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Simple kitchen tweaks that will help you hate cooking less

Dread cooking? Maybe it’s not you. Maybe it’s your kitchen. A few simple changes could be all that’s standing between you and “I’ve got this!” cooking competence.

We asked some home organizing experts for their top tips for getting a kitchen into shape. Their suggestions are just what you need to stop fighting and learn to love cooking. Or at least get through it more quickly.

First, declutter

“Get rid of the food you don’t eat, the equipment you don’t use, the serving pieces you don’t like. I ask my clients, ‘Do you use this or do you love it?’ If the answer to either question is no, get rid of it.” — Lauren Silverman, professional organizer at MOREganized

Create zones based on activity

“Create zones in your kitchen based on the activity, such as an area where all bakeware can be stored together and a counter space with a knife block nearby for chopping vegetables.” — Nancy Haworth, professional organizer with On Task Organizing

More: This is your chance to win a kitchen makeover worth over $4,000!

“To reduce the amount of time it takes to complete tasks, store items close to where they will be used. Store pots and pans near the oven, store plates and glasses near the dishwasher.” — Nancy Haworth, professional organizer with On Task Organizing

Storage hacks

“Stack things, stack things, stack things. There are storage tools for pot lids, pots and pans, all kinds of things as needed.” — Lauren Williams, owner, Casual Uncluttering

“One of my favorite ways to organize pots and pans is with a cookware lid divider, which is similar to a dish rack, keeping everything in a place, and [it] allows you to easily remove the specific item you need.” — Brooke Lang, design principal at Brooke Lang Design

“Take a look at adjusting the positions of your cabinet shelves. Once you’ve possibly made some of the spaces between shelves taller, you can extend that space you’ve made by placing additional (wire, usually) shelves on the cabinet shelves. That often doubles capacity.” — Lauren Williams, owner, Casual Uncluttering

“You can keep your appliances on the counter by installing an appliance garage. This clever cabinetry covering easily blends with your kitchen but hides all of your appliances.” — Brooke Lang, design principal at Brooke Lang Design

“Tired of getting on your hands and knees to find the pan you’re looking for? Add roll-out access to put the right tool at your fingertips, even if you’re standing up. No more clattering pans or overcluttered shelves!” — Heidi Morrissey, Kitchen Tune-Up

Sort your pantry like a grocery store

“As much as possible, keep your food storage uniform in shape and/or sort it by size. If you’ve got your sorts to your satisfaction, you won’t be buying unnecessary multiples, you won’t be disarranging your stuff searching for the one ingredient you can’t find.” — Lauren Williams, owner, Casual Uncluttering

“Organize your pantry in ‘departments’ similar to how a grocery store is organized. Designate one area for breakfast food, another section for baking ingredients, another area for vegetables, etc.” — Nancy Haworth, professional organizer with On Task Organizing

More: 50 vegetarian recipes to make your Meatless Monday so delicious

“Maybe you need to claim space somewhere else in the house, or make space with mobile storage carts or add a stand-alone wine rack that can hold the soda, the unopened olive oil. Get creative. It’s fun.” — Lauren Williams, owner, Casual Uncluttering

“If you don’t have space for a designated spice cabinet, using a larger drawer, ideally located near the stove, is an easy way to easily spot your spices and keep them stored away. I’ve used a spice liner from The Container Store for my clients, which I can easily trim to fit the drawer.” — Brooke Lang, design principal at Brooke Lang Design

“Keep your meal staples, like pasta, rice, black beans, quinoa, in clear containers so you can quickly and easily see when it’s time to add them to your shopping list.” — Emma Gordon, storing and organizing expert of Clutter

“Save space by unboxing individually wrapped items like granola bars, sunflower seeds, chips, etc., and gathering them in a basket marked ‘snacks’ so your kiddos don’t have to tear apart the pantry to find them.” — Emma Gordon, storing and organizing expert of Clutter

“If you buy chips in bulk, pre-portion them in ziplock bags to eliminate chip bag clutter and overeating in one swoop.” — Emma Gordon, storing and organizing expert of Clutter

“Use canning jars to store your pantry items. The lids are airtight, washable and come in two standard sizes that fit all jars regardless of whether you found them at a yard sale or picked them up at Target.” — Emma Gordon, storing and organizing expert of Clutter

Clever hiding tricks

“Save shelf space by using an over-the-door towel hanger to store lunch bags and soft coolers on the back of your pantry door.” — Emma Gordon, storing and organizing expert of Clutter

“Those little false panels under your sink can become wonderful hiding places for unattractive cleaning items and other sink area clutter. Store sponges, brushes, scrapers and more!” — Heidi Morrissey, Kitchen Tune-Up

“Is there unused space on top of the cabinets? It’s often perfect for the stuff you only use once a year or which is oddly shaped and doesn’t fit anywhere else.” — Lauren Williams, owner, Casual Uncluttering

“Store trash where it belongs — out of sight. No unsightly cans or hard-to-access hiding places. Easy roll-out access makes removing garbage from the kitchen a breeze.” — Heidi Morrissey, Kitchen Tune-Up

More: 22 fruit and herb pairings that will delight your taste buds

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