Drawers over pull outs in Cabinets

gardengirl53March 1, 2010

I've been reading on GW about so many of you who prefer drawers over the slide outs in the bottom cabinets and have been trying to figure out why. I had drawer for my pots and pans in my last house and hated the way I had to lift everything out or cram stuff over to get out a pot that was on the bottom. My pot lids were the same way. What do all of you who love your drawers store in them? I would think you would have the same problem with just about everything. I'm wondering what I'm missing. I personally think the slide outs give you more access to and easier reach to most everything. I know it's a matter obviously of choice but I'm wondering if there is something I'm just not getting. I think the drawers are prettier and wish I did like them more. What are all of you storing in your bottom drawers? Thanks much.

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Why do you think it would be any better w/Roll Out Tray Shelves (ROTS, a.k.a., pullout shelves)? To me, it would be worse...I'd have to worry about things falling off b/c the sides are so low if I was rummaging around looking for something. At least drawer sides would keep things in the drawer...

One of the secrets to any kind of storage is to plan your storage so you don't have to do too much stacking...e.g., a 36" drawer for pots & pans often means no more than one or two items stacked. Sometimes a 4-drawer stack w/shallower drawers for smaller items is better than a 3-drawer w/2 deep shelves & 1 shallow.

Also, instead of stacking lids separately, store them with their associated pot/pan.

If you have been reading, then you know... With drawers, just pull open/push shut.
With ROTS, you have to open one or two doors, pull out the tray, push the tray back in, wait for it to close completely, close one or two doors With drawers, things won't fall off the sides, the drawers' sides are all full height so things are kept corralled.
With ROTS, not only can things fall off and over the shallow sides, but if handles stick out past the sides, they can get caught on the door frame coming out. With drawers, they're not adjustable, but with planning and/or organizers you can do almost anything with/in them
With ROTS, they are adjustable. With drawers, you only have to open them far enough to get what you want
With ROTS, the doors almost always have to be opened all the way to get to even the contents in the front of the ROTS. Personally, I like the look of drawer bases better than all doors...this is a personal preference and has no bearing on functionality one way or the other.

I store just about any type of item you can think of in drawers...utensils, pots/pans, toaster, mixers, food processor, wraps & baggies, foils, extension cords & other electrical-related items, bread, linens, Tupperware, water bottles, mixing bowls, tableware, junk, candles and other misc stuff, cookie cutters/rolling pin/sifter, ... The list goes on!

Regardless of your decision on drawers vs ROTS, get full-extension...it's a must! Soft-close is also nice, but it's a nice to have. Actually, I might consider not getting soft-close for ROTS b/c the slight delay in closing (as the drawer/tray is gently closed) means having to wait to close the door(s).

Here, for example, is my pot drawer:

See the link below for a link to the insides of my cabinet drawers. You will see what I store in drawers.

BTW...the only cabinet I regret getting is my Pet Center cabinet with ROTS...it's a pain and would have been much better if it had been a "trash pullout" type cabinet.

Here is a link that might be useful: Inside Buehl's Cabinet Drawers

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 6:35AM
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I only have three drawers in a stack (one short and two deep).

My drawers have frying pans in the middle drawer and pots in the bottom drawer. None of my pots are stacked so I rest their lids on the pot or invert them if the lid handle is two high to close the drawer (only the case with my large soup pot and steamer). In all my other bottom drawers, I have stacks of dishes or my glass storage containers. I love the drawers. In my previous house we had both drawers and pull outs and when I asked my 6'5" husband which he preferred he said drawers. So we have drawers.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 6:41AM
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gardengirl, I'm so glad you posted this question. I have neither now but wondered what is the difference.

buehl, I think I counted 25 drawers?

Looks like drawers would be the way to go if you have enough of them so you don't have to stack too many items.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 7:10AM
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If you have to stack things in drawers to the point that it's hard to use them, wouldn't any other configuration be just as bad or worse?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 7:42AM
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You have the most organized junk drawer I've ever seen. ;>) Where did you find those baskets?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 9:51AM
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I LOVE my drawers!! I have all drawer base cabinets except for the two sinks and the trash pull-out. To solve the "stacking" problems, just don't have all deep drawers; use a few 4-drawer stacks. Or use dividers so things can be on their sides instead of laying flat. All of my cookware including an 8 qt pressure cooker fit in the drawers under my cooktop and their lids sit right on top of the pots. I just LOVE how easy it is to find stuff in the kitchen now.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 10:31AM
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Buehl (and anyone else):
Thanks for link to your kitchen drawer photos.
I don't see dishes and pegboards or whatever in your drawers. What is your opinion of plates, soup bowls, etc. in lower drawers?
Would like to know about sources of pegboard materials also, from anyone in the know.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 10:58AM
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If you do drawers make sure they have full extensions (the back of the drawer comes all the way to the front of the cabinet when pulled out) . If part of the drawer is still in the cabinet after you pull it out it can make it much harder to use.

If you have a lot of shallow pans like fry pans you might consider putting in vertical divides in the drawer so the pans can be stored on their sides and not stacked. Like others have stated the key is not to stack and nest what you put in drawers.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 11:09AM
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Wow Buehl, thats organization! I'm having a very difficult time lately with the search engine and going back and finding posts I've read previously. I use to be able to go on google as well and look things up but now it says it directs me to the garden web site but then says its unavailable. It was so wonderful to be able to find everything before and very disappointing now. Do you have any pictures of the front of your base drawer cabinets? Sorry to be a pain.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 12:32PM
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I've had both, and had always thought I wanted the cabinet doors, with pull-out shelves behind them. My last "gourmet" kitchen had them...complete with beautiful cherry doors, sturdy wood pull outs...exceptional quality. However, during the nearly 4 years I lived with that kitchen, I found I did NOT like this set up. It was far too easy for things to fall off the sides of the pull outs. Accessing the drawers took 2 free hands, and was more involved than I had expected.

When I remodeled my current kitchen nearly 5 years ago, I specified 100% drawers below my counter tops. And I LOVE them! The drawers are deep and large. I easily access pots, pans and their lids in a single, large drawer --- and I have a lot of pots and pans. But they nest together so easily, and are so easy to pick up and put away. In another large drawer I store my many skillets and lids. Again, easy, easy access.

You couldn't pay me to go back to my former kitchen, or to any kitchen that doesn't have all drawers under the counter top. It makes for easy access, great organization, and superb storage.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 2:19PM
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DebraK_2008...22 drawers, 2 ROTS, 1 trash pullout, two 6" pullouts (flanking my cooktop), and 2 sink base cabinets. Add the DW, MW Drawer, and Warming Drawer and you have all my base cabinet storage/use! [The upper/drawer front panels on the sink bases are decorative...not even tilt outs. Tilt outs would have pushed the sinks farther back than they already are and I did not want that. Plus, at the time most people were saying they didn't use them b/c they were difficult to keep clean and got grungy pretty quickly.]

WarmFridge...I think we got the little baskets at either Walmart or Target. It's possible I got them at Bed, Bath, & Beyond (BB&B), but I don't think so. As I recall, they came as a set. Most of them I used in the "Junk Drawer", but I put one of them in the "Extension Cord" drawer.

If you look in my cooking utensil drawer under my cooktop, I used a "junk drawer" divider b/c it had a section contoured for scissors! It also had several different sized sections from small to large that were more useful than the standard utensil dividers (all long rectangles).

Florantha...we're a tall family (ranging from 5'10" to 6'5" and still growing!) so dishes & glasses in drawers wouldn't work for us. I did suggest dishes to my DH and we did a trial run with them, but we both preferred the upper cabinets b/c all except the top shelf in the 36" cabinets are pretty easily reached by all of us.

I've linked to my Photobucket album where I have various pictures...from Before, to overall after, to details of cabinets & how things were done:

2008-2009 Remodel -> Kitchen ->
# 10 Before Kitchen
# 15 Inspiration
# 20 Designs
# 30 Demo
# 40 Construction
# 50 After Kitchen
# 60 Pantry
# 70 Appliances
# 80 Components
# 90 Electrical
# 100 Cabinet Insides
# 110 Drawer Insides
# 120 Cabinet Closeups
# 130 Counter Closeups
# 200 Sinks and Faucets At Work
# 210 Story of a Soffit Removal (includes a slideshow)
# 220 How to Build In a Refrigerator (includes a slideshow)
# 300 Installing a Counter-Height Window
# 999 Miscellaneous
# ZZZ Full Sizes Overview

Here is a link that might be useful: Buehl's Various Kitchen Pictures

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 3:26PM
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Had pullouts with doors in the old set-up - hated them. Now, in my very small kitchen, I have 3 sets of drawers - only 15" cabinets, but they work very well. One stack is for baking stuff: bottom drawer, using dividers, has large mixing bowls at front, small at back, plus measuring jugs.
One stack is pans: bottom drawer has colanders, pestle & mortar, another measuring jug. Third stack has canisters in the middle, bottom drawer is frying pans and my wok.

I can grab a single drawer and get what I want with one hand, and because the stacks are narrow, I don't have to 'move' anyone out of the way either.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 4:12PM
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First, consider what you need to store. We opted to have mostly deep drawers, but did two 15" cabinets with pull-outs. Why? Because the KA stand mixer and the cat food bin needed places to live, and they were too tall to fit in a deep drawer -- the pull-out behind a door gives you the option of customizing the heights inside.Ours are IKEA, so rather than a door that opens, the whole drawer front pulls out, attached to the bottom drawer, with pull-out drawers inside above that).

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 9:22PM
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Just wanted to let you know you're not the only one who is not a huge drawer fan. We had them replace some basic cabinets in a previous kitchen remodel, particulary for pots and pans. It wasn't a huge kitchen, so fitting all the pots and pans in the drawers was like working a puzzle. (I have a jumble of stuff -- some newer, some heirlooms (i.e. hand-me-downs) from my grandmother).
I also had a set of ROTS, and I didn't like them that much either-- felt like they wasted a lot of space.
Soooooo. This time (different house, bigger kitchen) I'm just getting the basic cabinets for pots and pans and appliances, etc. Stuff I don't use much gets pushed to the back, and is there when I need to dig it out, and the stuff I do use frequently is within easy enough reach, and if it gets a bit messy, at least the doors close. I'll have one drawer stack for silverware, tools, baggies and wraps/foil, and then several drawers above the basic cabs for knives, potholders, dishtowels, and junk. I think that will be plenty. FWIW.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 10:10PM
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Pots/pans and lids do work best in a large wide drawer.

Easiest is if you have a cooktop. Under our 36" cooktop I have a 36" wide shallow drawer to hold all our lids. Below that is a 36" wide drawer to hold the pot and pans.

Both are on over-extension slides, so the back of the drawer actually clears the cabinet front by a couple of inches when it's fully opened.

Access is easy, no frustration.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 10:27PM
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What's the difference between a drawer and a pullout? Very little! Those people who have stuff falling off thier pullout shelves, just bought cheap pullouts. (cheap no mater how much they paid!). My pullouts have full extension undermount slides, 5/8" maple sides,9" high, dovetail construction, and 1/2" maple plywood bottom. They look exactly like my drawers (a little sturdier and better constructed) except they don't have a finished drawer front screwed onto them.

The major difference is that I have to open two doors fully and then pull out the shelf/drawer. with drawers I only have to pull out the drawer/shelf. The minor diferences is I gain a little bit (~2")of vertical clearance with the pullouts because they are mounted to the sides and I don't have a shelf or the horizontal frame between drawers. The pullout heigth can be adjusted although not easiily. (I've never had ocasion to adjust mine.)

If I had it to do over, I would go with drawers wherever possible.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 11:44PM
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with either you'll be pulling something out... with drawers you skip the opening and closing of 2 doors. i'm having all drawers except the sink cab.

some drawer options (all gw drawers I think):

my favorite

another option -

option for lid storage on the shallow pullout part. or shallow glass baking dishes. or skillets. or some combo of them.

option to put dividers in front to back for lid storage -
or in a deeper drawer for skillet slots.

option to put a divider in across the width of a drawer for lid storage -

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 12:55AM
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WarmFridge - I recently got some baskets like that at walmart. $1 a basket. they had some that were several bound together for 4-5.00. i got a few for the drawers in my n ight stand for pens, scissors, nail file/clippers, batteries for my flashlight etc

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 1:08AM
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Regarding pot/pan lid storage...I find storing the lid with the pot or pan it's associated with much more useful than storing it separately. I just take the pot/pan w/lid out together...no having to search for the right lid. YMMV.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 2:25AM
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I love my drawers. I don't stack things in them, except same things. For example off not stacking see below - I keep all my bowls - little custard ones we use for icecream, cereal, small serving, etc. in a drawer which I don't have time to take a pic of right now. Love the drawers.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 6:03AM
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lisalists -
We've got IKEA cabs, too. I had originally bought the Rationell dividers, then took them back before installing them. But your baking drawer is what I really need to do in our kitchen -- otherwise I'm always having to dig the big pyrex dishes out from under the small ones (just like when they were stuck in the old cavernous cabinets).

Consider yourself an inspiration.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 6:54AM
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This thread is completely changing my thinking on drawers vs doors w/ pull outs. My planner originally opted to the pull outs...BUT...I like what I am seeing as storing possibilities for drawers, and we are still tweeking the plans.


I have a collection of cast iron skillets ranging from itty bitty to quite large. What are good solutions for storing them in drawers? Any ideas? Pics?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 8:48AM
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For cast iron skillets you might consider Ccoombs1's suggestion of storing them on their sides. Install dividers inside the drawers to fit each skillet so the spacing is "custom".

Similar to LisasLists2000, only run the dividers front-to-back instead of side-to-side.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 9:01AM
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DRAWERS - everywhere. I only wish that I had added more in my pantry. At first I thought space would be wasted, but it isn't. The functionality and time saved using drawers cannot be over emphasized.

I will say that when I moved back into my kitchen I re-evaluated what I actually needed as far as cookware and dishes were concerned. I switched to induction so I had to get rid of a few of my pots anyway. I purged pans/pots/ bakeware/and tupperware. I was ruthless and kept only the best, most used pieces. It has made a world of difference with my organization and TIME. No longer do I have to sort through kitchenware to find what I want. Everything is visiable and within reach.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 2:41PM
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Lisa! You've inspired me too! Could you tell me how wide and how deep that drawer is where you have your cake and meatloaf pans? I LOVE that!!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 4:11PM
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I, too, did all drawers with exception of under sinks. I love it. I put all of my dishes and platters in them as well. At 5'2" only the first shelf in my upper cabs are of any use to me. Hubby is 6'4" but does no cooking so it doesn't matter to him.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 7:26PM
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I agree a combination of drawers and cabinets are nice...too many drawers and the kitchen looks like a science lab! A friend of mine redid her island and put in two 36" three drawer bank - it looks like a bedroom dresser!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 4:34PM
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I am going to start a new thread with this topic.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 9:34AM
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Drawers look more like "fine furniture" and give a feeling of "higher end", while cabinet doors look like generic, low-end kitchen cabinets...sorry, but that's my personal opinion!

BTW...I'm curious what labs have you seen that have all drawers? All the labs I've been in (hospital, blood, research) have been mostly cabinets w/stationary shelves (often open shelves), not even roll out trays...with only a few drawers, mainly the ones above the doors.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 4:45PM
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>>A friend of mine redid her island and put in two 36" three drawer bank - it looks like a bedroom dresser!

You'd probably say the same about my antique sideboard that's in my kitchen now. This is bad WHY????

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 11:10PM
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