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Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
^ ^ 'DOI
In your kitchen reduce the "chorage" by improving facilities for storage
University of Florida
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
5 Keys to Good Storage
THESE FIVE KEYS can open the way to better use of the storage
areas you now have.
0 and SORT
Weed out and sort items. Discard, or store in some
other place, the seldom-used and duplicate items. There
is a tendency to accumulate articles and regular sorting
will help release space for the most important supplies.
Store most-used items within easy reach. Make use
of storage space between eye and hip level first as this
is the easiest to reach. Store heavy and awkward things
at waist level or below.
Stack like articles only. For example, plates the same
size may be stacked. Do not put small plates on larger
ones or bowls on top of pie pans or you'll have to
shuffle the whole stack to get the one on the bottom.
Place only like articles one behind the other.
Store at point of first use. Utensils and foods used
together should be stored together rather than rattling
around in several cabinets. It is logical to store the
coffee maker near the sink where it is first filled with
water. But the coffee, a measuring spoon and measuring
cup should be stored in this area also.
Plan for duplicates of items which are frequently
used in two places. For example, store flour near the
range and also at your mixing center. Keep some sea-
sonings near the range and duplicates with your foods
used in baking.
Plan space to fit the item. Store supplies so that
they are easy to grasp. Small food packages should be
on narrow shelves, one row deep, not one behind the
other. Small items such as measuring spoons may be
hung, knives should be stored to protect their cutting
edge-and your fingers.
O LIKE items
at point of f <
0 SPACE to fit
Group Supplies into Work Areas
To HELP YOU in storing utensils and supplies conveniently think
of your kitchen as three work centers. Although the work in these
centers overlaps, the following check lists will help you place items
where you use them most often.
The Mixing Center includes the refrigerator, cabi-
net storage, and work counters.
Utensils stored here: bowls, mixer, egg beater, knives
and spatulas, measuring cups and spoons, casseroles,
baking pans, flour sifter, rolling pin.
Supplies stored here: flour, baking powder, cooking
fats, seasonings, sugar, chocolate, cornstarch, prepared
mixes, nut meats, gelatin.
Cooking and Serving
The Cooking and Serving Center-centered
around the range-includes storage areas and counters.
Utensils stored here: bread box, serving dishes, platters,
cooking forks, fry pans, knives, spatulas, measuring
cup and spoons, pot lids, teakettle, tea pot, cooling
racks, griddle, meat slicing board, pressure cooker,
Supplies stored here: breakfast cereals (uncooked),
flour, seasonings, pot holders, vegetable fat.
The Cleanup Center includes the sink, counters,
Utensils stored here: coffee maker, cutting board for
vegetables, towel racks, dish pan, garbage container,
knives, sauce pans, shears, sink strainer, waste basket,
can opener, colander.
Supplies stored here: brushes, cleansers, dish towels,
paper towels, scouring pads, soap or detergent, every-
Note: Duplicates of items are indicated in some
work centers for convenience.
Shelves Too Far Apart
IT IS SAFE TO SAY that the majority of kitchen cabinets have
shelves so far apart that several inches of space are wasted. You can
correct this easily and inexpensively even if you live in a rented house
Step shelves are built on legs and are not at-
tached to the cabinet. They are usually narrow, about
half the width of the cabinet or planned according to the
size of articles to be stored. If the shelf is made shorter
than the length of the cabinet, space can be allowed for
storage of a tall pitcher or other tall item in the same
area with dishes and glassware.
j -v =?7-
One step shelf may be placed on another in some
cabinets where height permits. The top shelf is usually
narrower so that articles below are easily removed.
ADD PERMANENT SHELVES
Shelves (usually half the width of existing shelves) may be added
by one of the following methods.
Metal stripping is used when dividing large stor-
age areas. It is sturdy, dependable and more expensive
than other methods. Stripping makes adjustment of
Cleats of wood attached to sides of storage area
will support shelves. Shelf positions may be changed by
adding cleats. This method requires strong side sup-
ports for storage area.
Metal brackets or sections of doweling may be
inserted into parallel holes drilled into sides of storage
area. A series of holes drilled one to two inches apart
make it possible to change position of shelves. This is
an inexpensive means of providing adjustable shelves.
ADD ACCESSORIES YOU CAN BUY
These portable storage conveniences are available in hardware or
department stores and mail order houses.
Plate rack. Available in different sizes and colors,
these racks hold plates, bowls, pans, or lids in vertical
position on the shelf.
Rack stores dishes of various types. Can be lifted
out to carry dishes to table.
Step shelf. Metal step shelves can be inserted in
cabinet, used for dishes or foods.
Spice rack. Fasten to door of cabinet in high
enough position to clear other items stored on shelf
inside. Some racks hold a double row of spices.
Shelves Too High or Too Low
IN HARD-TO-REACH SPOTS, store seldom used items, if possible.
The alternate possibility is to equip these storage areas with devices
which make utensils and supplies easy to grasp.
ADD VERTICAL DIVIDERS
File type storage is very efficient and satisfactory for storing odd-shaped equip-
ment in high or low places. Vertical dividers provide clear visibility and quick
Built-in dividers with permanent or removable panels can be built to
fit any shelf. The panels or dividers should be spaced to fit objects, such
as: shallow bowls, baking utensils, lids, platters or trays. Plywood, pressed
wood or metal may be used.
Portable dividers are made by building a box-like section to fit be-
tween permanent shelves. This structure can be easily moved for use
elsewhere. In addition, portable dividers need not be the height of the
permanent shelves, allowing room for a flat article to rest on top.
To support dividers. When dividers are attached to fixed shelves,
cleats of plywood, wood stripping, quarter round or eyelet screws are used
to hold dividers in place.
Grooving is often used to support dividers in new construction. Some
methods of supporting shelves are shown below.
Plywood Stripping Quarter Round Screw Grooves
of Wood Eyes
To Use Space Under the Sink
SPACE UNDER THE SINK is often wasted because of the location
of water pipes. Here are some suggestions for ways to make this area
Towel bars. Extension towel bars may be attached
to the side of the cabinet, or a stationary rod may be
fastened to the inside of the door.
Rack for cleansers. A rack may be made from
wood and attached to the inside of the door. Plastic
and metal racks of this type can also be purchased.
Some have a rod for hanging a dishcloth also.
Waste can or basket. This can be attached to
door. Make certain it will clear the sides of the opening
when door swings shut.
Vegetable bins. Stackable plastic bins for potatoes
and onions are now available, or you can make wooden
bins but be sure to allow for ventilation.
Step shelves. One or more wooden step shelves
may be fitted around the pipes to give storage for
cleansers, empty bottles, tool kit, etc.
Vertical dividers. Portable vertical dividers can be
used here also for drain racks, wash basins, and flat
To Use All Space in Deep Cabinets
You NEED SOME DEEP STORAGE but often base cabinets 24 inches
deep provide more depth than you need in proportion to the size of
On deep shelves keep large items such as large kettles, Dutch
oven, long handled pans (with handle extending outward) because
these will probably not allow room for others to get lost behind them.
To use the rest of the deep space, consider these devices.
Particularly good in the lower areas, the sliding
shelf brings all items out where you can see them and
conveniently remove them. A guard may be used to
keep articles from sliding off the back and sides of
the tray. Two or more sliding shelves may be used
in a base cabinet.
Deep cabinets may be equipped with several sliding
sheets of plywood supported by metal stripping or
cleats. Storage of linens in this manner is convenient.
Shelf for Electric Mixer
Electric mixer may be stored on a shelf which pulls
out and upward when ready for use. Hardware for this
type of shelf is available through many lumber com-
panies. The center shelf of an existing cabinet would
need to be removed before making this installation.
Sections of base cabinets may be used for tray and
platter storage by adding vertical dividers. If high
enough some flat electric appliances such as fry pan
may be stored here also with the handle pointed toward
the door. For extra large trays, the center shelf of
the cabinet would need to be removed before installing
dividers. (See page 6 for method of supporting
Center shelf of deep cabinet may be removed and
extension rod with pothooks attached to top part of
cabinet. This device is now available in many stores for
Shelves can be added to the doors. Be certain they
are well supported and have guards to prevent sup-
plies from falling off. Center shelf will not need to be
removed if door shelves are carefully spaced.
To Keep Drawers Orderly
DRAWERS EASILY BECOME JUMBLED unless dividers are made suit-
able for the small articles stored.
To make a pattern for drawer dividers, fit a piece of paper in the
bottom of the drawer, arrange items on the paper. Mark space needed
for each item or group allowing Y4 inch for the thickness of the
divider. Remove paper and draw dividing lines.
Heavy corregated cardboard dividers may be used for a few
weeks to try out your plan before making permanent dividers. Cut
slits (about I inch wide) half of the height of the divider. Fit
dividers together by matching slits as shown in picture. Allow one
inch or more space above the divider for clearance when closing
Large drawers may need a number of partitions
patterned to fit the articles stored. Plan to keep little
used equipment in the rear sections.
Removable trays of plastic or wood can be bought
for storage of cutlery and silver. Place tray in drawer
so that handles of articles stored are toward the front
for easy grasping. Any remaining space left in the
drawer may be used for larger items.
A wooden block with slots for knives may be glued
or nailed to the bottom of a drawer. Allow 4j to 5
inches for storage of three knives, depending on the
thickness of handles. Proper knife storage helps keep
cutting edges sharp and also protects fingers.
To Divide a Deep Drawer
DEEP DRAWERS have a number of uses if they are located in the
right work areas. Some are equipped with metal liners for storing
bread. Some large bowls or pressure cookers may be stored in deep
drawers without wasting space.
Make a deep drawer more usable for small items
or linens by fitting it with a sliding tray. This helps
avoid stacking unlike items. The tray may slide from
side to side or front to back but should not cover more
than half the top of the drawer.
Fit in sheet metal containers with hinged lift-up
covers to serve as canisters for flour and sugar. If
drawer is large you may use three compartments and
store brown sugar, graham flour, or some food which
is less often used in the back. Make certain drawer will
slide freely with the weight of the contents.
Deep drawers may be made into pan files by adding
removable dividers. Store pie, cake, and bread pans,
muffin tins, cake cooling racks, platters, trays, and other
The partitions may run parallel or perpendicular to
the drawer front depending on the width of the drawer
and size of equipment to be stored.
MORE TIPS FOR DRAWER USE
Wax the glides of wooden drawers so that they will pull out
If several kinds of placemats are to be stored in the same
drawer, place each kind on a sheet of cardboard cut to fit. Then the
entire set can be lifted out without wrinkling to get to the one below.
The back of a drawer should be 3/4 inch higher than the sides
to prevent it from pulling all the way out when in use.
How to Use Pegboard
PEGBOARD may be used in a variety of ways for hanging uten-
sils or shelves. Allow about Y4 inch of free space behind it for the
inserted "pegs." Wood strips attached to the back of the pegboard
will be satisfactory. Another way is to hang the pegboard with picture
hooks and picture wire. Many different types of hardware or pegs are
available for supporting a variety of tools and utensils.
) (Above Counter Space
.If you have unused wall area over the range or
Elsewhere in the room, cut a piece of pegboard large
IBI enough to hold the utensils you wish to hang here.
I . Board may be painted any color to go with decor of
Near Mixing Center
Mount pegboard on wall between wall and base
cabinets and use hooks to hold rolling pin, measuring
cups, measuring spoons.
Hang pegboard over a desk for use as a bulletin
On Closet Door
Line the inside of a closet, pantry or cabinet door.
Insert the proper hardware for shelf supports and
A large section of pegboard behind a door is handy
for hanging jackets, repair tools, etc.
How to Hang Equipment
ARTICLES WHICH ARE USED OFTEN may be hung in the open with-
out collecting dust.
Plastic, glass, metal and wooden rods may be used to hang
towels and other cloths. Towel rings of plastic, glass and metal are
also available. Some of these may be attached with adhesive, others 0
with screws or nails.
Wooden knife racks may be made or bought and hung on the
wall above the work counter. A device which holds several knives by
magnetic attraction is also available for wall mounting.
Hooks for Small Articles
Small hooks of this type may be used to hang measuring cups,
a dust pan or other light weight equipment. Some hooks made of
plastic have adhesive backing for easy attachment to tile, metal, wood
Large hooks such as these may be fastened to a door, wall or
side of cabinet. Similar hooks are also available for use in pegboard.
Broom and Mop Clamps
Clamps similar to this picture screw into the wall, door or side
a broom cabinet. Any handle tools, brushes, mops, brooms may
Cabinet Doors for Convenient Storage
You CAN INCREASE your finger tip storage by making use of the
interior of cabinet door.
A rack for a cookbook consists of a shelf 1 to 2
inches wide on which the book rests. A strip of elastic
near the top of the book holds it in place whether open
or closed. When the wall cabinet door is open the open
book is at eye level for quick reference.
Door shelves or racks can be used for small food
packages. Do not store heavy articles such as canned
goods here as the door hinges may not be strong enough
to prevent sagging. Place the rack high enough on the
door to clear packages on shelf inside.
These shelves may be made or bought at a hard-
Hang measuring cups and spoons on the wall
Appliance Instruction Booklets
A flat box may be partially cut away and hung on
the inside of a cabinet door. To make it more attrac-
tive, cover with shelf paper or wallpaper. Store instruc-
tion booklets for appliances you use in the kitchen.
Racks on the inside of a dish cabinet may hold
platters which are too large for a shelf. A practical
depth for the rack is about 3 inches. A narrow wood
or metal guard at the bottom and one or two elastic
strips above will hold the platter in place. For the
largest platters shelves of the cabinet may need to be
cut back about three inches if they come all the way
to the front.
Take a Close Look at Your Kitchen
DOES IT HAVE ANY OF THESE FAULTS?
* Are you wasting space because shelves are too far apart? ................-- ....-- .................. 4- 5
* Do you have trouble reaching high shelves or stooping to low ones ?..................-------- 6
* Is there wasted space under the sink? -...-..----.........................---------.............. 7
* Are cabinets too deep causing some supplies to get lost behind others? .................... 8- 9
* Are cabinet drawers cluttered? ---...............----------------.............................................. 10-12
* Is there unused wall space? -- --.........................--.. --..----------- -..... .......- -........ 12
* Could you increase the storage space by hanging some equipment? .............................. 13
* Could you store some supplies on cabinet doors? ........................................... 14
This circular was prepared by Bernice Strawn, Extension Home Management
and Equipment Specialist, Oregon State University, in consultation with extension
home management specialists at the University of Idaho and Washington State
University. Published cooperatively by the extension services of the Pacific North-
Reprint of Pacific Northwest Cooperative Extension Publication
PWN Bulletin 47
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida, Florida State University and
United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating. M. 0. Watkins, Director.