by James S. O'Donnell
Home Decorators Collection . . .
Keeping an organized and neat-looking kitchen can be a real challenge, especially if you live in a place where the kitchen does not have the size or layout you'd find most beneficial. There are ways, however, to make the most of your space and keep things looking decent.
My first recommendation is to either buy some chalkboard paint, or make some of your own (you can find instructions online) in whatever color suits your decor. Most cabinets have a sort of flat, recessed space on their doors, and you can fill this in with the paint. This makes it easy to keep running lists of grocery needs, meal plans, cooking time reminders, or just notes to yourself or your family, without lots of little pieces of paper floating around, getting lost, and becoming fire hazards.
Two L-hooks screwed into the door should be able to hold a piece of chalk handy, or use a small nail to hold a baggie of assorted chalks. If you don't like the idea of doing this to the outsides of your cabinet doors, you can always use the inside of them, instead.
Another common problem in small kitchens is not having enough space to keep your pots, pans, woks and larger cooking utensils, without creating unstable piles which are noisy and inconvenient to pull anything out of, and which are not visually appealing at all.
If you have a blank space of wall, this can be solved by screwing a basic curtain rod into the wall, and then using S-hooks to hang anything with a hole in its handle from. This allows you to shift the spacing of things around, depending on what you're using, and to easily hang things up and take them down.
Our kitchen doesn't have any likely wall space, but we did something similar by bracing either end of a bamboo rod between two nails hammered into the top of our cabinets to either side of the sink, using loops of twine to hang shifting S-hooks to the rod, and then hanging the aforementioned things from those.
The third way I've taken advantage of wooden cabinets to make small kitchen space more organized and neat-looking is to use nails/screws to brace a metal decorative-plate-holding-stand to the side of one of the cabinets, in the small space left between the cabinet and the wall. This holds cutting boards, cookie sheets and the like.
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