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Posted by on Sep 8, 2011 | 7 comments

RIBBA to the Rescue

RIBBA to the Rescue

In the past 7 years living in my Del Ray rowhouse, I’ve tried so many ways to organize my small galley kitchen.

Where do you keep the stuff you hardly use that takes up lots of space like your electric mixer, blender, and Cuisinart? Where do you store plastic containers whose lids and bottoms never seem to match? What about various oils, vinegar, and spices that you only needed a teaspoon of for a recipe you made six months ago and probably won’t make again?

It’s an unending battle. I’m constantly simplifying and sorting. My latest attempt at organizing occurred this past weekend when I installed narrow shelves on an unused wall by the door to the basement. Here’s the before shot of this wasted space, screaming for attention:

Before RIBBA Shelves in Kitchen

Without a pantry, I wanted a place to store frequently used items like pasta, rice, flour and sugar, and open up more space in the kitchen cabinets for rarely used items. I thought using clear containers would be both functional and decorative.

I’m currently obsessed with the RIBBA ledge shelf from IKEA. I used it for my chalkboard wall and also to store my son’s artwork. The width of the RIBBA shelf is just the right size to hold containers and still not get in the way of opening the door to the basement. RIBBA has a small ledge, but the OXO containers I found at the Crate and Barrel outlet didn’t fit, so instead I installed the shelves upside down.

Here’s what I did:

Step 1: I gathered up all my supplies — three RIBBA shelves, power drill, level, safety goggles, pencil, and screws. RIBBA doesn’t come with screws, so I went to the local hardware store and asked for help with the correct size. Since I was drilling into a concrete wall, I also got anchors and borrowed a masonry bit from a neighbor.

Step 2: I figured out where I wanted the top shelf and marked where to drill using a pencil. I used these markings to determine the placement of the other two shelves, 14 inches below the one on top. After making sure the markings were level and straight, I convinced my husband to drill the holes (I don’t mind drilling into wood, but concrete makes me a little nervous).

Drilling holes for RIBBA Shelves in Kitchen

Step 3: We installed the shelves, checked to make sure each one was level, then we were ready to organize!

And here’s the after photo:

RIBBA Shelves in Kitchen

An added bonus, this gave me the motivation to sort through the cabinets and find things that had expired. In the process I managed to clear out a lot of crazy old stuff and now I have much more room in my cabinets. Bye-bye lemon extract from 2009!

Next up in my kitchen: do something about the lack of counter space.

Posted by Katie


  1. Oh my God, I love this blog. Stuff like this is so helpful for living in this city!!!

  2. What a great idea installing the shelves upside down! I was doing a google search on how to properly hang this Ribba shelf for my den, but now you gave me the idea to put a few in the kitchen as well, thanks!!

    • Thanks! They have worked well since we installed them. I was afraid containers would fall off, but so far no problems.

  3. I know this is from years ago, but we are wanting to do just this and are having trouble with installation. The holes are drilled low (when upside down) so when we tried to install them they immediately started to pull away at the top and as soon as we tried putting any weight on them they started to pull off the wall entirely. What did you do to prevent this? It looks like you have some pretty heavy objects on them so I can only assume that we are doing something wrong. If you have any tips I would so very very very much appreciate it!

    Your shelves look fantastic by the way!

    • Hmmm… You might need bigger screws. Sounds like the holes you drilled are too big for the screws. Anchors would help too. I was able to hold some pretty heavy items on the shelves.

      • We did use anchors, so it must be that either that the screws are too small for the anchors or that both the anchors and screws are too small for the holes drilled in the shelves.

        Thanks so much for your response!

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