2000s Archive

Living Kitchens

Part 5

Originally Published October 2000
A place for everything: You’ve got all the latest gadgets, the perfect recipe, and fresh ingredients. But can you find anything?

The volume of items we pack in our kitchens increases daily, driven by our broadening palates and by airfreight deliveries of everything from achiote seeds to ziti. With each cooking experiment, the number of ingredients and utensils in our cupboards multiplies. Soy sauce inspires a wok; couscous, a couscoussière; sambal, a covey of small dishes, ad infinitum. Surveys suggest that “essential” equipment has more than doubled in the past half century. Trouble is, our kitchens are finite. To maximize storage, begin by assessing what you need. The not-often-used should be stored in a peripheral area. To decide what kind of cabinetry and refrigeration will work best for you, weigh these organizing principles, which apply to both food and equipment.

  • Store frequently used items between hip and eye level—use every centimeter of this prime space.
  • Seek alternatives to classic side-hinged doors for both base and wall cabinets.
  • Opt for drawers whenever possible; fitted with full-extension glides, they open and close effortlessly and you can see into every cranny.
  • Specify fully adjustable shelves and reconfigurable dividers that will meet your evolving needs.
  • Choose shallow shelves, which encourage visibility.
  • Group things near their place of use.
  • Optimize space with carefully conceived and well-positioned storage devices.
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