Improving Kitchen-Cabinet Storage
Roll-out storage boosts capacity and utility.
Synopsis: Photos and exploded drawings walk readers through three projects: a specialty drawer for pots and lids, a slide-out trash-can holder, and a roll-out pantry. A sidebar in the PDF below offers two tips for organizing kitchen drawers.
The shelves in kitchen cabinets break a fundamental design rule (at least the lower cabinets, anyway): A storage space shouldn’t be much deeper than the height of the space above it. Headroom in a base cabinet with one shelf is typically less than 11 in. but twice as deep. The result is pans hidden behind pots, a colander that hasn’t been seen since 1999, and sore knees.
Over the 25 years that I’ve been a cabinetmaker, I’ve devised many ways to resolve the cabinet conundrum. You can improve base cabinets tremendously by adding roll-out shelves, but why stop there?
Base-cabinet drawers can be improved as well. Full-extension hardware maximizes utility, and dedicated inserts can send the convenience of drawers off the charts. A spice rack, a pot-lid drawer, a roll-out wastebasket, and even a pull out under cabinet pantry are all simple to build. Dovetail joinery isn’t necessary. Polyurethane glue, screws, and nails make strong joints, and they’ll look fine if you’re the slightest bit conscientious about hiding fasteners.
You can single-handedly grab the pot lid you need
In use, my pot-lid holder looks like giant louvers with metal and glass Frisbees stuck in them. The louvers are set perpendicular to the drawer front and can slide into an existing drawer or into a newly assembled one. The drawer side becomes the final louver once you drop the assembly into place. This adjustable design (which uses no glue, only screws) allows three rows of lids and space alongside for pots and pans. The louver assembly can be removed for easy cleaning.
Roll-out wastebasket drawer
Undersink space is fertile territory for improvement. The disposal, drainpipes, and trap conspire to destroy almost all hope of organized storage. But you can help these lost cubic feet achieve their full potential with a bottom-mounted roll-out wastebasket drawer. A wastebasket drawer makes use of the tall space in front of the plumbing and the low space under the sink trap to the rear of the cabinet box.
The challenge with this retrofit is mounting the hardware. Sink bases are typically wide, frequently with a center divider. One solution is expensive drawer hardware that mounts to the floor of the cabinet. My solution is a self-contained unit made of plywood and 1x3s, which holds the standard drawer hardware and drops into the base cabinet after assembly.
To keep it simple, I screw the cabinet door to the face of the wastebasket drawer. Let the door hang 1 /8 in. below the top of the toe kick. You can now pull it out with your foot when you’re elbow-deep in juicy tomatoes.
For more photos and details on kitchen cabinet storage, click the View PDF button below.