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9 Kitchen Organizing Tips That Will Make You a Better Cook

Confidence in the kitchen starts before you reach for any ingredients. Where you store your spoons, spices or spatulas could be the difference between a successful meal and a flop.

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Location, Location, Location

We keep our toothpaste above the sink and check the mirror on the door of the closet when we get dressed, yet we don't always apply the same logic and efficiency to how we arrange things in our kitchen. Employ these clever organizing ideas to streamline your cooking routine and inspire great meals to come.

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Photo: Lucy Schaeffer

Set Up a Cooking Station

Put the staples you use daily — olive oil, a pinch bowl with kosher salt, a pepper grinder — on a small tray or basket within arm's reach of the stove. Do the same with a crock (or nearby drawer) and fill it with must-haves like tongs, wooden spoons, a whisk, ladle and spatula. This way, you can grab what you need at just the right minute, assuring that your brown butter won't turn black and your gravy is silky smooth.

Cabinets: Cabinets To Go, Shaker style in Knob Hill Espresso

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Photo: Lucy Schaeffer

When It Comes to Containers, Think Simple

A mish-mash of containers (and ill-fitting lids) will slow you down while meal prepping — but you don't need a fancy storage system to fix that. The chefs in Food Network Kitchen swear by plastic cup, pint and quart containers like the kind you get with your favorite take-out. They're airtight, so they're great for food prep. Plus, you can see through them — a good thing when you need to ID leftovers. And they nest inside each other, making them easy to store. Cook up a batch of grains on a Sunday, stow them in a quart container, and you are set for salads and sides for the week. The pint size is handy for toting lunch to the office; smaller sizes can hold rubber bands, paper clips and other junk-drawer odds and ends.

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Designate a Drawer for Kitchen Towels

It might feel excessive to fill a whole drawer with towels, but there are dozens of uses for these workhorses, and the more you have on hand, the better. Just a few examples: Put a damp towel under a cutting board to prevent it from slipping, use one to pat delicate herbs dry, wring out riced cauliflower or wipe a knife clean between cutting tasks. Use a folded towel in place of a hot pad or wrap one around an ice pack to soothe a bruise — and, of course, a clean kitchen towel is the fastest way to dry dishes.

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