see several advantages of this type of storage. First, the metal peg board gives you the great flexibility in the configuration of the utensils. It also allows you to easily see the utensils.

For some reason, this option does not appeal to me. Maybe it is because I have not personally used this type of storage option? I keep imagining the utensils swinging around and clanging when I open and close the cabinet. I am not even sure that would actually happen.  The photo makes me think I would do a lot of stooping over or squatting to remove or replace the utensils. I would like to hear your thoughts in a comment if you have used or are using this type of storage option.

I do like the design of the cabinet front on the pull out in the photo below because when closed, it blends into the cabinet design. Because the design goes to the floor, it gives extra support when it is open. I like the idea of leaving it pulled out while cooking. Make sure if it is left pulled out there is room to walk around it.


Source unknown: if you know the source of this photo, please contact me and I will note it.

Blessings.  …susan


Rebecca@Harmony and Home said...

Great post! I have a lot of my utensils in a terra cotta flower pot on my counter. I wish I had one of those cool pull-out cabinets that hold my utensils!

Design Esquire said...

I'm saving this post too, for whenever we remodel our kitchen. You have such wonderful ideas.

Bethany said...

As a designer and maker of drawer organizers, I wanted to comment on the wood drawer divider pictures.

The ones shown in the photos seem like they were custom-built and installed on site. Assuming that is the case, you're right. The dividers are a bit unnecessarily thick. Though, the wood dividers have to be fastened to the drawer box, and substantial material is needed to get a strong connection.

We make and ship custom drawer dividers that customers can place right in their drawers, no complicated installation necessary. For this reason, there has to be some thickness or the unit would be too flimsy to withstand shipping and handling.

Also, you might be interested in seeing that our drawer organizers include 2 different thicknesses of dividers - the thicker ones are stationary, the thinner ones are movable. Also, some of the thick dividers are slotted, providing housing grooves for the thin dividers. Without that thickness, we wouldn't be able to make slots, and the customer would loose adjustability.

Anonymous said...

I'm loving this series! So many do's and do NOT's! Thanks for sharing. How are you feeling btw? Hope you have a wonderful weekend!