Kitchen Remodel: Create workstations to Improve Storage

Kitchen Remodel Improve Kitchen Storage Part 2

Kitchen Remodel Improve Kitchen Storage Part 2

The peninsula is the main work space in my kitchen, as it is in many kitchens.  Chopping, mixing, rolling out cookies, kneading bread dough — a lot of food preparation happens here. So you’d think that storage in the peninsula would have to do with food preparation.  Like most kitchens, this one falls a little short of the ideal.   I like anything that requires less time on chore stuff and  makes life easier so come along and I’ll show you some of the ideas behind this part of the kitchen storage.

3Kitchen Storage - Large Drawer -- A Pinch of Joy
This drawer represents a full 70% of the drawer space in the kitchen!  The left half is closest to the dining room  so that’s where the tableware is stored.  The right half does indeed have tools for food preparation and is used at the peninsula –  ideal!  Dividers essential in staying organized.  It also helped that I sorted out the broken and maimed pieces to toss.  The back divider has plenty of the miscellaneous stuff that is occasionally used  — like the yellow handled fork that Wheels used as a toddler.

4Storage for Pots and Pans -- A Pinch of Joy

The two cupboard doors open to reveal pullout shelves — LOVE them!  No more standing on my head sorting through messy piles of pots and pans!   Remember the Kitchen Aid mixer took up half of this space in the old kitchen.  And ALL the pots and pans were in the other half on the bottom shelf except for the half shelf above that held a pile of the smaller pans.  Huge improvement in storage space — even if the pots and pans are all used on the stove on the other side of the kitchen.  The grill is used on the counter next to the stove.  It’s okay — not a big kitchen and I need more exercise.  Oh yeah, see the cling wrap on the left — It has a slide cutter so I can roll off what I need and cut it without taking the box out of the cupboard.  On the other side is a box of sandwich bags so I can just reach in and pull one out.  I use both of these multiple times a day.  At the peninsula — so that keeps the spirit of the keep it where you use it ideal alive!  Right???

Corner Lazy susan Kitchen Storage - A Pinch of Joy

New and improved lazy susan.  The corner lazy susan was one thing I liked about the old kitchen — expect for the gap all around when it was closed.  This one — no gap.  It also holds twice as much as the old one!!!  I found that if I filled the space available I could have enough weight to bog down the turntable.  A little moderation in spacing and a bag full to donate helped solve that problem.  I used my cake frosting turntable to place cooking spray and oil front and center since that seems to be the items I have to hunt for the most.   Now I can just open the door and grab without spinning the cupboard turn table. The little turntable catches any drips and is easy to pull out and wash when needed. I’m still liking the storage containers I told you about when I reorganized the old lazy susan.  Since I use the peninsula for mixing, these items are very convenient to point of use.

Kitchen Storage -- Appliance Garage -- A Pinch of Joy

The appliance garage was supposed to be another point of use storage space.  The literature on the cabinets said the opening would let the mixer slide in and out with ease.  What the literature did NOT say was that the Shaker style tambour door bottom takes up almost two inches of the “opening” so there was no way the mixer would fit in.  The store designer had only the literature to go by as well — but more accurate information made available would have been very helpful!  Instead, I keep my toaster and a small basket of health supplies there which is also very convenient — not a loss.  You saw the mixer in the tall storage cupboard in Part 1.

7Upper Cabinet Kitchen Storage -- A Pinch of Joy Storage

The old cupboards did not use all the wall space available for the upper cabinets.  This does — from the window to the edge of the peninsula.  The cupboard above the appliance garage was also a problem.  The designer told me I needed to use a two door cabinet to “balance” the two doors on the adjacent cabinet.  I had my doubts because it was so hard to access that cupboard anyway — short people have to lean way across the peninsula to reach the furthermost spaces.  But I let him talk me into it.  Big mistake. Something else I learned — flush mount doors do not open “all the way”.  Not only did I have to lean way across, I had to make contortions around the cupboard door as well.  That shortened my reach and that storage was really wasted.  You can see the solution.  I went back and ordered a new single door for that cupboard!

Upper Cabinet Baking Storage -- A Pinch of Joy

Now I can open the door and reach what is on the first two shelves.  The top shelf used to have a collection of extras — made great garage sale inventory.  Now it holds a baking dish and a platter that I use occasionally and don’t mind getting the step stool to use them.  The plastic bin is just at the range of my reach, but I can snag the handle and pull it out to get to the extra measuring and mixing utensils stored inside.  The spices are mostly used in baking — another point of use for the baking zone.

11Dinner Ware -- Kitchen Storage -- a Pinch of Joy
Dinner ware storage right above the dishwasher.  I can stand between the front of the lazy susan and the dishwasher open door to unload the dishwasher directly into this cupboard.  Left handed Wheels unloads everything onto the counter and then shuts the dishwasher door and loads the cupboard — a two step process.  Tall Bytes just leans over the dishwasher door and pitches the dishes into place.  Ahem. . . .  Note the open position of the flush mounted door — that’s as wide as they open so you almost have to be standing in front of the cupboard to access it.   By standing on tiptoe, I can reach the dishes on the top shelf if they are stored with the edge of the dish on the edge of the shelf.  Push them back an inch — no.  And there is no hole drilled for lowering the shelf — the manufacturer makes these decisions for you.  These are all little things that make a big difference in functionality — but most of the time are ignored when planning storage.
End of Peninsula with extra doors as design element -- A Pinch of Joy

Here’s what we did with the doors from the end cabinet.  Made them a decorative element on the end of the peninsula!  Adds the perfect finishing touch, methinks!!  (Bad light and shadows on a rainy day — sorry)

Take away:

  • Think about how you and your family use your kitchen.  Can you designate  zones for baking, cooking, doing dishes?  How can you store the items needed for those tasks close to the zone where they will be used?  In an ideal kitchen, there will be clear zones with storage accessible within that zone so people aren’t zigzagging around the kitchen to do one task.
  • If you can’t have an “ideal” kitchen, make thoughtful adaptations you can use to make the storage space as functional as possible.
  • When you have doubts about the functionality and accessibility of storage space, stick to your guns.  You are the ultimate authority on how your kitchen will work for you!
  • Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions.   Box stores don’t have samples of everything, but try to get as much information as possible.  Hopefully you can take from my experience and think of questions that will get YOU your dream kitchen.
  • Be flexible.

Begin the Kitchen Remodel    Transition Kitchen    3 Reasons to Remodel Your Kitchen

Kitchen Storage Part 1

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Garage Storage

Garage Storage -- A Pinch of Joy

Garage Storage -- A Pinch of Joy

Since we are in the garage looking at the turquoise door and the mini mudroom,   I’ll show you the cubby storage that gets a lot of attention whenever we have a garage sale. Everyone comments on it!   It was born from the different styles Wheels and I take toward storage — and a little desperation! 

Wheels — and Bytes — and Bytes big brother — are visual people.  They have to see something for it to exist.  It’s literally out of sight out of mind!  I am the polar opposite.  Out of sight and in its place means it doesn’t get lost.  They have piles here and piles there and they can reach in without hesitation and tease the hammer out from the bottom of a stack of tools.  I tear my hair and will NEVER find that hammer.  Because who puts a hammer in a pile of wrenches????  Really!  

Then one day, Target had clearance on some shoe cubbies.  A light bulb went off.  They could see everything.  But in little piles where I could find things.  So the shoe cubbies came home with me and went on top of the 52 inch tall cupboards on the garage wall. There is a larger unit with 25 cubbies.  It’s on the left.  Two smaller units with 18 cubbies each are stacked on the right.  Those cubbies are also smaller in size than the larger unit.   A pre – made sorter for visual folks.   

A short time later, Kraft started selling mayo in these cool oval plastic jars that fit perfectly in each cubby.  They hold things like steel wool, hooks, batteries divided by size, locks and other small items.  They are all labeled so if they end up on a different shelf, you can still see the label and know what you are getting. It was a real bummer when they switched back to round jars!  

However, it didn’t take long for a problematic pattern to surface.  The guys are WAY taller than I.  You can guess where THEY put the tools they used most often! 

So in the dark of night one night when I couldn’t reach a tape measure, I made some labels, climbed my trusty step stool and rearranged things.  You can see the labels — the most crucial items that MOI uses.  They can put the rest of the items — boxes of nails and screws, large size latex gloves, stud finders, and the like –in cubby storage wherever they want and feel free.  I can reach the screwdrivers, tape measures, levels, sharps (knives, scrapers, etc), pliers and garden cutters  I need and feel organized.  I still find the hammer in the pile of wrenches but the little stuff is where it belongs! 

Is that win-win or what?????

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Build a Mini Mudroom in Your Garage

Build a Mini Mud Room - A Pinch of Joy

Build a Mini Mud Room - A Pinch of Joy
We lived here only a very short time before realizing that a house designed and built in 1977 needed some work to make it livable for today!   When our house was built, it was a big deal to have a two car garage open directly into the kitchen so groceries in paper bags could be carried in easily. One of the things I have long wanted is a landing place by the garage door because a lot of other things happen around that garage door nowadays!     I wanted to be able to kick muddy garden shoes off and out of the way, a place to store reusuable grocery bags and assorted household “stuff”, somewhere to hang caps or light jackets so they weren’t tossed who knows where.  In short, someplace convenient for storing things to be picked up and used and returned as we come and go through that turquoise door in daily life. 

 The kitchen remodel gave us the perfect opportunity to repurpose an old upper cabinet to improve the situation.  We used scrap trim, repurposed plywood, scrap lumber, a piece of found beadboard and came up with a great mini mud room!  Here’s how we did it for a cost of $2 and 63 cents (almost), a weekend’s worth of time – most of which we did something else while paint dried.    Little investment but so worth it. 

 An upper cabinet, 24 inches wide, 30 inches high and 12 inches deep, fit perfectly in the space between the step and other permanent cabinets.  I flipped it upside down so the knob would be at the top of the door.

Plywood platform -- A Pinch of Joy Bytes cut a piece of plywood to fit the bottom of the cupboard exactly.  The plywood came from shelves we tore down in the basement.  I took scrap lumber “one by” pine and tested to see which size would allow enough clearance for me to kick walking shoes underneath the cabinet.  A one by six inch piece was just right.  (makes me think of Goldilocks!)

 Bytes cut two pieces from the 1×6 board into the correct length for each side and screwed them onto each end of the plywood.  This made a platform for the cabinet to set on and gave enough clearance to store garden shoes.  It also raised the top of the cabinet about six inches which was just right for the new use!  (Goldilocks again!)   He decided  a board across the back of the platform would give a little more stability.  Because of the way we installed the cupboard, there was room so he added another piece of the 1×6 across the back, stabilizing the two legs. 

Top of cupboard -- A Pinch of Joy

 Bytes used a piece of 1×2 scrap pine screwed to the studs in the garage wall to set the cupboards and fasten them to the wall.  This allowed us to match the depth of the existing peg board.   Wheels didn’t want to remove the peg board and the logistics would have made it a much longer job!  Get ‘er done now won out!

 I cleaned the cupboard thoroughly and painted it with two coats.  Bytes cut a piece of the repurposed plywood shelf to fit on top of the cupboard.  My initial idea was to make a tile top with leftover bathroom shower tile.  We might still do that when there is thin set around for the next bathroom tiling project (oh, yeah, that is coming!).   But for now, the plywood top is just sanded with multiple coats of white paint. 

coat hooks
 Wheels found a piece of thin bead board that was just the right size (yay, Goldilocks!).  I painted it and we used it to transition the bit of open space and cover the pegboard above.  Bytes tacked the bead board to the pegboard supports and the trim above and below also help hold it in place.

 We used the remainder of the 1×6 pine to make the top of the mini mud room/area.  I had purchased a set of mounted hooks intending to use them as towel racks in one of the bathrooms.  Towels did not dry well on test hooks so this unit never was installed.   This was the perfect way to repurpose.  I didn’t count them in the cost because I already had them although they were about $18.  If you count that, the cost of this project goes up to just over $20 – still not bad.  Wheels installed the hooks on the 1×6 top. 

I went through the stock pile of scrap trim and Bytes cut them to fit the need.  We used baby quarter round (I’m sure that’s not the official name – it’s probably ½ or 3/8 inch quarter round!) to finish off the edges of the top.   We could not find anything to cover a gap between the side of the cupboard and the adjacent storage that would allow the cupboard door to open.  Off to Lowe’s.  There I found a trim piece that fit the bill for $2.68. 

 A bit of caulk and spackle over seams, pits and nailholes, another coat of paint. Let the paint cure and begin to add the essentials.   Done! 

Just right, said Goldilocks.  And me! 

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