Three tiered kitchen cabinets with access ladder

There is a lot of hardware out there to help you organize your kitchen and maximize the space in your cabinets. This glossary includes all the important terms you need to know related to kitchen organization.

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Adjustable Shelf

A shelf that can be adjusted up or down to optimize storage space, make room for taller items, and reduce dead space above shorter items.

Kitchen cabinetry with adjustable shelving

Appliance Lift

A specialized piece of hardware that lifts an appliance from beneath the base cabinets to a comfortable working height at roughly countertop level.

Kitchen cabinet attachment for raising and lowering small appliances

Appliance Garage

Refers to a small, enclosed cabinet, level with the countertop, that houses a toaster, blender or other small appliance. Appliance garages are often covered by tambour doors in order to prevent the swing of the door from being obstructed by items on the countertop.

Cabinet storage space for small appliances

Base Cabinets

Lower cabinets, typically 36" high and 20" to 24" deep that support the countertops and sink.

Under the counter wood cabinets

Blind Corner Shelving Unit

Sometimes called "magic corners," these units feature multiple slides that pull items out of the blind corner in several stages. Pull out the first section, slide it to the left or right, then pull out the second section that was previously hidden.

Blind corner cabinet shelf rack

Corner Cabinet

Any cabinet that occupies the space in a corner where two walls and/or banks of cabinets come together.

Example of a corner cabinet

Blind Corner Cabinet

A blind corner cabinet is formed by two cabinets that butt together in the corner like two Lego bricks. Only one cabinet actually occupies the corner, called the "blind corner", and the contents of this cabinet are inaccessible from the adjoining cabinet.

Diagram of the design of a blind corner cabinet

Diagonal Corner Cabinet

A diagonal corner cabinet is a type of corner cabinet with a single door, set at a 45° angle, that spans the two banks of cabinets.

Diagram of the design of a diagonal corner cabinet

Corner Guards

Plastic protectors that help prevent pull-out shelves from damaging doors. This damage can occur when the shelf is pulled out and the door is not fully opened.

Plastic corner guards for shelf edge protection

Drawer Insert

Sometimes called a "drawer tray," this is a one-piece insert with divided compartments for organizing kitchen gadgets, silverware and other small items.

Tray insert for drawers to divide up storage spaces

False Drawer Front

A drawer front with no drawer box behind it. False drawer fronts are sometimes necessary in front of sinks and built-in cooktops. Tip-out trays are a storage solution that provides a way of using the narrow space behind the false front.

False drawer front in cabinet with tip-out storage

Filler Pull-Out

A narrow pull-out shelving unit designed to fit behind a decorative column that normally eats up usable space. Filler pull-outs may also be used to utilize narrow "leftover" spaces that often result from fixed-width appliances.

Narrow space-filling storage cabinet

Full-Extension Slide

A short screw with a thick shaft and coarse thread, used in the European 32mm system for installing hinges and drawer slides into 5mm diameter holes.

Diagram of a drawer with fully extending slides

Garbage Pull-Out

A specialized pull-out shelf, intended for waste management, with spaces for one or several waste baskets or recycling baskets. Available in door-mount units, or bottom-mount units with full-extension slides that mount to the bottom of the cabinet with brackets.

Pull-out storage for an under the counter garbage can

Lazy Susan

A circular or semi-circular tray that allows the user to access items from a single location simply by spinning the tray. Available in small sizes for countertop use or in larger sizes for accessing items at the backs of corner cabinets.

Example of lazy susan shelving

Pie-Cut Lazy Susan

Sometimes called a "kidney-shaped" lazy Susan, a pie-cut lazy Susan is a rotating tray shaped like a pie that's missing a wedge roughly one quarter of its area. The missing wedge aligns with the back of the bi-fold door or dual doors that cover a 90° corner cabinet.

digram of a lazy susan shelf with a pie cut wedge

Half-Moon Lazy Susan

A rotating tray in the shape of a half circle. Half-moon lazy Susans are used to access items at the back of a blind corner cabinet.

Example of half-moon style lazy susan shelving

Full-Round Lazy Susan

A rotating tray, or set of trays, in the shape of a full circle. In cabinetry applications, full-round lazy Susans are often used in corner cabinets.

Diagram of a fully round rotating lazy susan shelf

D-Shaped Lazy Susan

A rotating tray, circular in shape, but with one section of the perimeter flattened where it aligns with the back of the cabinet door. D-shaped lazy Susans have slightly more surface area than their full-round counterparts.

Diagram of a lazy susan with a flat shaped section

Lid Organizer

Keeps your pot and pan lids in a neat row so they don't end up jumbled in a drawer. Makes it easy to select the single lid that you need so you don't have to dig through a jumbled pile.

Shelf rack for organizing pot and pan lids

Lock-Align Drawer Organization System

A customizable drawer organizing system with trays and dividers that fit into a standard grid of non-slip material lining the drawer bottom. The trays and dividers can be removed and adjusted as needed to fit your items.

Rockler lock-align drawer organization inserts

Over-Travel Slide

A type of drawer slide, also used on pull-out shelves and other pull-out storage units, that carries the drawer beyond the cabinet face by an inch or so. Useful for spice drawers and other applications where you need to be able to access items at the very back of the drawer, even when the countertop overhangs the edge.

Diagram of a drawer with over-travel extension

Pantry Cabinet

A cabinet for storing canned goods, dried goods and other preserved food items. Pantry cabinets are typically tall and deep, but may come in any size. To maximize storage and improve access, they may have adjustable shelves, either traditional or pull-out, or be equipped with one or more large pantry pull-outs or a swing-out system that lets you page through your pantry in layers.

Large kitchen pantry cabinet with lazy susan shelving

Pantry Slides

A type of heavy-duty drawer slide system that can accommodate a tall pantry pull-out. When pulled out, these systems offer access to a huge range of food items without having to shuffle things around for access.

Slide out under-cabinet style pantry storage

Pilaster System

Refers to the vertical mounting brackets used to mount pull-out shelves. Pilasters provide two functions: they space the pull-out shelf away from the cabinet wall so it clears the door and its hinges, and they also provide multiple holes in a vertical array for adjustment of the roll-out shelves.

Pilaster style- shelf mounting brackets

Pot and Pan Organizer

A rack, typically made of wire, for organizing frying pans and other cooking vessels in a drawer or cabinet.

Under-counter storage rack for kitchen pots and pans

Pull-Down Shelf

A shelving unit for upper cabinets that swings out and downward, providing easier access to items on high shelves.

Swing down storage rack for upper cabinets

Pull-Out Shelves

Also called "roll-out shelves," these are shelves mounted on a pair of drawer slides, which allows them to be pulled out of the cabinet for easy access to the back of the shelf. Pull-out shelves are often mounted on a set of four "pilasters" inside the cabinet, which have multiple holes for height adjustment.

Cross-section example of pull-out drawer slides for kitchen cabinets

Shelf Pins

Metal or plastic shelf supports that fit into holes drilled into the cabinet walls and/or partitions. Shelf pins are available to fit specific hole sizes, typically 1/4" or 5mm in diameter.

Metal pin for installing adjustable shelving

Shelf Standards

A narrow metal column with slots or holes that attaches to the interior of the cabinet and accepts shelf supports, and in some cases, drawer slide brackets. Provides an easy way to add adjustability to your shelves.

Example of a shelf standard strip for installing adjustable shelving

Spice Rack/Spice Tray Insert

Organizers for spice jars, available as either pull-out units or as sawtooth drawer inserts that keep spice jars neatly tipped up for easy viewing of the labels.

Spice rack hanging inside cabinet door

Swing-Out Pantry

A type of layered pantry storage system that consists of a door-mounted shelving unit that swings out to reveal a second swing-out shelving unit inside the cabinet. When the interior swing-out is opened, a third layer of shelves at the back of the pantry is revealed.

Example of a pantry cabinet with multiple swinging shelving units

Tiered Drawer Organizer

A type of drawer insert with multiple layers that slide back and forth, maximizing usable space in the drawer and easing access.

Kitchen drawer organization trays with a tiered structure

Tip-Out Tray

A shallow tray installed behind the false drawer front of a sink cabinet. Useful for storing sponges, scouring pads and small bottles of detergent.

Tip out tray storage for false front drawers

Towel Holder

A rod for holding dish towels and rags - keeps dirty towels out of sight, but within easy reach when needed.

Behind cabinet door dish towel rack

Tray Divider

A wire rack that lets you store baking pans and cookie sheets vertically, making them easy to access without having to unstack items. Also helps to protect non-stick finishes by minimizing contact between selected pans/sheets.

Cabinet dividing rack for large tray storage

Upper Cabinets

Cabinets, typically 12'' deep, that are mounted above the countertops.

Example of kitchen cabinets elevated above counter

Zero-Clearance Hinges

Hinges that swing entirely clear of the cabinet opening, useful for providing the needed clearance when installing pull-out shelves.

Close-up of a hinge with zero clearance swing

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