5 Things You Should Never Store In Your Lower Kitchen Cabinets

published Oct 27, 2019
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One of my favorite ways to refresh the functional spaces in my home is to question how (and where) things are stored. I try to forget all the muscle memory of where to turn when I need the tongs, for example, and instead stop and consider if that’s really the best use of space. It’s a practical update that makes sure my home is always humming.

Lower kitchen cabinets are pretty prime real estate. They’re usually larger than upper cabinets and can therefore accommodate bigger items, and while they can be a bit tricky to maneuver within (the stuff in the back isn’t so accessible), what you store at your lower cabinets’ openings should be things you reach for consistently. Assessing what might not belong in these prized slots of space can help free up places to, ultimately, help your kitchen stay cleaner and run more smoothly.

Here are a few things you probably don’t want to store in your lower kitchen cabinets:

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Stand Mixers

If you bake with any regularity (or even if you don’t), your stand mixer may deserve a place on your counter top. Stand mixers are heavy and definitely not something that’s easy to lug out and up from a bottom cabinet (or any cabinet, really). If you have the countertop space to store your stand mixer, use it. If you’re not a regular baker, maybe you can find a shelf or counter somewhere else at home—closer to counter height—to store your mixer and spare yourself the back aches.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Blades and Accessories

Bottom cabinets aren’t an ideal place for blades that go to your mandolin and food processor or the attachments for your stand mixer. For one thing, you may not want these easy to get to, especially if you have children (or if children ever visit). In addition, these kinds of small objects have a tendency to roll around or get lost behind bigger objects in your cabinets and you really don’t want to be kneeling and reaching and fumbling around for things you can’t see that can cut you. Instead, store attachments and blades in a small container and up high.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Food

Food that isn’t at eye level is food that will sit a lot longer before getting eaten. Even if you’re storing ingredients like flour or oils in lower cabinets, the need to bend down and get them introduces a mental block when you’re cooking. Keep these kinds of items in upper cabinets, where they are easier to notice and won’t languish past their expiration dates. (If you must store food in lower cabinets, store things you either rarely need, that last a long time, or that you’re trying to hide from yourself!) Food in lower cabinets also provides easier access to rodents.

Anything Stacked

Stacking things in lower cabinets is a perfect recipe for frustration. When you are looking down on stacked items, all you can see is what’s on top and to get anything beneath it, you need reach down and undo your setup. When it’s time to put things away, you have to play the whole stacking game in reverse. It’s too much clanging around. If you must store pans or pots stacked, go no higher than two items, max. Consider shelves to separate your lower-cabinet pots and pans or racks to file things like baking sheets and casserole dishes vertically.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Almost-Never-Used Appliances and Pans

Any small appliance that you use a couple times a year doesn’t belong in any cabinet in your small kitchen (unless, maybe, the cabinets are deep and you’re storing them in that “dead zone” in the back). This includes things like the ice cream maker you use once each summer and the the large roasting pan you use at Thanksgiving. Try to decouple the idea that kitchen things have to stay in the kitchen. If you only access them annually, your special occasion appliances and kitchenware will be no less conveniently stored in a closet, garage, or under the bed.