How to Create More Kitchen Counter Space
You know those glossy magazine spreads that show kitchens with enough counter space to land a 747? If you’re like the vast majority of folks, you don’t have that kitchen. You’re struggling to prepare meals on a counter the size of a TV tray and storing spices in your medicine cabinet. Don’t despair. With these tips, you can create more counter space in even the tiniest kitchen.
The cheapest, simplest way to find more kitchen counter space is to get rid of clutter. Organizing expert Stacey Platt says, “Counter top real estate is a hot commodity and should be reserved for items used frequently, if not daily.”
Good advice. So your first step is to take a long, hard look at what’s sitting on your counter and remove anything that doesn’t fit that description (hint: the collection of kissing salt-and-pepper shakers can probably go elsewhere). Follow the time-tested triage decluttering method and sort those items into one of three piles: keep, trash, and donate. You can also always opt to put seldom-used items such as the good china, silverware, crystal and holiday-themed tableware in a self storage unit, where you can easily access it when you need it and keep it safe when you don’t.
Storing the Keepers
Okay, that was the easy part. Now you’ve got to get creative and figure out where to put the “keepers” so you can get to them easily when you need them. The solutions will fall into one of two categories: free/cheap or an investment but well worth it.
Free & Cheap Storage
Some excellent free advice comes from Rita Morgan, owner of the website NotJustTheKitchen.com. “Limit the uses of your kitchen,” Rita says. “A kitchen is the place where you cook. Sometimes it may even be the place where you eat. But if you also include it as a place where you pay your bills, do your homework… and set up an office, it can get very crowded very quickly.” So if you don’t use it to cook or eat, clear it out.
Those cabinets builders insist on putting over the refrigerator – the ones you need a step ladder to reach – they’re perfect for seldom-used appliances like your combo hot dog grill and bun warmer. The only risk is that you’ll forget you own the item, maybe even leave it behind when you move out.
Vertical space is free. It’s just sitting there. Use it. Put up hooks or shelves and you’ve just created extra storage for canned and packaged goods, canisters or dishware. Sturdier shelves can be wall-mounted to hold your microwave or toaster, and don’t forget to screw some cup hooks underneath those shelves for hanging coffee mugs. Hang a metal bar an inch out from the wall behind your stove and use it to store pot lids. Install hooks on it and hang pans and cooking utensils.
Things You Can Buy
If you want to spend a little money (or a lot of money) there is no end to the amazing amount of clever storage solutions out there today that will free up precious counter space.
Instead of refrigerator magnets, buy a magnetic towel bar for your refrigerator door. Some models include small trays for holding gadgets and hooks for hanging pot holders, too. A bit pricier, but another great tool is a refrigerator side shelf that hooks over the top of the fridge to hold small jars, like the one featured on ApartmentTherapy.com . The same source also says you can create space where none exists with solutions that include a folding island kitchen and hinged shelves that fold down when not in use.
Houzz.com offers 17 clever solutions for tiny kitchens including:
• Knife blocks mounted to the wall
• Pot racks hung from the ceiling
• Replacing full-size appliances with smaller versions. For example, a two-burner stove top and oven instead of a four-burner.
• Furniture that does double-duty such as storage benches instead of chairs for the kitchen table
Clutter-free kitchen counters may not turn you into a better cook, but at least you’ll have more room for making PB&J sandwiches.