10 Smart Storage Ideas to Steal from Emily Henderson’s Mountain House

“I’m pretty sure there is a support group for those of us who get an unnatural thrill from staring at the perfectly organized pantry,” Emily Henderson wrote in a blog post about her newly renovated kitchen in her weekend home (known as “Mountain House” to fans). There is, Emily. And welcome! You are not alone.

Emily Henderson Mountain House Kitchen
Above: Emily told us that she was inspired to rethink the storage in her Mountain House kitchen after working on this project. She partnered with the NEAT Method to realize her vision.

We, too, get an unnatural thrill from eyeing thoughtfully organized shelves and pleasingly tidy drawers, so we are super-excited that the LA-based designer is sharing the details of where she puts every little (and big) thing in her Mountain House kitchen. Here, 10 next-level storage and organization ideas from our fellow Type-A neat-freak (we see you, Emily).

Photography by Sara Tramp for Emily Henderson Design.

1. Play zone defense.

Emily Henderson Mountain House Kitchen Cooking Utensils Drawer
Above: Emily’s kitchen is divided into discrete zones: a cooking station (pictured), a center island for prep and cleanup, a peninsula where dinnerware is kept, and a wall of food storage. Here’s what Kristzina Galambos, owner of NEAT Los Angeles, told her about the importance of creating flow in the kitchen: “Think through how you move in your kitchen on a daily basis. You’ll want to place items in areas that create efficiencies so you aren’t walking in circles!”

2. Keep devices hidden.

Emily Henderson Mountain House Kitchen Charging Drawer
Above: Out of sight, out of mind. That was Emily’s reasoning for stowing her smart phone, tablet, and laptop inside a charging drawer. Added bonus: wires are concealed as well. (See Aha! Design: An Electronics Charging Drawer for more ideas.)

3. Elevate the junk drawer.

Emily Henderson Mountain House Kitchen Junk Drawer
Above: A removable tray in this “junk drawer” adds another level of organization. (See Junk Drawer Wisdom: What to Keep, What to Toss, and How to Keep It Organized for tips on taming the catch-all drawer.)

4. Think outside the boxes.

Emily Henderson Mountain House Kitchen Drawer Organization
Above: We are huge proponents of decanting (see our stories on decanting laundry detergents, liquid soaps, dry goods, and spices), and that extends to plastic and paper bags as well. You’l be able to fit a lot more into your drawers and on shelves when you lose the packaging.

5. Make sure kids can help themselves.

Emily Henderson Mountain House Kitchen Dinnerware Drawers
Above: Glasses, plates, and bowls for little ones are stored in the lowest drawer so that they can easily access them.

6. Splurge on refrigerator drawers.

Above: This is a huge upgrade from the basement or garage fridge. If it’s in your budget, consider refrigerator drawers for stocking up on beverages. Emily designated a lower refrigerator drawer to healthy kids’ snacks.

7. Integrate storage into the trash drawer.

Emily Henderson Mountain House Kitchen Garbage Drawer
Above: One of our favorite storage features in Emily’s kitchen, the trash drawer includes a dedicated bin for holding garbage bags and a hook on the inside to hang a dust pan and brush.

8. Bring order under the sink.

Emily Henderson Mountain House Kitchen Under the Sink
Above: It’s tempting to ignore this no-frills, awkward storage area, but spend a little time outfitting it with the right storage aids—a tray and riser here, a bin and towel bar there—and you’ll be rewarded with an attractively organized cabinet. Emily relied on Target’s Made by Design line for most of her small storage needs. (See 5 Tips for Under-the-Sink Organization for more ideas.)

9. Choose storage containers that stack.

Emily Henderson Mountain House Kitchen Pantry
Above: Stackable food storage containers are a boon, especially if you have limited pantry space. (All the bins and containers here are by Target’s Made by Design.)

10. Make room for a coffee station.

Emily Henderson Mountain House Kitchen Coffee Station
Above: We can’t get enough of this trend—an integrated coffee bar that holds everything you need to make your favorite caffeinated beverage. See the breakfast station that inspired this one here.

Make sure to check out Emily’s post about her Mountain House kitchen for more sourcing information and nitty-gritty details.

And find more organized kitchen tours here:

N.B.: This post is an update; it was first published July 2020.

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