Kitchen Inventory Mapping 101

If you have ever worked in retail or just have a foundation of knowledge of business, you probably know what an inventory map is. However, did you ever think you could use this idea to effectively organize and design your kitchen? Well, you can! At a high level, you made a list of everything you have (or want) to store, and then place it in your cabinets. This exercise is probably something that most people don’t realize they are doing. Whenever you put things away, you are trying to systematically think about how often you use what and put it away accordingly. The same is true for a kitchen! If your pots and pans aren’t in an easy to find location, cooking becomes a lot harder. Enter kitchen inventory mapping. And this is a perfect exercise to do with your cabinet designer while creating your new space. Ready to learn how?

First Draft Of Design

Most of the time, when you review a design for your kitchen we look at floor plans and perspectives. Why? They are the easiest way to convey a sense of the entire space and visually “see” it in renderings. Once you have gotten through the general layout (like where the sink, fridge, and cooktop will be) you can deep dive into the specific cabinets. If you have access to the elevations, these are the best way to inventory map. Using your floor plan you can see where you are in the room, but the elevation will show you the cabinets, and sizes, on a particular wall. Below is what a normal elevation may look like.

Decluttered Elevations

Once you have your elevation – dimensions and all – and all of the appliances are in the right place, we hyper-focus on the cabinetry themselves. The very first step to inventory mapping is getting a decluttered version of the elevations that you plan to map. Why? Because we are going to start drawing all over this page with lines, notes, and numbers. A truly decluttered elevation may only have the outline of the cabinetry on it. Like you see below, we only have the appliances labeled, so we know we can’t store additional items in some of those spaces. You can also leave the general cabinet dimensions on these in case you need to double-check the size of that large stock pot you plan on storing. More often than not, overall sizing can’t be changed, like the width of the wall, but the individual cabinets can be tweaked. Your designer will know more once she/he knows what you plan to put in each cabinet.

Kitchen Inventory Mapping

Here comes the fun (a.k.a. tedious) part. We like to tell our homeowners that they have some homework to do – and if they have children, the kids get a kick out of hearing this too. The first thing you want to do is start making a list of everything you have in your kitchen. Now, you don’t have to get as detailed as “3 spatulas, 2 metal whisks, 1 rubber whisk, 2 ladles…” but you should group items together than you plan on storing together. For those items, the overall term “cooking utensils” will work just fine. If you want, you can write down a general idea of how many linear feet you need for some items. For example: have a ton of vertical storage items, like baking pans, jelly roll sheets, cutting board, muffin tins? Group these as “vertical storage” and distinguish if you need 2-feet or 4-feet of linear storage. Then, give each of your groups a number – see the bottom of the picture below. Once they have been organized, you can either draw a bunch of lines all over your elevation placing things or, as we have shown below, number the cabinet area you wish to store that group of items in.

Customized Cabinet Design

When you have completed your inventory mapping homework, pass it along to your cabinet designer. They may even set aside a time to review this with you. Either way, they may make certain suggestions for some storage solutions. Anywhere you plan to place cutlery or knives, they may installed an appropriate drawer organizer. Vertical storage? Place some tray dividers so they don’t all topple over. You will have the conversation of drawers vs doors and roll-outs, and make sure everything has a home. These inserts and organizational tools so have a price tag associated with them, but they can be a life-saver. The nice thing about some of them – like roll-outs – is that they are adjustable so if you have taller/shorter items to store in the future, you can remove one or more them around as appropriate. This is the time to lean on your designer and determine what is most important to you and find the best, customized solution. See some other ways to upgrade your kitchen cabinets.

Ready to start inventory mapping? Feeling more confident that you will create the best kitchen design for your needs? Hopefully, this helps! Feel free to learn more as to why working with a cabinet design is important, and extremely helpful. Ready to start? See how easy it is to work virtually with one of our designers.