Ask LH: How Can I Use My Kitchen Space More Effectively?

Dear Lifehacker, I have a nagging kitchen issue (and no, it's not my wife). I live in rented accommodation with a newly-fitted kitchen and my landlord is pretty firm on no permanent alterations being made to it.

Cramped kitchen picture from Shutterstock

Anyway, my kitchen is a large square shape, with only under-counter storage cupboards that are quite deep. The corner cupboards are a nightmare; they are huge which is great but being so deep and awkward to get at is meaning they are very difficult to use well. One is used for food storage and is currently only about one-third full at best. My wife has a bad back so the contortion involved to access items that have fallen to the back of the cupboard have started to cause her discomfort. Any thoughts? Thanks, Kitchen Cupboard Crusader

Dear KCC,

One possible solution is to place your food on a lazy susan/rotating tray inside the cupboard. This will allow your wife to access items at the back with a casual flick of her wrist. You can get these from IKEA for around $15. Naturally, you'll want to measure the cupboard's opening/floor space first and then compare it to the lazy susan's diameter — plump for the biggest one that will fit.

Another possible solution is to hang an over-the-door shoe organiser to the inside of you cupboard. This is only really feasible for smaller food items, but these are usually the ones that disappear at the back of the cupboard, so it should suit your needs perfectly. This can also be used to store spices, thus freeing up extra room on your kitchen bench area.

If you want to get really ambitious, you could build a slide-out pantry and slot it into the space next to your fridge. This is a wheeled contraption that does not require any alterations to the house: just roll it out when you need it and slide easily back into place when you’re finished. You can find detailed instructions on how to build one from scratch here.

If any readers have some storage suggestions of their own, do let KCC know in the comments section below.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Cheap $2 type stores have long thin plastic baskets in which you can store jars/spices/tins/etc and pull out as a quasi-sliding solution.

    A certain home storage chain stocks plastic baskets with roller wheels at the back in a couple of sizes. If you lift the front of the basket a few millimetres you can slide it most of the way out, giving easy access to those things stored at the back - effectively turning the shelf into drawers. I use them on my low, deep pantry shelves and they work very successfully. In my corner cupboards, I try to keep everything in boxes or baskets so that I can lift them out easily and rummage through at bench level. A combination of these ideas could work for a corner pantry.

    For deep cupboards in places (like over the counter) where you can't see everything easily, I either store rarely used items at the back (vases, candle holders) OR build a step shelf at the back to raise items into view.

    my landlord is pretty firm on no permanent alterations being made to it

    gosh, that mean landlord, hes literally hitler.


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