5 ways to make high kitchen cabinets more reachable that professional organizers swear by

These ways of accessing hard-to-reach places will make your kitchen storage ten times more convenient

A modern kitchen with taupe shaker style cabinetry, a metallic gold toned oven vent, and a large marble island
(Image credit: Photographer: Lindsay Salazar / Stylist: Noelle Wright)

Upper kitchen cabinets are typically notoriously difficult to reach. Whether you resort to precariously balancing on your countertop, desperately jumping high enough to grab your tins, or swallowing your pride and asking a taller member of the family to reach it for you, we're here to tell you that there's an easier way. 

Many of us have these high cabinets in our kitchen, and while they might be out of arm's reach, there's no point in making them redundant by not storing anything in there at all. While using them for things you don't use regularly is one way to make them more efficient, there are some clever (and more rudimentary) ways to make those areas easier to reach and streamline your storage. 

If you want to make your modern kitchen more convenient, we asked professional organizers for their recommendations for accessing these hard-to-reach places. Here are five options to consider.

1. Use a step stool

White kitchen by Colette Interiors

(Image credit: Colette Interiors. Photo credit: Raquel Langworthy)

Whether you use your upper kitchen storage to store your fancy glassware or just your spare tins of food, don't take the risk of balancing on your counter just so you can reach them. By far the easiest way to reach those higher shelves is with the help of a step stool, allowing you to safely reach your items without worrying about accidents. 

'I highly recommend a foldable stool to easily and safely access your items as they can be stored away when not in use,' suggests professional organizer Kayleen Kelly. You can also get plenty of stylish options that will blend seamlessly with your kitchen decor. It might be a more rudimentary solution, but this reliable method has been used for centuries for a reason.

2. Install a pull-down organizer

The year is 2023, which means there are plenty of more advanced solutions on the market to improve the utility of your high kitchen cabinets. Pull-down organizers like this one from Amazon are clever contraptions that make it easy to access your items with baskets that slide down. Simply attach the tracking system to your cabinet shelves by screwing them in. The basket will then slide out and can be pulled down vertically for easy reach. 

3. Add a lazy Susan

White kitchen with glass fronted cabinets and granite countertops

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

'To ensure they're within reach, arrange deep upper cabinets with the help of a kitchen organizer like a Lazy Susan,' says Julie Peak, professional organizer and owner of The Precise Place. They might remind you of the eighties, but these clever turntables are one of the best ways to easily reach the back of high cabinets (although you might still need a helping hand to get to them). 'Maximize space and storage by choosing one with the same diameter as the cabinet,' adds Julie. 

For corner cabinets, a super Susan will make it possible to use every inch of awkward space. These turntables attach to ball-bearing hardware and mount to a shelf that extends outwards as you open the door. 

4. Incorporate a rolling library ladder

It might be a costly installation, but if you want to live out your dreams of Belle from Beauty and the Beast, a rolling library ladder can make a genius (and seriously enviable) addition to your kitchen. These ladders come on castors and attach to the space above your cabinets with a tracking system, allowing you to sweep around your kitchen like a Gothic librarian. 

While they're only really worthwhile if you have a long row of cabinets along one wall, library ladders are becoming a far more popular design choice (plus it's guaranteed to be the coolest feature of your home). 

5. Think strategically about what you store up top 

It might sound obvious, but spare some thought on what to store in your high kitchen cabinets. We're all about working smart, not hard, and by storing infrequently used items in your upper cabinets you'll be making day-to-day life far smoother. 

'Things that are not frequently used can be stored in lightweight bins, bags, or baskets that are easy to grab,' suggest organizer Melissa Gugni. 'I also like to put things like entertaining supplies (fondue pots, chafing dishes) up there as well as seasonal holiday items. I access these heavier items with a sturdy, lightweight ladder that I keep nearby.' 

Ready to make your kitchen more convenient? Set yourself a weekend project and give your storage a rehaul with these smart solutions for high cabinets.

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.