You know the high shelf above your stove’s range hood or microwave hood? Undoubtedly it was put there to make the cabinets look complete, but it is one of the most awkward spaces in a kitchen. It’s just too high up.
Many people use that space to store spices, but that is not always convenient if you are shorter or elderly and it is also a health hazard. Leaning over a hot stove to reach the ingredient you need next could lead to a lousy day cooking.
In this client’s kitchen, that cabinet was used to store the spices, and the husband had devised a smart system to help his wife pull down items easier. Spices were grouped by type in narrow baskets and in foil baking tins.
The baskets worked fine, but the flexible nature of the tins made them not hold up to the rigors of daily use. The idea was great, but the containers could be improved.
As we worked through the kitchen reorganizing cabinets to function better, we were able to open up a corner cabinet to the left of the stove to store spices.
We set every spice and flavoring on the counter to evaluate. By eliminating expired spices, we reduced the number of containers by 25%. Consuming expired spices is not harmful but over time spices will lose their potency and not flavor your food as intended.
Once the supply was narrowed down to the freshest ingredients, we moved them into the new cabinet. Remember from my last post with this client, the kitchen is due for painting so ignore the cabinet for now. Every bit of clutter we can remove from the kitchen now will make the painting process so much quicker. The client plans to put shelf liners in the cabinets but needs to finalize the paint color before selecting liner paper to coordinate.
On the bottom shelf, single ingredient spices (i.e., Basil, Cinnamon, etc.) were put in alphabetical order on a lazy susan. Spices from a bulk food store were kept in their short stackable containers and labeled. The Greek Chicken spice mix was in a plastic baggie, so we moved it to a reusable glass containing to keep a cohesive look.
Behind those are mulling spice kits that will be pulled out in the holiday months. They are close at hand but not in the way.
In the client’s baking cabinet we had put bulk ingredients into labeled jars for a farmhouse look and to preserve freshness. It felt right to give this same treatment to the salt. (DIY Tutorial: Watch for a future post to see how the client gave this ordinary Ball jar a pour spout for convenience.)
On the next shelf, we reused those black plastic baskets but grouped items differently. One basket is for liquid flavorings, one basket contains cinnamon sticks for recipes and crafts, and the last two baskets corral spice blends. Everything is much more accessible to the client now, and you’ll notice that there is even an open shelf up top where seasonal items could be stored,
Next, what to do with that upper cabinet over the stove. We decided to use this space to store the client’s cookie cutters, cupcake liners, birthday candles, and electric hand mixer.
These are all items that are used just a few times per year so it is fine to have them up out of the way.
My question to readers… what do YOU store in the cabinet over your stove? Tell me in the comments below, I’d love to learn from you.