My lovely drawers

June 3, 2009

This morning there are five men in my house, and I’m thrilled. Because shortly I will be allowed to start stuffing my capacious new drawers with all manner of goodies.

But I am starting to grow quite overcome with the sudden luxury of all this space, and wonder if any of you have Views on what should go where, in a kitchen? It seems as luxurious a decision as how to arrange books in a new bookshelf – a deeply pleasurable task, I always find. But given that alphabetical order probably won’t work here, I seek your advice!

We will have:

  • a large floor-to ceiling pantry of drawers & cupboards (shivering with excitement about that – another whole post, methinks!)
  • two long s/steel rails for hanging bits and bobs off, along both benches
  • six pairs of standard overhead cupboards with three shelves in each
  • one pair of  shallow lower cupboards with two shelves, for appliances
  • four standard-width drawers (cutlery etc), and 
  • six extra-wide drawers, for whatever we like …??

I read somewhere that if you clear out your kitchen drawers you should start by putting everything in a box, and as you use something, you put it in a drawer. After a month you are supposed to chuck out whatever unused things remain in the box.

I don’t think I can be bothered with such restraint.

I do, though, suspect there is some ordering principle that would be useful. Crockery up, or down? Cookware down, servingware up? Will the drawers get too heavy with crockery in them? Which things for cupboards, and which for drawers? And what stuff logically belongs on the sink side of the kitchen and what on the oven side? 

I await your correspondence.


  1. I’m trembling with excitement too! I reckon glasses, mugs, ramikins and other fragile stuff up in the top cupboards. The drawers should be able to take the weight of crockery so whack that – ideally in specifically designed little racks – in a lower drawer or two. Big casseroles in another low drawer. Platters etc in a low drawer if they’ll fit and you’re not worried about breaking them. Otherwise up. And if this isn’t prematurely getting into pantry territory, give a drawer or two there over to spices and little bitty things like baking powder, vanilla, gelatin – they’re much easier to spot in a drawer than a cupboard which requires too much rummaging.

  2. oh yes can’t wait for pantry discussions. I was once witness to a Tupperware Pantry Consultation at a friend’s house – she and I had to not look at each other while the Tupperware lady banged on about all kinds of strange mathematical formulae for stacking stuff, and asked my friend questions like “How many grams of almonds do you consume in an average month?”, and stroked her very long fingernails lasciviously over her demo models. It was a hoot – and then she gave her recommendations at the end, and said, “so all this will cost you only nine hundred and eighty-four dollars” – that’s when my friend fell off chair and I ran from the room.

  3. If my experience is anything to go by, it’s the third year, after two years of wonderfully admirable neatness that you really start to cull the excess. In the first two years, unseen by casual visitors still admiring your shiny newness, the drawers and cupboards slowly fill with onion goggles, silicon egg poachers and other essentials. When the overflow makes it to the kitchen benchtops, you suddenly realise that bottomless pits of storage really do have bums! In small inner-city houses you can never have too much storage, nor will you ever have enough. Fun times now, though. Good luck.

  4. One of the reasons I am desperate for the drawers to be finished is so I can buy all this junk to put in them. Have shown incredible restraint on onion goggles so far because nowhere to put.

    And today I saw a fantastic spoon-holding clippy thing for saucepans, so you don’t have to put the stirring spoon on one of those stupid spoon rests – but didn’t buy for same reason! These kitchen drawers will make me an uberconsumer, except by the time we’ve paid for it we will have to sell the onion goggles or swap them for food…

  5. I unpacked my friend’s kitchen last year, and she still sends me occasional texts messages saying, ‘Standing here admiring your organisation of the kitchen again. Nothing has changed. Nothing.’ It gives me such a warm feeling inside, it really does, and I feel it qualifies me to say the following: I agree with Stephanie.

    • Wow. Maybe you should come and do mine! And excellent we have consensus. Senor not convinced about crockery in the lower drawers but as soon as I told him I had expert advice he deferred to your opinions …. love having a brains trust on hand.

  6. Charlotte – do you remember John A who had that great kitchen in his house at Lane Cove & he used to store all this cans on their sides in big drawers – so easy to see & retrieve

    • Really? Makes sense! But you would have to have them filling the whole drawer wouldn’t you or they would roll around. I am foolishly beside myself at the thrill of my approaching blackboard pantry doors …

  7. As the hostess of the above mentionned Tupperware session and the owner of a similar set of drawers, I feel compelled to respond- so here is how my drawers work:
    top shallow one if for herbs, spices, gelatine, yeast etc.,
    Next down is crackers, biscuits,
    Then pastas, rices, grains
    Next is tins, on their sides for easy ID
    Then nuts and dried fruits ( this is the section the Tupperware consultant was amazed by , because I had slivered almonds, whole almonds, sliced almonds and roasted almonds!)
    Finally sugars, flours, baking ingredients.
    I keep all cooking oils and flavourings such as soy, rice vinegar, fish sauce etc., near the stove in a separate cupboard.
    And I keep potatoes and onions away from each other, as they release gases that are hostile to each other. Teas and coffees have a shelf of their own in the upper section of the pantry, along with honeys and maple syrup and jams till they are opened.
    I have a bad case of pantry moth, persisting even now into cooler weather, despite following Shannon Lush and applying bay oil, which was very hard to get, and putting bay leaves into containers. They are real buggers! To combat the problem I move some things like couscous and other grains into the fridge when I can be bothered to.

    • ooo. I didn’t know that about potatoes and onions. I shall now go and separate them….

  8. I’m drooling over you kitchen goddesses – or should I say over your kitchens, goddesses – and the subtleties of your drawer and food classifications. My own kitchen is a chaotic mess but I have managed to eradicate pantry moth if you’re interested in a non-Lush tip Caro: a peppermint teabag or two in the pantry seems to work wonders.
    Beautiful blog Charlotte, in form and content.

  9. […] Caro, am intrigued with your veg storing advice and would like to know much more about these hostile gases of […]

    • Excellent advice all …. see my lovely drawers pt 2 for the outcome. And welcome to you miss Jane! Lovely to have you dropping by.

  10. I have to confess I am not loving the rolling cans… my nose gave a little involuntary wrinkle at that one… I’m a stacked-cans-in-case-of-air-raid kind of girl. But I do now keep flour in the fridge because of the creepy crawlies that seemed to nest and breed as long as the flour was pantry-bound. Gross. But refrigeration has stopped all that nonsense.

    I didn’t know about the hostile relations between the spuds and the onions – good tip, that one. Actually, on the organisation front, every kitchen and every chef is different, so Senor may be on to something with his reluctance to go crockery down… I think you guys will soon know if this strategy is workable in your new shrine – the most important rules are the house rules, I think.

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