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The 4-Inch Kitchen Space You Keep Neglecting but Should Really Use for Storage

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)

Even if you live in a 10,000-square-foot mansion, you’re probably clamoring for extra storage space. Like goldfish, possessions grow to the size of the space available. As much as you try to KonMari your belongings down to a reasonable amount, certain things just need to be kept on hand—even if they’re not the prettiest to behold (ahem, baking sheets, muffin tins and other cooking essentials).

And it turns out that Built Custom Homes founder Jasmine Roth has the perfect place to stow those exact necessities. “Toe kicks—or mop boards if you live on the East Coast—are something every kitchen has. You know, the space under your kitchen cabinets? Well, it’s forgotten space that can hold the toughest of kitchen items: cookie sheets, giant serving platters, muffin tins,” you name it.

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The HGTV Hidden Potential designer is referring to the tiny gap between your floor and your lower cabinets. Normally, it’s just a flat piece of wood you bump into as you sweep up crumbs, but it can be used for so much more.

Roth recently installed toe-kick drawers in a family’s home in Huntington Beach, California, working with B and D Cabinets to create custom storage under the family’s kitchen island. Several companies—from KraftMaid to Diamond Cabinets—also offer this feature. You can even go the DIY route and order a pre-made drawer you install yourself off Amazon or Etsy (which will set you back $74 or more apiece, BTW). 

The best part? Many of these drawers use push latches, so you can just tap your foot against the drawer and have them glide open, sparing you from crouching down and fighting to open and close them.

Trays and baking sheets aren’t the only things you can store there—you can keep the dog’s bowls tucked away when they’re not in use (now you only have to worry about tripping over Sir Barks-a-Lot, not his stuff). Other people have tucked in a folding step stool so they can easily reach their top shelves without having to drag a chair over. You could even add one to your bathroom vanity.

If you don’t really need another drawer, you can also use that space to make cleanup easier: Lowe’s sells a Toekick Vacuum that fits right into that nook. Instead of bothering with a dustpan—and that careful walk to the trash can—you simply sweep everything into the four-inch space and the vacuum will suck it up. (FYI: It automatically powers off after ten seconds, and all the dust goes into a reusable bag, explains Dean Schwartz, Lowe’s VP of merchandising.)

“Is there anything better than adding storage to a space where there would be nothing otherwise?” Roth asks. “I think not!” Hear, hear.

Shop the Story:

Knape & Vogt Pull-Out Drawer  ($74 at Amazon)

Westfield Art Push-to-Open Toe Kick Drawer  (starting at $139)

Toekick Vacuum  (pricing varies)

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