It’s the perfect time to organize the kitchen. With all the big
holiday meals coming up, a clean, well-ordered cooking space will
be a great gift to yourself.

Every kitchen is unique, but most can make use of the “golden
triangle” theory to keep them organized. That is, every item of
importance should be accessible from the golden triangle made by
the sink, stove and refrigerator (or whatever three appliances you
use the most).

Another rule of thumb is to keep frequently used items on
shelves between the knees and shoulders for ease of reaching and
bending to retrieve them. This means that if you are a frequent
baker, your baking gear shouldn’t be stored on the highest shelf in
the kitchen. Here are some more tips:

• If a kitchen item is important to you or used often, it needs
to be on a shelf between the shoulders and the knees within the
sink-stove-fridge triangle. Or out on the counter.

• Line your drawers with removable plastic for easy cleaning. No
matter how fastidious you are, spills and crumbs are

• Some clients like their wooden spoons and other cooking
utensils in a jar near the stove, some prefer them in a drawer, but
the operative phrase is near the stove. You don’t want to have to
cross the room every time you need a spatula.

• Knife storage is also a personal choice — do you keep them on
a magnetic strip on the wall or store them in a drawer? For people
with kids, the drawer (child-proofed) is recommended. Line the
drawer with cork liner to prevent them sliding around. Otherwise, I
love the magnetic strips for storing knives, since I chop veggies
for every meal and am also short on drawer space.

Hanging racks or hooks on the walls are great for storing your
bulky pots and pans, especially if they are pleasant to look at,
like a matching set of All-Clad or if they have polished copper

Try to designate one cupboard (or area, if you have a lot of
storage) the food/pantry cupboard and avoid having food items
stashed throughout your kitchen. It looks messy and makes it hard
to remember what you’ve got. Since food is so perishable, this can
lead to waste.

Throw out the stuff that has passed a printed expiration or
“Best By” date. If sodas are more than six months old, they should
be drained and the cans or bottles recycled. Food companies give
rather generous expiration dates and if something is past its
prime, it is truly not worth saving — it won’t taste good and will
just be a waste of calories. Better in the trash than on the hips!
Items past their expiration date may even be hazardous to your

If you have a lot of bulky kitchen gadgets that you use
seasonally (like an ice cream maker or an extra blender for
margaritas in the summer) see if you can create a space in the
garage where you can store them. Be sure to cover them in clear
plastic for long term storage. Don’t feel forced to keep everything
in the kitchen all the time, especially if you are pressed for

By the same token, if your turkey platter and deep baking dishes
or pie plates have been in storage, now is the time to dig them out
and wash them. Unless, lucky you, you’re not hosting the holidays
this year.