Drawers and roll-out trays organize your kitchen and simplify your life

Storage is really about accessibility and that means being able to get things whenever you want and always having a place to put them away when you are done.

The best way to organize your kitchen cabinets is with a combination of drawers of various sizes and roll-out trays to accommodate the taller and larger items that won’t fit into drawers.

Drawers are the handiest because they provide access from 3 sides and are most useful when equipped with dedicated organizers. Kitchen drawers are usually grouped in banks of 3 or 4 to maintain the horizontal cabinetry lines throughout the kitchen. Very few kitchen items cannot be stored in drawers.

Unlike drawers, roll-out trays are behind cabinet doors so they’re not quite as convenient but do give you the advantage of being able to be positioned as required to accommodate taller items such as cereal boxes and portable appliances. Because they are hidden by the doors the height variations don’t show and this helps to keep clean cabinetry lines in the kitchen.

If your kitchen design includes a pantry deeper than 15” roll-out trays are a must, without them you will simply not get full use of the space. Roll-outs only work to a height of about 48” so 4 roll-outs is usually the most practical number regardless of the height of the pantry.

Drawers and roll-out trays are typically made of the same materials and constructed in the same fashion. Birch or Maple sides with dovetail corner joints are the strongest and the bottoms should be at least 3/8” thick with a durable surface. Some companies promote plywood bottoms with a lacquered finish as a quality feature but, because this is a wear surface, a premium grade of melamine such as Hard Rock melamine is a much better choice

To get full access and for long-term dependability full extension / soft close glides rated for at least 80 lbs. are a must. The best quality glides mount on the bottom of the drawers, which also makes them very space efficient. However, because roll-out trays are situated behind doors, one-inch “stand-offs” are required to mount the glides away from the cabinet sides so that the trays clear the hinges when operated.

When designing your new kitchen try to include as many drawers and roll-out trays as possible. Also plan to incorporate drawer organizers for things like cutlery, cooking utensils and knives. While these kinds of details do impact the price of your new kitchen, they will greatly improve the use of space, simplify your life and make your kitchen more enjoyable, every time you use it.