Kitchen Remodel: Improve Storage Part 1

Kitchen remodel - improve storage part 1 -- A Pinch of Joy
Kitchen remodel - improve storage part 1 -- A Pinch of Joy

One of the goals in our kitchen remodel was to improve the amount of storage available.  This is the pantry wall.  For this wall I wanted it to be storage from floor to ceiling and to make the refrigerator look like it “belongs”.   We met — and exceeded — the goal so much that I’m going to make a separate post on just this wall.   Here’s how we gained a huge amount of storage space ending with the takeaway for planning your kitchen remodel!

Before Kitchen Remodel 1 -- A Pinch of Joy

Before: the upper cabinets were a standard 12 inch depth.  I couldn’t even reach the handles on the cupboard above the refrigerator!  Because the kitchen was built before the microwave was standard, this was the only bit of counter space available to put a microwave.  I actually liked it at this height (have I mentioned I’m not a tall person??).  My original idea was to “build in” this microwave like the refrigerator, but changed my mind for several reasons.  The lower cupboard had one of those half shelf arrangements so it was not worth much in terms of storage.  I wanted to replace it with several drawers, but found that to be a costly storage solution and not as efficient as I had hoped.

Pantry wall After Kitchen Remodel -- A Pinch of Joy

Love the after!!  We were able to remove the soffit above the old cupboards which gave us the unbroken floor to ceiling storage we were after!  Our preliminary check showed a four inch heat duct ran diagonally across  the right hand corner of the soffit.  We really wanted that soffit gone and thought about opening the back of the the upper cabinet and building around the duct.  When our experienced advisor arrived on the scene, he determined that we could rework the heat duct to fit in the wall and ceiling (like it probably should have from the beginning).  Bingo — soffit gone and open space.   We had room to install usable storage above the refrigerator and an eight foot tall cupboard between the refrigerator and the opening to the dining room.

24" deep Storage above refrigerator -- A Pinch of Joy
The cupboard above the refrigerator is 24 inches deep.  I can reach the knobs to open the door!  I can reach everything on the bottom shelf!  Standing on the floor!   Well, except the cake decorating stuff in the blue lidded container at the very back — but since I don’t often decorate cakes I will gladly get a stepstool for that.  The upper shelf is also requires a stepstool which is just a few steps away in the garage.  Wheels or Bytes are usually willing to reach up (so easily!) and lift them down for me if they happen to be passing through.  (I may or may not plan retrieval from that shelf based on their arrival in the kitchen.)     I might add another rack on the left someday for smaller baking pans but for now this is perfect! 

Improved Kitchen Storage -- A Pinch of Joy

This is the top of the eight foot tall storage cabinet.  It is also 24″ deep.  Lots of room!  The upper shelf holds two deep pots on the right that I don’t use often.  The left is seasonal.  It’s too chilly to eat on the deck so right now all the dishes, glasses, pitchers, the box with napkins, salt, lighter, etc.  that are used there are on the top left hand side.  In the summer that space held extra mugs and “winter” things.  Never thought I had seasonal kitchen stuff — but there it is.  And there is room for it! 
    Second shelf:  Drawers are scarce in this kitchen.  There is no place to put them!  And they are more expensive than shelves.  So compromise.   This shelf holds three plastic baskets of odd-shaped, space hogging kitchen tools.  Like the pastry cutter,  the grater, that handy little rolling gadget from Pampered Chef (about the only PC piece I own and so handy).  And other such things.  I can snag the handles and pull the basket out to reach the tools.  Behind are more  things I use less and don’t mind grabbing a step stool to reach (yes, I’m that short!  Think I have a complex about that?) 
     Third shelf:  Food bloggers will recognize the frequently used photo props. (There’s more in the dining room buffet.)  Actually this shelf is thinned out quite a bit right now since we’ve had two garage sales this year.  I’m always picking up interesting pieces here and there, some I keep, some I use once or twice and rotate out.  But I can rearrange and choose standing on the floor.  And there is room! 
      Bottom shelf of the top unit:  Prime real estate.  Glass refrigerator dishes are here.  The glass ramekins have lids so work for both leftover storage and microwave reheating.  An extra measuring cup.  The salad spinner in the back. Bowl for loyalty cards and odd keys.   Any one who answers “Hey, where’s the. . . . . ” question 99,999 times a day,  will know why these items are at eye level and very visible!!!! 

 Improve Kitchen Storage - A Pinch of Joy

You can see the bottom half of this storage unit holds mostly appliances.  More about the Kitchen Aid mixer later.   I need to get over the learning curve on the food processor.  It was a gift several years ago, but I didn’t have room to actually store in the kitchen before.  Now that I do, I don’t think of it when I could use it.  Any tips on that?  The blue basket is another no-drawers in this place compromise.  It holds kitchen towels.  That arrangement works fairly well.  The rack with parchment paper, foil, etc has travelled all over.  I found a better home for the most frequently used clear wrap, but these are still nomads.  Oh, the thick rubberized shelf liners . . . . you’ll see those on shelves where things need to stay put or need a bit of extra protection, etc.  Shelves are bare where things need to slide across them. 

Wanna see where many of these things were stored before?  A BEFORE before picture? 

Poor Kitchen storage
Yeah — in a big cabinet in the garage. But I could reach everything while standing on the floor.  In the cold.  Or blazing heat.  :-) 
I love my new kitchen storage!!!!

TAKEAWAY for your kitchen remodeling: 

  • Know what problems you hope to correct, like the ten I listed in Reasons to Remodel Your Kitchen.  
  • Know what limitations you will have.  I mentioned in a previous post the limitations we had — like not changing the door, the flooring or the old kitchen footprint.  Some of these you won’t know until you get more into the process. 
  • Get more specific and think about the individual items you use, how often they are used and collect ideas on how/where those items can be accommodated.
  • Think about the space you have available and how it can be maximized.   Our removing the soffit was “free space” that wasn’t affected by any of the limitations.  Same with making the over refrigerator cabinet 24″ deep instead of 12″.  And choosing a different place for the microwave so we could have a 24″ deep cabinet from floor to ceiling in it’s place.   
  • Think about how YOU and YOUR family use things and wonder how that can be made better or how you can arrange things to accomodate your habits. 
  • Be flexible and willing to try something different.

You will love the results!!!   Next time, more storage decisions. . . .

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Witch’s Brew aka Cider Smoothie

Witch's Brew aka Cider Smoothie -- A Pinch of Joy
Witch's Brew aka Cider Smoothie -- A Pinch of Joy
Witches Brew tastes like – well, think apple pie and ice cream through a straw – perfect autumn goodness.  Without the food coloring, it is worth serving at a gathering such as a fall shower or small get together. Add red, orange or green food coloring and it’s Halloween without a doubt.  A two son mom is always looking for gross – but not too gross and definitely not gory – Halloween ideas. Food that looks gross but tastes great – that’s a win-win! Hence the choice of green food coloring :-)

Costume ideas – no problem. There are very definite ideas, usually decided weeks in advance. Sometimes it is a challenge to make those ideas come to life, like the cartoon character that must look exactly like the tv show.  Other years, easy peasy, like the soldier which means pulling dad’s Army fatigues out of the closet, pinning to fit and adding an eyebrow pencil beard. Yeah, I know no facial hair, but I’m not going to tell an eight year old that. And I wouldn’t tell him that this isn’t ghost buster ectoplasm or green monster breath either – if that’s what he wants to call it. Halloween is all about suspending reality for a while. Isn’t it?

Witch’s Brew aka Cider Smoothie

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 8 ounces

Witch’s Brew aka Cider Smoothie

Cider smoothie tastes like apple pie and ice cream through a straw – perfect autumn goodness. Color it green -- instant Halloween witch's brew!


  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Green food coloring, optional


  1. Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and well mixed.
  2. Red or orange food coloring may be substituted for green if desired. Or food coloring may be omitted altogether.

Need more Halloween ideas?  Check these links:  Preschool Party Snacks and Games      How to Make Pom Pom Spider   How to Make a Halloween Wreath  Elegant Halloween    Fun Foods for Kids Halloween Party    Grasshopper Guts     Smashed Frogs    Zombie Brains   Candy Corn Fudge   Dirty Bones 

I’m so glad you stopped by today!   Be sure to follow A Pinch of Joy so you don’t miss a thing! 

Subscribe by email  on the sidebar  or follow on Facebook, RSS feed, bloglovin’  twitter  and check out my  pinterest boards.   If you found this helpful or inspiring please share below!  Your support of A Pinch of Joy is  appreciated!

Busy Monday 136

Featured Image Busy Monday
The leaves are turning the most beautiful colors.  Our evening walks are like being in the middle of a painting surrounded by gorgeous deep jewel tones of orange, russet, gold, brilliant reds and yellows and shades of green from chartruese to deep emerald.  Mundane errands mean coming over a hill to a breathtaking view of riotous color.  Or driving down a road lined with trees of every hue on either side.  Love it! 

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Featured from last week:  Jewelry Making Journal — Creepy Crawly Spider Earrings   An Extraordinary day — How to Make a Faux Love Letters Box   In Good Flavor –  Chocolate Crepe Cake with Pumpkin Mascarpone Cream Filling  Grandparents Plus – Halloween Harvest Games   Daily Dish — Mexican Hot Chocolate Cinnamon Chip Cookies  Finding Morgan — What I’ve Learned as a New Blogger + Resources to Get you Started  Retired by 40 — 21 Ways to Make Christmas Affordable Pink Heels Pink Truck — Pumpkin Sage Ravioli with White Wine Butter Sauce  Little House Living — Reusable Market Tote Bag  Feel free to grab a Featured Button from the Button Box!  Tab is above my photo upper right.

Thanks  for stopping by to share your projects, recipes and inspiration!

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All features are pinned to my Pinterest Boards  from your website.   Check out Featured RecipesFeatured How-tos,   Featured Kids and Family ,  and Featured on Busy Monday.   I add seasonal features to specific boards, like Halloween, because I think they will get more exposure that way.   Other Busy Monday links that catch my eye are pinned to other boards.   I also share features on facebook.

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