The Kitchen Hacks That Have Saved Me Time & Space

(and look pretty darn good too!)

Everyone has areas of their home that make them grimace when they think about them, right? It brings on the whole ‘pit in the bottom of your stomach’ thing that you hope one day that it will just magically sort itself out. The broken toilet flush, the bin where the lid doesn’t close properly, your underwear drawer where no one sock is homed with it’s partner. Well my version of the space that I pushed to the back of the mind on a daily basis were our kitchen cupboards. It got the point that I was just lobbing bags of rice into the cupboards and praying that a rice confetti canon didn’t happen each time.

Seeing as we actually completely ripped the kitchen out and started from scratch when we first moved in, it hasn’t always been this way. In fact when we first found homes for all our dinnerware, cookware and storage cupboard essentials they could not have looked more ‘Good Housekeeping‘-ready. But over the years we’ve come to realise the design faults in the space and got lazy with the upkeep – the fact that accessing our plates that we use every single day could easily put your shoulder out, the fact that I had to stand on my tip toes for five minutes to find the spice that I need, the fact that finding the one can of chickpeas we had involved removing every other canned good from the cupboard. Now these things aren’t that much of a nuisance in the grand scheme of things, but they are time-zappers and annoyances that made putting dinner together every night more of a faff than it needed to be.

The good news was that all of these flaws could easily be rectified if I just took some time to address them. So one Saturday morning I took everything out the cupboards, invested in some storage solutions and put things back in a way that has made things flow way more smoothly in the kitchen. My grimace is now a grin and I could not be more smug about my new spice rack system…

What to buy if all your dinnerware is stacked one on top of the other: Metaltex Corner Shelf Insert. It makes sense with all bits and bobs in the kitchen to home them close to where you use them the most. We tend to serve our food up on the right hand side of the hob, so we put our plates and bowls in the high corner unit on the right hand side of the hob. So far, so good. However because the corner unit is quite tight we kept everything balanced on top of each other. Plates with small plates stacked on top, along with bowls teetering above that. If you wanted to get the plate at the bottom of the stack out, you had absolutely no chance. Plates chipped, arm strength was regularly tested and I sounded like a bull in a china shop whenever I took something out. That was until I discovered this dinnerware shelf unit that was exactly what we needed. No more playing the Leaning Tower of Pisa with our plates and finally everything is easily ‘get-at-able’ without having to bear the weight of eight bowls with one hand.

What to buy if you’re short on cupboard space/your cupboards are real tall: Pantry Shelving Unit. We have quite a tall and wide cupboard that sits between our hob and our cooker. Given the chimney breast behind it, it’s not particularly deep, but it’s big enough – I ain’t complaining. It’s where we house the majority of our store cupboard goods; from dried fruit and mixed nuts, to baking stuff like flours and decorating bumf and baked beans to spaghetti. It’s packed. It’s the scene of the rice confetti canon and it was getting out of hand. The thing with these bigger cupboard spaces is that without some order and organisation it all goes to shit. So I took some of our containers that we use for food (glass bottom storage containers from IKEA) to group together items and then to increase the height available for storage invested in some shelving units. Double the space! How genius is that! It’s come in some handy for all the baking bits because there’s a lot of that, and also for cans because it means you no longer have to take them all out to get to one that you know is in there somewhere. So handy if you’re low on space, or your cupboards are particularly high.

What to buy if you struggle to organise your spices: 2-Tier Lazy Susan Turntable. OK, now this is the pièce de résistance of our kitchen storage re-jig. A spice rack that TURNS. Before our spices were just piled on top of one another in a pretty high cupboard. I used to have to get on my tippy toes in order to see the tops of the lids to decipher which spice was which. Given his extra half a foot on me Mark wasn’t too fussed about this, but I knew that there was a more organised solution than having to strain my achilles for cumin. Our cupboard is high, but thin so we needed something that stacked and given that we have a tonne of spices (mainly because I love cooking and the secret to good home cooking, especially when you’re trying to be more veggie – is seasoning), I needed a option that allowed me to see them all at a glance. Enter this lazy susan which is perhaps the best thing I’ve ever bought. We actually now have three. Two sit in this spice cupboard and mean that I can see every type of seasoning we own in a quick spin, and the other is for our spreads section in the opposite cupboard. So handy and more importantly, so fun.

Photos by Emma Croman

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