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Un-Clutter Your Kitchen Before the Holidays

10 ways to improve your cooking space – and your state of mind.

3. Take Time to Toss.

Ask yourself what's really vital to the day-to-day workings of your kitchen. Go through every cabinet and every drawer, determining which kitchen gadgets, cookware, and tools you hardly use. Do you really use that mushroom scrub brush, or those plastic prong-like ends you stick in corncobs? How many frying pans do you really need? If you're good with two, decide which two are in the best shape. And why are you keeping that crusty old toaster oven now that Aunt Betty has given you a fancy new Italian one for your birthday? For everything you decide to toss, this is a great time to donate to your local charities.

4. Create Your Triangle.

Not all of us have that ideal working "triangle" in our kitchen, formed by the refrigerator, stove/oven and sink/dishwasher on each end. But that doesn't mean you can't make your kitchen space more sensible. Stop and ask yourself: Where is the safest, most convenient place for the toaster oven or toaster, the coffee maker, and the microwave? When you moved into your kitchen, you may not have had a chance to strategically think about which kitchen items should go where. Now is a great time to consider the best place for:

  • Glassware and cups (they should go near the refrigerator or near the sink/dishwasher)
  • Kitchen utensils (near the stove)
  • Pots and pans (near the stove/oven)
  • Spices and herbs (in a cool, dark cabinet near where you use them most)
  • Coffee mugs (near the stove or coffee maker)
  • Measuring cups and spoons (near the mixer, or the counter area where you tend to do the most cooking)

5. Add Some Sensible Bells and Whistles.

For about $10 apiece, you can add a few sensible drawer and cabinet organizers to your kitchen. Vertical dividers help organize cookie sheets and cake pans; a lazy Susan keeps your spices quickly visible; and well-placed shelves can double your storage. Plastic drawer dividers can organize utensils like thermometers, timers, zesting tools, scrapers, cake decorating tools, etc. Flatware holders can keep your eating utensils clean and organized. And for a few dollars, you can organize key cleaning supplies in an under-the-sink caddy.

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