Here are some clever kitchen hacks that you'll thank us later for

Kya deLongchamps offers some tips on how to make clever use of your new or existing kitchen storage space.

Those blank-faced boxes that make up a fitted kitchen take up a lot of room on the outside. Making sense of even a €5,000 refurbishment means it should deliver the maximum storage on the inside.

Think each carcass through front to back and remember that adding wirework components, especially the really clever geared varieties to a cabinet, may double its price.

Chrome-finished 60cm varieties with gas springs can run to €400 for two shelves. Keep a hold of yourself and ensure those choices, big and small, really work for the money.

Cabinet meeting

Kitchen base cabinets and drawers are 60cm wide and can, in the case of islands and bespoke arrangements, run to 92cm. The usual 60cm is deep; It’s arm’s length. Soon hefty pans, small condiments, attachments, cutlery and more get pushed to the rear of 60cm of base, tall, or deep wall hung cabinets — a muscle-tweaking nuisance.

Many 30cm-50cm cabinets are best treated as a frame for integrated system shelves and baskets that move out to you, replacing bending, stretching, and flailing about. Simple pullout chrome baskets with soft close runners start at €25, kitchenfittingsdirect.ie. If you have the budget, note that solid panels are replacing wire basketwork in many mid-top range kitchens.

Base cabinet worked into a corner? Don’t hesitate — full, three-quarter, or half carousels, or a pullout (amazingly generous), shelf systems are ideal. Look for separate operation for each shelf. Wall-mounted (circular) carousels using wire or trays are less usual but available.

Door-mounted baskets rely on secure, stable, well-installed doors and are a useful retrofit, DIY addition. Pullout 30cm base cabinets work with the depth of the cabinet, returns dead space to useful, for cans, dry goods, cleaning equipment, and more and operation can be straight out, or a swivel (better for pinched galleys).

Full-height tandem larders are not cheap, but rolling forward as you open the door and using the interior door face, they are as simple as opening a large book. Some combine fixed and moving elements.

Spring buys: Single and double-tier iMove pulldown shelving (for wall cabinets) from €143/€182, B&Q. Hafele’s comprehensive range can be sourced through your supplier, installed by your fitter, or can be DIY-ed with suitable skills. Check them out on Cork’s Vicars Rd; hafele.ie

Divide and conquer

Mix up static, independent pieces to your standard cabinets and if money is tight, there’s still a huge amount you can do to dice up storage and put it in its place.

First of all, that leaning tower of plates. Balance it inside a vertical Variera plate holder that can be carried from the dishwasher too, €7 (the price of one broken plate), IKEA.

Replace an interior shelf with a V-shaped horizontal cradle, and set it with dedicated flat sided canisters — useful, fast ID, and space saving. Pot drawers, without stout division, simply invite chaos. The very best solutions include a lid holder to the rear.

For drawer separation choose between drop-in’s and trays sized to suit, or fixed dividers. Obviously fabulous hardwood division does not come cheap. Consider drop-in modular systems in timber, plastic, and wipe down metals for 40cm-100cm drawers. They are not only more affordable, but have elements that can be moved around or connected up to suit to the centimetre.

Try a slim, wider than standard 80cm-90cm drawer and add your favourite utensils to the layout. If you buy retrospectively and not from your kitchen supplier, ensure any fixed drawer box is sized correctly. Wicker baskets on runners look charming but ingest dust and grease.

Spring buy: The Drawerstore cutlery tray from Joseph Joseph has an expandable shape, which allows for the two main halves to be adjusted and locked to fit any drawer size from 29cm-48cm. €35, Debenhams. Andrew James bamboo expandable tray, €24.95, fruugo.ie. Terracotta, marble, and wood storage jars by Rachel Sleight, from €23, made.com. Beau & Elliot storage tins, ie.johnlewis.com.

In plain sight

If you can behave, bring open-shelved storage into play. As soon as any significant quantity of working stuff is out on view, there’s going to be a visual stutter that belies the current fashion for clean, clear surfaces up and down. Can you really stand copper pans swinging overhead, or working knives ranged in an arsenal across the wall? If you’re having trouble including everything you want in centimetres of blind storage, perhaps you’re simply demanding too much of the kitchen proper. Store things height wise, according to their frequency of use, and weight (being clobbered by drunken falling Le Crueset ware hurts — a lot). Sometimes high doors can get quite literally ‘in your face’. Examine Blum Aventos HF lift door systems with upwardly mobile bi-fold doors for more. Blum.com

Explore what’s available up the walls in more casual adjoining back-stage areas. Open shelving close to a dishwasher in the utility room means one lift from the machine. Look closer at relatively low shelving and open metal frame display, (see Sostrene Grene) over kitchen counters and along island backs. Chic for neat freaks with small appliances and kitchen ceramics they want to show off. A shallow, shatterproof glass shelf added to a long splash back under wall mounted cabinets is aesthetically lightweight and lovely for glasses and light dishes to be ready to hand — and a complete pain to clean.

Spring storage buys: Algot system shelving for utility storage. From €67, IKEA. Brabantia’s unique new Bo Touch Bin, the bin that does not look like one — cute, €136 (on offer) arnotts.ie


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