What are Sliding Shelves?

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  • Written By: Kay Paddock
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2019
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Sliding shelves are easy ways to maximize kitchen space and make the most of all available storage areas. These shelves are typically used in pantries or lower kitchen cabinets, but they can be used anywhere they fit. Kitchens are not the only place they may come in handy. Any room with storage that needs to be used more efficiently is a candidate for these types of shelves. The shelving usually mounts on a roller or rail system that allows it to slide in and out without coming loose.

Kitchen shelves, especially in lower cabinets, can be handy for storage of both food and cooking gear. Deep lower cabinets often mean, however, that it can be a challenge to reach to the back to retrieve items. Sliding shelves, also called rolling shelves, allow the user to grip the front of a shelf and gently pull, rolling it out to make reaching easy. This can reduce the hassle of getting items from the back. This also makes it more likely that the user will store things in the back and get more out of the space. A large cabinet can generally hold several times more with one or more sliding shelves installed than it can as one open space.


The same principle holds true in pantries used for food storage. Rolling shelves make reaching items in the back easier, especially if the items in front are larger, making it hard to see. Food is less likely to be forgotten in the rear where it is dark. Slide-out shelves can come with solid bottoms that are often either pressed wood or solid wood. Metal shelves are also available for those who prefer them. Some wire shelves are actually shallow baskets that pull out. These are good for storing small items and groups of things that might fall from a flat shelf.

Most sliding shelves come with clear instructions for installation. Whether they are office shelves, sliding bookshelves, sliding closet shelves or shelves that will be used for food storage in the kitchen, it is important to carefully measure before purchasing them. They can be purchased in a variety of sizes, which makes them useful in any room. Different mounting methods may also be available to help the shelves fit into more places.

Slide-out shelving that is too small or large will probably not mount properly on the sides of the storage area. Shelves that are too deep most likely will not fit, either. They may not allow a cabinet or pantry door to shut properly. Unusually sized cabinets and shelf areas can usually be fitted with custom sliding shelves built and installed by a local contractor, woodworker or handyman.


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