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“How much storage space do I need?” The trick is to assess what you own and decide how you will store it for convenient access. Carefully consider this challenge because poorly organized spaces often become daily irritations, impeding the pleasure of being at home. Kitchens top the list of rooms in which you need to get your storage right.

How to Organize Your Kitchen Storage

Consider grouping your kitchen storage around three primary activity areas: the refrigerator, the sink and the range.

3 Zones of Kitchen Storage

1. The Refrigerator Center

The refrigerator center serves as a receiving and initial food-preparation point in the kitchen layout. It is best positioned near the entrance from the direction of grocery arrival. Even if this arrangement is not the case in your kitchen, considering this function can help you determine how to begin organizing your kitchen storage space.

A countertop next to or across from your refrigerator is the ideal spot for setting down grocery bags. This position allows immediate transfer of cold items to the fridge and freezer, and storage of staples, canned goods, condiments, cereal boxes and other dry food items in nearby cabinets or a nearby pantry.

Easy access to your staples for initial food preparation helps make the job go faster and easier. Since your staples are placed here, plan to have this same area hold mixers and mixing bowls and their preparation utensils, such as measuring spoons and cups along with sifters, graters, salad molds, cake tins, pie plates and muffin tins.

3 Zones of Kitchen Storage

2. The Sink Center

The sink center should be between the refrigerator and the range center, or cooking area, for maximum efficiency. Since sinks get the most use and traffic of any spot in the kitchen, centrally located sinks and dishwashers work best.

Plan to have the most uncluttered countertop space in the sink center. The area in and around sinks is used for food-preparation tasks involving cleaning and cutting, as well as washing and cleaning up after meals. Place trash and recycling containers strategically so that tidy disposal happens effortlessly.

Storage at sink centers includes places for everyday flatware, dishes and glassware, as well as activities involving waste management, dishtowel placement and storage, cleaning supplies, polishing and drying.

Place cutting boards and knives at a midpoint between the sink and refrigerator so you can easily access items from the refrigerator, cut and chop as necessary, and dispose of the remnants to the sink center, which holds the refuse containers.

Most people store drinking glasses in wall cabinets near the sink and dishwasher, which works well, but drawers designed to hold glassware offer another solution and can make access more convenient. In any case, maintain a location convenient to the sink and dishwasher for your glassware and everyday dishes.

3 Zones of Kitchen Storage

3. The Range Center

Two configurations, a range or a cooktop with wall ovens, comprise the range center, where cooking food and preparation for serving takes place. Place these functions toward or near the dining room. Anything that involves the cooking process needs to be within the range center. Ovens with ample countertop space next to or closely across from them provide a spot to set down hot items quickly. In immediate and obvious proximity to the range center, put potholders and other items that aid in handling hot cookware. Also use this location to transfer cooked food to serving dishes. Plan to store platters, bowls and other equipment used to get food to the table around the range center.

Consider dedicating a cabinet for cookware frequently used on the stovetop, and another cabinet with cookware more commonly used in the oven. Place warming appliances in this area to allow convenient transfer of food to your serving dishes. Breadboards and bread binswork well in the range center. Small appliances that belong in the range zone include toasters, waffle irons, bread makers and portable grills.

Spice storage, pots and pans, and cooking utensils placed immediately around cooking equipment ensure convenient and intuitive access to the tools and staples you need in meal preparation. Personal preference determines whether you want to place these items in upper shelves or cabinets, as in the previous photo, or in drawers and pullout cabinets that are below eye level, as shown here. Either can work, so decide what is best for you and conforms to your design aesthetic.

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