Use vertical space, peg board and square stacking containers to organize kitchen

VICTORIA - Kitchen cupboards and drawers contain pieces that make a kitchen work, but they also help homeowners hide disorganization and clutter.

Creating a functional and efficient kitchen is something it's best for homeowners to do as soon as they move into their house.

"It is an overwhelming task to organize a kitchen," says Angela Robinson, Vancouver interior designer. "There is a lot to sort and put away. If you don't get organized from the day you move in it is hard to empty out your kitchen and start from scratch.

"The kitchen is essentially a room full of hiding places like drawers and cupboards you can close and hide clutter. It is a place people neglect to organize because they can close the doors, and it looks like a clean space."

Even though cupboard doors can hide mess, Robinson says they can help homeowners organize by creating vertical space to hang things like pot lids and frying pans.

Stacking is a common way to store items in a kitchen, but Robinson says in her home hanging items makes her space more efficient.

"What I've done is I have stacked my pots and pans, and for the lids I put up screws in the backs of the cupboard doors where I hang all my lids," she explains.

"My frying pans are also hung within my cupboards too. I can access all of them easily because they aren't stacked. We don't use the vertical space in our kitchens, particularly in cupboards, enough and they are a great way to organize."

Homeowners are including walls of peg board, commonly used in retail displays to organize product, to hang everything from pans to wooden spoons and graters.

Maximizing space for efficient storage is important when creating an organized kitchen, and Robinson says investing in square, stackable storage containers can reduce clutter and also reduce spending at the grocery store.

"It's hard to differentiate things when they are all in bags," she says. "If things are visible and organized, you can find them quickly, which means you don't spend as much money. I don't know how many times I've bought something that I already have eight of because I wasn't able to easily locate it and see how much I have."

Using square containers rather than round jars or canisters allows homeowners to use the maximum space of their cupboards and drawers for storage.

Modern houses can include a variety of efficient storage options like pull-out shelves, but older kitchens aren't built to accommodate the larger and bulkier appliances home cooks use today.

"We have a lot more stuff than people ever did, and a lot of times older houses aren't equipped to handle storage of some of the stuff we use more regularly like larger mixers, food processors and blenders," says Taryn Bradshaw of DIY Cabinet Warehouse in Edmonton.

Homeowners are also struggling to accommodate municipal policies relating to recycling and composting.

"The new regulations around waste reduction mean homeowners have to sort the recycling and compost, increasing the need for more bins for sorting and storage," says Bradshaw.

Instead of just putting a garbage bin under the sink, Bradshaw says there are pull-out shelves that allow homeowners to better store and sort everything from kitchen waste to dog food in a pantry.

"What people sometimes forget about when they are designing a home or renovating a kitchen is all the interior components of a cupboard or drawer that can help them store stuff," she says.

"Introducing pieces like a lazy Susan in a corner or sliding shelves create efficient and functional storage."