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Klatsch: Kitchen Reorganization

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Welcome to the eGullet Klatsch Series! A Klatsch is "a casual social gathering for conversation," an opportunity to discuss a current culinary adventure with the eGullet community. For more information, see the Klatsch Announcement; you can ask questions here.

In this opening installment, we will be talking with Janet Zimmerman ("JAZ") as she reorganizes her kitchen. She has promised us tons of before-and-after photos, and is looking for our assistance developing her new organizational scheme. This Klatsch is scheduled to run from Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008 to Monday, Dec. 15, 2008.

Do you have something coming up in your culinary life that you think would make a great Klatsch? Head over to the Klatsch Announcement page and review the information there, and then send a PM or e-mail to the Klatsch Team!

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Klatsch team

klatsch@eGstaff.org

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Welcome to my kitchen reorganization project!

First, some background. I moved to Atlanta just over two years ago from San Francisco, from a small apartment there into a different small apartment here. In some ways, my new kitchen is much better than the old one -- full sized refrigerator, dishwasher (Woo-hoo!), much better range, plus more counter space. But it's got some odd design flaws, which I've been trying to deal with. I've done some obvious (or maybe not so obvious) things to minimize the flaws, which I will talk about as we go along, but I need help.

I've been working in cookware stores off and on for ten years. This means that I have a lot of cookware, kitchen tools, dishes, and glassware. (Some would say too much.) "Normal" people would have no trouble fitting all their kitchenware in my kitchen, but that's why I'm turning to you -- I need advice from not-so-normal people: kitchen geeks. Along the way, I hope everyone else with kitchen challenges will join in with their own problems so we can come up with more general kitchen strategies.

To start, here are three shots that I hope give you a fairly complete picture of my kitchen. (I just want to say here that I thought hard about how much to clean up before taking these photos. In some of them, the counters are abnormally clear; others show a more normal state of affairs.)

Sink side (tidied up)

gallery_62439_6331_30598.jpg

Stove/refrigerator side (not so tidy):

gallery_62439_6331_62.jpg

Whole kitchen

gallery_62439_6331_30565.jpg

You can see that it's a typical apartment galley kitchen. The raised counter above the sink side divides the kitchen from the living room. The dining nook is at one end of the kitchen, which you can see in the first photo (all you can see is part of the bar, which now lives in the dining nook. There's also a table, which you can't see in this photo).

I'll post more photos later, but for now I'm just going to jump in with some of the problems I'm hoping to find solutions to.

  • There's no wall space to hang anything. I used to have a magnet for my knives and shelves for my spices mounted on my walls (photos below*) but I can't have either in this kitchen.
  • There's no place to hang a rack for cookware. The wall above the cabinets on the side with the stove houses a heating duct, so there are no studs to anchor a rack. Besides, I rent and there are ominous statements in my lease about attaching things to the walls.
  • There are only four drawers. I'm used to more.
  • The upper cabinets are all just under 12 inches deep. My dinner plates and pasta plates are 12 inches wide. That means I can't store my them anywhere but in the pantry. This sucks, and uses up valuable pantry space.
  • While the pantry shelves are deep, the back recesses of them are difficult to access. I've installed these great pull-out drawers in the lower ones, but for various reasons that doesn't work with the upper ones. It means I have a lot of lost space there.
  • I have some issues with a lot of stuff out on my counters -- I don't like to keep canisters out, for instance. I keep three appliances out (blender, food processor and stand mixer) primarily because I have no place to put them, and even if I did, they're too hard to haul out and put away every time I want to use them. And my coffee maker and grinder stay out because I use them every morning. But what's out now is about as much as I want out.
  • The raised counter between the kitchen and living room ends up being the repository for all kinds of stuff, despite my best efforts. (You'll see, for instance, that there are a bunch of small Le Creuset "mini-cocottes" sitting there, which they've been doing ever since I moved in. In my old kitchen, I had a display shelf where they lived, but I don't have anyplace to display them here. One could argue that I should just store them or sell them on eBay, but I love them. They're cute. I feel that there has to be some way I can display them.) As I said above, I don't like clutter on my counters. Ideally, this space should be free of stuff.
  • I have a lot of stuff. Did I mention that already?

*Old kitchen photos:

Spice rack

gallery_7258_2197_39748.jpg

Knife bar

gallery_7258_2197_49860.jpg

Now, I've read this great topic on strategies for small kitchens and have picked up some tips, but with my lack of wall space, the best suggestions there aren't practicable for me.

I'll get into a lot more detail as I proceed. But for now, what are the problems you've had or overcome in your kitchens? Any advice for me, specific or general, as I embark on this project?

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Now, on to some details. After I explain how I've tried to organize things so far, I'll talk about further challenges.

Here are the four main counter areas I have.

gallery_62439_6331_29418.jpg

My coffee machine is tall and fills from the top, so this is the only area where it's practical -- no upper cabinets to get in the way.

gallery_62439_6331_54985.jpg

This stretch of counter is the largest, and in some ways would be the best main prep area, but several factors make it less than ideal. The main problem is that it's right in front of the dishwasher, which means that the cabinet above it and the drawer under it really have to be reserved for dishes and flatware. Also, I prefer to prep closer to the stove. So I use it for appliances mostly. For the reasons I mentioned above, I keep these three appliances out. I also use my deep fryer here -- it's convenient to have lots of room for breading foods before frying and draining afterward. I also use it for things like cooling baked goods or drying produce. It's an area that tends to get clogged up with extraneous stuff, but I try really hard not to let that happen.

gallery_62439_6331_1174.jpg

This is where I do the majority of my prep work when cooking. It's got better lighting than the other side of the stove, and it's more or less across from the sink, so it's relatively easy to get back and forth without spilling or dripping on the floor. As I mentioned some time ago here in a knife storage topic, my solution to not having space for a magnet is this great block by Eva Solo. Because it's not angled, I can fit an amazing number of knives in not very much space (I can post some close-ups if anyone is interested). If necessary, I can push it back out of the way. I keep kosher salt, black and white pepper and garlic (in the blue container) out here for convenience. Also some of the utensils I use most often.

The main problem is a lack of space. When I have a lot of ingredients to prep, I have to move them to the other side of the kitchen as I finish them, then move them back when I start cooking. It's not the end of the world, but it would have been great to have a bit more space here.

gallery_62439_6331_17548.jpg

On the other side of the stove is my secondary prep area. For some stupid reason, there is no under-cabinet lighting here. The stove light helps, but that's the big problem with this space. Also, because of an electrical glitch that the maintenance department can't seem to fix, the outlet here keeps shutting off. It's really annoying. Both because of these limitations and because it's next to the refrigerator and hence ice, it's evolved into my cocktail prep area, which explains the bitters hanging out at the back of the counter. As you can see, I keep another crock with more utensils here as well.

What I've been trying to do recently is to get the items I need the most often closest to the areas where I need them. It's a tough battle though, as you'll see.

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Just as a general philosophical point: when there's no more room in the kitchen -- when you've crammed every cubic centimeter full of stuff -- the only thing you can do is expand outside the footprint of the kitchen. We used to have a smaller kitchen than we do now (not that we have a big one now) and we had to overflow into a baker's rack and butcher-block cart parked just outside the kitchen entryway.

I don't have a good sense of the space available at the end of the counter that holds the sink. It might be possible to put a Metro-type shelving tower there, one that's a couple of feet wide and as tall as the room can handle (like this). Because these shelves are freestanding, you don't have to worry about the attachment issues. And it's possible to do a lot with those shelves: your big plates would fit, you could get hooks and hang pots off the sides, you might be able to rig up a knife rack somehow.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Just as a general philosophical point: when there's no more room in the kitchen -- when you've crammed every cubic centimeter full of stuff -- the only thing you can do is expand outside the footprint of the kitchen.

This is true, but until you have really filled up "every cubic centimeter," it is always worth taking a look at areas where you may be wasting space. In my new kitchen, for example, I am "out of room." Except that I'm not, really. It's just that the built-in shelves are uniformly-spaced and not moveable, which is just crazy. There is plenty of space in there, I just need to rip out the old shelves and put something more flexible in.

JAZ, this comes at a perfect time for me. Every time I look into my pantry I think, "wow, this really sucks! I need to do something about this!" Hopefully some great ideas come along that I can steal :smile:.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I am also wondering whether anybody manufactures a two-sided magnetic knife strip -- in other words a magnetic knife strip that holds knives with a magnet on one side and has magnets on the other side so it can be affixed to the side of the refrigerator.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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As you know from reading the strategies for small kitchens topic, I live with a tiny kitchen - one drawer, one sink, two cupboards, two shelves, and no wall space. I have a butcher's block counter that I got at Ikea that adds prep space (about a half a meter square - that's all the prep space I have). Also: two burners. And a dishwasher named Peter.

So I feel your pain.

Looking at your pictures, three things come to mind: vertical space; hooks; and bins.

That corner where you have the blue cocottes? I'd see if you couldn't find a stainless steel shelf that could expand your space upwards in that corner. Maybe something that is open on both side, so you can see through it, and it doesn't cut off that area. Use a flat cutting board or similar across the top and turn the top shelf into a display for your cocottes. Or some of them. Use the rest for more storage. Use the hooks to dangle tools off the side of the shelf.

Add bins anywhere stuff tends to collect - I get another bin every time I'm at the 100 yen store. I favour ones with flat bottoms, so a variety of items will fit in them comfortably. You can get nice wicker baskets, or steel mesh, or whatever floats your boat. Put them where things collect. Then put things into them, instead of on your counter. When you need to clear that area quickly for whatever reason - to cool cookies, or prep something - pick up the bin and stow it on the dining room floor, or wherever. Put it back later. You can also use trays or stiff cutting boards to similar effect.

You've already organized your areas into prep stations, which is a big help. Have you thought of keeping a kitchen log on how often you use things? I notice you have at least three whisks in one of those containers. Do you really use those three on a daily basis? Maybe there's only one you use all the time? Maybe keep only that one out. Then store the others in task specific bins or rubbermaid containers, possibly somewhere else you have more room, like in a cupboard.

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I don't have a good sense of the space available at the end of the counter that holds the sink. It might be possible to put a Metro-type shelving tower there, one that's a couple of feet wide and as tall as the room can handle (like this).

I do have a small wooden bookshelf there.

gallery_62439_6331_42369.jpg

The problem with a taller shelf in that spot is that there's not much room between the corner of the counter and the door that goes out to the deck, so while a short shelving unit works okay, a taller one would make it a very tight passage.

gallery_62439_6331_12001.jpg

Looking at your pictures, three things come to mind: vertical space; hooks; and bins.

That corner where you have the blue cocottes? I'd see if you couldn't find a stainless steel shelf that could expand your space upwards in that corner. Maybe something that is open on both side, so you can see through it, and it doesn't cut off that area. Use a flat cutting board or similar across the top and turn the top shelf into a display for your cocottes. Or some of them. Use the rest for more storage. Use the hooks to dangle tools off the side of the shelf.

I'll keep that in mind. I kind of like the openness between the kitchen and living room, but I might be able to find something for the end of that counter.

You've already organized your areas into prep stations, which is a big help. Have you thought of keeping a kitchen log on how often you use things? I notice you have at least three whisks in one of those containers. Do you really use those three on a daily basis? Maybe there's only one you use all the time? Maybe keep only that one out. Then store the others in task specific bins or rubbermaid containers, possibly somewhere else you have more room, like in a cupboard.

Oh, I'm going to get to that! It's a big part of what I want to do in this reorganization.

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As you know from reading the strategies for small kitchens topic, I live with a tiny kitchen - one drawer, one sink, two cupboards, two shelves, and no wall space. I have a butcher's block counter that I got at Ikea that adds prep space (about a half a meter square - that's all the prep space I have). Also: two burners. And a dishwasher named Peter.

So I feel your pain.

Before I go any further, I want to mention that I realize my kitchen, when compared with one like Erin's or some of the tiny Manhattan kitchens on the topic she linked to (or even some of my past kitchens), is not really small. And I don't want to make it sound like I hate it, because I don't. Sure it's got some flaws; if I'd designed it, I'd have done some things differently. But it's much more than adequate. What I'm trying to do is to make it as useful as possible, given its limitations.

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The problem with a taller shelf in that spot is that there's not much room between the corner of the counter and the door that goes out to the deck, so while a short shelving unit works okay, a taller one would make it a very tight passage.

I still don't have a great feel for all the areas near the kitchen, but I wouldn't give up on the idea of a Metro-type shelving unit. That passageway, for example, looks like it's narrowed somewhat by the small bookshelf near the bar. Moving that could compensate for some of the space lost to a tall shelving unit. Not to mention, tight passageways are something that can be accepted in exchange for good storage. For example, when we did our kitchen everybody told us there was no way we had the width to put cabinets on both sides of the kitchen. There was some magic number of inches that simply had to be the width of the floor. We ignored all that authoritative advice and now we have a very narrow kitchen but with huge amounts of storage on both sides. So, sure, when two people want to pass in the kitchen they really have to maneuver. But we're way ahead of the game because of all the storage we acquired in the tradeoff.

Also there's the option of the other side of that entryway. In any event, I think some good shelves like that could be liberating for you, especially given the inability to mount anything on the walls or ceiling.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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JAZ, I'm looking at the counter you have here:

gallery_62439_6331_42369.jpg

You say you want to keep this space open, but what about just somewhat open? I'm thinking of those wire steel shelves extending from the floor to the ceiling, used to store glassware. On the higher shelves you put the stuff you don't need that often, and on the lower the stuff you use daily.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I dug up this floorplan from a brochure I got when I was looking at the apartment complex. It might help illustrate why that corner area at the end of the counter is problematic for shelving.

gallery_62439_6331_2356.jpg

I'll see if I take some pictures tomorrow that make this more clear, but for now I'll just try to explain it. From the corner of the kitchen counter to the patio door is only 32 inches. The bookshelf I have there now is only about 11 inches deep, plus since it's short, it can fit under the overhanging counter. With it in place, there's about 25 inches from its edge to the door. If I had a taller shelf, it would stick out even farther, because of the overhang. Because of the screwy angles in that area, a standard tall Metro shelf in that space would leave a passageway of less than 20 inches.

Does that help?

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Hi Janet,

I too, feel your pain in the small kitchen department. Although I own my home, there is not sufficient $$$ for a remodel to enlarge my 1950's era postage-stamp size kitchen. However, I've got you beat......*I* have FIVE drawers !!! Whooooo-hooooo !

Off the top of my head, one thing I can immediately help with is the under cabinet lighting. I have seen, don't know where, but chains like Lowe's or Home Depot MUST have them......strip lights that can be mounted under cabinets that are battery powered. If not strip lights, for sure then little, round individual lights that are battery powered that you push on and off. They mount with double-faced adhesive tape and I've thought about them for a stretch of cabinets I have that leave me with my own black hole of a counter. Presently, I use that counter only for staging ingredients, not for any kind of prep, so I haven't pursued them, but they certainly sound as though they'd be a good fit for you.

Looking forward to seeing what else our creative group comes up with for those of us with "petite" kitchens.


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Lose the dining area, or rather expand the kitchen into the dining area.

More of the storage could be there, on the bedroom wall, and the dining table double as a kitchen table

You also do not need the kitchen as a throughway. You could block up the end nearest the bathroom with more counter or even the hob.

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. . .

[*]I have some issues with a lot of stuff out on my counters -- I don't like to keep canisters out, for instance. I keep three appliances out (blender, food processor and stand mixer) primarily because I have no place to put them, and even if I did, they're too hard to haul out and put away every time I want to use them. And my coffee maker and grinder stay out because I use them every morning. But what's out now is about as much as I want out.

. . .

I have a similar issue with my coffee maker but if, as you say, you only use it every morning, then it doesn't deserve real estate for the rest of the day. :biggrin:

That is the conclusion I reached since I rarely make coffee in the coffee maker except first thing in the morning. Once I have finished coffee/breakfast, part of the cleanup is putting the coffee maker into a lower cabinet. This frees up a whole small counter for me.

(If I had electrical outlets in the right places I would move the coffee station right out of the kitchen and set up a small station elsewhere!)


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Looking at your floor plan, it seems that the corner of the dining room closest to the stove wall would be the best place to add storage to your kitchen. This space would be convenient to your main prep area while avoiding the problem of narrowing the passageway to your balcony.

What do you have in this space now, and can it be rearranged? :smile:

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Okay there seem to be several possibilities for where to place a shelving unit, if you ultimately decide on a shelving unit -- which I think could be a good middle ground between 1- adding nothing, which may not give you the storage and hanging capacity you need, and 2- converting the whole dining area into an extension of the kitchen.

1. This is what I originally thought made sense. On-the-ground measurement would be needed to determine whether the passageway is wide enough for a person to walk without rotating.

gallery_1_295_42692.jpg

2. Possibly the most unobtrusive location is here, however the disadvantage is that there's a solid wall (plus the pantry unit, I think) meaning anything you want from the shelf you need to walk around to get.

gallery_1_295_3824.jpg

3. Another option, again it depends on measurements.

gallery_1_295_30735.jpg

4. A possibility for a longer shelving unit:

gallery_1_295_45191.jpg

5. Or:

gallery_1_295_19795.jpg

6. It's also possible to rotate, again dependent on actual measurements:

gallery_1_295_41036.jpg

7. The last thing I though of is the possibility of using a corner shelf (Metro makes these too: like this) to follow the angle of the passageway. This wouldn't hold as much as a rectangular shelf but would still hold a lot and would still offer the pot-hanging benefits along one face.

gallery_1_295_30963.jpg


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Sheesh. I really should do this - one day! :biggrin:

I was raised in a "cluttered" kitchen - and unfortunately I have upheld the family tradition.

I mean, I can find anything I want, but it is so idiosyncratically setup - nobody else can work in my kitchen - or I lose have the place for a week! My daughters are especially bad about that. I know I could open up a lot more counter space if I got organized in the classical sense. I also know that I could adapt pretty reliable.

I guess I just don't have the ambition. Maybe this will get me moving. And, actually, that room could use a coat of paint anyway...

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Thanks for the suggestions; it's given me something to think about. We can revisit the rack issue later -- I actually already have some less-used kitchenware stashed in other places -- but for now, I think it's time to get to my stuff.

Some photos:

This is the cabinet to the right of the stove (under what I termed the secondary prep area above)

gallery_62439_6331_18808.jpg

This is where I keep the bulk of the cookware that I use regularly (the hole on the top shelf is where my Le Creuset 5.5-qt. oven goes; it was in use when the photo was taken). The main problem with this cabinet is that since everything is stacked and heavy, it's always a pain to dig out the pan I need.

And the drawer above it (I call it the scary drawer):

gallery_62439_6331_61117.jpg

This is the black hole where tools go when they enter the witness protection program. From the photos above, you've seen that I keep quite a few utensils and tools in crocks, but obviously I have a lot more. I try to organize this drawer, but it doesn't seem to stay organized. I need lots of help here.

On the other side of the stove (my primary prep area) I have more cookware in this cabinet:

cookware 2

gallery_62439_6331_942.jpg

This has ended up the place for cookware that I don't use too often, and other stuff I don't know what to do with (the teakettle, for instance). There's a set of Mauviel copper cookware in there, for instance, which I don't use regularly because I'm lazy -- I hate to polish it, and my Demeyere cookware can go in the dishwasher.

The drawer above it, where I store sharp things -- slicers and graters, food processor blades, that sort of thing. Also thermometers.

gallery_62439_6331_27408.jpg

Under the oven, I keep some non-stick pans, splatter screen and a few other flat items:

gallery_62439_6331_26431.jpg

On the other side of the kitchen are two more cabinets with miscellaneous cookware/prep tools:

This is the cabinet to the right of the sink. It's the place for "things with holes" (an organizational trick I picked up from my sister):

gallery_62439_6331_15716.jpg

This where strainers, colanders, food mill, ricer and stockpots live, plus other miscellaneous stuff that ends up there, like a gravy strainer. Also, for some reason, paper bags which I always seem to think I'm going to need but rarely do. Guess I should toss them.

On the other side of the sink, past the dishwasher, is a small cabinet with sheetpans, racks and the like (the empty paper towel rolls on the top shelf hold rolled up silpats). Also some miscellaneous bakeware.

gallery_62439_6331_28881.jpg

I'm actually pretty proud of this cabinet -- it works well, holds a lot and stays organized. If all my cabinets were like this, I wouldn't be here asking for help.

I'm running out of time this morning, but I'll be back with more this evening. Please feel free to comment on my kitchen cabinets and drawers with any suggestions you might have, or add your own kitchen organizational troubles. In other words (I've always wanted to say this), Talk amongst yourselves.

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And the drawer above it (I call it the scary drawer):

gallery_62439_6331_61117.jpg

This is the black hole where tools go when they enter the witness protection program. From the photos above, you've seen that I keep quite a few utensils and tools in crocks, but obviously I have a lot more. I try to organize this drawer, but it doesn't seem to stay organized. I need lots of help here.

Is there a twelve-step program for dealing with drawers like this? :smile:

Actually, I think this drawer is pretty easy to organize: start by getting rid of the 3/4 of it that you don't actually need or use. You have two cocktail strainers in there! Surely there must be other stuff that you don't use, or at least use so rarely that it could go in a box in the closet.

When I moved cross-country this summer I used that as an excuse, or impetus, to force myself to prune. I ended up keeping a lot of stuff, but about 75% of the gadgets I kept I have in a box in a closet for those rare occasions I use them. So, keep the extra strainer (for emergency backup purposes), but it doesn't have to live in the kitchen, IMO.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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This is quite a challenge, Janet!

Lots of thoughtful ideas so far. From past experience, I have a few suggestions, which may or may not appeal to you or work here.

First, is there no wall space at all above your knife block on the end wall? I can't tell from the pic.

Second, what about the wall above the cabinets. Is there any way to mount something like an Enclume bar rack and hang pots and pans?

Third, I agree in general with the idea of thinking outside the kitchen area proper for storing things you do not use daily. Beyond the living areas, I have put storage in a garage and in an exterior patio closet for much less frequently used items.

Fourth, the wall on the other side of the bath tub, facing the kitchen, could accomodate a low, shallow shelf (such as your bookcase) with a wall-mounted grid above. I have used grids for hanging pots and pans and kitchen tools. Alternatively, narrower grids on one or both walls opposite (on both sides of the entrance to the kitchen) would semi-hide them from the living areas.

Fifth, what about the W & D closet and the Planning Desk area opposite it. This is a radical solution, but when strapped for space, I have used the W&D space for metro shelving/cart and wall grids. And what about the Planning Desk area, including the walls?

I'll be interested to see what solutions you eventually settle on.

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I am also wondering whether anybody manufactures a two-sided magnetic knife strip -- in other words a magnetic knife strip that holds knives with a magnet on one side and has magnets on the other side so it can be affixed to the side of the refrigerator.

Why magnetic? (you'd want to use much stronger magnets on the fridge side) I attached mine to my tile wall with double-stick foam tape, and it's not going anywhere fast. A little Goo Gone will remove it when I move out or reorganize, no holes in the wall, etc. You could attach one to the fridge the same way.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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The glaze on a tile is rock-hard. I wouldn't be as sure about the enamel paint on an appliance. Not that I'd care. I'd completely disregard the building's rules, mount stuff to the walls and ceiling wherever possible, and just fix up the holes on move-out day. But assuming Janet's desire not to violate the terms of her lease, the only available forces would seem to be gravity and magnetism.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The glaze on a tile is rock-hard. I wouldn't be as sure about the enamel paint on an appliance. Not that I'd care. I'd completely disregard the building's rules, mount stuff to the walls and ceiling wherever possible, and just fix up the holes on move-out day. But assuming Janet's desire not to violate the terms of her lease, the only available forces would seem to be gravity and magnetism.

Sometimes the terms are flexible. You can just do it, but may find out it's actually okay if you ask and fix it when you leave. Especially if you have been there more than a year.

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Third, I agree in general with the idea of thinking outside the kitchen area proper for storing things you do not use daily. Beyond the living areas, I have put storage in a garage and in an exterior patio closet for much less frequently used items.

. . .

Fifth, what about the W & D closet and the Planning Desk area opposite it. This is a radical solution, but when strapped for space, I have used the W&D space for metro shelving/cart and wall grids. And what about the Planning Desk area, including the walls?

I'll be interested to see what solutions you eventually settle on.

Richard, I like the idea of storing less frequently used items in a patio closet. I don't have anything built in, but I'm sure I can get a small Rubbermaid or similar storage unit, and I have room on the deck. It's right outside the kitchen, so it wouldn't be too far away. Do you think cookware would be okay exposed to outside (winter) temperatures? I guess it would be fine, right?

As for your second suggestion, I do have a shelf in the W&D closet, and use some of it for some large Tupperware bowls and my old dish rack. Now that I have a dishwasher, I haven't used the rack in at least a year, so that's probably a candidate for the Goodwill box, which would free up some more space.

But the "planning desk" is my office, such as it is. No room there for cookware; it's filled with books and files.

And as far as "thinking outside the (kitchen) box" goes, here's a shot of my old microwave cart, which now sits in the entryway, just around the corner from the desk:

gallery_62439_6331_13219.jpg

It holds serving pieces and some pasta bowls that I don't use very often.

The drawer in the cart holds a box of steak knives and some linens:

gallery_62439_6331_6341.jpg

The bedroom closet also holds some cookware and appliances (well, an old printer too -- you can ignore that):

gallery_62439_6331_34275.jpg

And just in case you thought the scary drawer didn't have enough in it, here's the overflow in one of the bedroom nightstands:

gallery_62439_6331_24563.jpg

gallery_62439_6331_25357.jpg

This is mostly specialty bakeware and candy-making equipment. I don't use it often, but I do use it. So although these items aren't candidates for Goodwill or eBay, I don't need them to be at hand in the kitchen. The extra nightstand is as good a place as any, I think.

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