Help for the Kitchen Organizer
Sooner or later, kitchen clutter undoes even the most phlegmatic cook. The cereal boxes fall all over themselves, the glasses stack like LEGO blocks and getting to that set of plates at the back - fugeddaboutit.
Fortunately, kitchen designers and manufacturers haven't given up, offering us ever newer products for organizing everything from glasses to groceries. Here are some products that will clean up your kitchen and disarm your frazzle.
Overhaul Your Drawers
Diamond Cabinets is thinking outside the cabinet, offering a dish drawer called the Pegged Dish Organizer. The pegs can be rearranged to fit plates, bowls, cups, saucers, you name it. KitchenShelves.com is also a scattered brain's panacea. Try the cut-to-fit spice drawer insert, for instance, that keeps spices easy to see without wasting space. Or consider the slanted sides sliding shelf. Its low front clears the view of what's inside. Or spring for a bread drawer; its sliding top keeps critters out.
When in Doubt, Roll It Out
Tired of gazing into the dim recesses of your cabinets? Kitchen designer Kathleen Poer, owner of Spatial Design-Sonoma in Sonoma, Calif., views rollouts as the most essential kitchen tool: Every item (shelves and drawers) should pull out to meet you and not just halfway. She recommends Rev-A-Shelf, a Kentucky manufacturer that offers pullouts for everything from waste containers to cookware organizers, from wire to wicker. Diamond Cabinets' Logix line also offers full-extension roll trays with wire pullouts and lots of shelving, even on swing-out doors.
Go Upside Down
If you're overhauling your kitchen, consider turning it on its head. Designers are increasingly building pullout garbage drawers even with the countertop lip and setting a shallower drawer at the bottom, reversing traditional positions. One sweep of the sponge and all counter crud falls into the garbage, instead of on your tea towels.
An island isn't just an island but an opportunity to stash more stuff. Merit Kitchens builds islands with curved end shelves, wine racks and even built-in French-style china cabinets. It also offers shelving with pullout wicker baskets, an idea that makes organizing both useful and artful.
To banish the usual scatter of mismatched lids and containers, try Smart Spin Storage System. The 12-inch-square spinning base holds 24 containers and lids of varying sizes. "You can put it in cabinets or on a lazy Susan," says Kathleen. "I want to get another set and throw all my other containers away."
Let It Hang
Hidden isn't always synonymous with organized. Consider taking advantage of wasted airspace by hanging a pot rack - a kind of culinary chandelier. Ira Wood & Son, a Kentucky wholesaler, offers scads of pot racks from Cuisinart, John Boos, Enclume and others. John Boos' PotTrak, for example, is a sleek set of three rectangular maple frames with aluminum hangers and spacers to hang pots, utensils or even baskets. Kathleen's solution is even simpler: She hangs ladles, strainers and long-handled forks in her window, interspersed with hanging bunches of herbs and peppers - a curtain that still lets the sun in, she says.