Kitchen Design

14 Kitchen Storage Ideas You'll Wish You'd Known Sooner

A toe-kick drawer for baking sheets! A spot for bulky utensils!

May 31, 2021
Photo by Rocky Luten

I bought my first home at the beginning of the year—an amazing farmhouse that’s more than 100 years old—and while I absolutely love all the character in its wavy window panes and original hardwood floors, there’s one thing I’m less than thrilled about. The kitchen.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s totally functional and gets the job done, but the room definitely lacks modern conveniences and efficient storage. For instance, the shelves in the cupboards are fixed at a too-short height that can’t fit bottles of olive oil, and the old-fashioned drawers don’t have gliders, so they’re always getting stuck. So naturally, I’m planning a number of upgrades to the space (some ASAP and others further down the road) and relying heavily on the help of Pinterest.

The site is jam-packed with innovative storage ideas and cool kitchen features that I would love to incorporate into my own home, and here are some of my all-time favorites.

1. A Convenient Spot for Cleaning Supplies

Oh what a dream, to have all your cleaning supplies in one spot! While my cleaning products are usually found overflowing beneath the kitchen sink (an area we’ll talk about in a minute), I have to stash brooms and mops between coats and parkas in the hallway closet because they won’t fit anywhere else. This cool cabinet streamlines the cleaning process by keeping everything in one spot, and it makes the most of the unused space at the narrow end of your kitchen cupboards.

2. Home for Unwieldy Baking Trays

If you have an impressive collection of baking gear, this custom drawer is the perfect place to store pans, trays, and racks of all shapes and sizes. It takes up the whole depth of the counter, so you can even fit large cutting boards and baking sheets into its built-in slots. Just like that, you’ll never have to struggle with unwieldy stacks of baking trays to find the one you need.

3. Pull-Out Cutting Board Above the Trash

No need to find a storage spot for this cutting board—it slides right back into the counter. Plus, as a bonus, it’s situated right above a pull-out trash can, so you can simply scoot any waste into the compost bin. There’s even a spot behind the trash can where you can store spare bags. Now that’s a thoughtful design!

4. Cool, Convenient Compartments for Spices

If counter clutter irks you, chances are you want to tuck spices, oils, and other cooking supplies away in a cabinet. However, these items get used so frequently, so it’s a pain to have to dig them out each night when you’re making dinner. The solution? These awesome hidden compartments behind the counter, which blend in perfectly with the backsplash. Now you see 'em, now you don't.

5. Under-the-Sink Drawer

Most homes have a cabinet under the sink, but personally, I like the idea of a drawer much better (why is this not a thing?). Instead of wrestling to get bottles of cleaning solution out from behind the sink’s pipes, you could just slide the whole drawer out to access whatever it is you need. If revamping your kitchen to include a drawer isn’t an option, you can also install a sliding organizer under your sink for a similar effect.

6. Cabinet for Awkward-Shaped Utensils

Remember how I was saying my ladles don’t fit into the drawers in my kitchen? This cool slide-out cabinet would solve my utensil-storage problems. It takes the place of that skinny cabinet beside the oven and features several containers to hold cooking spoons, spatulas, whisks, and other awkward cooking implements that don’t lend themselves to flat storage.

7. Hidden Compartments in Unused Areas

Instead of putting your dirty sponges on display for the whole world to see, you can tuck them away in this sneaky compartment, which replaces the faux drawer or trim in front of your sink. The pull-down panel is equipped with plastic tubs that are ideal for stashing cleaning supplies like sponges, scrub brushes, and more, and it will help keep your counters clutter-free.

8. Under-Cabinet Cutting Board Storage Shelves

Here’s a storage solution you can achieve without renovating your entire kitchen! This under-cabinet rack lets you keep cutting boards within reach but still out of the way, and it can be installed in a matter of seconds—just slip it onto the bottom of your cupboard. The organizer even has two bars where you can hang kitchen towels to dry your hands while cooking.

9. A Special Drawer Just for Pot Lids

I’ll be the first to admit that even though you’re not supposed to stack your pots and pans, I still do in the name of efficient storage. (If you do too, just be sure to use pot protectors so they don’t get scratched.) However, the one issue is that there’s no good way to store their lids. Enter, the lid drawer. This ingenious shallow drawer is the perfect spot to stash all sorts of pot and pan lids for easy access.

10. Extra Prep Space on Your Island

It looks like merely another drawer, but it’s really a pull-out island extension. How cool is that? This extendable counter is mounted on wheels, allowing you to simply drag out when you need more counter space. I can definitely see this feature coming in handy when you’re prepping for a holiday meal or baking hundreds of cookies for a bake sale.

11. “Toekick” Drawers for Pans and Platters

These “toekick” drawers are hidden in a typically wasted space: The baseboard under your kitchen counters, and their slim design is ideal for storing baking sheets, platters, and other thin items. Plus, the best part is that they’re push-activated, so you can open them with your feet! This one is definitely going on my dream kitchen wishlist.

12. A Better Way to Organize Food Storage Containers

Am I the only one who has a cupboard that houses perilous towers of Tupperware? It’s incredibly tricky to get a single container in or out without sending everything crashing down, which is why this slide-out storage system is calling my name. It’s a DIY project that uses plywood and ball-bearing slides, and the final result is a pull-out organizer that you put into a lower cabinet to store all your favorite containers and their lids.

13. Tucked-Away Bins for Bulk Produce

If you like to buy produce in bulk (though, I’m not sure anyone buys that many artichokes at once?), you can save room in your fridge by transforming a drawer into a produce storage area. This design simply uses a bunch of wooden bins that fit nicely within the existing drawer—just make sure there’s enough clearance for it to close. Oh, and you may want to watch what you put next to each other, as produce like apples and tomatoes produce a lot of ethylene, which can cause other produce to ripen more quickly.

14. A Hidden Space to Hang Your Pans

Some people like displaying their pots and pans in the kitchen, but I’d personally rather hide mine away. If you’re in the same boat, this cool slider is the perfect way to store pans of all shapes and sizes without having to nest them (which can lead to scratches). All you need is a slide-out organizer with some hooks!

Which of these genius storage solutions are going on your wishlist? Tell us in the comments.

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84 Comments

Ramon P. June 9, 2021
I put pull out drawers in the bottom of my cabinets just to see what I have. Next to the stove, I put in double slide outs for pots and pans in the bottom and lids in the top. The biggest space saver is using magazine holders for cutting boards. They stand straight up and take up little room. Ergonomically, I found it useful to place all my everyday items in cabinets within arm’s reach of the dishwasher. Use what you have before expensive cabinet re-dos.
 
Margaret L. June 3, 2021
Of course, everyone has a different space layout and a different budget, but speaking for myself I really want that hanging pan pull-out! A small-ish tweak that would solve so many of my problems!
 
ustabahippie June 3, 2021
Oh to have the room for all these ideas.
 
KitchVega June 2, 2021
I want everything on this list for my kitchen!
 
Arati M. June 3, 2021
Me, too. The toe-kick drawers particularly blow my mind!!!
 
Frances April 21, 2021
I hate to go into Wal-mart with a passion. But I found racks that are metal covered with soft plastic or a hard rubber in not sure what it is. They aren't easy to bend. I have 1 for pot lids. They stand up like plates in a dish drainer. I have it in a narrow cabinet next to my stove. Largest lids in the back smaller in front. Works like a dream. That's on the top shelf. On the bottom shelf I put my roasting pans, muffin pans, cake pans stacked inside each other. I put tray's stacked large to small on there sides against the side of the cabinet. I have 2 more that are like wire shelves. Only about 12 or 15 inches tall maybe 6 inches wide. They have 2 shelves. 1 on each side of the cabinet under my sink. I have 2 that are like basket's Im going to put on each side of the cabinet. Just a thought. It might give someone an idea.
 
Linda P. April 19, 2021
I want a very skinny sideways pull out to take my baking sheets and pastry board that will fit between my fridge and cupboards - about 6 inches wide
 
Idrivetractors May 31, 2021
I have two in my farmhouse kitchen! We added about 4’ to the kitchen but wanted to keep the original cabinets as the layout was still plenty good and the cabinets were built to survive a nuclear blast although the Crest toothpaste green color had to go!!!! The original is next to what would have been a horrible access area in the corner where the counter turns 90 degrees. It’s only 8” interior width but full counter depth. Perfect for sheet pans, grease splatter screens, cooling racks etc. I have a 2nd one next to the fridge. It’s 6 12” inside. Use it for wooden cutting boards. This came about because I wanted to keep my original drawers that are metal flour and sugar bins with original metal lids! That meant a left over spot next to the fridge so the skinny cupboard was the answer and we love it. Up above was a similar sized space so this is a pull out skinny cupboard that looks like a regular one but easier to access next to the fridge.
 
msstein April 9, 2021
While the promise of kitchen storage ideas caught my eye, this comment is really one of general observation: aside from food information and recipes (which is why I subscribed to the initial launch of FOOD 52), the site clearly promotes extremely high end products as well as advice, like kitchen renovation for storage suggestions, and the kitchen AND pocketbook are both huge. I also find this a bit distasteful, given the times in which are currently living. While I applaud their great success, I am dismayed by the path that they have taken, merchandising rather than culinary. Of course, it’s their choice, but to me, disappointing.
 
Dave April 8, 2021
Looks Great! You've got one helluva' bigger kitchen than I do for all that nice storage. I can "fit" one, maybe two of those ideas into my kitchen. Please send money so that my kitchen might be this wonderful!
 
Alex S. December 28, 2020
Be sure to measure the depth of the “Drawers Just for Pot Lids”. Our new-to-us house has one. Unfortunately, it’s very shallow and only holds small lids. If you’re building or remodeling, check the height of your lids. It’s a great feature on a wasted space.
 
Carla L. December 16, 2020
Aha,those "Toe kick drawers", under the kitchen cupb ok yards! What a marvellous idea! Yes, on my list for sure!
 
Susan C. October 15, 2020
Thank you for following up and letting me know re the storage. It’s a terrific idea!
 
Turtle123B August 26, 2020
The Warmly rack arrived today, over 3 weeks from order because it came from China as it turns out. They shipped it in a soft packaging, which in no way protected the spindly and cheaply made wire product. There is no way to talk with someone... they only have an email for questions and returns. Not pleased with the entire experience so far and feel I’ve been had. Have to say I am surprised Food52 promoted such a cheap quality product. Does make me question the quality of the other products they review and promote. May have to stick to the recipes.
 
Sarah B. August 26, 2020
Instead of being snarky or backstabbing food 52 why not ask them directly to help you out? I've discovered that I only get more of what I put out when I spread dissent. I know you're upset, but it doesn't help you or the readers. I promise you, change your attitude about it, and everything will work out to your satisfaction, Sarah.
 
Turtle123B August 28, 2020
UPDATE: within 24hrs customer service at Warmly replied by email. They requested photos of the damage. Within another 24hrs they had refunded my payment.
 
Patricia F. October 28, 2020
She already said she tried to reach out
I had the same experience with the green pans really overpriced and they didn’t do what they said they were gonna do
it would be cool not to ship things from China because that’s not good for the ocean or the planet or the fish really! i still like Food52 i am just a little more cautious - that’s not bad!
 
Sheila C. April 21, 2021
Turtle123B DID mention and explain that she tried to contact Customer Services but "had no way to talk with someone" regarding her disappointment with Food52 Warmly rack from Food52.
 
Anonymous August 13, 2020
DO NOT ORDER #8 from Warmly. I ordered the Under-Cabinet Cutting Board Storage Shelves from them based on this article, it took months to get here and the shelf was completely broken and flimsy quality. It is clearly a scam.
 
Carla L. December 16, 2020
I had the same problem when I ordered the under cabinet storage for cutting boards. The item was not properly packed,so it was all mangled and u unusable. I sent photos and an email to the company and was refunded,so,even though I didn't get my storage item, I am not out of pocket! I am still looking for a storage place for my cutting boards and baking trays,as they all get stored in my oven now!
 
Jane August 9, 2020
This article has some great ideas but I wasn't able to find information about the pot lid holder that was pictured on the initial title page. It hangs on the inside of the cupboard door and is shown with a matching pot rack (they are holding a set of lovely green pots and lids). Can you supply the name of this set? It is just what I have been looking for. Thanks!
 
Susan C. August 12, 2020
I had the same question re the pot lid holder on the inside cupboard door. Do you sell that? Thank you.
 
barbara E. September 9, 2020
I also want to know where the information isl about the pot lid holder at the top of this ad.
 
Cindy 1. October 14, 2020
This post is a few months old so not sure if you are still checking, but the pot/lid holders for the initial title page are from Caraway. They are included as part of the set. Hope this helps!

https://www.carawayhome.com/products/cookware-sets?variant=30339901259858&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=g-us-shopping-standard-non-brand&utm_content=399519929479&gclid=CjwKCAjww5r8BRB6EiwArcckCz9bdysdnQQgYZMgdNw7i53hFdww_GDXX8uzOs0cJmIS_a0wjqB7yxoCFvMQAvD_BwE
 
D.E. August 6, 2020
Although I grew up in big houses, I live in a downtown area and own a condo 10 minutes from the family house. So, the way that I've stored my pot lids is by just arranging half of them into one of my big, shocking pink, bamboo and lacquered Vietnamese decorative bowls that I got either in S.E. Asia or at T.J.Maxx. I've had the bowls so long until I don't remember where I purchased them. And the other half of my pot lids are stacked on one of my Thai khantoke table trays. Both the bowl and Thai khantoke table tray are sitting on the top shelf of my kitchen-style bar cart and in my dining area. I've stored my pot lids like this for decades and back when I was in apartment rentals which was up until a few years ago. By storing them like this, I can easily get to them and when guests come over, I just throw a decorative kitchen towel over both the bowl and the Thai Khantoke table tray. And 95% of my pots are stored on my 4-shelf, steel baker's rack which is also in the dining room.
 
Rachelm August 5, 2020
Would love to see a version of this for rental kitchens!
 
amarantaviera June 8, 2021
YES!
 
Sarah B. August 4, 2020
Don't know which I love more, proper grammar or organized kitchens, thanks, Ellen.
 
Ellen S. August 4, 2020
Sorry to be the grammar witch. Should be "You'll Wish You'd Known Sooner."
 
Thomas2368 August 4, 2020
There are NEVER drawers under the sink because the sink and pipes are in the way. Then you mention custom built-in drawers, for an apartment?! Have you ever been in a kitchen?
 
Kristen B. August 4, 2020
We have a whole dishwasher under our kitchen sink. I think a simple drawer is doable.
 
Frances April 20, 2021
I hope you never have a leek or busted pipe to your sink.
 
Sheila C. April 21, 2021
There are necessary pipes in the way under the kitchen sink. But they do take up space.
 
Frances April 21, 2021
When a pipe goes and is poring water how fast can you get to with a dishwasher in front of it?
 
ricki August 4, 2020
Toe kick drawers are the best! I have two: one for cutting boards, one for baking sheets.