If you’ve been following the news in Philadelphia you’re probably aware that the mayor has proposed a tax on sweet sodas and sugary drinks. Like in New York City, a few years back, when the Board of Health tried to ban large sodas and servings of popcorn, he and his minions are convinced that this will spell the end of obesity. I’m all for ending corpulence, but does anyone think that this will really work? Will a few extra pennies (yes, we still use them), keep the public from their sweets? Associated Press says that this legislation has failed in over thirty cities and states so far, so what’s the big deal? The only reason I go to the movies is to eat popcorn laden with the wonderfully disgusting, artificial butter-type substance and then wash it down with a sweet drink.

If the authorities are allowed to tax sweets, what’s next in their bag of tricks to reduce the girth of size-challenged people? I can only image that the appropriate committee will decide that large refrigerators must be made illegal because they can be used to store large amounts of sugary drinks. A ban on large pantry cabinets would logically follow next, because you could put large boxes of sugary cereal in them. Clearly, large kitchens themselves would be on the agenda, because if you only have a small kitchen it would encourage people to be smaller so they would have more room to move around.

Of course, this is all nonsense. People should be allowed to purchase food in the quantities that they want and certainly, they should be allowed to have any size kitchens, without being subjected to additional taxation. However, if you don’t have a large kitchen, you can make your petite one look and feel larger by following a couple of design tricks. And the government will never know!

If you’re working with a small space the first impulse is to use wall cabinets that extend to the ceiling. While this will add an extra shelf in each cabinet it will also close in the room, making it appear smaller. If you have 96″ ceilings, stick with standard 30″ or 36″ high wall cabinets, but order an extra shelf for each one. In most kitchens, cabinets are not used to their maximum potential due to a lack of shelving. Frequently an extra shelf in a standard height cabinet can increase its useful capacity by about 20% and by leaving a little space open at the top of the cabinets it makes an “airier” look. You can store some decorative cookware there.

Consider adding open shelving between some of the wall cabinets. Although this will not actually increase your storage capacity, this technique will help to make the kitchen look larger.

Keep all the cabinets level with each other rather than jogging them up and down. By keeping the cabinets level, including open shelving and leaving the soffit open, it draws your eye horizontally instead of vertically, making the space appear larger.

The best way to maximize storage space in any size kitchen is with accessories like lazy-Susans, roll-out trays and tilt drawers. Corners are almost impossible to avoid in some kitchen designs and if you have a corner the best way to deal with it is to install lazy-Susans in the corner cabinets. Although they are not 100% efficient, (you lose some space on the sides), it makes everything much easier to reach. And you can also add an additional shelf to a lazy-Susan or adjust the bottom shelf up several inches to allow you to use the base of the cabinet as an additional shelf. Avoid blind-corner cabinets at all costs! Those are those horrible cabinets, which are jammed into corners to fill up space. If there is no way to avoid having a blind-corner base cabinet insist on ½ moon shelves, which make it the space more accessible.

Roll-out trays enable you to pull out all the items in a base cabinet so that they are easily reachable without having to dig around in the back for something you lost several years ago! It’s also a lot easier on your back because you don’t have to bend down so far to retrieve pots and pans.

If you presently have a small kitchen, or the government regulates that you cannot afford a large one, by manipulating some design elements and maximizing the internal space, your undersized kitchen can feel and act much bigger than you ever thought possible. And you can hide the Frosted Flakes in your bedroom.