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Furniture planning help please. Shelves vs drawers?
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seeker









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 5:05 pm
My kitchen storage is pretty much under control. My strategy is to not have too much stuff, and I have enough cabinets for the stuff that I do have. My under-counter storage where I keep pots etc is deep and not very organized/efficient, but it is what's there so I make do. Drawers ain't going there, it just is what it is. Old rental apartment with no budget.

Now, the other side of the kitchen farther from the food prep area is now up for reconstruction due to a neighbor getting rid of some cabinets. It is a large area around 60" wide and too deep. I need help deciding what goes there because I took 3 cabinets, can fit two of them, and could theoretically make some adjustments for my needs (e.g. extra shelves?)

Currently there is just a big "counter" there, which is a large board that I hung up with shelf brackets. I mostly use it as my workspace for home work and chilling (laptop, papers, pens, etc) and it gets used as a junk/miscellaneous drawer minus the drawer part, which of course is a disaster. So now I will have drawers. It's also the space that is used, for example, when kids want to help because the cooking area of the kitchen is very narrow. And stuff goes there.

Under that, until now, was a jumble.
- A small filing cabinet (I will need a new solution for where to file papers because I do use it a lot but it will not fit with my new cabinets which I really want... don't know how I will handle this.)
- The printer/copier/scanner (it's nice to have this under the counter and not taking up useful space.) Until now this has been sitting on an old nighttable. Inside this are papers that should have been filed/sorted/purged years ago Embarassed )
- A couple of boxes of books that my kids are not ready to grow into but I like them enough to save, and once I move more things into cabinets I will have more room on bookshelves since I currently have things on shelves that would do better in drawers.
- Miscellany that goes with workspace/printer, such as papers, envelopes, file folders, just stacked up and constantly needing dusting.

OK, now here are my options of what to put there in this under-counter space.

Two of the units are 30" wide so tight but should fit, and 24" deep which is perfect, a little less than my current setup so I'll have to either find a way to saw down my current slab or get a new one. They each have two small top drawers and two larger bottom drawers. It seems to me that the fronts of the drawers are significantly bigger than the insides, so I'm not sure how that works out space-wise - maybe that's because they're kitchen drawers meant for pots and pans that don't need as much of a wall as, say, wardrobe drawers? I guess you use containers within them if you need more space for contents?

So the shallow drawers aren't an issue for me at all, because I NEED those for pens/pencils/batteries/all the things that should be in drawers and I have not yet found a good solution for keeping them on shelves, including mini-drawers which is better than nothing but just not the same as a stationery drawer. The deep drawers I guess are better than shelves because as shelves they would be very deep. Though I'm thinking of just taking out one of the deep drawers and using that area as a shelf for the printer because the printer will need a new home. Not sure what I will do about getting the power down there, I hope it will either reach with a hole drilled in back, or that an extension cord would be safe... And there's a chance I could make doors work to hide the printer and/or protect from dust but not sure that would work. So anyway idea #1 for cabinet #1 would be to have 2 shallow "stuff" drawers, a printer shelf with a few inches of space next to the printer, and one of the original deep drawers for I don't know what but I still have stuff from when we moved here that never found homes...

Idea #2 for cabinet #1 would be to leave it as is, have two little top drawers and two big bottom drawers, and put the printer on top of the counter or...something.

Then cabinet #2 can either be another of the same, just with a drawer instead of the printer shelf. OR, there's a third cabinet that is a little narrower (easier to fit, but leaves several inches of gap for... gathering dust? What can you do with a deep, approx 6" space between your cabinet and stove?) and also shallower (15") that has doors and shelves, no drawers.

So that's a lot less storage space, but here's why it's attractive - currently as my workspace, I work on the counter and my legs go under the counter. If I have all the cabinets align, then I need to figure out something else for that. I could work at the dining room table, which would probably actually be good for productivity, but in some ways there are distinct advantages to having a dedicated workspace, I do enough work at home (ok ok not everything I do at my desk is work... but) So I'm thinking if I take the shallower cabinet then I lose a bunch of storage space but I can have the countertop hang over and be a desk.

I don't think it would make sense to build out a deeper countertop over the deeper cabinet, because that would limit my access to my precious junk drawer which is not something I ever thought I'd want but NOT having a junk drawer is just as messy and inefficient as having one! Also that would bite out more of my floor/walking space. Though it's hard to visualize just how much of the drawer would be blocked since it's a deep drawer and the counter would just hang over a few inches.

AAAAAAAAUUUUUUGH I HATE DECISION-MAKING, I AM A HORRIBLE PLANNER, HELP ME OUT PLEASE!
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seeker









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 5:11 pm
Oh, and let's complicate things a drop further:
If I don't use the smaller cabinet (which I was thinking of using for legroom for office-y work), my mother could use it. The larger ones would not fit her space. She doesn't need a new cabinet as badly as I do, but if it happens to be available when I'm done, she would like to have it.

So any creative ideas of how I could make a desk space compatible with the wider/drawers cabinet would be helpful.
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ra_mom









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 5:24 pm
While technically shelves can accommodate more space, in actuality, drawers contain the storage (things are not falling off the shelves when you're pulling something out ) so they are more useful.
In addition, your items will be kept more organized within the drawers, and visually they look great from tbe outside.
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seeker









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 5:29 pm
In that case, any suggestions how to gain desk space within this setup?
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ra_mom









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 5:32 pm
seeker wrote:
In that case, any suggestions how to gain desk space within this setup?

Do you mean a space underneath the countertop/desktop, for you to sit with a chair?
Do you have room to extend the countertop to come out a few more inches past the 60", so you can use a chair on the side?
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seeker









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 5:41 pm
No side. The space is 60" from wall to stove.
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ra_mom









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 5:47 pm
I'd probably forgo the desk set up so I could have the drawers. I pushed off buying and setting up drawers in one of my spaces for 2 years, and once I got them I couldn't believe I had not worked harder to get them sooner. They made such a difference in organization. They also forced me to be more discerning about what I really needed and wanted to keep in that space.
But if you really need the desk setup, then see if you can leave the top drawer of one of the new cabinets, but remove the 2 bottom ones of that side, and saw off the shelves that hold those drawers, so you have the space for your chair.
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seeker









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 5:54 pm
Not sure how that hack would be better than just having the shelves in the first place but I'm going to measure it out and see if that's a possibility.

I'm not sure how badly I need the desk setup, that's the whole problem with anything like this - I have such a hard time planning because I can't visualize what it will be like in real life. Maybe I'll say I can just work in the dining room, which is right outside the kitchen, and then find it annoying to keep going back and forth when I need anything. Or maybe I'll find that my back and shoulders will thank me for working at a table instead of a counter, and that I'm less drawn to nosh when I'm not in the kitchen. Or maybe not.

My instinct says the kitchen would probably continue to be a good workspace but I'm not sure how to make it happen.

Which space did you add drawers that was so life-changing? I'm literally fantasizing about having a junk drawer instead of a junk counter but I bet that's not what you had in mind Wink
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bigbird









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 5:56 pm
What is above the countertop? Is the wall space being used?
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seeker









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 6:02 pm
Not much use of the wall space. The current countertop is so deep you couldn't even reach the wall. On one side I have a little shelf that used to be the cereal etc shelf when it was more of an eating counter (which was nice, actually. Almost like a kitchen table. But then it became the junk drawer, workspace, etc plus the kitchen is narrow and not that inviting) and now it's, well, it holds some magazine holders for assorted paper categories, a basket of chargers/cables, the benchers...I think some of those things will move to the counter when the junk moves out/into drawers.

But anyway I haven't found that I need that wall space. Like I said, my kitchen storage contains itself more or less well enough. The main thing that keeps overflowing is the breadmaker that I should probably get rid of because it's not worth the amount of space it takes up for the few times I use it.
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ra_mom









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 6:09 pm
seeker wrote:
Not sure how that hack would be better than just having the shelves in the first place but I'm going to measure it out and see if that's a possibility.

I'm not sure how badly I need the desk setup, that's the whole problem with anything like this - I have such a hard time planning because I can't visualize what it will be like in real life. Maybe I'll say I can just work in the dining room, which is right outside the kitchen, and then find it annoying to keep going back and forth when I need anything. Or maybe I'll find that my back and shoulders will thank me for working at a table instead of a counter, and that I'm less drawn to nosh when I'm not in the kitchen. Or maybe not.

My instinct says the kitchen would probably continue to be a good workspace but I'm not sure how to make it happen.

Which space did you add drawers that was so life-changing? I'm literally fantasizing about having a junk drawer instead of a junk counter but I bet that's not what you had in mind Wink

How about one 30" set of drawers, and on the other side one shelf right beneath the countertop for the printer (I don't know how high your printer is to know if this is feasible), and leave the space underneath for the chair?

The drawers that I bought were for my closet.
I have rods along either side of the closet and a narrow walk though in between. When we moved the plan was for the handyman to put up narrow shelves against the back wall, between the rods, each big enough for a nice high basket for the non hanging items. That never happened and in the meantime I used various plastic drawers and containers and I felt so all over the place.
So we finally went to Ikea and put together a narrow set of drawers, I can't tell you what it did for me! And the fact that there are many very shallow drawers instead of a few deeper ones was the best, because that way I only put one category in each drawer and everything stays neat BH.
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seeker









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 10:22 pm
Ah, yes, I did my wardrobe last year after several years of dysfunctional wishing, and it was SUCH a lifestyle improvement! I guess here the main issue is that I never had a clear vision of what I need out of this space. It was just an opportunity that I grabbed. Not like last time where I knew I had this clothing situation and needed, duh, homes for clothing.

Drawers are awesome. But the drawers come with the deep unit and I'm not sure about the deep. On the other hand the deep one also fills my space wall to wall very perfectly without the 6" dust collection (it would leave like a 3" dust collection area because my wall goes in a little... hard to explain)

I have until Wednesday morning to figure this out because I learned the hard way that these things are astonishingly heavy, and Wednesday is the soonest that my preferred handyman can come get them into place for me.

Meanwhile I have my work cut out for me trying to make sense of all the junk that used to be here, to make room for this movement. It's utter craziness. I think I might have had other things on my agenda for this week, but I can't be quite sure anymore... it's time to tackle all the stuff that has been postponed forever, within the next couple of hours.
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ra_mom









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 10:24 pm
This is the narrow piece that fit into the closet and I'm crazy about the drawers.
https://m.ikea.com/us/en/catal...../50192822/
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ra_mom









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 10:30 pm
Good luck with strategizing! Sometimes you just need to empty the space, put everything in a big bucket, redo the furniture, and then slowly refill.
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seeker









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 10:38 pm
Yeah but I first need to decide WHICH furniture to put in to refill!

So much of the accumulation is junk of the variety that is too junky or too random for even a junk drawer. To me, a junk drawer is the place for things that you need and need to access but only need one of, so there's nothing they go "with." Like the screwdriver you use too often to put away with the other tools that you use rarely. The camera battery charger for the camera that uses proprietary batteries but only needs to be charged once in a while. The tape measure. NOT the sample pack of post-it flags that came in the mail that you really do want to use but don't have a home for. NOT anything belonging to the kids no matter how much their own junk is overflowing. NOT a dreidel. NOT papers you should have sorted and never got around to.

I need to stop talking about how overwhelmed I am and just do this.
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seeker









  


Post  Mon, Feb 12 2018, 10:40 pm
Oh dear G-d I opened one thing and already just CAN'T. OMG it is so overwhelming to go back into the things that got dumped together the last time I tried the "dump everything in a box and then put it back slowly." I have 3 such boxes Embarassed plus one very large such stack of papers. Bal tashchis or not, anything that I could potentially print out in the future that is now on a paper is going straight in the garbage. I just can't look.
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seeker









  


Post  Tue, Feb 13 2018, 12:22 am
Worked about twice as long as I meant to, and only dealt with the paper cabinet. Status: 4" of paper going to the garbage. 1.5" of things I think I should keep and will have to file, probably also purge further. One pile of blank papers to add to the kids' drawing supplies. One pile of things I can use for my current teaching and forgot I had. I should go to sleep but I keep thinking maybe I can just finish with the papers, and then have one thing DONE and do something totally different tomorrow.
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ra_mom









  


Post  Tue, Feb 13 2018, 12:28 am
seeker wrote:
Worked about twice as long as I meant to, and only dealt with the paper cabinet. Status: 4" of paper going to the garbage. 1.5" of things I think I should keep and will have to file, probably also purge further. One pile of blank papers to add to the kids' drawing supplies. One pile of things I can use for my current teaching and forgot I had. I should go to sleep but I keep thinking maybe I can just finish with the papers, and then have one thing DONE and do something totally different tomorrow.

Good luck! It sounds like you made a nice dent.
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Iymnok









  


Post  Tue, Feb 13 2018, 3:02 am
Can you put a shelf on the wall above for the printer? You may have to stand on a chair to access it, but you will free up some other space.
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seeker









  


Post  Tue, Feb 13 2018, 10:18 am
I made more than a nice dent but my counter area is still a mess and now I'm zonked from staying up way too late. I ended up throwing out more than 5" of paper, and I still have about 2" of stuff that needed more attention to sort.

I won't put the printer on a high shelf because it would be ugly, and I can't have an ugly wall on my workspace and 60" of my kitchen. And I need to reach it often. It goes under and too bad on the drawer that could have been there. I didn't have a drawer there before, and if I have one less now then no loss.

Someone gave me an idea to take out the top drawers from one unit and put a sliding-out desk surface. That sounds like a great idea. I'm just not sure how the ergonomics would work out with that because I do spend a lot of time on the computer, and I know that the height of the counter + my counter-height chair works well. I've been trying to experiment this morning to try to figure out how a pull-out surface would feel and I'm just not feeling it. But it's definitely an idea worth considering.

So now the two options, for alongside the full size drawer cabinet, are:
A - Use the shallower cabinet with doors/shelves, and keep my current counter-desk arrangement for that half.
B - Use the drawer cabinet, and replace the top drawer with a pull-out desk.

Eeny meeny miney mo. I keep playing the Final Jeopardy music in my mind Laughing
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