Kitchen Design

11 Kitchen Storage Ideas You'll Wish You Knew Sooner

(Virtual) elbow bumps to whoever came up with these.

July  8, 2020
Photo by Rocky Luten

I’m pretty sure that every home I’ve ever lived in has had a few shortcomings in the kitchen storage department. In my last apartment, the cupboards weren’t large enough to store appliances like my slow cooker, and in my current home, the drawers aren’t deep enough to hold utensils like ladles and my trusty potato masher.

I’ve found ways to get around these little storage hiccups—after all, that’s apartment living for you—but wouldn’t it be nice to have a kitchen where every gadget, appliance, and utensil had a dedicated—and convenient—home? I know I’m not alone in this desire, because every time I go on Pinterest, I stumble across at least one (but usually multiple) outside-the-box kitchen features that would together solve all my storage woes. We’re talking hidden drawers, cool compartments, and custom cabinets galore.

Here are some of my all-time favorites, bookmarked (and never forgotten).

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.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“The deep drawers, the board, and, yes, the under cabinet trash and garbage bins are wonderful. I work around the rest, and, hey, when you have it all, human nature just finds something else for us to crave. Nothing wrong with that, because dreaming is a gift that our four footed friends don't share. We thrive on possibility. And please don't come back to comment about the dreams you know your pets are having. Happy cooking!”
— Sarah B.

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

Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Jane
  • D.E.
  • Rachelm
  • Sarah Barash
    Sarah Barash
  • Ellen S
    Ellen S
Freelance writer, product tester & baking enthusiast.


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!
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!
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.
ricki August 4, 2020
Toe kick drawers are the best! I have two: one for cutting boards, one for baking sheets.
rreal August 3, 2020
Love the under cabinet rack from Warmly. Unfortunately cannot vouch for the item...ordered July 15, still have not received and no updates after a shipping notification.😐
LGreco August 3, 2020
Fantastic storage ideas. I like the above counter spice shelve which is doable with out to much work. Very Cool
Katiegalatzan August 3, 2020
So I guess to maximize storage space in my kitchen, my two options are a below cabinet cutting board rack... or a full kitchen remodel? Cool cool cool.
Shawzam August 2, 2020
These are great if you're planning on redoing your kitchen or are married to a carpenter. I'd love to see some ideas that I can implement into my already established space.
lynne August 2, 2020
I am planning to make a silverware drawer with kaizen is impossible to find efficient storage of silverware when you have a range of forks, spoons, knives, cheese knives, chopsticks...
Cookie August 2, 2020
Hahaha. Very funny: "Storage Tricks" that I "Wish I Knew Sooner." Don't think knowing them sooner would make the remodel any less impossible. Here are some actual storage "tricks" for folks who don't have the option of tearing apart their entire kitchen: get a large magnetic strip to hang knives flat against the wall and get that knife block off your counter. Use your under-cabinet / over counter space: hang racks, cup hooks, suspend baskets or other holders. If you have a small kitchen window above your sink that does not require curtains, build shelving into the frame; the light will still come through and pretty cups and holders will look great. Use magnetic racks and holders on the side of refrigerator, they're great. Best tip: invest in slide-out shelving for deep, narrow, or low cabinets that are difficult to make use of; it is amazing how much can be stored on the two-tier versions, and they come in absolutely all sizes.
Cissy A. August 2, 2020
I am excited to see this kind of stuff because I’m planning for a kitchen renovation next year. Great ideas and new applications like these are one reason I like to peruse Food52. Thanks!
Sarah B. August 2, 2020
Although, I agree with most of the previous comments, two things I absolutely love if you are able, is to replace existing doors for the deep drawers. Extraordinary to be able to look down at dishes and pots, changed my whole idea of ease. Old homes all came with one or two of the pull out boards. What godsends. The ones I have used and seen are sturdy, and so helpful in a small kitchen. Wood has been redeemed. It seems that plastic actually holds more bacteria in the tiny pits. Every under board I have been blessed to use has been mold free, because I use them. Maybe, if very old, the wood strips holding the board in place are damaged, but bleach to reuse an unused one is a quick solution, no pun intended. The deep drawers, the board, and, yes, the under cabinet trash and garbage bins are wonderful. I work around the rest, and, hey, when you have it all, human nature just finds something else for us to crave. Nothing wrong with that, because dreaming is a gift that our four footed friends don't share. We thrive on possibility. And please don't come back to comment about the dreams you know your pets are having. Happy cooking!
mdelgatty August 3, 2020
In the interim pending renovating, use card board boxes as drawer substitutes to access low/deep cupboards. With not much effort you can usually find or fashion the right size...
Janet August 2, 2020
I bought some racks for pot lids that can be attached to the back of a door. They are out of sight but always handy. My kitchen is so small that I can't buy any new gadgets until I figure out where I'd store them. Maybe that's a good thing!
Scarlett L. August 2, 2020
OMG, everyone of them! I'm buying a new house just so I can do this, I swear.
Linda B. August 2, 2020
I'm afraid I have to agree with so many people here that this is not something you can just add to your kitchen. All but #8 would have to be built in place rather than added on. Perhaps a title suggesting "Ideas for maximizing storage in a small kitchen remodel". Some are clever and would be useful if starting from scratch but they are definitely not add-ons.
Boo August 2, 2020
This is ridiculous. Do you even know what a tiny kitchen is? I have no room for any of these solutions. A drawer just for lids? That's a suburban fantasy. Furthermore, most require a full remodel. We rent. Please don't pretend you "get" tiny apartments. You have no clue.
Sarah E. August 2, 2020
Wow. One of these solutions does not involve remodeling your kitchen entirely. And these cabinets are cool, but hideously expensive. We remodeled our kitchen 2 years ago. The cabinets were 10K by themselves, and they were pretty bare bones. I wanted a skinny pantry cabinet for the space next to the fridge. It would have been an extra grand. All these cool features in cabinets add up and can easily double the material cost in a reno. So I'm not sure what the point of this article is... home porn? Aspirational daydreams? It certainly isn't practical advice.