Spring is a season of aspirations: There’s the race against the clock in the evening after work to catch that last half hour of sunshine. There’s the vacation planning for summer, and the necessary shopping trips for shorts and skirts and sandals to keep you cool in the heat. And then there’s the inevitable, unavoidable task that we all aspire to in one way or another: spring cleaning.
But before you start Marie Kondo-ing your bedroom closet, let’s talk about the kitchen. Just as excellent meals struggle without a proper mise-en-place, and no kitchen can function at top performance without some basic organization.
If you can’t figure out where to start, the SAVEUR test kitchen has you covered. “Most of our team has experience working in New York City restaurant kitchens, where space and time are always tight,” says Kat Craddock, SAVEUR’s test kitchen manager. “Efficient storage and lots of labeling are essential for preventing wasted time and food.”
A full kitchen decluttering takes effort, but once you’re finished, you’ll be able to make your favorite meals faster and keep ingredients fresh longer (not to mention an accompanying blissful, everything-is-so-organized mindset). These six easy tips will help you re-organize your kitchen and achieve maximum culinary mastery:
Add Crocks To Your Counter
Group Like Items
The boxes and bags that foods such as flour, noodles, and grains are packaged in often take up more room in the kitchen than the foods themselves. To clear out some cabinet space, remove bulky packaging and group the foods together in clear plastic bins or large labeled jars. Designate an area of your pantry or cupboard just for them, to keep your cabinet searching to a minimum.
Ditch The Blocks
A knife block can take up a surprising amount of precious counter or drawer space. For clear view and easy reach of your knives, go vertical. Mount a wall magnet in the kitchen that can fit all of your blades. Use this vertical storage trick for other kitchen items, too—hang frequently used cooking tools such as strainers, ladles, or tongs on hooks by the stove or on the inside of cabinet doors for some serious space-saving.
Nest Your Pots and Pans
If you’re currently cramming all of your mismatched skillets, saucepans, and pots every which way into one or two tiny cabinets, you’re not alone. To help keep order, nest similarly-sized skillets and pots together, then stack and store them in a location in proximity to the stove. This isn’t just a space saver—bundling your kitchenware makes it easy to grab the exact size you need for any kitchen task.
Cooking with fresh herbs is always a good idea in theory, but sometimes tricky when it comes to actually storing them. They’re often left in the same plastic bag that they’re bought in, then end up smushed into the bottom of a fridge shelf or crisper drawer, where they turn rotten and mushy. Fortunately, there’s another way to store them to keep them bright and crispy longer. First, ditch the elastics right away, trim the ends of the herbs, and wash and dry them well. Then, save space and keep the finished product fresh by storing the herbs in labeled, airtight plastic bins.