Keep an Organized Kitchen

An organized kitchen is my key to making quick meals. I save seconds by storing items close to where they’re used. For example, pots and pans are kept near my stove…mixing bowls and utensils near my countertop work area…and everyday dishes near the dishwasher. I also keep my freezer and cupboards well-stocked. I alphabetize my spices and group similar foods (canned soups, frozen meats, etc.) together on shelves so I can see at a glance if I have a needed ingredient. —Georgia W., South Haven, Minnesota

Clean up the counter clutter! According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, place only the small appliances you use every day on the counter. It makes smart organizing sense to keep each appliance close to the other accessories you use with it. It's also a more ergonomic approach since you'll take fewer steps back and forth between items you need for fixing meals.

Think about which appliances you and your family use less often. For example, if you're not big bakers, it probably doesn't make sense to store your mixer on the countertop. Place less frequently used appliances in a pantry, in higher cabinets, or even in a nearby mudroom for easy access when you need them. They won't clutter up your countertop, and your kitchen will stay cleaner and neater.