Thursday, October 30, 2014

Small Kitchen Storage Solutions

After almost 3 weeks of living in our new home, I've finally made some progress in our kitchen. I was stuck for a little while with my Tupperware. It seemed like no matter where I put it, it didn't all fit in one cupboard, or it did fit but would all fall out every time I opened the doors.
Every night I would work on my Tupperware, moving it from one cupboard to another, with my family getting cross because they could never find anything! It was just my plastics cupboard that was affected, it was everything that I was constantly moving in my quest to find the right place for it all.

Finally it's all fallen into place with the purchase of a series of baskets, extra shelves. and clear plastic tubs. My kitchen is finally unpacked, and everything officially has a home. I even have some spare room left in the ridiculously deep and pointless corner pantry so that I can start to move in things like spare dinner sets, seasonal crockery, and party ware - all things I have previously stored in the garage or linen cupboard.

We were working with two problems. 1. Very few cupboards, and 2. The cupboards that exist have unusably deep and awkward to access shelves.

In the long term we are saving up for a new kitchen. That's years away though, so here are our short to medium term solutions to our kitchen woes. Some of these will work in a rental, others may only be suitable if you own the home and can do what you want to it.

Additional Temporary Pantries

Excuse the messy middle photo, it's from BEFORE I finished unpacking!
We ended up purchasing 3 of these from Masters for $149.95 each. After we made use of an online 15% off voucher, plus a further 5% off for using Woolworth's vouchers that I purchase through my work benefits program for the discount, these cost us around $122 each. By far the cheapest option I could find. If you don't have time and patience to hunt down the vouchers, we saw similar pantries at Fantastic Furniture and Bunnines as well for a slightly lower starting price.

These pantries gained us double (or more) kitchen storage, but you need to have the wall space to accommodate them, which fortunately we do.

Additional Wire Shelving

The new pantries only came with 4 shelves, which made for a lot of wasted space. We pushed the top shelf up higher and used the wire shelves from Kmart ($4 each) on the center shelf to create an additional space. It doesn't fit heaps underneath, but cans and small items are OK. We bought 7 of these, 2 each for the temporary pantries, and 1 for our super deep built in corner pantry. Less because there isn't enough space in there, and more because so much of that space isn't accessible.

Door Storage Baskets

In an effort to remove clutter from our cupboards and counter tops, we went for a series of baskets for our cupboard doors. In one of our temporary pantries, we have 2 tiered spice shelves screwed in. This means my spices no longer have to live in a counter based spice compendium, freeing up valuable counter real estate. All the fatter spice jar used to have to live in the cupboard as well as the compendium could only accommodate the slimmer jars. This centralises them and stops them being clutter. These were bought at Kmart as well for $3.

Under the sink we've used a similar basket to store the detergent, sponges, and brushes in use for washing dishes. I'm not 100% satisfied with this as the basket feels too open for much of it, so I'm looking one from Ikea that still has open grills on the bottom to release any liquid, but is closed elsewhere to stop smaller items falling out. We can continue to use this basket for the detergent and various sprays we use. Under the sink is crammed in so another door basket will come in handy! I picked this one up at Howard's Storage world for $10.95 but I feel like I probably could have found it for less if I had kept looking since it's pretty basic. Because it comes from Howard's it beautiful quality though.

This last one is a Tupperware lid storage container that I have owned for years. It's called The Place for Seals and is a limited item that I've not seen in the catalogue since I bought it. I used to have it sitting on a slant on the shelf storing lids, but we've screwed it into the door now which gets all the lids in one place out of the way! I'd love a second one, but it looks like I'll be paying top dollar on eBay if I do. At least $25 + postage.

Shelf Storage Baskets

We re purposed many of our current white plastic baskets to hold like minded objects together. It's not ideal, but it does stop the clutter of tumbled items that just won't stay standing up or in place when kids are rummaging through them. Now I just grab the basket of condiments, or kids plastic bottles, or crackers and rummage in that small space. We didn't have to buy any new, but I recall they were only a few dollars each to start with and were bought from the supermarket in my regular shop.

These final baskets were my big spend, the ones that I resisted as long as possible. These two huge baskets were $41 each from Howard's Storage World (they're part of the Elfa range). I didn't find anything comparable anywhere else so I eventually bit the bullet. After spending many nights stuffing around with my Tupperware, it occurred to me that 2 big baskets on the bottom shelf could hold all of our less used plastic goods. Less used doesn't mean never used, for me it means most of these items would only get used a few times a month. Because I want to be able to see everything, I definitely needed wire baskets and not boxes or crates. These baskets stop everything tumbling out every time I open the doors, which is something I hate. They might have been a little costly, but these baskets are solid, and come with a 10 year guarantee. My cheaper wire shelving or baskets definitely feel more flimsy,

Plastic drawers.

These plastic drawers were my final Tupperware solution. They sit on the top shelf and store the plastic goods we use daily - our sandwich or lunch containers, and our microwave containers for our leftovers. These have such a high rotation that they need to be easily accessible. I did see these in Howard's Storage World, but found them cheaper for $7 at Kmart. What I love most is that they have 2 wheels at the back so I can pull the deep drawer out to see everything without scraping it along the shelf.

I'm feeling so much more in control now that the kitchen seems to be in order. I finally feel like I can pay some attention to the rest of the house, so hopefully from here we will see some headway!

Do you have a small kitchen problem like me? Any storage solutions here catch your eye?


  1. Congratulations on the new home!
    It looks so light and spacious despite your cupboards being overstocked! I have nice large cupboards and it amazes me how much I can fit in them. We're planning on selling our house in the near future and I will miss my kitchen so much! Some great ideas.

  2. Congrats on the new house. We are in our new home too and our new fridge had a big, wasteful gap in the door where a shelf should have been. Again, an expensive Howard's option to the rescue. A fab metal basket with clear adhesive hooks does the job beautifully.

  3. I love the look of open shelves in other people's homes. But it's the dust factor that would worry me - I'm not keen on the idea of having to regularly dust everything! (open shelves caked in dusty items are not so appealing a look). #loveyourhome


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