How High Are Your Eyes? (a.k.a. Where to keep the canned tuna?)

Last week, I unloaded boxes of nonperishable food into my new cabinets and helped some friends settle into their new home.

I was reminded of a rule of thumb for cabinet storage, and I want to share it with you.  Before I  get ahead of myself,  though, I need to tell you that I’m short.

For anyone reading this who knows me, this is not news.  In my above- average-height family, I am definitely the runt.  I blame / attribute this to my 5’1″ grandmothers.  But I digress.

Being short means that I make strategic decisions about how to utilize my cabinet space, maximizing the shelves I CAN reach.  When my kids were younger, I thought I was keeping our most used items low in the cabinets for their sake, but now I’m shortest in the house again, so it’s all about me.  🙂

If you would like to maximize your cabinet space, too:

Consider the lowest shelf of the upper cabinet your highly coveted beach-front property. Dedicate this prime real estate to the items that you use all the time every day.  When we were putting things away last week, my son asked if we could make more room on the bottom shelf for snacks and things (the every day items for him) – brilliant!  To make room on the bottom shelf, I put the canned tuna (used much less often, and only by me) up a shelf or two.

Move up from there.  If you have three shelves, use the “every day (1st shelf) / every week (2nd) / every month (3rd)” guide to help you make decisions.  We now have 4 shelves – yes our cabinets now go all the way to the ceiling and I am giddy about this! – so we may use the use the “every day (1st shelf) / every week (2nd) / every month (3rd) / every year (4th)” to make our decisions about where to store our items.

As my very organized friend put away her dishes in her new kitchen last week, she knew to put the special occasion dishes on the highest shelf, and keep the everyday dishes at eye level.  It is so obvious in that context, and we can use that lesson in every cabinet.  Even if you are not short like me, grouping your cabinet items, whether food or dishes, around how often you use them may help you access and maintain your stuff more readily.

A final tip, when you store items on your upper shelves, contain small items in baskets or bins so they don’t get lost in the back of the cabinet.   For example, think water bottles and lids and straws, or seasonal baking items like small bottles of extract or sprinkles.

Look at your kitchen with new eyes, keeping your most used items at eye level and moving onward and upward from there!

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