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Shelf Within a Shelf

Martha Stewart Living, August 2006

Make the most of your cupboard real estate by adding another level of storage for glassware. Cut a piece of nonskid shelf liner (available at home-supply stores) to line a serving tray and a cupboard shelf; this will help glasses stay put and protect the rims. Place glasses used less frequently upside down on the shelf, set tray on top, and arrange everyday glasses upside down on tray.

Comments (55)

  • 18 Sep, 2011

    I reconfigured my glass shelf using your idea Martha. It looks and works great. Thanks for your helpful tip.

  • 18 Sep, 2011

    I would certainly be worried that the tray would become unsteady and tip if the weight at both the ends were not equally balanced. We have many people that use our glassware and I don't see them thinking about which glass should be selected next. I do stack our glasses with store bought standing shelving units. I place our glasses: first glass rim side up and the next one rim side down because the glasses narrow at the bottom. Doing this they fit together evenly. More glasses per shelf!

  • 17 Sep, 2011

    I found a great website that lists reasons to store your glasses either upside down or right side up.
    http://www.ehow.com/info_8197974_drinking-glasses-stored-upside-down.html
    I do know that I read an article once that stated that good crystal glasses should always be stored right side up because the rim is delicate and holding the weight of the glass will damage the crystal. but for regular glasses, it depends.

  • 15 Sep, 2011

    I think this is a feasible idea but would add the nonstick liner to BOTH sides of the tray. Glasses on the tray would not slide and the tray would stay put on top of the glasses that support it. I would also place the rims of the glasses up not down as suggested by the lady who worked in the bridal registry dept. and avoid using glasses with a platform, (like the ones shown,) or stemware of any kind. As a professional organizer I give this idea a thumbs up!

  • 15 Sep, 2010

    Sylball, curious as to why you stated glasses should be stored upright? I have always stored them upside down as did my Mother and so on.

  • 15 Sep, 2010

    bottom shelf is a great idea if you have a lot of the same size glasses you don't use. there are movable shelves you add to any surface to make additional space.
    a great one that I use is the shelf that hangs from another one- for paper plates but can be used for other uses also.

  • 15 Sep, 2010

    bottom shelf is a great idea if you have a lot of the same size glasses you don't use. there are movable shelves you add to any surface to make additional space.
    a great one that I use is the shelf that hangs from another one- for paper plates but can be used for other uses also.

  • 15 Sep, 2010

    This is not a good idea. My husband has large hands and he would have broken glasses all over the place if I did this.You can add shelves to your cabinet and leave the glases upright, as they should be. I keep my seldom-used glasses in their origional boxes or quilted containers stored safely and cleanly in a hall closet.

  • 15 Sep, 2010

    My idea is that you should use TWO trays, rather than one, then it is easy to just remove those on the bottom, too.

  • 15 Sep, 2010

    My idea is that you should use TWO trays, rather than one, then it is easy to just remove those on the bottom, too.

  • 18 Jun, 2010

    A note on this idea - something I learned as a part-time bridal registry consultant... the store I worked at regularly had training for the consultants at all their regional stores in fine china, glass, silver, linens, housewares etc. Manufacturers do not recommend storing glasses on their rims - it is the weakest part of the glass. If you do stack them like this, stack 'em right side up!

  • 19 Feb, 2010

    I have used this idea for years with those small, thin, white cutting boards and my china coffee cups. They look prettier for use in a hutch than the wire shelves. It is best for items you don't use very often.

  • 16 Feb, 2010

    I agree with alice55 a disaster awaiting!

  • 16 Feb, 2010

    Really? This is not a "good thing", nor a good "organizing" idea. Ugh!

  • 12 Feb, 2010

    Great Idea! I would never have thought of this - will definitely try it.

  • 15 May, 2009

    Yes, it is a very good idea. I will try this at my next party!

  • 16 Nov, 2008

    Re. Harvard44: That's interesting, and makes a lot of sense. I was always told to store glassware upside down to stop dust settling in the glasses: but when I see all the drinking glasses at our work on the shelf upside down, I wonder when the shelf was last cleaned: the rim where you drink from is potentially sitting in all sorts of grime and dust. Yuk!

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    Good idea but one question. I had always heard that it was never advised to store any glassware upside-down - that the rim is the weakest part of a glass? Learned this first while a part-time bridal registry consultant and undergoing training in housewares, linens, tableware etc. Anyone know if this is true?

  • 6 Oct, 2008

    Without the bother of lifting one tray to get at the other, you can buy shelf-within-shelf shelves quite cheaply at Ikea or a storage/kitchen gadget shop (Howards Storage, in Australia). The idea of dividing up a shelf really does make good neat use of limited space, though :-)

  • 4 Oct, 2008

    We have exactly twice as many coffee mugs (all of which I love) than we have cupboard space for them. Because the cupboard is wide and shallow, a tray wouldn't have worked for me, but I found a skinny white rubberized freezer shelf that fits right inside the cupboard and doubled my mug space.

  • 4 Oct, 2008

    I have also used heavy cardboard cut to fit my cabinet and that works as well.
    When you have unusual cabinets, then you have to improvise!

  • 4 Oct, 2008

    I actually think this is a terrific idea. Cafeteria trays come in lots of sizes and colors, they are inexpensive, dishwasher-safe, sturdy and their raised rims are efficiently narrow. You can buy them individually or by the dozen. I searched the web and found the best deals on eBay, but you could find them at a restaurant supply store as well.

  • 4 Oct, 2008

    Poorly thought out. Disappointing from Martha as I would have expected better. Really, every time you want to use the lower set of glasses you have to remove the whole tray. If you have room enough for this in your cupboard best to just add the extra shelf. Not that hard to do and not expensive.

  • 4 Oct, 2008

    Poorly thought out. Disappointing from Martha as I would have expected better. Really, every time you want to use the lower set of glasses you have to remove the whole tray. If you have room enough for this in your cupboard best to just add the extra shelf. Not that hard to do and not expensive.

  • 4 Oct, 2008

    In theory, a good idea. But in real life would you lesser used glasses in cupboard space? And if you used them so little before, imagine how little you'd use them if you had to dismantle your clever make-shift shelf? They make ugly plastic coated wire shelves that serve the same purpose AND they are more sensible in that you can easily use the lower tier items since they do not support the top.

  • 4 Oct, 2008

    Yep, I was wondering the same thing.
    www.celebratingmystory.com
    Look for Oprah's endorsment in Nov.

  • 4 Oct, 2008

    how would you get a glass from the bottom shelf without moving the top shelf?

  • 18 Aug, 2008

    To ylekiot and livingthelife;
    thank you for your common sense/old school make-do geniusness!
    I appreciate being reminded of it...

  • 18 Aug, 2008

    To ylekiot and livingthelife;
    thank you for your common sense/old school make-do geniusness!
    I appreciate being reminded of it...

  • 17 Aug, 2008

    Ikea makes awesome shelves that double the storage space in my cabinets. They've recently made them more attractive too. They used to be gray metal mesh but now they are white with a more appealing look.

  • 16 Aug, 2008

    I make extra cupboard space by putting store-bought wire racks in on shelves. I think this works similar to but better than using a serving tray because then you can get out what's on the bottom without having to remove what's on the top. Wire racks can be bought in all sizes to fit your cabinets.

  • 16 Aug, 2008

    For additional work space when there's no room for a piece of furniture, here's how I solved that problem: In our old house I asked my husband to alter two of the lower cabinet doors to make them swing UP instead of opening from hinges on the side. He then made fold-down pegs for the legs that snapped into a clamp (those that are made for brooms and such) when not in use. It was a cabinet that stored infrequently-used kitchen items but I got LOTS of use out of those fold-up horizontal surfaces! Eventually I got slider shelves for the cabinet so I could get to the pots and things more easily and it worked great for years. When we sold the place that was one of the buyers' favorite things about our little kitchen!

  • 16 Aug, 2008

    Xena-Gabby2, my kitchen has a tiny amount of counter prep-space, so I purchased parts to make a metal rack to fit my counter top. I still have virtually 100% of the useable counter space, but also have two shelves to hold my toaster, food processor and a variety of mixing bowls and cooking bits 'n' pieces that I want to have within easy reach. Makes the world of difference. Oh, and I will second the ironing board tip. I use it when I am sorthing things or wrapping lots of presents etc.

  • 16 Aug, 2008

    This is the first "tip" that I have found really unuseful... cumbersome in fact. So much better to use wire racks or even the rotating cup hooks to hang cups from. I am lucky that here in Japan we have endless nick-knacks in catalogs for increasing storage space. we also haev great racks that hang from under the overhead cupboards to give extra storage space and even to hold hand towels, paper towels, cutting baords etc.

  • 16 Aug, 2008

    Restaurants have been doing this for years . . .

  • 16 Aug, 2008

    For my tumblers or on the rocks glasses, sturdy with a nice flat bottom. I put one upside down and the next one right on top, right side up. works very well for me. It's nice to have "extras" but I agree, sometimes it's time to "let it go" to someone who could really use something I don't. Also, remember most kitchen cab. shelves adjust so move them around so you don't have any wasted space above "said" objects. good luck!

  • 16 Aug, 2008

    Ironing board for instant horizontal space? What a brilliant idea. Thanks, Bridget in Vancouver.

  • 21 Jun, 2008

    To create extra counter space temporarily, set up your ironing board! I also use mine when sorting small items in a cupboard or closet. And when I want to sort papers or photos , I can sit with the ironing board at a lower height. Hope this helps, XenaGabby 2.

  • 13 Jun, 2008

    A to the glasses: a bit cumbersome when you need the lower ones?
    Rather have racks under each shelf for stemware and plain glasses on top of shelf. So each shelf is used twice.

  • 13 Jun, 2008

    how about having a roll-away folding table made to measurements to have the same height as your countertop?

  • 13 Jun, 2008

    Anyone have any ideas for limited counter space..?? It's difficult when I have things to do that require space..

  • 13 Jun, 2008

    Anyone have any ideas for limited counter space..?? It's difficult when I have things to do that require space..

  • 13 Jun, 2008

    Anyone have any ideas for limited counter space..?? It's difficult when I have things to do that require space..

  • 13 Jun, 2008

    Anyone have any ideas for limited counter space..?? It's difficult when I have things to do that require space..

  • 13 Jun, 2008

    Anyone have any ideas for limited counter space..?? It's difficult when I have things to do that require space..

  • 6 Mar, 2008

    I also use the wire racks from the bed/bath stores, for the reasons stated below. Good for dishes, of course, too. I also read, I think on this site somewhere, that stemware should not be stored upside-down, as this puts more pressure on the most delicate part of the glass. Maybe this is not true for glasses and tumblers as shown here.

  • 15 Jan, 2008

    I also started to get rid of my extra kitchen items, this is a great way to storage all the glasses that i have. I have very little useful cabinets space. And this will help.

  • 12 Jan, 2008

    I totally agree with you all about losing it. Seems Jan/Feb I go on this purging binge but sometimes decide, well I still may use this or that. This year, I got rid of the clutter-you can only use so many glasses! I donated alot!

  • 11 Jan, 2008

    I recently lost both my mother and mother in law, so we were inundated w/ household items. I agree w/ dianntg, if your not using it, loose it. Gave my married son and daughter in law, nieces, etc.... and the rest went to charity. I felt that my moms would have wanted it that way. Good luck with the purge ya all.
    Suzi VA

  • 11 Jan, 2008

    another solution would be the racks that are sold at the container store they are metal racks I like them alot. I put smaller items on the top

  • 11 Jan, 2008

    I agree totally. If you do not need it off it. I have very little "special occasion" items. I need the room for what I use on a regular basis.

  • 10 Jan, 2008

    For "...glasses used less frequently", I have a much simpler solution - get rid of them. Honestly, if your not using them daily/weekly, they are just clutter. I 've very successfully pared my china, dishes, silverware and cooking items down to a reasonable level and am much more efficient! I don't have "everyday" and "special occasion" dishes anymore and don't miss them!

  • 10 Jan, 2008

    I agree with both those comments, I too went to home depot and cut boards to fit my shelves and just used extra shelf clips . They also make palstic costed wire racks that fit into the cupboards and you can easily stack dishes etc on top and remove things underneath without having to empty a top layer

  • 10 Jan, 2008

    I added additional shelves in each of my upper cabinets. They originally had three shelfs, I added one in each for a total of about $30. Got the shelf at Home Depot, cut them to size and installed them. It took me about 30 minutes total time.

  • 10 Jan, 2008

    Trays are unstable and their rims take up usable space. To get to a glass on the bottom you must first empty the tray and then remove it. I find commercial vinyl coated wire storage racks more practical. They come in different lengths and heights. The glasses may be removed from top or bottom without shifting everything.