Kitchen Storage: It’s About Flexibility

by Susan Serra, CKD

Today our Kitchen Design Expert and Contributor, Susan Serra, CKD tackles a popular issue — how to organize our kitchen “stuff”. Known to many as “The Kitchen Designer” for her popular blog, Susan is an award-winning Certified Kitchen Designer, with a national clientele.

How much storage do you need in your kitchen? It’s a loaded question! The key word is “need” and that is the challenge, and the critical mission as well…to truly, and objectively, determine one’s kitchen storage needs. It is an issue that I challenge my clients at the start of every project. Whether renovating a kitchen or just rethinking the distribution of “stuff” in our kitchens, it’s a good idea to start with a new perspective on that word “need”!

There are certainly several ways to approach the organization of storage. Some people like the idea of everything in the kitchen having a home. While I think that’s admirable, my professional opinion is that it may sound good and look good on paper, but it may be a better idea to have some allocated storage that can be useful for disparate kitchen items, just in case, once in the new kitchen, what one thought might be a perfect place for the bowls…isn’t. Therefore, I do recommend a mix of storage…some for specific uses and storage for general use.

Spice Drawer Insert from Rev-a-Shelf

Some of my sources for specialized kitchen storage are: Rev-A-Shelf, Knape & Vogt, Hafele, even The Container Store and Kitchen Source. Beyond these sources, I will also specify custom storage solutions for my clients’ kitchens….whatever can be imagined is usually possible to be built by a good cabinet factory.

Wood Drawer Organizer Insert with Utensils from Hafele

Following are some favorite storage aids.

One of my favorite simple storage aids is to have removable dividers installed into top drawers. Sometimes one may wish to use a wider storage area in one section of a drawer than another. Therefore, it is useful to have the flexibility to remove a divider or two very easily. Storing dishes in drawers is ergonomically desirable over reaching high to gather heavy dishes.

Drawer Peg System from Rev-a-Shelf

I also love the idea of a liner for drawers. Storage is becoming more flexible. Store glasses in a drawer with a liner on the bottom? Sure…the liner will prevent your glasses from moving as the drawer closes and offers an alternative storage solution.

Easy Liner from The Container Store

I’ve also used the kidney shaped lazy susan shelves as well, which maximize storage in an otherwise tricky position.

Kidney-Shaped Lazy Susan from Hafele

Today’s kitchens are increasingly personalized in all aspects – aesthetically, functionally, and that means that the details of your personalized storage solutions might just set you free – free to work with uber efficiency. That said, you do not need to be pressured to have a home for every single object or category of kitchen item. Too much pressure!

Leave some storage open for interpretation once you “move into” or reconfigure your kitchen. In some cases, such as measuring spoons or cups, it may be wise to have doubles in multiple locations. I strongly advocate living in a flexible way, and that includes designing storage, in some cases, to serve several purposes. Store away!

the kitchen designerSusan Serra is a CKD (Certified Kitchen Designer), an award winning designer and the principal of Susan Serra Associates, Inc., for nearly 20 years.

Susan’s design work is widely published in online and print shelter publications and she is a frequent source for the media on kitchen design issues.

Susan’s blog “The Kitchen Designer” is the most read blog authored by a professional kitchen designer.



How’s the storage in your kitchen? What cabinet or drawer needs a bit of help? Are there things you don’t “need,” that take up valuable space?

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4 Comments for “Kitchen Storage: It’s About Flexibility”

Love the peg drawers. They fit in so well with universal design. Easy access for handicapped.

Wow! Some great ideas. We all need to edit. I love the cut-out insert for all the kitchen tools. Of course, if I had them the challenge would still be getting those people I live with to actually put the things away that they use.

Really good point, Cyra. I love the flexibility to adapt to future purchases as well.

Thanks for coming by,

I want those kitchen tools too! And you aren’t the only one who needs help from those “roommates” putting stuff away, Nancy.

Thanks for the visit,

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