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10 Smart Kitchen Habits of Highly Organized People

Steal these timesaving, tidying tips from the ever-busy, bustling chefs in our test kitchen.

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Organize Your Cooking Like a Pro

Don't worry, we're not going to tell you to alphabetize your spice jars (how many times have you heard that one?). Instead, we've got some real-world advice from a few of the most-efficient people we know: the chefs and shoppers in Food Network Kitchen. Here's how they cook better, smarter and easier — and how you can too.

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Arrange Your Grocery List by Category

Making a shopping list is a no-brainer. But Amanda Catrini, Food Network Kitchen's purchasing and events coordinator, bolsters her list by organizing it into sections: produce, pantry, dairy/eggs, meat/fish/poultry and bread. Sweet potatoes go in one column, milk in another and cereal in another. She finds this helps her skip backtracking through the store. Follow her lead and you can gather everything from one section of the market in one fell swoop — trimming shopping time significantly.

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Wash When You Get Home

Rather than rinsing and spinning greens each time she wants a salad, Miriam Garron, Food Network Kitchen's sous chef, cleans all of them as soon as she returns from the market. Then she wraps the leaves in paper towels and tucks them into plastic bags or resealable containers before stowing them in the refrigerator. This works best with sturdy greens like kale, spinach and romaine. Catrini also makes a big batch of vinaigrette so she's good to go for the week ahead.

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Freeze in Small Portions

Next time you make a double batch of spaghetti sauce, chili or soup (good job!), resist the urge to just dump the extra into a big container before you freeze it. It will take hours to thaw, and scooping out just a serving or two will be nearly impossible — defeating the whole purpose of cooking ahead. Here's the better way: Divide the dish into single servings for easy defrosting and short-order meals.

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