How to Maximize Cabinet Storage for Efficient Organizing

Lifestyle Design Ideas

Storing and organizing items in your kitchen are two very separate tasks. You can have plenty of storage in your kitchen and be inefficiently using that space. Conversely, you can have limited storage in a smaller kitchen and be extremely efficient. Here are some tips that you might find helpful to maximize your storage for efficiency. Note, there is no single approach that works for everyone. It depends on your lifestyle, habits, size of your kitchen, budget, etc., but there are some things we can all do to make our storage more efficient.

If your budget allows you to replace your kitchen cabinetry and you like the look of taller cabinets (either 42″ or custom made to your ceiling height), that higher space is perfect for storing things you use less often. A unique feature of the door style we designed in the kitchen below is that we added a center rail to the tall 48” tall upper wall cabinets to give the extra height softness and elegance. (see full story about this kitchen here by Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly, Inc.)

By adding a center rail to the tall 48” tall upper wall cabinets we gave the extra height softness and elegance. © Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly, Inc. All Rights Reserved

In the kitchen below, we stacked the cabinet at the ceiling to display art glass. The taller cabinets allow for more storage.

Extra height allows for more storage. Note:  Ken and Grace handmade this range hood by gluing leather to the wood, covering the seams w/ leather strips and upholstery tacks, and applying custom molding in a black distressed finish. (We love a challenge and to this day our installer Artie hasn’t forgiven us for this job) © Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly, Inc. All Rights Reserved

We designed this galley kitchen in for a client in the city for maximum efficiency in a smaller kitchen. Not shown in the front of the photo is a desk/mail center, oven, warming drawer, and pantry.

NYC Galley Kitchen is so well organized! © Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly, Inc. All Rights Reserved

So how do we get organized in the kitchen?

The first thing is to remove things you don’t use or rarely use and either get rid of them or store them somewhere else. You know them best… the meat slicer, fondue pot, bread machine, pasta maker, frying pan number 6 (How many do you really use a day?), the 24 rolls of paper towels you bought in bulk… you get the idea. The next thing you should think about is making everything you are going to keep in your kitchen accessible and visible. Visibility is KEY! I have found if you or the family can see it, it will get used, and in the case of food, it will be eaten before its expiration date. Glass jars are ideal. When storing food in a cabinet, my all time favorite is airtight glass containers. They make it easy to see what you have and are great way to store snacks and food. Think about organizing into category zones. (See our zone list here)

Storing items in clear glass jars is ideal. I have a set I keep in my fridge with fresh fruit for a healthy see and grab snack. Another set is in my pantry filled with nuts, seeds, and raisins.

Rollout shelves and drawers are luxuriously convenient and allow you to see everything in the drawer from front to back so you don’t have to go digging to find things. (See this Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly kitchen  here.)

This is from a project we did in Great Neck, Long Island, NY  © Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Adjustable shelves are key to efficient organizing. When shelves are set at specific heights to fit the items you are organizing, the cabinet becomes much more efficient. If your kitchen shelves are not adjustable, helper shelves (corner or straight) can be purchased separately to give you a raised second shelf and avoid the inconvenience digging out items on the bottom of a stack (ie bowls on top of dishes).

Sink cabinets can be a challenge because of all the plumbing that goes on in there. Since you need to keep that access clear, you might like the Rev-A-Shelf under sink organizer. It does wonders to tidy the area under your sink, or you might try Hafele’s pull-out towel rack.

Add a  Lazy Susan to a corner space, or try the magic corner shown below.

Use the walls or backsplashes for added storage by mounting a rail system like Alessi’s kitchen utensil rail set (photo below is from our Allmilmo cabinetry line).

Design extra storage space into your kitchen island. This is where a good kitchen designer is key. There is plenty of space for specialty cabinetry around and under your kitchen island.

A peg drawer  system allows you to organize dishes, bowls and plates of different sizes into deep drawers. Here is a peg drawer system from Rev-A-Shelf.  The photo below is from our Wood-Mode line.


Adequate storage is not so much about having “MORE” storage; it is about having efficient storage where everything has a home in a very specific place. No more shoving things in the nearest open cranny.

Inspired to start organizing yet?



Posted by GKelly in How Tos, Kitchen Planning, Kitchen Organizing, Kitchen Accessories |   Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly, Inc. Showroom: 26 Hillside Avenue, Williston Park, NY 516-746-3435 

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