Sep. 16, 2012 at 5:37 AM ET
Ask any woman what she’d want most if her kitchen could be redesigned tomorrow, and there’s a 99 percent chance she’ll say, "More storage!" You may not have the luxury of totally redoing your kitchen, but you've got several options for adding storage. Perhaps all you really need to do is make the cabinets you have a bit more efficient.
For most of us, the first step in finding more room in our cabinets is to get rid of stuff we don't use. Once you try that, here are a few places where you may be able to find more storage space:
Look to the ceiling
Pots and pans take up so much space—get them out of the cabinet and hang them up. Try this inexpensive idea for hanging cookware: Attach "U" bolts or eyebolts to all four corners of an old or new window. Hang the window from chains and "S" hooks and eyebolts screwed into ceiling joists. Attach plain or fancy towel bars to the edges of the window and use "S" hooks to hang pots, herbs or utensils from the bars. The window can also be used as a display shelf for collectibles or plants.
You can use this as a decorative piece as well by hanging wire baskets, herbs to dry or other displays of colorful collections. Colorful colanders tied together using twine can also be hung and then used to store fruits and vegetables. One of my friends actually stores napkins, knives, forks, spoons and rolled up hand towels (she uses hand towels as placemats).
Take advantage of available wall space
Attach a piece of lattice or a pre-made trellis to the wall for hanging utensils, pots and pans, dish towels or oven mitts. You get the idea!
Add shelves. Not only are open shelves an extremely practical storage solution, but they are an easy—and affordable—decorative element. Open shelves are a great way to show off favorite teapots, pitchers or platters that are taking up valuable space in your cabinets. Go through your cupboards and select pieces that will add interest and color to the room.
Rework your cabinets
If you have large base cabinets that seem to collect clutter, this is a simple solution for you. After all, base cabinets are really nothing but big boxes. In fact, these cabinets are a whopping two feet deep! No wonder we seem to lose things way in the back (and then have to get on our hands and knees to search for them). Though these tips will help with base cabinet woes, you can also implement them in the smallest of cabinets.
Rollout shelves: This is my favorite because they help bring everything from the back of the "black hole" forward. Most are very easy to install.
Rollout recycling centers: Are recyclables piling up in the garage? These compact recycling centers can be added to your existing cabinets.
A spice rack: Attached to the inside of an upper cabinet door, a simple rack keeps your spices organized and handy.
Under-the-cabinet appliances: Installing these appliances are not only convenient, but they free up valuable counter space.
Use free floor space
Do you have extra floor space that isn't being used because you're not sure what to put there? Remember—creating extra storage in your kitchen takes a bit of practicality and imagination. Is there room for more cabinets? Though there may not be room for traditional base cabinets that are two feet deep, a traditional wall cabinet is only 12 inches deep—a perfect compromise for a cramped space.
Recently, I added much needed storage along one wall in my kitchen with traditional wall cabinets instead of base cabinets. I installed them under the cabinet microwave and I now have room on the counter for a bread machine.
Serving carts also make for excellent, movable, decorative and functional storage.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.