My favorite place in the house has and always will be the kitchen. Unfortunately, typical kitchen storage and I do not get along. I stand at a whopping 4 feet and 11 inches (5 feet on a good day).

I have grown accustomed to climbing on counters, pulling up stools and maneuvering chairs around the kitchen in order to reach what I need to. However, now that my family and I have a house of our own, it is time to think seriously about more lasting ways to make our kitchen friendly for the vertically challenged.

Go down under


The good thing about being short: It is easier to reach things down below. So why not take advantage and store as much as you can beneath the counters to begin with? Store heavier items in lower cabinets, along with frequently used items. One of the best decisions I made when we moved into our home was to place all of my daughter’s cups, plates and bowls in a large drawer that she can reach. Not only is it more accessible for me, but she can also enjoy some autonomy by choosing her food and drinkware herself.

Shelf it

Standard pullout shelving in your cabinets allows you to access items that are stored in the back of the cabinet without having to move the items in front out of the way first. Pull-down shelving gives you the same advantages of pull-out shelving but for upper cabinets as well. Rev-a-Shelf makes a shelf mechanism that fits into standard cabinets, and it has been on my wish list for years. Not only does this shelving allow you to take full advantage of the depth of your cabinet, but it also pulls all the way down to counter-height.

Climb up

I recently saw a library ladder installed in a kitchen and thought, “What a great idea.” This allows homeowners to roll a ladder around the kitchen to access upper cabinetry throughout the space. The main trick here is to make sure there is space so that the ladder can sit out of the way when not in use.

Make room


If you don’t have the time or budget to install a more lasting solution, at least make some space for some temporary ones. I have used a collapsible step stool for years and always keep it in the small space between our wine fridge and the counter.

This also is where I store my favorite As Seen on TV purchase: an extendable tool to reach and pick up lightweight items in upper cabinets.

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