Choosing Kitchen Cabinets from the Inside Out
By Lea Schneider

Moving is all about adapting—new town, new home, new kitchen and a new way of doing things. I know firsthand that it is equal parts exciting and daunting.

For the first few of my moves, I used the wrong approach to setting up my new-to-me kitchen. I opened all my boxes and tried to adapt my belongings to someone else’s kitchen layout. One day, I realized I had it backwards. It’s so much better to adapt the kitchen to suit me.

As a professional organizer, that’s the approach I take in all homes. This means I look at kitchen remodeling or design a bit differently. The things that need to be stored becomes the focus. This allows us to match up each cabinet to specific contents—for example, choosing a lower cabinet with an adjustable or removable shelf so a tall standing mixer can fit.

No matter if you are gutting a kitchen and starting over, remodeling or doing a cabinet refacing, start your kitchen cabinet decisions from the inside out. You will end up with an organized kitchen that fulfills the dream of clear countertops but still having everything in easy reach.

Try These Steps for Organizing Cabinets from the Inside Outinterior cabinet storageDeclutter and Discard – There’s no point in sacrificing cabinet real estate to items you don’t really use. Take the time to open each cabinet and drawer. Remove items you don’t use or don’t function well. Let go of saucepans with missing lids and non-stick cookware that now sticks. Set aside duplicates and heaps of extra plastic tubs. Once you’ve culled out the extras, you’ll have a truer picture of what you are storing.

Take Inventory – A written list is really helpful for deciding the storage location of each type of kitchen item. Check the quantity. Knowing you have 48 drinking glasses you wish to keep is more realistic in allocating space than just jotting down the word “glasses.” If you have something of an unusual size or quantity, add some notes. It’s important to recognize the size of things that are unusually tall or wide like your standing mixer or giant lobster pot.

Check Outside of the Kitchen – Moving or remodeling is a great time to finally get everything in the kitchen. If you’ve stored serving platters in the linen closet or grilling baskets in the garage, take a minute to add those to your inventory.

Make a Plan – Draw a simple map of your kitchen cabinets. Use your inventory list to assign a home for each item. Keep these recommendations in mind:

  • Place items close to where you will use them. For example, you’ll want cooking utensils close to the stove.
  • Consider the ease of unloading the dishwasher. Place everyday drinking glasses, plates and silverware close to the dishwasher so it can be unloaded with the fewest steps.
  • Make glass front displays a focal point by choosing attractive items for those locations.
  • Measure cabinets to find the location for your large and unusual items.

organization Modify to Suit You – As you plan your new cabinets or work to adapt existing cabinets, make changes that help you store things away while keeping them easy to access. Pull-out shelves, drawers, baskets or even corner turntables can be added to lower cabinets so you can easily find things. Use organizers from skillet stackers to lid holders to find a home for everything. Don’t be afraid to take out a shelf altogether or have it moved to a higher spot in the cabinet.

Don’t Forget About Design – You’ll be more inclined to spend time in your kitchen and keep your cabinets beautifully organized if you’re happy with the way they look. If a full remodel is out of your budget, there are plenty of other cabinet updates you can make instead. Cabinet refacing is an inexpensive option that can transform the look of your whole kitchen for a fraction of the cost of a remodel. In this process, professionals install new cabinet and drawer faces or refinish the existing faces, eliminating the need to ripping out the entire cabinet just for a new look. Choose a finish that you love and you’ll be motivated to keep your cabinets clean and organized.

Once you’ve got a good plan, it will be a breeze to set up the kitchen. Just remember a few rules of organization. Put like items together. Let go of excessive duplicates, such as too many coffee mugs, and leave some room to grow, as you’ll surely acquire some new things.

If you choose your kitchen cabinets, remodeling or cabinet refacing decisions from the inside out, you’ll end up with the perfect storage options to suit your needs.

About the Author
Lea Schneider is a nationally recognized organizational and home storage expert who writes for The Home Depot. You can review a number of cabinet refacing and kitchen remodeling options here.

This article is editorial content that has been contributed to our site at our request, and is published for the benefit of our readers. We have not been compensated for its placement.