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Cavernous Kitchens
By Danielle Cybulski


Cabinets and drawers bursting forth bowls, soup cans, serving spoons, boxes of cereal, and spatulas; counters smothered with toasters, microwaves, sandwich makers, waffle irons, and electric can openers; the supposed hub of the home can become a wasteland of cast off gadgets and groceries run amuck. No spot in this room is exempt from clutter. From the gaping, almost unusable space under the sink to the cascade of spice-filled bottles spilling out from their perch on a high shelf, every nook and cranny could use some sorting out.

Kitchen organization makes life easier, saving time and headaches for those who are brave enough to take on the intimidating task. Unless a kitchen is customized to fit the user’s habits, keeping things in order can be a hassle. Fortunately, there is hope.

Deer Ridge Homes subdivision in Morris builds semi-custom homes with a variety of models to choose from. A great thing about these dwellings is the ability to customize in the kitchen; adding, rearranging or enlarging cabinets can add more storage and change the flow. Deer Ridge Homes also allows homebuyers to bring in their choice of appliances.

“Overall we are semi-custom builders, and that’s what brings people to us,” notes Debbie Donato, an owner of Deer Ridge Homes, Inc. Donato believes that homebuyers like the fact that they are able to adapt their home to fit their specific needs.


Even with a custom-made space, organization is still vital. In any project like this it is important to assess how the space is currently being managed and how it can be rearranged to maximize its potential. Sort the contents of a room and decide what to keep or clear out. There is no reason to store unneeded items. If something is no longer used or duplicates surface, it is a good idea to clear these out and make room for the everyday necessities.

Evaluate how often items are used and, in turn, consider where is the best spot to house them. That food processor, which only comes out twice a year to make grandma’s famous potato pancakes, doesn’t have to be fully accessible. Instead, shove that monstrosity into the corner of a low cabinet or even banish it to the basement where it won’t infringe on precious space. Save those prime inches for more essential equipment.

Keeping food separate from other non-food items ensures less mess. It’s simpler to look for a box of rice among other boxed goods rather than searching between dinner plates and stockpots. Organize foods by type and packaging. Keep canned goods separate from boxed and cereal separate from macaroni and cheese. Those 10 cake mixes discovered behind a barricade of baked beans can now make an appearance on an upcoming birthday rather than being forgotten again.


An ideal place for pots, pans and baking dishes is in a central location near the oven with cooking utensils close at hand. It’s not so terrible putting away plates, bowls, forks and knives when dinnerware and flatware are kept in close proximity to the sink or dishwasher.

To further add ease, a wealth of containers, shelves, racks and hooks can facilitate a smooth transition to organization. A lazy Susan, like those found standard in most homes of the Deer Ridge subdivision, ensures finding items with ease. A wire rack keeps pot and pan lids in order, and dividers prevent an avalanche of baking sheets.

Once organized, a kitchen can better serve as the heart of the home, making life easier for all those who enter.

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