If your family is like ours, kitchen storage is a continuous pain point. Just when you think you’ve organized everything, something disrupts the aesthetic ecosystem.
Maybe you buy a new appliance. Or your neighbor returns a really big oven dish in which you brought them a casserole a few weeks ago. And suddenly there are just too many things for the space you have. Again. Smart kitchens have many of the same storage challenges as traditional kitchens. But some challenges are unique to a kitchen that has smart appliances.
In this blog post, I discuss some of these challenges. Maybe your kitchen is always messy but you haven’t figured out why. This post might help you to identify your problems.
I also give 10 kitchen storage tips that you can use in your smart kitchen. I’ve added some product recommendations as well.
This is post is for you if you are building a new smart home or remodeling your kitchen. Even if you just want to improve your current kitchen organization, you’ll find it helpful.
The Minimalist Kitchen Aesthetic
Smart kitchens are associated with being modern. And modern kitchens are (usually) associated with being spotless.
This is a little ironic. After all, the kitchen is technically one of the messiest spaces in the home. We’re chopping things, we’re working with liquids, and we’re using kitchenware to cook food. There’s splashing, grinding, and blending.
Still, a clean kitchen is appealing. A minimalistic aesthetic of empty kitchen countertops? Add some perfectly arranged glass jars and a single plant and the result is oddly soothing.
But is it a pipe dream? Or is a usually clean, neatly organized kitchen a real option?
The first step is to “hide” more items in cabinets and cupboards. You’ll want to clear away visible clutter in your kitchen. At the same time, you don’t want this clutter to come flying at you whenever you open a door or drawer.
These storage tips will help you to achieve organizational balance in your kitchen.
1. Use Cabinet Shelves To Maximize Cupboard Space
If you want clear countertops, you’ll have to maximize the space in your cupboards. This can be difficult, especially if you have very high cabinets. Many kitchen items, especially pantry products, don’t use the full height of a cabinet.
A Solution For High Kitchen Cabinet Shelves
Stacking items on top of each other can lead to frustration. You always have to remove the top item first before taking out the bottom item.
A shelf rack may be a better option. You can use shelf racks like this one to stack containers in your cabinet. These racks add another shelf into your cabinet, inexpensively. You can take out items from under the rack and on the rack without having to move other items.
A Solution For Wide Kitchen Cabinet Shelves
Sometimes the shelves in a kitchen cabinet aren’t very high, but rather wider from back to front. You’ll most likely place items in front of each other on such a shelf.
This works well if you have many of the same items (like lots of cans of the same food). But if you have many different items, it can be frustrating not to see the items at the back.
In this case, a tiered rack like this one might work better. You can place same-sized items (like jars or cans) onto the steps. This gives you a good overview of everything in your cabinet.
2. Use A Door Pantry Organizer To Store Pantry Items Out Of Sight
A door pantry organizer is a steel or plastic shelf that you hang onto the back of a door. You can place one behind a cabinet door, or a door joining your kitchen to your pantry (if you have a separate pantry).
All the items placed into the organizer are out of sight in your kitchen. But they are still well organized when you open the door.
When choosing a door pantry organizer (like this one), look out for the following:
- Make sure that the dimensions of the organizer will allow your door to close.
You also want the shelves of the organizer wide enough to place more items inside. Some shelves only accommodate spice bottles.
- Make sure that there is an option to fasten the organizer to the door at the bottom as well.
If the organizer only fastens to the door at the top, it might swing when you open the door. This is an issue especially if you have glass items or lots of liquids in bottles in the organizer. You don’t want to have to keep picking up items that have fallen out of the organizer every time you open the door.
Does the organizer you want to buy not come with extra hooks or tape? You could always buy some extra screws to fasten it onto the door at the bottom.
3. Use The Space Under Your Kitchen Island For Storage
Many kitchen islands have shelves at the bottom that can be used for extra storage. If the island is open (not covered by bar stools), you’ll have to be strategic with what you store there. Use containers in the same color as the island to make storage more inconspicuous.
If you have a kitchen island with bar stools where you eat meals, you have a little more freedom. Since the stools cover up the area under the island, you can store things that don’t fit into your aesthetic there.
Remember: if you want to take something out from underneath the island you have to remove at least one stool. This can get frustrating if it is necessary too often. So I recommend storing things under your kitchen island that you don’t use every day.
Does your kitchen island have an open space underneath (more like a high table in the middle of your kitchen? Use rolling carts to use the space better.
4. Display Your Favourite Items In Undershelf Storage Baskets
You may have some items that you want to display in your kitchen. Perhaps they suit your minimalist aesthetic. Maybe they have sentimental value. Or maybe you just want them close at hand.
For example, if you have a set of beautiful mugs, you might want to display them above your coffee maker.
Undershelf storage baskets like this one are a great idea. They still leave your countertop space free. You can slide them underneath a kitchen cabinet, for example, to create more storage space.
Look for an undershelf storage basket that has thin metal arms at the top. This will allow you to still close your cabinet doors.
Note that these undershelf baskets are better suited for storing lighter items. If you want to store a whole set of mugs, it might start drooping at the back.
A solution to this might be getting a set of these baskets and hanging them across wider kitchen cabinets. Then you can store a few mugs in each basket, along with coffee pods, pretty tea tins, etc.
5. Use Lighting And Storage To Maximize Your Aesthetic
If you have smart lights in your kitchen, you can use them along with your storage to create a specific aesthetic.
If you have smart light strips, you can stick them along empty countertops and cabinets. This will draw attention away from more cluttered areas.
Use smart spotlights to accentuate your favorite parts of your kitchen.
6. Hide Cables In Cabinets Or Use Cable Protectors
Smart kitchens are more likely to have many cables. These can be both a safety hazard and an eye-sore.
For example, strip lights can create beautiful effects in a kitchen. But they need to be connected to a power source. This means you’ll have cables running from the strip light to an outlet.
You can drill holes into your cabinets to let cables run into them. If you are installing new power outlets you can also consider installing them in your cabinets.
You can also use a wall cord hider. You attach this to the wall and run your cables through it. If you have a unique wall color, opt for a paintable cord hider that you can paint the same color as your kitchen walls.
7. Leave Heavy Appliances On The Countertop (And Buy The Right Color)
If you buy a smart appliance, check the weight before adding it to your cart!
Often, we buy new appliances and think we will stash them in our cabinets or drawers. When they arrive, we realize that they are much heavier than we expected. This means you don’t want to have to pick them up every time you use them. I know this has been the case for many people who have bought a smart oven, like the June oven or the Brava oven.
This leaves you with two options. Either you keep the appliance in a cabinet or drawer and take it out every time you use it. Which will probably result in you using it much less than you hoped. Or you leave the appliance on your countertop.
If the appliance color matches your kitchen aesthetic, this might not be a problem.
But if you have an all-white kitchen and the appliance you bought Is black and silver, it might frustrate you.
So before you buy a new appliance, decide whether it can stay in a cabinet, or buy it in a color that will match your kitchen.
8. Get Rid Of The Appliances That Your Smart Kitchen Replaces
Smart kitchen appliances often replace several other appliances.
For example, a smart oven might replace your toaster, your microwave, and your egg boiler.
When we bought an Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1, it replaced our slow cooker and electric frying pan, as well as a Tupperware rice cooker.
Get rid of the appliances to create more space in your kitchen. You might think, “But I’ll need it if my smart appliance breaks,” or “What if we get a lot of visitors one day and I need both appliances?” But the chances of both of these happening are small, and your old appliances will only take up space in your kitchen.
You can resell or donate your old appliances rather than just throwing them out in the trash.
9. Use Clear Storage Containers In Your Smart Fridge
Some smart fridges have a camera that can “see” what you have in your fridge. Based on this, they can create a shopping list for you. They can also come up with recipes for the ingredients you have in stock and let you know which products are closest to spoiling.
The catch to this is that the camera needs to see your food. In other words, you can’t use opaque closed containers.
So you need to use transparent containers in your smart fridge. Smart fridges do already have clear compartments and containers. But sometimes you just need more.
Clear fridge organizers like these from Amazon can solve this problem.
I would suggest searching for narrower containers. Or use ones that have more divisions (like these), rather than stackable containers.
Stackable containers are great in theory. But this can be frustrating when you need the lowest container from three different stacks.
Stacking containers on top of each other might also make food recognition in a smart fridge more difficult.
10. Create A Safe Spot For Your Smart Speaker Or Tablet (Using A Power Perch)
If you have a smart kitchen, you’ll probably use either a smart speaker or tablet in your kitchen. Both of these can be damaged by water, so you want to create a safe spot to keep them.
An outlet shelf with power perch might solve this problem. This nifty device can be installed over a power outlet. It has a little shelf over it on which you can store your smart speaker, for example.
The cables can be stored in the outlet. One drawback of this specific model is that the lid doesn’t clip into position. So if the cables stick out a little the lid will lift.
This little shelf also isn’t for all smart speakers. It cannot hold more than 3-4 pounds. Otherwise, it bends downwards. So this is only a good option if you have a small speaker.
Home Streamliner’s Take
You may call it cliché, but I love the idea of an aesthetic, all-white kitchen. I dream of the day when everything in our kitchen has its spot, and it stays there. And free countertops? Yes, please!
As a family, we aren’t there yet. But these storage tips help me to dream, and I’m about to go and order myself some more undershelf storage baskets! Because kitchen organization is all about one step at a time!