The 5 Golden Rules of Kitchen Organization

If you'll be doing the requisite new year's tidy-up, the kitchen is a fantastic (and manageable) place to start. Keep these five rules in mind, and you'll be well on your way to organization bliss.

1. Store Smarter

Store things where you use them. Pots and pans are best kept near the range or cooktop; mixing bowls near the countertop you use for food preparation; plates, glasses, and flatware near the dishwasher.

Kitchen Rack

Their sleek glass and porcelain rods long gone, enameled, ceramic, and metal towel-bar supports often turn up at flea markets. Attractive -- but what can you do with them?

1. Measure and mark the desired height of the bar, then measure and mark the placement of the support for one end.

2. Attach support to the wall with the appropriate screws or bolts. Then, insert pipe securely into opening.

3. Insert pipe securely into second piece of towel-bar support, and slide it into place. Attach to wall with appropriate screws or bolts.

4. Paint the heads of screws or bolts to match support, if desired. Add S hooks to hang kitchenware.

Related: 20 Super-Efficient, Super-Effective Ways to Clean All the Things

2. Sort and Store

Group like items together -- store all bakeware in the same cupboard, all wooden spoons in the same ceramic crock, all spices in the same drawer.

Related: 47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

3. Easy Access

Store your most frequently used items in the most accessible places. Keep things you use most often at eye level; store heavy items below waist level and infrequently used items on high shelves (keep a step stool within easy reach for such items) or in another area of the house. For example, if you use your oversize turkey platter only once a year, you don't need to store it in the kitchen at all. Instead, stow it on a high shelf in the garage or basement.

4. Out With the Old

Declutter yearly. Take an inventory of all utensils, cookware, and dishware annually. Get rid of unnecessary duplicates, items that are damaged beyond repair, or things no longer used.

5. See-Through Containers

Keep small kitchen items in containers, see-through bins if possible, with neat, easy-to-read labels.

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