Of all of the rooms that Shari and I have decorated, the most difficult to organize is the kitchen. There’s just too much stuff, and not enough places to put it.
Pots and pans seem to present one of the biggest storage dilemmas. If you have an island in your kitchen, you might try hanging your pots from a pot rack over the island. But what do you do with the lids? And what if you don’t have a kitchen large enough for an island? Well, most people without an island store their pots and pans in a lower cupboard.
Storing pans in cupboards may be a great way to hide them when they are not in use, but it’s less than perfect in terms of efficiency. Somehow it always seems that the lid you are looking for has wedged itself into the very back of the cupboard, requiring you to get on all fours for a search and rescue mission.
Well, no more! With the addition to your cupboard of a simple gliding shelf system, your pots and pans will always be right at your fingertips. To put together this gliding shelf unit, you’ll need the following:
- 3/4″ plywood
- circular saw
- speed square
- pine lumber (1×8, 1×6 and 1×2)
- table saw
- drywall screws
- wood glue
- 1/8″ luan plywood
- cabinet glides
The following instructions are for the top gliding shelf in the photo. This storage unit consists of four main parts–the base, two dividers that hold up shelves for cookie sheets and a third divider that makes up the pan lid area.
1.The first step is to measure the inside of the cabinet. Then, cut the plywood for the base of the unit with a circular saw (Be sure to allow for a few inches for the sides, the front and the back so that it will fit inside the cabinet with plenty of room to pull it in and out).
2. Cut the two cookie sheet dividers out of 1×8 pieces of pine using a circular saw with a speed square to guide the cut. Make them as deep as the base.
3. Use a table saw to cut horizontal dado grooves three and six inches away from the saw fence to allow shelves to slide in and out of the dividers (set the blade height at 1/4 inch so the groove is deep enough for the shelves to be held in place). Run the divider through the saw and move the fence 1/8 inch so the dado is cut wide enough for each shelf to slide freely.
4. Cut the third divider from a piece of 1 x 6. Use the shorter piece here so the handles of pots placed next to it will clear the divider. Cut vertical dados into this divider and match them to new dados cut into the other side of the center divider cut earlier. Use the table saw and the fence plus a stop block and miter gauge to prevent kickbacks. Make the measurements from blade to stop block; cut, and then move the block and fence 1/8 inch and cut again.
5. Round the top front corners of each divider with a jigsaw and sand them smooth.
6. Attach the dividers from the bottom using counter-sunk drywall screws and wood glue. Start at one end; move in ten inches for the center divider, and then 12 inches from the center for the last divider.
7. Dress-up the front, create a bar to grab onto, and keep the pans from spilling out by attaching a lip made from the 1 x 2. Make it long enough to cover from the center divider to the pot side. Round both ends with a jigsaw and sand them smooth.
8. Last, cut the cookie sheet shelves and lid dividers out of 1/8” luan plywood.
9. Sand the unit, tack off the dust with a tack cloth and paint it to match or accent the inside of your cabinet.
10. Attach the glides to the base and to the cabinet and you are good to go.
This unit is great! No more searching for that special pan or missing lid. Instead, just slide the shelf out and all your cooking utensils are in perfect order. Think of all the time you’ll save. You might even have enough extra time for a snack. Just open your new pots and pans shelf, pull out a cookie sheet and make yourself a batch of chocolate chip cookies. It really does pay to be organized!