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If you've lived with your kitchen for awhile, chances are you've got drawers full of stuff you rarely use and cupboards you just hate. Wouldn't it be nice to have a well-organized kitchen that makes food preparation a pleasure?

Some of the latest ideas and products for whipping a kitchen into shape:

Divide & conquer

Kitchens function best when divided into work zones, says Josee Berlin, an interior designer for Ikea USA. She cites three: storage (fridge/freezer/pantry), washing (sink/dishwasher) and cooking (oven/cooktop/microwave).

"Work zones give your kitchen a practical structure. Placing them well is crucial to achieving an ergonomic work triangle, with a natural workflow and everything within reach," Berlin says.

If you're planning a new kitchen, place your oven and stove near sinks and worktops so you aren't walking too far with hot pots and pans, she says. A worktop near pantry cabinets and fridge makes unpacking groceries easy.

If space is tight, consider a stainless-steel cart with lockable wheels for portable storage and extra prep space.

Cabinets & drawers

Experts suggest taking an inventory of your kitchen tools, and then outfitting cabinets and drawers so they work for you. Use adjustable drawer dividers and shelf inserts at different depths.

Tools & gadgets

You don't need a lot of stuff. Buying a pot and pan for every dish is a mistake. One good large Dutch oven, one sauté pan, one 4-quart saucepan, one omelet/crepe pan, one cast-iron pan and that's it.

If you're a baker, consider consolidating those components. "

However, if you're a proud collector of small tools, consider a rolling mechanic's tool cart with shallow drawers that can be tucked in a closet when not in use.

House Beautiful's editor in chief, Sophie Donelson, likes OXO's stackable Greensaver containers, which have carbon filters in the lid to reduce spoilage. But her favorite small space storage solutions are from Joseph Joseph.


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