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Clever kitchen storage solutions to clear the clutter

How to decode the dishevelled dilemma, according to the experts. By Sam Wylie-Harris.


(Alamy/PA)

It’s the hardest-working room in the house – and hardly surprising your kitchen has to multitask, day in, day out…


“These days, our kitchens are so much more than just a space to cook,” says Mike Norton, trade and projects director at Magnet Trade.


“From home offices and study spots to places to relax and socialise, our kitchens are the hub of many different activities.”


Kitchens have become another extension of the home – and are sometimes just as showy as any other space (Alamy/PA)

With this, comes a range of belongings that can leave your kitchen looking cluttered, notes Norton, which can often make you feel anxious and overwhelmed.


“If you can cut back on the clutter and create a more streamlined space, you’ll feel happier and more content when using it,” suggests Norton.


However, he says there’s no one solution to a tidy and clutter-free kitchen.


“It comes down to organising small parts of your kitchen with clever storage solutions, which will work together cohesively to create an efficient and functional space.’’


Here’s how to rise to the challenge…


Have a clear-out


Emptying a cluttered kitchen drawer can give you a sense of wellbeing, as well as making space for the things you really need (Alamy/PA)

Before delving into the world of storage solutions and their installation, Norton says his top tip is to determine what you actually need to store.


“Go through your kitchen systematically, addressing each drawer or cupboard individually,” advises Norton. “Empty their contents and assess their necessity.


“From duplicate items to utensils you forgot you even had, you’ll quickly realise how much space you can free up from a kitchen clear out.”


Once you’ve refined your possessions – ensuring any unwanted items are sold or donated to charity – he says you’ll be astonished by how much simpler it becomes to arrange and manage a reduced collection.


Install extra shelving inside cupboards


Additional shelving within existing cupboards can free up precious counter space (Alamy/PA)

As Norton points out, single-shelf cupboards are one the biggest barriers to maximising storage space. However, he says most cupboards are manufactured with interchangeable shelving meaning that with a little bit of DIY, you can double cupboard capacity – and even create your own custom storage systems.


“Measure the existing shelf and find some new ones of the same size and insert them into the cabinetry with mounting hooks,” says Norton.


“You can layer them at different heights to cater for what you want to store there. Or, you can insert them vertically to create an efficient solution for storing and accessing chopping boards with ease.’’


Decant and label


To streamline the contents of your cupboards, fridges and freezers, get into the habit of decanting products into suitable containers…


Glass storage jars are easy on the eye and also save space (Alamy/PA)

“Not only is this aesthetically pleasing, but it serves as a great way to reduce the amount of packaging you’re storing – especially for products like cereals, which usually come in bulky boxes,” says Norton.


Our fridges and cupboards often end up harbouring half-empty jars and battered boxes, so choose clear acrylic containers to keep things organised in there, says Norton, and put labels with dates and names on containers.


“This helps you keep track of what’s in your kitchen, and encourages you to use what you already have and avoid over-buying.”


Similarly, he says using plastic baskets for storing cleaning products inside your units is a simple way to ensure any spills or leaks will be contained – and units are protected.


Keeping tea bags, coffee and sugar in one basket will make it easy to locate everything you need for a hot drink, alongside keeping your countertops tidier, he adds.


Drawers v shelves


Elizabeth Sherwin, creative director at Naked Kitchens says: “Drawers are brilliant for easy access, but shelves can often allow for greater storage volume.”


Some cutlery trays and drawer dividers come with adjustable compartments (Naked Kitchens/PA)

She says drawer inserts for cutlery and utensils, spice racks and peg boards are ideal for organisation, allowing you to group items together to make tidying away as pain-free as possible.


Sherwin continues: “Accept that you will need a dedicated dumping ground located at the entrance to the kitchen, as this will be where everybody in the household will drop everything!


“A drawer stack offers the perfect place for each individual’s things in the neatest way possible.”


Fill empty wall space with open shelving


Even after decluttering, cupboard storage can still be difficult to come by…


Open shelving can be styled with flowers, olive oil, your best bottles along with the basics (Alamy/PA)

“That’s where ‘open’ comes in as an easy-to-install storage solution,” suggests Norton. “Filling empty wall space with open shelving can double up as both decoration and storage.”


When choosing shelves, he says to opt for brackets that tie in with other finishes in your kitchen.


“So, if you have on-trend brass taps and door handles on your units, choose brass wall brackets to support your shelves and it will create a cohesive feel.”


Fake your own pantry


A posh pantry may be at the top of a dream kitchen wish list, but you can improvise with some clever fill-ins (Magnet Trade/PA)

Pantries might be one of the most desired kitchen features, but we don’t all have the space to cater for a huge walk-in storage sanctuary, says Norton.


“You can, however, be clever with your space and create your own mini pantry.”


He continues: “A pull-out larder unit can be squeezed into a narrow space, but still offers ample easy-to-access storage.


“Or, investing in extendable wire baskets that can be fitted into existing cabinetry will give you a similar pantry feel,” adds Norton. “These are ideal for storing items like vegetables and rice – helping to keep your kitchen clutter-free and organised.”

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