The Best $100 I Spent During My Kitchen’s Gut Renovation
Our kitchens are where we can find some of the most expensive things in our homes. Appliances, cabinets, countertops — these things ring in at serious prices. But sometimes, it can be the (relatively) smallest purchases that have the biggest impact. When my husband and I renovated our kitchen last fall, out of all the expenditures (and there were some doozies!) the thing that had the most life-improvement per dollar spent was a hundred-dollar organizer for our pots and pans.
Come back in time with me to pre-renovation: We had zero cabinets in the kitchen in our Victorian home. There was just an island and two floor-to-ceiling pantry things someone had added along the way that took up a ton of floor space and were halfway useless because I couldn’t reach the top.
Our pots and pans sat on a rustic metal work cart that I found at an architectural salvage store in Chicago. (I insisted we strap it to the car and drive it hundreds of miles home!) It seemed like a good idea at the time, but when it came to functionality, not so much.
The kitchen floor plan didn’t allow for much in the way of cabinets in the renovation unless we wanted to close up a doorway (which we considered in order to have more cabinets, but opted against, and I’m glad). So post-reno we had a smaller island (room to move around each other was more important) and two (count them, TWO) lower cabinets. No uppers — just some steel plate racks (and a whole bunch of open shelves in the walk-in pantry).
So we had to make the absolute most of those two cabinets. While I was talking with a friend who works at a lumber and cabinet shop, she told me about an organizing brand people swear by, called Rev-A-Shelf. I kept it in the back of my mind.
Weeks later, I was on a Lowe’s run when I found something from that very brand. For all that it had the look of an As-Seen-on-TV kind of thing, the cookware organizer I was facing also seemed pretty amazing.
Imagine: Opening your cabinet door and sliding out a shelf where your pots and pans nestle neatly! I loaded it in my cart, and for good measure also got a two-tier metal basket for the other cabinet. The cookware organizer was well over a hundred bucks, but on my next trip it had gone on clearance for around $99. It was only a couple weeks later, so Lowe’s honored the new, lower price — score! (It’s not on the site now but I did find it on Amazon and Home Depot for $148, which is closer to the price I originally found it for. But see if you can find it on sale!)
Now, the bad news. I will not lie, they were not easy to assemble and install. I’m super lucky to have a partner who is very handy, but he was more than a little frustrated as we worked. I knew it would be worth it though, and was it ever.
We’ve built up a motley assortment of pots and pans over the years, and designing a kitchen with just two cabinets did make me a little apprehensive. But this drawer organizer came through. We toyed with the dividers until it would hold most of our pots and pans, with the lids — those eternal annoyances — stored on the second tier. I seriously marveled as I opened the door and pulled the shelves out. They glided smoothly, and felt super solid. I wouldn’t go yanking on them just to test their construction, but they felt more than capable of dealing with even our heavier Le Creuset stuff.
The two-tier basket we put in the other cabinet is nice too, but doesn’t necessarily give you that much more storage than shelves — although it’s certainly easier to reach things in the back by sliding the whole basket out.
It’s the cookware organizer that’s the star. Four months into our new kitchen post-reno, and we still keep most of our pots and pans in there (the Dutch oven will always live on top of the range and the copper stuff hangs in the pantry). Storing them like this makes for exponentially more available space. It is seriously so nice to be able to just open the cabinet, and slide out the basket to get whatever we need. The thought of crouching down on the floor and digging around in a dark pit for a particular pan in a jumble of pots and pans and lids … yikes, it makes me stressed just thinking about it. I’ve toppled whole cookware collections before in our old house doing that very thing.
I’m glad we made this purchase, and if I ever live in a house with more than two cabinets, this would still be my first purchase.