Ask the Experts

Q: “My Deep Kitchen Cabinets Are a Terrible Abyss.”

Organized kitchen cabinets unlock home order and happiness. Begin by installing pull-out shelves shaped like baskets that make all items accessible. Group items by use, not size. And more advice for rethinking your kitchen.

Q: “Our kitchen cabinets are just awful because I can’t see anything in them. They’re set up like a pantry closet that is really tall and the shelves are super deep. We refer to them as the abyss because EVERYTHING gets lost in them. I don’t remember what I have or what I’ve purchased. The whole kitchen is a mess, but I feel if I can get this figured out and organized, then everything else will flow from there. Any suggestions?” – DeepCabinets

Hi DeepCabinets:

I like your thinking! Find one aspect of your kitchen to fix (your cabinets) and the rest of the room should flow from there. And I have an easy answer.

Invest in sliding pantry shelves or baskets. They are inexpensive, easy to install, and simple to use. The most important feature is pullout shelves shaped like baskets. You want the shelves to have a lip so that items don’t spill out the front or sides.

What truly makes them special is that you can see what you own. Those items that are lost in the back of the cabinets will now be front and center. And when you see what you own, you save money by cutting down on unnecessary, duplicate purchasing. You also save precious time. No more hunting down items you can’t find.

[Get This Download: 10 Ways to Get Organized This Weekend]

And, since you asked, here are a few more tips to maximize your cabinet space:

1. When organizing your cabinets, group like with like. For example, place all your baking supplies together, your spices on one shelf, pastas and rice on another. By grouping items that you use together; you’ll instantly know what you own.

2. Keep items you use more regularly in your prime real estate. This means the cabinet space between your shoulder and knees. Items that are bulky or not used regularly can be placed out of the way on high shelves.

3. Place wire shelf-expanders on cabinet shelves to double your storage capacity. Use graduated risers (like mini-steps or stairs) on shelves to hold spices and canned goods.

4. Hang door-mounted racks on the inside of cabinet doors to maximize storage space. This is a great technique for freeing up counter space.

[Read: Why Do None of Our Organization Systems “Stick?”]

5. Install sliding baskets under a deep shelf to store hard-to-reach items. This makes those back-of-cabinet items instantly accessible.

6. Use Lazy Susans and plastic turntables in deep or corner cabinets. They instantly bring the back of the shelf to the front, giving you access to everything right at your fingertips.

For more tips and tools, check out our website.

Have fun and happy organizing.

Organized Kitchen Cabinets: Next Steps

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