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Recipe for organization

Creating work zones, streamlining tools can help create clutter-free kitchen

Kim Cook Associated Press

If you’ve lived with your kitchen for a while, chances are you’ve got drawers full of stuff you rarely use and cupboards you just hate. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a well-organized kitchen that makes food preparation a pleasure? Some of the latest ideas and products for whipping a kitchen into shape:

Divide and conquer

Kitchens function best when divided into work zones, says Josee Berlin, an interior designer for Ikea USA. She cites three: storage (fridge/freezer/pantry), washing (sink/dishwasher) and cooking (oven/cooktop/microwave).

If you’re planning a new kitchen, place your oven and stove near sinks and worktops so you aren’t walking too far with hot pots and pans, she says. A worktop near pantry cabinets and fridge makes unpacking groceries easy.

If space is tight, consider a stainless-steel cart with lockable wheels for portable storage and extra prep space.

Cabinets and drawers

Experts suggest taking an inventory of your kitchen tools, and then outfitting cabinets and drawers so they work for you.

Use adjustable drawer dividers and shelf inserts at different depths.

The drawers in Ikea’s new Sektion kitchen system open fully, eliminating that awkward nowheresville at the back of many drawers. A new horizontal hinge design allows for additional slim storage in what was once dead space above the drawer – good for tools, towels and spices. A quiet-close mechanism and optional LED lights make the system handy for middle-of-the-night cookie raids. ( www.ikea.com)

Tools and gadgets

You don’t need a lot of stuff, says Craig Norton, director of operations at the Prince George Hotel in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“Buying a pot and pan for every dish is a mistake. One good large Dutch oven, one saute pan, one 4-quart saucepan, one omelet/crepe pan, one cast-iron pan, and that’s it,” he advises. He stores lids on the door to free up shelf space.

If you’re a baker, consider consolidating those components. “I put all baking ingredients in one bin – flour, sugar, baking soda, etc. – and just haul it out when making something,” Norton says.

“Gadgets are the biggest waste of space – egg slicers, green bean cutters, all that stuff. Just use a knife,” Norton says.

To hold knives, BASE4’s KnifeDock is a slim-profile slab of magnetized walnut, bamboo or acacia wood. ( www.ebase4.com)

Space savers

House Beautiful’s editor in chief, Sophie Donelson, likes OXO’s stackable Greensaver containers, which have carbon filters in the lid to reduce spoilage. But her favorite small space storage solutions are from Joseph Joseph.

“Just about everything they make either folds, collapses or nests to save room in the drawer. I wanted to toss all my existing tools and start fresh when I saw these,” she says.

Measuring cups, a whisk and nesting utensils are part of the colorful collection. (www.josephjoseph.com)

Restaurant supply houses are a source for high-quality, affordable items in a variety of squares and rectangles that you can stack to save space.

Hanging rails with S-shaped hooks provide extra storage without taking up real estate. Ikea’s Rimforsa wall system combines steel rails and hooks with bamboo containers. Elfa’s bonded steel wall and rack system turns a door into a handy pantry. ( www.containerstore.com)

Liberate even more space by using zipper plastic bags and stacking containers for things like tea bags, pet treats and dried foods, eliminating bulky packaging.

And for those items you use only a couple of times a year? “Put the turkey roaster in the basement with the tree ornaments,” Norton says.

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