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BS: kitchen remodel: organization

06 Jan 20 - 02:52 PM (#4026606)
Subject: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: leeneia

The DH and I are going to have a fine new kitchen soon. It will be almost twice the size of the present kitchen. We are having fun, have read books, made plans. But now I am down to the nitty-gritty. How do I make sure that the new cupboards will accommodate the things I personally need to cook with?

We know what cupboards go where, but now what? Books and articles have a lot of organizers: things that roll out, double-deck, hang up, nest. Trouble is there are so many handy gadgets, I don't know what to do. And I also don't know what to put where.

We hired a kitchen designer, but she was a total bust. She whipped out a generic plan in blurry pencil and asked for $265. I had prepared a list of things the kitchen needed, and she ignored it.

Have you ever gone through this process? Any suggestions?

I do enjoy the advantage that I have been cooking a long time and know exactly what I need.

06 Jan 20 - 05:53 PM (#4026634)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Stilly River Sage

Trying to make the existing kitchen work better when there is no budget to redo it, I hunted around in the Container Store and found some workable ideas. Martha Stewart also had some helpful ideas.

At the Container store they have a lot of cabinet organizers like wire baskets that roll out of cupboards so you don't have to reach way back to try to find something that is in there. Particularly helpful for deep cupboards. The baskets don't go all of the way to the back so there are a few things I rarely use that I set in the back or the side while the basket is out, and I know where to find them later. I think I actually bought the rolling baskets at Lowe's or Home Depot where they cost less. I only use them in the waist-to-chest-high cabinets because those are the ones easiest to reach (the lower cupboards get the paint cans and gallons of olive oil and vinegar. Heavy enough I don't want to lift them far.)

Martha does a lot of adaptive stuff, and one idea I got from her was to get a 6' tall set of rolling heavy-duty wire shelves (Sam's Club) and run bungee cords around the outside a couple of inches above the shelves. This way I have a remote pantry set up in the hall next to the laundry room and the cords keep things from pitching off of the shelves if it is jostled. I also have a rolling wire cart in the kitchen to store various pots and pans and blender and such and it can be rolled out of the way for special occasions.

Other than things I did in a small kitchen, I think you'll find poking around and dropping different keywords into the search bar will give you a look at possibilities. Did you actually pay that kitchen planner who ignored your list of requirements? It sounds like a great luxury and self-pampering to enlarge your kitchen, so enjoy yourselves (and don't drive yourself nuts doing it!) Where will you cook and store food while the work is going on?

07 Jan 20 - 04:19 AM (#4026688)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Mr Red

my cousin in Canada had an island in her kitchen, surface laid with tiles. And a loose (tiled) panel that hinged (resting by gravity, not fixed). If you pushed down on the shorter end (from the hinge) the long end tipped up and you could sweep cooking debris into the hole. There was an open bin under it.


07 Jan 20 - 05:28 AM (#4026701)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Dave the Gnome

When we had ours done Mrs G had organisation in mind. We have friends who have a kitchen that was very well organised with drawers rather than cupboards. In a drawer you can pull it out and see everything in it rather than having to fish around in the back of cupboards. We now have 3 wall cupboards but they are quite shallow anyway. 2 base corner cupboards have those clever cantilever baskets that come out when you open the door and all the rest is drawers and shelves. Works for us anyway :-)

07 Jan 20 - 05:32 AM (#4026703)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Nigel Parsons

Don't forget the Kitchen work triangle which affects positioning of cooker, sink & fridge. This is a very important part of designing any kitchen.

We had a new kitchen (following an extension) a couple of years ago and my wife is delighted with it (still). The planning and units were done by Wren Kitchens. The installation was done by our builders, but all the Wren units and worktops came pre-assembled (except doors etc.) and with a very large plan of where every numbered unit was to go. When pinned up the plan took up the whole of an internal door making it very easy to follow.
I understand Wren are hoping to open in US this year.

07 Jan 20 - 06:06 AM (#4026714)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Dave the Gnome

Wren did ours too. One of their approved installers fitted it and local tradesmen did all else. I was told, by the fitter, that Wren were formed by the chap who set up Hygena many years ago. He has since had companies in the US before moving back here so taking Wren there makes sense. I can confirm their quality.

07 Jan 20 - 08:27 AM (#4026741)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Raggytash

Leeneia, plan you kitchen as you think you will need it.

Then add another 6 cupboards for the things you forgot and another 3 or 4 or even 5 metres of worktop.

07 Jan 20 - 06:55 PM (#4026910)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Monique

If it can help you, Lisa had writen a blog about it when she renovated her kitchen and bathroom: link.

08 Jan 20 - 01:18 AM (#4026933)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: leeneia

Raggytash, you are right, but unfortunately I've run out of land. Can't add the 6 extra cupboards and 5 meters of counter.

I studied the plans yesterday and noticed that they have one drawer. These are the things I need to put in drawers:

cooking tools
bags: ziplock bags, slow cooker bags, oven bags, trash bags. green bags, bread bags, handle bags,
   fruit bags (to cut open and put over bread dough*)
   paper bags (to start fires in the barbecue)

parchment paper
waxed paper
aluminum foil (though I hate to use it)
dish towels
pot holders

*spray it with non-stick spray first

And I'm not even a foodie.

In the books, they proudly showcased a tiny shelf with two orange cans on it - the spices, presumably cinnamon and chili powder. I counted my spices - at the time I had 50. But I've cut down some since then.

If I let the builders "just go ahead", the spices will either be down low where I can't get at them or up high where I can't read the labels. I'm trying to avoid that.
We have ordered blue tiles for the backsplash. One day I was in my kitchen and noticed I have a blue door to the basement, blue potholders, and blue bowls from ranging in size from huge to dinky. I heard my soul telling me that I love blue, so just get blue.

If we like the tile (and I think we will), picking the other colors will be much simpler. For example, from the plethora of floor tile neutrals, pick the one with a little blue in it. Same with countertops. What a relief!
Our contractor told us that he rebuilds kitchens for $50,000 for people who don't want their kitchen to have a 90's look. To me that's unfathomable.

You should have seen the guy's face when we told him we needed a place for the cuckoo clock.

08 Jan 20 - 11:11 AM (#4027025)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Stilly River Sage


To begin with, I have four drawers top to bottom in my kitchen peninsula where (from the top) there is the silverware and various serving items that fit, next, the kitchen gadget drawer where you find the rolling pins, the canning lifter, the funnels and pastry brushes and pie server and tons of stuff that is small enough to fit in a drawer. Next is the drawer with the waxed paper, plastic wrap, baggies, etc. and the bottom drawer has the attachment pieces to the Kitchenaid stand mixer, the blades for the food processor, and the old hand mixer and spare hotpads.

To the right of those drawers is one more drawer on top of a cupboard that encompasses the corner space and is huge - three different doors open on different sides of that peninsula. And the drawer there is the most important "junk drawer" - you know the one I mean - I'm in it several times a day, it's where the needle nose pliers, kitchen scissors, tape measure, spare batteries, key rings, spare keys, shoe laces, screw drivers, wrenches, awl, every small thing that needs to be corralled because you use them frequently, live.

There are a couple of more drawers on either side of the stove, where hot pads and more small kitchen gadgets live. I absolutely agree with Dave - drawers and shallow cabinets are the way to go. Deep cabinets (like that corner one under the peninsula counter) are a pain-in-the-ass. I lose track of stuff down there. I recently reorganized it with a lot less stuff, just so I can find what is in there (a lot of stuff went in the donation bin to go to Goodwill.)

The drawers are so you don't have too much stuff sitting on your counter tops, that way you can spread out and work when you have a big project. And it looks much better not to be always cluttered.

08 Jan 20 - 11:30 AM (#4027027)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Dave the Gnome

Hi Leeneia, Not sure if these links work but this is our bank of drawers and this is one of our clever cupboards.

I would highly recommend both for best utilisation of space.

08 Jan 20 - 12:02 PM (#4027033)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Stilly River Sage

Those aren't working. What keywords did you use and maybe we can fix those links?

08 Jan 20 - 12:21 PM (#4027039)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Dave the Gnome

They are on Google photos which is why I was not sure if the links would work. They do for me but it is my Google account :-) Iill put them elsewhere and provide other links when I get chance

08 Jan 20 - 12:24 PM (#4027042)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Stilly River Sage

In your results click through to the source page then right click directly on the photo and "copy image address." Paste that as a link and it should work. Or send the original page and tell us where it is on it.

09 Jan 20 - 03:46 AM (#4027223)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: BobL

Are you re-wiring? Don't skimp on power points! Fridges, washing machines, kettles, toasters, mixers, radios, vacuum cleaners all use them. Count the appliances you've already got. Add in any you've ever thought about but decided against (just in case you change your mind). Add the same again to allow for future must-haves that aren't around yet. Then increase the total by at least a quarter to allow for some flexibility in positioning. My own kitchen has nine, and they're barely enough as eight of them are permanently assigned. And I have a small kitchen.

09 Jan 20 - 04:40 AM (#4027227)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Dave the Gnome

Try these in Dropbox



09 Jan 20 - 05:07 AM (#4027231)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Dave the Gnome

Nah, that doesn't work if you are not logged in either. Sorry.

Just look up Wren kitchens then drawers and magic cupboard

09 Jan 20 - 06:29 AM (#4027242)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Mr Red

I see clever hinged/cantilever shelves on TV ads. And say to myself (spot the engineer) "how do they counterbalance massed tinned food that could be 10 Kg different on any given day? & corner cupboards with 3/4 circular shelves that rotate out so you can see everything. And say to myself, "circle in square leaves unused shelf space that doesn't leave options on organisation".

Clever only looks clever. Organised shelf stacking is clever.

When I moved in to my abode the corner unit had hinges that opened 180o and you had to open one to open the second. I put 270o hinges in immediately. Mind you there is a lot of unused shelf space in order to see and extricate items. The nature of corner cupboards.

09 Jan 20 - 08:30 AM (#4027254)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Rapparee

Lots of electric points at counter height! Never put them at "floor level" in a room where work is done. And use multiple outlets, not just two together -- put in four.

09 Jan 20 - 09:18 AM (#4027264)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Dave the Gnome

They are not the old semi-circular things, Mr Red. They fit exactly into the cupboard. The door doesn't just open it pulls outwards and then swings. There are shelves attached to that and then shelves that move into place from the difficult to get at bit. Each shelf is certified for about 9Kg and I am sure it will hold more. See the YouTube video

I would have though that, as an engineer, you may have investigated the idea more thoroughly :-P

09 Jan 20 - 09:24 AM (#4027266)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Charmion

What Rap said. We have an excellent kitchen, but it could sure use one more plug receptacle at the work surface.

09 Jan 20 - 12:05 PM (#4027313)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Stilly River Sage

One of the recent houses featured on This Old House had some remarkable plugs built into the trim around the counter - they popped up when needed and had several plugs on each unit.

Dave, since my browser is logged onto my Dropbox it kept telling me that file didn't exist. You have to find the "anyone who has this link" code for sharing. Meanwhile, see if this works.

09 Jan 20 - 12:20 PM (#4027319)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Dave the Gnome

Thanks, SRS. That'll do fine :-)

09 Jan 20 - 04:35 PM (#4027391)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: leeneia

I went around with a yardstick and decided how many inches of drawer space I needed and how many feet of things needed to go into cupboards. Then we went to the cabinet shop and spent two hours modifying the plan to fit those measurements. I believe it will work pretty well.

I'm looking forward to my tall cabinet with adjustable shelves to hold appliances. There's a counter nearby with no upper cabinet, so I can operate the appliances without damaging a cupboard above.   

We quickly settled on the plainest, squarest cabinet style, and to my pleasant surprise, the salesman had no problem when I asked if the edges could be rounded off a bit to make them look antique. To me, a perfect 90 angle says 'factory.'

The architect has specified plenty of outlets.

10 Jan 20 - 05:06 AM (#4027456)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler

We have a kitchen diner that we planned ourselves after giving up on the professionals.

We have a rather different version of the classic triangle because we have the island in the middle of the room, between the sink and the cooker. This makes it easy to place things on the island then walk round and pick them up to put them away in cupboards on the other side of the room! It all depends on whether you have problems with mobility or twisting and turning or stretching as to how this works for different people.

The other feature of the island is a lower section at one end. Anne wanted this as a place to make and roll out pastry as she finds the standard height too high. It has also been useful for the grandkids. The difference in height is sufficient to allow a power socket in the vertical between the two levels. The other end of the island has a small freezer under it, facing our fridge freezer against the wall.

We thought we had better put in a dishwasher as everyone seemed to have one, we use it all the time now.

The dishwasher is to one side of the sink unit and a matching cupboard at the other with the bin inside. Another cupboard beyond this has the recycling bins. Above this there is the top part of an old dresser fixed to the wall and here we keep all the coffee/tea/sugar jars and mugs, with the kettle on the work surface.

Glasses are kept in a glass fronted cupboard on the cooker side of the room, close to the dining area where they are ready to hand.

On either side of the cooker are drawer units, cutlery in top drawers, pans in the bottom.

The cooker is a 90cm wide one and I built a set of cupboards above it using a pair of standard cupboards set about 4 feet apart with a cupboard door on its side above to cover the workings of the extractor system. There is room on the worksurface for jars with cooking utensils in yo ether side of the cooker and spices etc. go in the cupboards.

We don't have any wire racks or rotating carousels as we have had problems with them in the past. Also they can cut down on how much you ca get in the cupboard! The exercise involved in getting down on your knees occasionally could be good for you!

The plinth and under cupboard lights are controlled from switches positioned near the door and there are isolator switches for the island electrics and the dishwasher there as well. You should be able to switch everything off by putting your hand just through the door from outside in an emergency. The fire extinguisher and fire blanket are in the workshop through the connecting door. I mention all of this last part as they do say that most of domestic fires start in the kitchen!

Do you have underfloor heating? Not a good idea to put it under the cupboards. We plane ours out before putting the heating in.

I don't know if any of these ideas apply for you but perhaps they are of use to someone.


11 Jan 20 - 12:03 AM (#4027588)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: leeneia

Robin, you have many fine ideas. I like the island with two levels. WE have a chest freezer in the basement, and we plan to put it in the enlarged kitchen. The top of it can function as a counter most of the time.


11 Jan 20 - 09:44 AM (#4027659)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Stilly River Sage

I inherited a small refrigerator from a friend that sits at the end of the cabinets on the stove side of the kitchen, and it acts like an extension of the counter. I use it for overflow space for drinks for family events, and I can arrange the shelves to put the large stock pot in when I'm brining turkey. Otherwise, it's in use for things that it doesn't matter if I forget they're in there for a while, because I do forget about that one.

This kitchen was well-thought-out, as small as it is. In case you have to downsize. (Link repaired).

13 Jan 20 - 01:53 PM (#4028076)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: leeneia

The link doesn't work. I'd like to see the good ideas.

14 Jan 20 - 11:27 AM (#4028288)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Stilly River Sage

I went through my history to find the original link. I'm not sure what happened with that other one. She has a line "I don't care for TV, I'm an NPR person" is a telling aside in that video. :)

There are tons of tiny houses out there; this has more design features that might suggest things to do in your larger full-house kitchen.

16 Jan 20 - 01:53 AM (#4028568)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: leeneia

Well, SRS, I think tiny houses and minimal décor have a lot to do with electronics. People who spend all their free time on their phones or computers don't need much.

My husband and I do things and collect things. Art, music, sewing, cooking and entertaining, rocks, books. All those things take up room.

16 Jan 20 - 08:37 PM (#4028700)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Stilly River Sage

The features in play, though, like the efficient cupboards, that's what I was directing your attention to. I lose track of stuff in cupboards because of their size and the open space. The link that Dave tried to provide above reminded me of the same kind of keeping-track features in these small abodes.

19 Jan 20 - 02:34 PM (#4029077)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: leeneia

That's a good idea. Things definitely seem to disappear in cupboards, especially cupboards over my head.   

We plan to have two sections of open shelves and a wire insert that comes out of the corner cupboard and promises to hold a lot. At first I was leery of the idea, but when I saw the actual thing in operation, it seemed like a quality product that would serve us well for a long time.

21 Jan 20 - 03:20 PM (#4029500)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: Nigel Parsons

I agree with the comments about having plenty of sockets (suitably positioned). I would also suggest that some of them (where there may be 'spare' workspace) should be the modern style with integrated USB power supplies for re-charging all the modern day gadgets.
They are available to UK specifications so I imagine other countries have similar: Examples here

21 Jan 20 - 10:52 PM (#4029543)
Subject: RE: BS: kitchen remodel: organization
From: leeneia

That's a good thought, Nigel. I might look into that for the new office.