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Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

Posted by gayle0000 (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 3, 10 at 8:05

Couple months ago I was watching something on TV...probably HGTV or an organizing show...don't remember what.

Someone was saying their extremely cluttered, average sized kitchen just didn't have enough storage & they didn't have places for all the things. In reality, there was plenty of cabinet space and room to move around.

Response back was something to the effect that if you just have the dishes & cookware you need to make meals & cook at home, have the basic food items on hand...what do you need "STORAGE" for, since the room & cabinets were really more than enough space to hold what they used and needed???

What in the world would you STORE in a kitchen besides the necessary cookware, utensils/supplies, and food?

The point was the kitchen is where you cook. You have the basic supplies of cookware, dishes, and food staples you need...some kitchen towels & potholders, supplies necessary for the amount of leftovers you produce. What would you be "Storing"?

Storage means "stored away"...which means an active kitchen is not an appropriate storage room/facility.

I just thought that was interesting & wanted to share. Kind of takes you back to the basics. Makes me think about what I regularly use, how much stockpiling & extras are REALLY necessary compared to actually gets produced out of my kitchen.

Made me realize I have a few things "stored" in valuable kitchen space which I need to move out of the active kitchen and either get rid of or store it in "storage" for when I need it.

It's all about perception.

Gayle


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

I have a number of large cooking vessels (slow cooker, 14" cast iron frying pan, extra-deep spaghetti pot) that require lots of space. I am fortunate to have room for all of them. Then there are large baking pans, the tall 'cake keeper' and 'pie keeper' and similar food storage containers. Also trays, cookie sheets and cupcake pans that demand more space. I make our bread and have a huge stand mixer. I recently remodeled my kitchen and made room for all of these. I did it by taking the cabinets to the ceiling and building in tray storage and other solutions for each of the above. We have no pantry so some infrequently used serving pieces are in the garage.


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

What in the world would you STORE in a kitchen besides the necessary cookware, utensils/supplies, and food?

Define "necessary".

Most kitchen storage problems are because of things being in the wrong place, or because the owner hasn't done a thorough clean-out to get rid of duplicates, expired and broken things.


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

My tiny house has a tiny kitchen. The people who owned it before us had custom built cabinets put in. They go all the way to the ceiling and are very cleverly desinged to make the most of the space on 3 walls. The 4th wall is "blank" and they had a 2 person table there. I had my dad build a free-standing set of "cubbies" based on the design in the book The Cheapskate Gazette.

I love my tiny kitchen! We have everything we need to cook in there, plus the kids' coats and backpack in the cubbies. I have 3 baskets on top of the cubbies: incoming mail, Box Tops and Campbell's Labels collection for their schools, and a MISC catch all basket for tape, sissors, etc.

We store big items in the basement, like crock pots and big pots we don't use very often. The only small appliancese we keep in the kitchen are the coffee maker, mixer and blender. We keep the seldom-used appliances like the mixer in the basement. We also have shelves for our long-term pantry down there.

My mom has a HUGE kitchen. She can store everything I have in my kitchen plus what I have in my basement AND more with room to spare. I just hate cooking things or cleaning up there because I am running all over the place. Everything is so spread out!

So there is beauty in a small kitchen, and haveing the storage in the basement. The storage items don't get in your way and make extra steps for you.


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

"We store big items in the basement, like crock pots and big pots we don't use very often. "

But of course -- with basement storage anybody can live in a tiny house. But we live in an apartment with those stupid overhead cabinets, like a ship's kitche, no pantry. I love my crockpots and they take up plenty of room. Counter space? Forget it.


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

In addition to things like small appliances or large pans/roasters that might not be used everyday but are needed frequently, some of us absolutely detest shopping and aren't very good planners. I buy in bulk (flour, sugar, tea, pasta, etc.) and like to have a very well stocked pantry so that basically if I think of something I want to make, odds are I have the ingredients on hand to make it.

I stock up quarterly or so and then only have to run into the store for a few minutes every couple of weeks to get fresh dairy and produce. Maybe more often if I come across a new recipe that I want to try and I don't normally keep some of those ingredients on hand. Some people I know go grocery shopping every evening to get ingredients for dinner. Others make a meal plan for the week and go once or twice a week. Neither would work for me.

Stocking up does have its downside in that you do need more space. You also need to have some sort of system in place to make sure that items don't expire before they're used. But for some of us it works better than the alternatives.


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

There is such a think as not enough storage space. I once lived somewhere with a kitchen so small that I could not have a salad spinner, for lack of space to store it. That was the first thing I bought when I moved and I use it at least weekly.


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

Yes, there's lots of food for thought in your post. A lot of discussion about kitchen storage on the Kitchen Forum.
Several layers of organization issues--first, de-clutter and focus on what's important (this changes during different stages of life, ages of children)--one person may really get a lot of fun out of using several sets of china; another may like several types of small appliances and really use them--whatever.
Second is, there is the concept of ideal storage vs. what you've got--this also changes with time and I've made some good changes by reminding myself to re-think why I'm keeping this or that in the kitchen, and being flexible enough to move it somewhere else. Then there is thinking outside the box if you have the chance to re-design your space.

Gayle is right about how you might not need a "big" kitchen if you prioritized your storage. For example, what if you had a choice between BIG kitchen, meaning the big-ness was in order to have lots more upper and lower cabinets, all at the high cost of cabinets, plus reaching and bending and the shelves or pullouts for each one, so you could store everything used for food and serving "in the kitchen", vs. for similar or less space, a functional (has to be big enough!)kitchen plus a relatively small,well-lit walk-in or similar closet or pantry adjacent to the kitchen, with inexpensive but well-positioned shelves, where you stored things you used only weekly or less?

So what works is different for everyone, but it is fun to think, what type and location of storage "feels" organized and convenient to you, vs. makes things seem lost or hard to use.


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

(NOTE: cleanway's post is SPAM !!!!! S/he is advertising a Sydney-based company. The article is extremely short and so basic it isn't worth bothering the read.)

By today's standards I don't have a 'big' kitchen, but it is now 40 sq. ft. bigger than the original. I wish, in fact, I'd added another 2' in width, but oh well, one can't have everything.

I do need a lot of storage. I cook a lot, often in large quantities for parties or potlucks, and thus have multiples of many cookware items, plus lots of serving pieces and multiple sets of dishes which I mix and match. Excess staples are downstairs in the laundry room; a full size freezer is hidden in a closet in the DR.

I have 25 linear feet of counter with another 5' in a center island cart. I treasure every inch, LOL!

My favorite story is how I worked at designing my perfect kitchen - this was our first and so far only house. I maxed out every single inch of storage because I have a nice U-shape but only one wall of uppers, due to a bank of picture windows on one leg and a pony wall on the other that opens to the living room.

I was so proud of my final design for about a week. It was going to hold everything I owned. Then I realized I had forgotten the most important thing...food storage!

A double pantry unit, 3' wide, 2' deep, 8' high - was immediately added between the kitchen and DR. Fortunately it all worked beautifully into the overall design, and I hadn't ordered the cabinets yet. Whew!


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

"I do need a lot of storage. I cook a lot, often in large quantities for parties or potlucks, and thus have multiples of many cookware items, plus lots of serving pieces and multiple sets of dishes which I mix and match."

Me too!

And there is no advantage to have those things stored in a basement or garage or wherever. Such a waste of time to go find them and clean them, just to use them.


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

"Storage means "stored away"...which means an active kitchen is not an appropriate storage room/facility."
Unless you are using everything in your kitchen at once then you are storing it. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Not sure what show you saw that on, but I think they were a bit off in the head. Just my humble opinion. Check the link below for Merriam Webster's definition of "storage".
In a sense what you said is true about an "active kitchen", but how many kitchens are always active. Right now there's no activity in my kitchen and their won't be until dinner tonight. Even then most of what's there will be in storage.

Here is a link that might be useful: Merriam Webster/Storage


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

Unless the show was Hoarders, it's reasonable that someone could use help maximizing space in kitchen cabinets and on counter tops.


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

IMO, the more you cook, the more "storage" you need. Meaning, if you cook a lot, chances are that you use a lot of different equipment. I mean, if all I ever made was scrambled eggs, I'd just need a mixing bowl, skillet, whisk and a plate & fork to eat it. I cook a pretty good variety of things and therefore need a good variety of tools.

OTOH, it IS easy to get bogged down with one-use items or things you think you'll use often but seldom do. There's a delicate balance there. When I remodeled my kitchen six years ago, I got rid of a lot of stuff. And I have since tried not to buy too much more relatively useless stuff.

Like others above, I also have multiples of some necessary stuff for the same reasons. I do cook a lot and entertain often enough that I need a lot of serving pieces.

My mom has a HUGE kitchen. She can store everything I have in my kitchen plus what I have in my basement AND more with room to spare. I just hate cooking things or cleaning up there because I am running all over the place. Everything is so spread out!

In this case, I would venture to guess that the problem is not an overabundance of space, but rather not the best organization of that space. The work areas should be set up so that the most often used items are the handiest. All the stuff that you store in your basement but that fits in her kitchen should not be in the easiest reach of the work areas.

So if she is storing something that is used 3 times a year in a spot that should be used for items she uses weekly, for example, that would make her kitchen badly organized.

I don't know if that's the case but it seems to me that in a large kitchen, it would be easy to think that it's a good idea to store everything in easy reach, when in fact, the opposite is true.

Maybe the layout works well for her, but you are used to your smaller kitchen and feel overwhelmed?

In the end, no matter what size your kitchen is, the key is to organize it so that it works best for you. Keep things you use the most often in the most convenient spots and work outward from there, according to frequency and location of use.

Honestly though, if I had to run down stairs to a basement (we don't have those here so it's not actually an option) or across to the other side of the house to fetch something, I'd probably never use it. Not only would it be a pain, but I'd probably forget I even owned the thing!

IMO, kitchen things, whether you use them daily, weekly, monthly or yearly, are best "stored" in the kitchen or as close as possible. It's all a matter of good layout and organization to make the kitchen function well.


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

Just moving things to their usual point of use, or as close as possible, really helps me work in a cramped kitchen. It's a strict hierarchy ... the more often something is used, the closer to the work surface level it is.

it's far from ideal, but it's way better than it used to be.


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walked to death

Lowspark - you are right, my mom's kitchen doesn't have a good layout. The fridge, sink and stove are way too far apart, with lots of counter and cabinets in between. It's several steps from the sink to the stove, same for the fridge. She used a kitchen designer when building the house. It is beautiful but not functional.

I helped a friend get ready for a party last week. Her kitchen is even bigger than my mom's and even WORSE laid out! The stove is 12' away from the sink, which is 5' away from the fridge. The house is HUGE but the kitchen layout is just crazy!


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

It is beautiful but not functional.

After I remodeled my kitchen (now six years ago) I became acutely aware of how functional kitchens are. I like to do the "parade of homes" type tours where you see all the million dollar + houses that have recently been built and it amazes me how non-functional most of these kitchens are. They are gorgeous!! High end appliances, beautiful cabinets and countertops, large jaw dropping to-die-for kitchens. But mainly only in looks! I would LOVE to have some of those kitchens, if only I could use the exact same materials but laid out differently.

Too many times it's all about looks but not designed with real cooking in mind.


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

I agree on the basement being a pain, but I'm going to try and use that to my advantage! Upon unpacking the new kitchen, I took inventory and had to break the news to DH that we have 10 pots and 11 pans - every one of which he bought for me ;-)

Anyway, we're sending half of them back to the basement and are going to try and see what we really use on a regular basis and what's worth going to the basement for. It's hard, though - there are major differences between cast iron, non-stick, stainless steel, and enameled les creuset ...


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

Yes, with two little ones, I don't have time to run down to the basement to find my crock pot. I am very grateful to be living in my dream home (not a big massive home) but a home that has everything my family needs including a custom kitchen.
I cherish every space and I am thrilled to be able to have a place for everything. I know where to find the sippy cup; the oval glass dish or even the mini muffin maker. Do I use these items everyday, sometimes and sometimes I don't. However, for me, its about being able to find a home for each item without having clutter on my counter top.
Storage is great; it keeps me more organized. If I never intend to use a item from the kitchen, it should really go to charity. I just don't store items for the sake of storing them; they do get used.


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

I have a big kitchen with two gas stoves, a fridge, two over the range microwaves, a double sink and a large single sink; lots of counter space. Every summer we have four pressure canners going on those stoves, both sinks are being used and we're reheating our leftovers in both microwaves :) I could use another fridge but don't have room for it. We have a chest freezer in the basement.

5 of us lived for 15 years in a 5th wheel camper trailer and the one thing we wanted was a BIG kitchen because we all like to cook. We love it. I like all the cabinets because I don't have to pile pots on top of each other. I have two big pot drawers and the pots are in a single layer.

We have our baking center at the back of the kitchen with one stove and microwave and a sink close by. All the utensils, foods, appliances, etc that we use for baking are stored in this center. It is essential to have "centers" to keep from running your legs off!

We also have a pantry/office just off the kitchen.

So I guess the bottom line is if you use a lot of stuff, you need convenient places to put the stuff.

VG


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

I think with small houses you need to be organized. Like other posters have said, you need to have the equipment you NEED on hand in a spot close to where you'll be using it. You need to evaluate what you have, how often you use it and prioritize.

I've been married over 30 years and have been using the same set of 5 Reverware pots and pans with an extra 8-qt pot, stockpot and frying pan. I've raised two boys and had lots of family functions and parties.

Because my house is small I just can't accommodate excess equipment. I try and keep my needs basic to avoid the claustrophobic feeling clutter gives me.


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

5 of us lived for 15 years in a 5th wheel camper trailer That's the most amazing reveal of this entire post! And I'm vacillating about a 28' Class B for 2 people for 2 week road trips???

I'm happy that you got a great kitchen!


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RE: Do you really need lots of 'storage' in a kitchen?

mustangs,
lol..!

I hope your road trip was/will be successful and lots of fun!


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