Monday, February 4, 2019

Vertical space

We have a modest sized, four bedroom house, so you'd think, space isn't a problem. Without a proper garage/workshop outside though, most of my power tools and DIY supplies, live inside the house. Which makes for quite the squeeze, in our two main linen cupboards.

Naturally, I've had to find inventive ways, to maximise storage space anywhere else I can in the house. Enter, vertical space! I've touched on this subject, previously, when I wrote about Weekend Projects Inside. I wanted to share how some of those storage solutions, worked, as well as some of the extensions I've made, recently too.

 July, 2015 
baking cabinet ~ still in use

Inside the kitchen cabinets, I shared how the wonders of adhesive hooks, worked at arranging some of my cooking tools. I'm happy to report, in almost four years of opening and closing that door - none of the "Command" brand adhesive hooks, have come undone.

It's saved so much time, having the measurement tools I use often (for baking, fermentation, and all kinds of meal preparations) right there. Instead of rummaging through items I don't use as much. So when deciding what items you will hang, favour what you will use the most.

January, 2019
baking cabinet - new addition

I made a little extension to this particular door, recently. The item I chose to hang, does break the rule about being the most frequently used item. As it's not. But there are good reasons for it making the cut, as well.

As my attempts at preserving, have increased over the years, the wide-mouth jars I prefer to use, are hard to break the seal, by hand. Enter, the jar opener! It's very simple, and replaces the old spoon trick I used formerly.

While, I don't need to use a jar opener as regularly as my measurement tools, I hung it for safety reasons. Because it shared drawer space with other sharp utensils, like an arrangement of different chef knives and hand graters. So hang mismatched items, if it removes them from a more hazardous location.

 January 2019
Utility/linen cupboard ~ still in use

Speaking of hazards, do you remember that utility cupboard door, I hung our brooms and dustpans from? I no longer had the danger of broom handles, falling on my head, while attempting to get the vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard. As the sweeping implements, were formerly stored on the floor, with the vacuum cleaner. 

While it can still, sometimes be a struggle to get the vacuum cleaner out (always the way, with bulky items) the adhesive hooks have not wavered. So still no endangerment of falling brooms on my head!

 January 2019
Utility/linen cupboard ~ new addition

I made a recent addition, to the adjoining door. It's a safe place to hang our fire blanket. Formerly, it was sitting under the kitchen sink. While it was close to the stove in that position, the blanket was made to be fixed to a wall, and accessed quickly from the base. So the linen cupboard was a better choice, even if it was a few more metres away. 

July 2015
Stove, cabinet ~ still in use

The saucepan lid holder, has performed well over the four year period, too. Although I'm surprised, how little, I actually use them in comparison to the saucepans. But it did the job of clearing out drawer space, to access frying pans, better.

One thing worth noting, is how you will lose the equivalent storage space, inside your cabinet. If there is lots of bulky equipment inside, like mine, you may not have the cabinet space to sacrifice. I'm glad I only used this small portion of the cabinet door, and have the majority of the cavity, free for bulky equipment.

I'm still happy I divided the saucepan lids, from the frying pans. But I'm equally glad, I didn't go crazy hanging stuff inside THIS particular cabinet. So consider the internal cabinet space, you will be sacrificing, by hanging things from the door. There will be certain cabinets, this is just not a good fit for. Literally.

July 2015
Kitchen pantry ~ still in use

How have my oven-mitts, hung inside the pantry door, performed over the years? The hooks have not faltered, even with the fluctuating temperatures that can happen between summer and winter. Heat, is generally the undoing of most adhesive hooks. Of all the "Command" brand hooks I've used, they've not lost their adhesion, all this time.

Do I regret having my oven-mitts, a little further away from the oven though? Not really. I tend to get them out, and leave them near the stove, when something is baking anyway. Otherwise, they can happily live inside the pantry, and I can have my bench space, back.

July 2015
Sink, cabinet ~ still in use

Finally, to the last, and what I consider the most successful vertical space, installed in the kitchen. It's a a wire basket, under the washing-up sink. It's purpose is to hold cleaning items, I use the most.

It has saved my back, bending down to the lower shelf, for items only required a few minutes. While only such a short duration, things like the "Miracle Spray", for example, were retrieved multiple times a day! So consider using vertical space, where it can help save your back, with repetitious tasks.

January 2019
Sink, cabinet ~ new addition

It's success, warranted expansion. Bottle brushes! If you make kombucha at home, or use glass bottles to store water in the fridge - even using narrow reusable straws, then you'll be familiar with the necessity of a brush collection.

Not having to bend down at the back of the kitchen sink, any more, meant I was suddenly washing the bottles, as soon as they migrated to the counter. It's one of those things I SHOULD have made more easily accessible. Because in hindsight, I realise this is why my kitchen counter, often looked like a bottle recycling centre - and not in a good way!

It's also why, I would try and stick my hand into narrow jars - attempting to get the dishcloth, to the bottom. Now it's become a habit to grab the bottle brushes from the door, whenever I need them at the sink. There are so many more things I wash with the brushes now, because they're so easily accessible.

January 2019
Sink cabinet door

I'm not finished with this particular door, just yet. On the opposite side, is a convenient place for my knitted dishcloths, to dry. Originally purchased at a cheapy-store (Dollar-store, for the US) it's one of the easiest ways to create vertical space. Just by hanging it over the door. Removable. Portable. No adhesive strips. Nor drills.

It may sound silly, but having a dedicated place to hang your dishcloth, is a big deal. Formerly, I'd use the tap spout, or dish drying-rack. Which wasn't always convenient, with a really stacked load of dishes. Sometimes migrating it to the tap, wasn't a good idea either. Especially if you're in the middle of cooking dinner, and need to rinse something in the sink. It threatened to fall in the food, every time!

Now I don't worry about homeless, wet cloths, getting in the way.

January 2019
Sink, cabinet ~ new addition

Cleaning under the sink recently, I decided to move more items out, and onto the adjoining door. The fly squat (mandatory in summer) and BBQ lighter, take such little space, but often their requirement, is a case of urgency.

The BBQ lighter comes in handy, after a power outage. Finding the means to light candles in the dark, is challenging. Likewise, who wants to break eye-contact with an annoying fly, to retrieve the squatter? Both can be very frustrating situations. Now dealt with, by quick retrieval. I've kept this area, intentionally sparse. Like the fire blanket above. All to facilitate the need for an urgent, automatic, response.

This was actually the cabinet door, I considered hanging the fire blanket from.

January 2019
Sink cabinet ~ underutilised, space

Of all the cabinets in the kitchen - it's under the sink which was, most forgiving to vertical storage on doors. There's plenty of wasted space, under a sink. Just ensure, anything you plan to attach to the doors, has enough clearance around the plumbing, first. Otherwise, you may find the doors won't close afterwards.

Unlike an appliances cabinet, or saucepan cupboard; where bulky stockpots have nowhere else to go - don't plan to utilise those cabinet doors, for vertical space. Multiple, bulky items, need all the space you can give them! So keep that in mind, when contemplating which cabinet doors, to use vertical space on. Some cabinet doors, will seem endless, others, are best leaving to maximise cabinet space.

Even though we don't live in a tiny house, we're nonetheless stacking functions with the storage available. So space, is still a premium consideration. What I like about the improvements thus far, is how it all cost under $50. Plus, I still have spare hooks to use when I find a purpose. And there's always a purpose!

I look forward to sharing more vertical space solutions, in future.


  1. You're a great ideas person, Chris! It's sort of like...permaculture for the kitchen!

    1. Ha! You're absolutely right, Bev. It's just like permaculture in the kitchen. Stacking functions and where to place different zones, helps things flow better. :)

  2. Lots of good ideas there, Chris. Under my new kitchen sink there is so much wasted space as the cupboard came with a shelf even though I told the cabinet maker we were going to get an under the sink water filter. So we removed the shelf which is now wasted so that the filter would fit. I am yet to make the most of that space.

    1. All that new space - so many possibilities!! Check out OMGosh and The Reject Shop, at Northpoint shopping centre. As they have a good range of doodad baskets for screwing into cabinets/doors, etc. I actually found that over-the-door railing for my dishcloth, at the Cheapy store, in Wilsonton (near Woolies). I think that's The Reject Shop, too. Have fun re-organising. :)

  3. I really need one of those things you have your washcloth hanging on. Never thought of that!! I will have to keep an eye out at the $2 shops! Meg:)

    1. Good hunting Meg! I know I couldn't be without mine now. :)


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