Kitchen Storage Improvements: Do This at Home!

Today we’re showing you how to maximize kitchen storage.

But first, a big thank you to everyone that supported our Amara Blog Award nomination as the Best DIY & Home Improvement Blog! Birdz of a Feather has been shortlisted!!

Our Improved Forever Kitchen

With any kitchen reno, there are some ‘must haves’ if you plan to stay long term – but storage is a biggie! In our last post, our kitchen was renovated with the intent of putting our house on the market. After deciding to stay, and living with the kitchen for a while, we got to work changing a few things to make it more liveable for us. Our kitchen is fairly small so storage is key.  Our improved ‘forever’ kitchen was accomplished with three key features: better storage (pullouts and pot drawers), electrical placement and lighting. Electrical placement and lighting will be covered in a future post.

Maximize Kitchen Storage with Pullouts and Pot Drawers

Pullouts

Standard cabinets with doors are fine for reselling a house, but are not great when you have a lot of stuff to store. Who wants to kneel down and dig around a cupboard that’s so low to the ground? Not us! It’s hard to reach items in the back and a nuisance to move all the things that are stacked on top of the one thing you really need! Pullout shelves not only help organize kitchen items behind closed doors, but put everything within reach!

Since we weren’t sure if we were going to like pullouts as much as the pot drawers we had in our pre-reno kitchen, we only purchased enough to do a test run on the set of cabinets beside the dishwasher (and for the pantry).

Here is one of the pullouts; they’re pretty shallow.

Install Glides

We removed the shelves and installed these drawer glides.

The part circled below fits into a hole in the back of the pullout:

Here’s a closeup of the back of the pullout where it connects:

To install the pullout, the glides get fully extended, then the back goes in first.

The front of the glides then snap into the clips on the underside of the pullout (shown below):

Ensure that the front is properly connected by trying to lift the front. If it stays put, you’re good to go!

Then you can start loading things in.

Verdict on the Pullouts

After testing out the pullouts for a while, we decided that we weren’t fond of using them in the lower cabinets. Things kept getting knocked over because they were too shallow. We also didn’t like having to open things twice: the doors and then the pull-outs. We made the decision to replace the doors on the next set of lower cabinets with pot drawers instead, as you’ll see later.

Having said that, the one place we absolutely loved using pullouts was in the pantry.

The Pantry

Like the first set of lower cabinets, we switched out the shelves for pull-outs. To install them, you have to plan ahead by gathering the items you want to store in the pantry. That’s so you’ll know exactly where to set the height of each pullout. We started by installing the bottom one and placing the items into it, leaving adequate space above the tallest item and marking the approximate height of the next one.

Now, perhaps there’s another way, but I developed a great little trick for installing the rest of the glides. For the next pullout, I inserted shelf pins closest to the height marked and temporarily reinstalled a stationary shelf. Since the shelf was level, I rested the glide hardware right on top of it while I marked the placement so we could drill (shown below). Easy peasy!

We continued in the same fashion until we reached the uppermost pullout.

The pullouts didn’t necessarily give us more storage space, but it sure was a convenience to be able to slide a shelf out to get to our canned goods and appliances at the very back! We would absolutely recommend pullouts for a pantry!

Pot Drawers

For the rest of the lower cabinets, we removed the doors and shelves. Then we installed two pot drawers in each section for a total of four new drawers.

With all the practice on the pullouts, the pot drawers were just as easy to install. They’re really just a deeper box with a drawer face on the front!

Coordinate the Hardware

We replaced the door knobs that were on the old doors with the matching cup handles that were already on the upper drawers. We debated about whether to centre the handles on the drawer additions, but ultimately decided to position them near the top.

The large, deep pot drawers we swapped out are just the ticket for storing pots and pans!

Finally Tons of Storage – Yay!

In the two wide drawers, we were able to store Hubs’ entire collection of Paderno cookware.

And no kitchen would be without a variety of non-stick pots and pans. Can you imagine what a mess this would be if we had to stack ALL OF THIS into a cupboard?

The pot drawers we added to the narrower bank of cupboards are great for storing glassware and a few other utensils.

You really can’t beat pot drawers for being able to easily retrieve items.

Inside the Drawers

Shallow drawers are perfect for storing spices. Don’t forget about drawer organizers for inside the drawers! Although our spice drawer already had an Ikea insert, it still looked disorganized (it suffered from ‘square peg/round hole’ syndrome).

In contrast, I designed and printed spice labels then transferred our spices to the same-sized round jars (again, from Ikea) which made a big difference. The lack of visual clutter really helps and keeps all our spices at our fingertips!

The Transformation

The next three photos will show the transition from before to during and finally after. Sadly, here’s how our kitchen looked before:

Here is the kitchen as were were about to get started on the pot drawers:

Overall, the upgraded kitchen is not only beautiful, but it’s super functional because of the addition of practical storage in the form of pullouts and pot drawers!

Even we didn’t expect the plot twist at the end of our last post – when we decided to stay after our kitchen was specifically renovated to put it on the market. The improvements we made helped solidify our decision to stay!

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12 thoughts on “Kitchen Storage Improvements: Do This at Home!

    • Hi Boleyn! The counters are Karlby from Ikea so readily available if it’s something you’re interested in. You’ll need to use a food grade oil to protect and rejuvenate them every once in a while 🙂

    • We were lucky that the kitchen supplier made a version of the cabinets that had pot drawers. We were able to buy them separately and install them into the existing cabinets since they were already made to fit.

  1. Thanks for sharing, pls let me know all the materials that was used on the first cabinet with pull out drawers, the first narrow cabinet. Thanks

    • Hi Maria, we didn’t build the pullouts from scratch; we were able to purchase them from the distributor of our kitchen as an add on (can’t remember the name). To install, we only really needed a measuring tape, drill and screwdriver.

  2. Oh Sara I’m so happy for you guys. Congrats on being on the shortlist. That’s awesome and well deserved too. And I love the extra storage you’ve created in your kitchen. Ours is in need of a serious makeover too.

    • Thank you Michelle! We’re so happy to have the extra storage. Hubs and I married late in life so we have duplicates of everything – like DIY tools, kitchen tools etc. Neither one of us can get rid of our kitchen stuff so storage is key – lol

  3. I have some roll outs but would love to make my pots and pans cabinet with roll outs. Can you get the hardware for 22 inch cabinets. We got our cabinets years ago at Home Depot. I have a small galley kitchen and everything is roll outs except these two cabinets . Can you tell me where to purchase the hardware . Thank you

    • We get our hardware at Lee Valley (http://www.leevalley.com/us/hardware/page.aspx?p=46576). Not sure if this is the correct hardware for your rollouts, but it looks like they sell 22″ full extension; it’s best to take your drawers in and talk to them in person to make sure you purchase what you need for your application. You should also check with Home Depot to see if they can special order hardware for the cabinets you have – you never know 🙂

  4. Hi! I love your remodel! We are in the midst of redoing our kitchen as well and I love the spice drawer. What size bottle did you use from Ikea and did they come with labels, if not, where did you get them. Thank you!

    • Thanks Jan! I just looked on Ikea and it doesn’t look like they still have the same jars. The ones we have were called Droppar. Their new one probably still fits with the Variera drawer insert since they still sell it, however it looks taller and slimmer. Here’s the link: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60391350/. Re the labels, I bought clear label stock from the stationary store and designed and printed my own labels.

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