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Klatsch: Kitchen Reorganization


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OK, so I finally got off my duff and took Fat Guy and Dave the Cook's various pieces of advice: I just relocated my liquor cabinet into the dining room, opening up a big chunk of space in the kitchen. I bought one of those wire mesh shelving units and loaded it up with my cookware, opening up a vast swath of additional pantry space. It has a bit more of an "industrial" look than before, but not altogether bad. I think maybe I need some nicer-looking pots and pans, though. Like maybe a a five piece set of Mauviel copper for less than $200 :smile:.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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When loading up a wire-mesh shelving unit with cookware, remember that it's easy to affix S-hooks to the sides of the shelves and hang a bunch of pots that way. Just in case you need to create more shelf space for gadgets and junk.

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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I can't speak for Janet, but the problem I have with hanging racks is that they're not very stable. You go to grab a pan (or hang one) and the whole thing swings back and forth, seeming to threaten the integrity of the ceiling. That's one thing when you own the place; something else when you've installed it illegally.

Then don't install a hanging rack. What I have is a simple length of black pipe held in O-rings that screw into a piece of threaded bar, which in turn screws into a ceiling plate which is attached to the ceiling studs with 1.5 inch wood screws. When it comes time to move out (not that anyone in NYC ever moves out of his apartment), all I would have to do is spread a little spackle over a dozen tiny screwholes. Long wood screws have plenty of grip, and I could probably do chin-ups on my bar. Once the bar is up, all that is needed are some S-hooks. I personally find the long, single hanging point arrangement better than the short, multiple hanging point arrangement of the typical pot rack. And my solution is probably a lot less expensive on a capacity basis.

Edited by slkinsey (log)

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There does seem to be a long run where Janet could do that, and it's a great solution for the length of a kitchen where ceiling-mounted racks might be problematic for one reason or another. The big advantage of ceiling-mounted racks is that you can put lids above them. They also of course hold a lot more utensils per linear foot, because they're squares not lines, but that only matters if you have an incredible number of pots.

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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Exactly. They hold a lot more pieces per linear foot, but this also makes it more of a hassle to get the things you want off of them. And they're short. So, the real choice is between a 2.5 foot long pot rack or a 9 foot long pot bar. If linear space is at a premium, I say go with a pot rack. If not, I say go with a pot bar.

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I am an almost total newbie to the entire world of cooking, having avoided it successfully for most of my life...DH taught me how to cook and is a great short-order cook. Our kitchen, while not too small, and our own to hammer, cut and redo, has now to serve two of us.

I really liked the grid on the wall idea (forget eG poster, sorry), the upside down stored pots (Annabel).

I gasped when I saw the bottles on Dave's shelves, just...sitting...there.

As for suggestions: squarish basins. We can buy them at our local Dollarama (Canada) for $1 each and I live by them. I have all my various types of bottles: Indian cooking, Mexican cooking, Chinese cooking, each in a basin for easy access. Also, our toaster sits inside a basin which makes it very easy to get out and in again. The basins are so good when what you are storing is high up and maybe a bit dangerous to get down. The basin is easy to grab.

This is a GREAT topic and I am enjoying it immensely. When we get back home, I am going to put into practice some of the ideas I have seen here. Thanks.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Exactly.  They hold a lot more pieces per linear foot, but this also makes it more of a hassle to get the things you want off of them.  And they're short.  So, the real choice is between a 2.5 foot long pot rack or a 9 foot long pot bar.  If linear space is at a premium, I say go with a pot rack.  If not, I say go with a pot bar.

While I now have a lot of kitchen space, at one time I lived in a house with not a lot of wall space and not a high ceiling - I had two parallel pot bars, with a metal grid wired onto the top of them which held lids while the pots and pans hung from hooks. I had a little two-step folding stepstool to reach the lids.

Because of the way the lights in the ceiling were placed, the pot bars ran diagonally and I think they were 6 feet long. They were mounted to the ceiling rafters with huge eyebolts that would hold a lot of weight as most of my things were copper and cast iron.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I'm still considering the possibilities for a pot rack or bar, but in the meantime, I tackled the two drawers flanking the range. As I mentioned, I pulled out a lot of tools that I either don't use, or don't use very often.

Here's the first batch of them (I added to the pile as I got more ruthless):

gallery_62439_6331_39896.jpg

Here's the scary drawer before:

gallery_62439_6331_61117.jpg

And the not-so-scary drawer now:

gallery_62439_6331_24140.jpg

I bought a cheap plastic expandable drawer divider, which didn't fit lengthwise into the drawer, so I had to put it in sideways. I'm not crazy about the divider itself, but it'll do until I can find or make a better one.

The drawer now holds cocktail tools in the front compartment, with the cooking and prepping tools and serving pieces filling up the rest of the space. I moved some of the tools to the drawer on the other side of the range because that's where I do most of my prep, and it seems to me that they'll be more convenient there.

Here's the other drawer before:

gallery_62439_6331_27408.jpg

And after:

gallery_62439_6331_27728.jpg

I moved the smaller drawer divider into this one. It's much too small, both in total size and the compartments. I'll look for a replacement, but until I find one, this is better than nothing.

I also bought a storage cabinet for my deck where I'll move some of my cookware. I'll take some photos of that tomorrow when it's full.

When I was buying the storage cabinet, I saw some two-tiered pull-out drawers designed for cookware (this and this). They were pretty cool, but both of these units are much smaller than my cabinets. If I could find something similar in a bigger width, though, I think they'd be great.

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I know a couple of people suggested putting a shelf in the dining room, which seems perfectly reasonable when you look at the floor plan. In reality, though, the dining room is really more of a nook -- it's small. There's room for my bar and a small table, and that's really it.

gallery_62439_6331_26630.jpg

gallery_62439_6331_37169.jpg

One thing that I forgot to mention earlier is that I've put up display shelves, which you can see in the first photo; I also put a couple up in the living room. They hold my nicer glassware, which I use only rarely. It's nice to be able to display it but have it out of the way.

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Plus you don't have to dig around for stuff -- you don't have one pot buried under two other pots so you have to take all three pots out, unearth the one you want, put the other two back and repeat that whole process in reverse after cleanup time.

This is a big draw for me, because that's exactly what I have to do. It's not that I can't fit my cookware in those two cabinets, but what I find is that in general I use the bigger pieces more, and the dynamics of cookware cabinets pretty much dictate that the big pieces are always under several other pieces.

If you only make this one change to your kitchen you will so happy! Ever since I put up my rack (shown on another thread) I am forever wondering why I didn't figure out a way before! The thing is, not only is it easier to reach for a pan, you end up reaching for the RIGHT pan rather than the one that is easiest to get at. :biggrin:

Okay, I am coming late to this discussion.

I have a pot rack/pan tree that I haven't seen anywhere else, except in the catalog from where it was obtained about 30 years ago. I have no idea of what catalog it was now..but I sure wish I knew. This pot rack has been a lifesaver for me in many ways..and is a wonderful solution to small spaces.

I am going to try to upload an image of it. This is my first attempt at posting a picture in a post..so bear with me.

gallery_8715_6228_109614.jpg

If any of you know where to find such a pot rack, let me know. I suppose it could be made specifically for a person.. I did have a few extra hooks added many years later.

This rack is an extendable one..and it wedges in between floor and ceiling. It has to fit tightly, as when it is loaded down with pots, it tends to be a looser fit. It doesn't damage ceiling or floor, but then again, I covered the edges with a cup fitting.

I hope this comes through.

Christine

Edited by artisan02 (log)
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. . .

When I was buying the storage cabinet, I saw some two-tiered pull-out drawers designed for cookware (this and this). They were pretty cool, but both of these units are much smaller than my cabinets. If I could find something similar in a bigger width, though, I think they'd be great.

Check out Lee Valley to see if they offer a better fit.

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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I'm still considering the possibilities for a pot rack or bar, but in the meantime, I tackled the two drawers flanking the range. As I mentioned, I pulled out a lot of tools that I either don't use, or don't use very often.

Here's the first batch of them (I added to the pile as I got more ruthless):

gallery_62439_6331_39896.jpg

If I might...I came into my marriage almost 50 years ago with a full set of stuff and ferried it around year after year as we moved. Then I got ruthless and disposed of so many things I had never used.

Now I am replacing all those items, some of which are hard to come by because the originals were either glass or metal, or really simple designs, and all without those pesky computerized restrictions. Originally I could make all the decisions instead of some set of instructions which are now mandated!!

So don't get rid of the stuff. Box it up, put it into your locker, or whatever, and see if you need for the next two years...and then get rid of it.........and then fine you need it again! :sad:

PS. I'd take that citrus reamer for sure :wub::biggrin:

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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If you had the chance to get a five piece set of Mauviel copper for less than $200, could you pass it up? I couldn't, so here I am. I suppose I need more willpower.

I tell ya, if I could have a five piece set of Mauviel copper for that price, I wouldn't hesitate either!

I do have this (11", with the SS handles) but it was a gift about 4 years ago. I LOVE it.

So, if you happen to come across that deal again, could you let me know?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry for the lapse in posting -- working retail at Christmas didn't leave much time or energy for kitchen reorganization. But I have been busy the past few days. As I mentioned, I bought a storage unit that's now out on my deck. Didn't take long to fill it up, but it has relieved the congestion in the kitchen cabinets.

I thought seriously about installing a pot rack or bar above the counter that divides the kitchen from the living room, but the configuration of the counter is such that I'd have to get out a step stool to reach anything hanging from a rack there. So any convenience of having my pots and pans hanging would be lost by having to get out a step stool every time I need a pan.

So, I decided to buy this pull-out rack for one of the cabinets. It would have been ideal if it were wider, but the convenience of the pull-out drawers won out. I'm still deciding how to organize pots in it, but I'll post some photos when I do.

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Congrats, Janet, on the pull-out. I have a tiny kitchen in my not-so-new-to-me house, which has a "pantry" (think broom closet transformed). This pantry was deep -- 38" deep as a matter of fact -- so the back of the shelves was useless. We built drawers and mounted them on runners, and I was so happy that we've done the same thing for the rest of the under-counter cabinets. I'm lucky because we have the equipment and know-how to do our own woodworking, so we were able to get the drawers to the absolutely perfect size, and customize the spacing of the drawers to our own needs.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Congrats, Janet, on the pull-out.  I have a tiny kitchen in my not-so-new-to-me house, which has a "pantry" (think broom closet transformed).  This pantry was deep -- 38" deep as a matter of fact -- so the back of the shelves was useless.  We built drawers and mounted them on runners, and I was so happy that we've done the same thing for the rest of the under-counter cabinets.  I'm lucky because we have the equipment and know-how to do our own woodworking, so we were able to get the drawers to the absolutely perfect size, and customize the spacing of the drawers to our own needs.

Even at standard counter depth, the back of my pantry cabinets appears to contain some sort of sub-space anomoly that sucks in canned goods and half-boxes of lasagna noodles... I think we're going to have to go the route of building in pullout bins as well. I'm not sure what to do with top shelves, though, where pullout bins aren't going to do the trick. I had wanted to install one of those rolling library ladders (which I thought were more aesthetically pleasing than folding step stools), but the budget wouldn't encompass it.

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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  • 2 months later...

I've been a long time in following up to this, partly because life's been intruding, but also because I wanted to take some time to rethink my kitchen strategy. With all the talk of pot racks and hanging bars, I did consider putting one up over my counter, when when it came down to it, two thoughts occurred to me:

First, I really don't like the look of pot racks for my kitchen. I like a cleaner look, and it's just not possible with all my cookware hanging out on hooks.

Second, I don't need more room; I need less stuff. In the month or six weeks since I cleaned out the drawers, I've needed one thing, which I took out exactly once. Doesn't mean I won't need some of it later -- I do use some things only occasionally, like candy-making accessories. But that stuff doesn't have to be in the kitchen.

On the other hand, there have been some very helpful suggestions here that I woudn't have thought of on my own. One thing that Anna suggested was hooks for frequently used utensils. I don't have room on the walls or the fridge as she uses, but I do have the inside of cabinets.

Thus, in the cabinet where I keep strainers, colanders (stuff with holes, if you recall), I put up three hooks and hung all the strainers there.

gallery_62439_6331_21704.jpg

Not only are the strainers easier to get to, but getting them out of the colanders, where I used to stack them, means that the colanders are much easier to get to as well.

Coupled with removing a few things that I never or rarely use (set of tamis, anyone?), it means I've gone from this:

gallery_62439_6331_15716.jpg

to this:

gallery_62439_6331_52381.jpg

Something else helpful that I believe I already mentioned was getting a small storage cabinet, which I've put out on the deck (only a few steps from the kitchen). Here I can keep cookware that I use, but not often --a stockpot, kettle, the 8-qt. Demeyere dutch oven (missing in this photo, because I was using it), extra Le Creuset.

gallery_62439_6331_5537.jpg

Finally, I got a pull-out cookware drawer for one of the cabinets. I'm still working on exactly what needs to go where in this, but it's already helped enormously.

gallery_62439_6331_19577.jpg

gallery_62439_6331_23429.jpg

Yes, pots and pans are still stacked (although not as much as these photos make it seem -- I've done more rearranging since I took these photos), but they're much easier to get to because the drawers pull out.

And although the drawer isn't the entire width of the cabinet, that's turned out to be a good thing, because I now store my cutting boards here -- where I use them, instead of across the kitchen with the sheet pans.

Here, by way of comparison, is the before picture:

gallery_62439_6331_942.jpg

The kitchen is still a work in progress, but it's already so much more functional I'm tempted to stop. I don't need any more drawers or shelves or cabinets, at least. I think it's just a matter of figuring out what I use most and getting those things where they're most accessible.

Now that I've cleaned out my cabinets, I have a closet of cookware (some of which I haven't even photographed) that I need to get rid of. I think it's time for a virtual garage sale over on the eG Shopping Block.

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Second, I don't need more room; I need less stuff. In the month or six weeks since I cleaned out the drawers, I've needed one thing, which I took out exactly once.

I'm dying to know what the one thing was. This strategy -- clear out the maximum for storage and get it when you need it -- also affords you moments of insight like this. After all, if you have to get that thing three times in a week, then you know you need it in the kitchen.

Makes me wonder what would happen if I applied the "when was the last time you used this?" test on my drawers....

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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The "one thing" was my Borner V-slicer, to make onion rings. I have a ceramic slicer that I use all the time for thin sliced potatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables. If I don't need really thin, uniform slices I generally just use a knife, but onion ring slices are always tough to get right. Hence the V-slicer. If I make onion rings once a month, or even just four or five times a year, the V-slicer is worth keeping, but that doesn't mean it has to take up kitchen drawer space. It can live elsewhere.

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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.

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I would suggest a trip to Ikea. They've got lots of storage ideas. Measure a few of their products and see how they'd fit in your design. I'd certainly look at putting in some shelving/cabinetry, That "planning area" in the laundry nook looks like prime real estate for some sort of storage solution.

Dry wall hanger holes are easy to repair, especially when all the walls are white. Slap on some spackle and paint. You could probably beg and borrow some matching paint from the painters when they are preping an apartment for new tenants. I'd ignore the fear of hanging things on the wall, you can fix the damage when you move.

Good luck!

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Much of it will probably be Le Creuset, Chris -- I have pieces I've only used once or twice, or never even used (like a tagine still in the box). I love Le Creuset, but I find myself using only three or four pieces regularly. Yet I've been moving the rest of it from kitchen to kitchen -- why?

Or the marble board and rolling pin that seemed like such a good idea when I got it ten years ago and have yet to use.

There's some All-Clad and Chantal in there too.

I'm not sure about any of the copper. I think I'd regret selling that.

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  • 11 years later...

IMG-0024.thumb.jpg.e7a05ffe84bee174918b5aa148adf5fe.jpgIMG-0025.thumb.jpg.707c15f2fdebeffa7e034a44d6c46e13.jpg

 

 

This is an interesting topic...need to go back and explore.

Today I put back my Pantry items into the newly painted pantry.  I was a fairly large job but not too bad.  I just had to go through 'stuff' that needed to be chucked.  Very happy with the result.  I have a bank of cabinets on the right side where I put most of my spices. One whole shelf dedicated to Mexican peppers and spices.

 

 

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