Organizing Your Kitchen

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Do you get the urge to scream every time you’re forced to unearth a pot or pan from a kitchen cabinet? Do you need a flashlight and ladder to find a can of soup in your pantry? Has the top of your refrigerator become a breeding ground for snack storage? If any of these scenarios sound remotely familiar, chances are you need some organizational help in your kitchen. And if you haven’t already done so get prepared to make a trip to your local hardware store or home center and get ready to purchase and install components that will allow you to utilize every inch of cabinet space.

Two-tiered lazy Suzans for upper and lower cabinets, door-mounted half moons shelves, pull-out shelves, spice racks, cutlery trays, tilt-outs at sinks and cooktops, trash can pullouts, under-sink sliding caddies and decorative cookware hangers but a few of the many accessories that can make your kitchen more fun and more functional.

A lazy Suzan can make access to a hard-to-reach corner a breeze. A two-tiered model with adjustable shelves is even better. Large pots or mixing bowls can be placed on the bottom shelf while the upper shelf can be used for smaller bowls and food storage containers.

Small multi-tiered lazy Suzans can be used in upper cabinets for everything from baby food to spices. If a lazy Suzan isn’t the answer for your spice storage, perhaps a shallow spice rack installed on the inside of a door will work for you. You might also consider drawer inserts.

A half moon is a lot like a lazy Suzan, except it will work in an offset corner where a typical lazy Suzan won’t. A half moon is a semi-circle that is neatly tucked away in a corner and can be pulled out at a right angle. Half moons are great for avoiding backaches and getting to hard-to-get-at spaces, but are not the best for space utilization. You might have to give up some space in exchange for convenience.

Utensil trays for many years have been a standard in most kitchens. But now a second generation has emerged. The most popular is one that converts drawer storage into two separate levels. The top level is a sliding section that can be easily moved from the front to the back of the drawer providing additional storage without concealing the contents below.

For years the area in front of the sink or cooktop was a fixed panel made to look like a drawer. Converting the fixed panel to a tilt-out tray can add more storage. Hinged tilt-out kits constructed of stainless steel, sheet metal or metal and plastic are available for simple installation that will change the way you store cleaning accessories. Adding a tilt-out tray at the cooktop is a great place to store your most used spices.

Pull-out shelves are among the most popular convenience items in the kitchen. While they can be installed wherever a shelf exists, they are most effective at the base of lower cabinets where access is difficult. They are also helpful in deep food-storage pantries.

There are other types of pullouts too. A pull-out trash caddy will make trash storage and disposal more convenient and sanitary. If space permits, you can install a multi-bin trash caddy for recycling.

A pull-out under-sink basket is terrific for storing household cleaning products. Some are multi-tiered, with a removable top tier that can serve as a portable caddy for cleaning products during house cleaning. It later is returned to its place under the sink ñ out of sight, out of mind.

A decorative cookware hanger is a wonderful way of eliminating the pots and pans blues and, at the same time, it can free an entire cabinet for other storage needs.

Most of the items mentioned can be purchased at hardware stores or home improvement centers. However, specialty items can be found by visiting your local cabinetmaker. Such a shop will be able to furnish and install all of the devices, if you’re the not the handy type.

For more home improvement tips and information, visit our web site at www.onthehouse.com or call our listener hot line 24/7 at 1-800-737-2474 (ext 59).

Question/Answer - Patching Formica

My Formica kitchen counter has a 6-inch crack in it with splinters of burnt edges at both sides of the crack. I have been told that it can’t be patched as all one piece across the counter. Do you have a solution?

Answer - Plastic laminate or “Formica” is again becoming one of the more popular finishes for kitchen countertops mainly because of the myriad of patterns and finishes that are now readily available. Unfortunately, although the cosmetic aspects of the product have significantly improved over time, you still can’t place hot items upon the surface without experiencing cracking, blistering, or de-lamination. To many this is not a real disadvantage so long as hot pads are available and considering that plastic laminate remains one of the least expensive alternatives for new kitchen counters.

We are not familiar with any proven fix or technique, short of replacing the entire top, that will restore your top to its original condition. Nonetheless we have come up against this problem on occasion and seen repairs successfully made using a maple butcher block patch. Using this technique, the damaged area is cut out and a piece of maple butcher block is installed in its place using a metal trim ring, similar to the one used to install sinks in this type of top. You actually end up with a bonus here. Not only do you get rid of that unsightly damaged area, but also you create a nice cutting surface that, depending upon the configuration, can be quite an attractive addition to your kitchen. If total replacement of the tops is not in order, and this sounds like something you’d like to consider but aren’t prepared to take on yourself, we suggest you contact a small repair contractor, countertop fabricator, or cabinet contractor. One of the three should be able to help you.

Tip - Granite Transformations

In kitchen remodeling, re-surfacing has become a popular option. What started as cabinet refacing soon became new face panels for appliances as well. After that, add-on flooring came into vogue, with edges that snapped-together and floated above existing kitchen floors. More recently, resurfacing existing countertops has become popular. At first, ceramic tile was installed over plastic laminates. Now a revolutionary technique transforms old counters into gleaming granite in just two or three days for about 2/3 what true granite costs! This new material is 95 percent genuine granite, ground and blended with polymer resin that is formed into large slabs only one-quarter inch thick. It is then installed right over existing counters. It’s heat, stain and scratch resistant, never needs sealing, and (unlike real granite) carries a 10-year warranty. Interested? Check GraniteTransformations.com.

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