Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sherri's Helpful Hints

An Organized Kitchen

The Strategies

Keep necessities within easy reach. You don’t want to waste precious time during dinner prep looking for things. Make a place in the hot zone (around the stove and the sink) for the essentials: oil, vinegar, knives, cutting board. Move special-occasion cookware, like a fondue pot, out of cabinets in the zone so what’s left can be neatly organized and easily spotted. Ask not where ingredients and tools fit; ask where you will be using them. Keep the basket of potatoes near the cutting board, sugar and flour near the stand mixer, and your best-loved pan on the front burner.

Use under-cabinet space. Under-cabinet lighting strips (attached with screws or double-stick Velcro) keep the focus on the onions at hand. A battery-operated version won’t dangle a cord or steal an outlet from the microwave. An under-shelf cookbook holder pulls down when you need it and folds back up when you don’t.

Put the walls to work. Don’t let them just sit there. Put up racks or pegs to keep favorite utensils, the dinner recipe, pot holders, and dish towels in plain sight. Oversize Post-it notes or hanging rolls of paper are useful for all kinds of reminders.

Make recycling efficient, too. Having a bin for bottles and cans right next to the one for regular trash, instead of out in the garage or in the mudroom, streamlines end-of-meal cleanup.

The Tools and Tactics

Utensil jug. When it comes to keeping essential tools handy and visible, there have been few improvements on this age-old catchall.

Things get lost on deep shelves. Try putting them in baskets that you can pull out and inspect at eye level.

Paper roll. Hang a roll of paper (found at stationery and art-supply stores) for service as a tear-off shopping list or a bulletin board for notes to yourself and your family.

Mini-Prep Processor. This is a real time-saver if your favorite dishes typically call for things like chopped garlic, onions, and parsley.

Under the cabinets. Tap into this underused space and add lighting or a cookbook holder.

Under-cabinet cookbook holder. Clear acrylic. Flips up out of the way when not in use.

Wood cookware rack storage stand. Keep pot lids tidy in cupboards.

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