Open Shelves in Kitchen
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 09:33:07 -0700 (MST)

On Jan 18, 2004, at 10:41 AM, Louisa Rogoff Thompson wrote:

There is one unavoidable disadvantage to open shelving, whether doors have been removed or never existed. The air in a kitchen is full of vaporized cooking oil, and anything in the open, especially high up, soon gets coated with it. Infrequently used items are coated with oil that has absorbed a lot of dust. If everything is used frequently, there's no problem, but it's always an upleasant shock to take down some special serving piece and discover you have to wash it before using it.

Exactly. This is another reason why it is important to know the circumstances of the particular community when learning from their experience. Liz's community has a very active meal program with a well organized kitchen. We have at least two meals a week but one is catered (pizza) and the other is often cooked at home or with ingredients brought from home. Thus our ingredients on the open shelves are used less often. Our dishes, glasses. etc. are in open storage but are used much more often and run through the sterilizer. We have a person who is a devil cleaner and goes through the stuff on the shelves, cleaning as necessary but not every week and she does go on vacation. Things do get coated with oil and dust.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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