Expert Tips: Organizing your Kitchen and Bathroom from Michelle Lefferts

Washington DC

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We wanted tips, so we decided to use our newfound AT muscle and ask an expert. We really like what Michelle Lefferts has done, she's the designer at Smoot Kitchen Gallery in VA, so we asked her to give us her personal tips for kitchen and bathroom organization. Below are Michelle's top 10 suggestions for creating a more useful and livable space...

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Readjust the items on your shelves.
Stack your small glasses on the bottom shelf, large glasses on the middle shelf and plates on the top shelf. Especially for shorter folks, it is easier to reach the lip of a plate than a glass tucked away at the back of the cabinet....

Move and install additional shelves that fit your items.
If your space is bigger, you can also add more cabinets or open up your cabinets and shelves.

Find shelves that are the right size for your items.
For example, use small shelves for spices like the shelf pictured (from CB2).

Store items where you use them.
Keep utensils at your kitchen table so you can use the utensil drawer for other items (like kitchen mitts). For larger spaces, the trend is to set up cooking stations that suit your cooking habits, for example, a baking station or cold food station.

Create wall storage in the bathroom.
Knock down drywall between 2 studs and gain space that is the perfect depth for a medicine cabinet. You can frame the space, install a mirror in the back and buy a small door. For new renovations, install wall towers with drawer storage. This is a good option if you live in a rental or have a shared wall and can't break into the wall.

Install sliding shelves in base cabinets.
Base cabinets in kitchens are generally 24 inches deep and it's easy to lose things in the back of deep cabinets. Sliding shelves come in varying styles (utensil storage, trash pullouts, etc.) and qualities, for example from the Container Store and Rev-a-Shelf . Be sure to take measurements to the store when buying shelves.

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[hamper photo from Rev-a-Shelf]

Store trays over your fridge.
The cabinets above your fridge are decent space for tray storage. Trays are light and easy to grab from the high space.

Get rid of multiples.
Do you really need 3 pizza wheels?

When buying new items, buy versatile and good quality products.
Don't buy a rice steamer if you don't often steam rice.

Remove cabinet doors.
Open kitchen spaces are trendy right now in kitchen design and removing cabinet doors is an easy way to open up the space in your kitchen. You can add color to the back of your cabinets with paint, wrapping paper or wall paper. Wrapping paper is a good option for renters, who can later remove it.

For custom help, Michelle can be reached at 703.823.7153 or Michelle.Lefferts@Smootlumber.com

- Rachael Grad

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