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How to organize your kitchen

Linda Melone, CSCS, is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and certified personal trainer based in Orange County, CA. Visit her website at www.LindaMelone.com.

Keep everything in its place

Whether you're preparing a dinner party or fixing lunch for your kids, an organized kitchen makes it all flow more easily. These tips can help.

woman in clean kitchen

Step 1: Take everything out of your cabinets

Toss out or give away anything you haven't used in a few years. It's not always easy to part with gadgets, even ones you never use, but be honest with yourself. At the very least, store them in a less-used area such as a high cabinet.

Step 2: Replace damaged items

Toss or repair the pot with the burned bottom from the time you left water boiling on the stove and the saucepan with a wobbly, unsafe handle. Ditto for the funnel sieve that clogs easily and that leaky measuring cup.

Step 3: Separate out frequently used items

Store items you use often in easy-to-reach locations, such as in your kitchen island or a drawer next to the stove. Keep the holiday roasting pan and odd items you rarely use in the garage, the basement, a box in your closet or a spare bedroom closet.

Step 4: Store pots and pans near the cooking range

Keep items you use for cooking near the cook-and-serve area of the kitchen for easy accessibility. Consider hanging a decorative pot rack on a kitchen wall or suspended from the ceiling for storage. Store lids by adding shallow bins to the backs of the cabinet doors. Keep silverware and serving pieces nearby as well.

Step 5: Create centers of activity and store the necessary utensils nearby

For example, consider your storage/pantry area and freezer. Periodically go through and discard items you know you'll never use.

For the food preparation area, store cutting boards, knives, measuring cups and spoons and mixing bowls.

If you enjoy baking, store flour, sugar, baking powder and soda and other frequently used ingredients in this area, along with mixing bowls and measuring spoons/cups.

The cooking area should have a utensil jar with spoons, spatulas and whisks, as well as pot holders and pots and pans.

Do the same for cleaning, serving and waste disposal areas.

Step 6: Clear the countertop clutter

Keep countertops free of any unnecessary items, such as non-cooking related knickknacks, to make cleanup easier. Find another home for paperwork, bills, etc.

Step 7: Make a list

Keep a running tab of items and supplies you need as you find them. Have family members contribute before they finish the last of the dishwashing soap, sandwich bags or other disposable home goods.

More helpful home how tos

How to fix up your kitchen on the cheap
How to teach your kids to be organized

How to organize your closet

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