Smitten Kitchen's Deb Perelman Gives Her Best Kitchen Organization Tips : Life Kit Deb Perelman of the blog and cookbook Smitten Kitchen says she's not an organized person. But, she says, she's got a system that works for her in the kitchen. She told NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji about it — and shared her tips for other home-cooks working in small spaces.
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Kitchen Organization Tips For A Small Space, From Smitten Kitchen's Deb Perelman

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Kitchen Organization Tips For A Small Space, From Smitten Kitchen's Deb Perelman

Kitchen Organization Tips For A Small Space, From Smitten Kitchen's Deb Perelman

Kitchen Organization Tips For A Small Space, From Smitten Kitchen's Deb Perelman

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/979972988/979992764" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Lindsey Balbierz for NPR
Illustration of section of kitchen counter and cabinet space in the process of being organized. The cabinets are filled with labeled glass jars containing dry goods. Torn pieces of of masking tape hang from the cabinet. The counter is scattered with ingredients and a roll of masking tape and a permanent marker used for making labels for glass jars of ingredients.
Lindsey Balbierz for NPR

If you're looking to reorganize your kitchen — especially if you're working with limited space — Deb Perelman of the cooking blog and cookbook Smitten Kitchen says you want a system that's easy to return to. "It shouldn't be a tremendous amount of work," she says. To do that, everything needs to have its place.

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Keep your counters free (except for the essentials). In most kitchens, counter space is precious — so don't waste it on that blender you only use on the weekends. Instead, keep appliances tucked away in cupboards when you can.

Glass jars help you find what you need. Deb says keeping dry goods in glass jars helps her find ingredients easily and see what she needs to restock. It doesn't matter what kind of jar you use, she says, but if you decide to buy new ones, try and make sure they're stackable. Bonus — if you make labels, you'll be able to keep the flour straight from the baking powder. And no need for fancy label-makers: masking tape and a marker will do just fine.

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Keep the ingredients you use often within reach. Once you have your jar system down, try to keep the items you use everyday somewhere reachable and organized by use. For example, keep the baking goods all together and in eyesight if you're a baker. You can keep that extra half-box of flour or less-frequently-used rice on a hard-to-reach top shelf, says Deb.

The cooking tools every home-cook needs, no matter the size of their kitchen: A fish spatula and a small offset spatula, Deb says. The fish spatula is thinner than a regular spatula, and slips under just about anything in a frying pan, so you can flip it easily and gracefully. But, the small offset spatula is her everyday go-to. "I use them for leveling off cups of flour. I use them for spreading peanut butter and jelly on sandwich bread for my kids," she says. "If you ever see a picture, any of the pictures of my kitchen, there's always going to be one out that I'm using for something."

Left: fish spatula; Right: offset spatula Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR hide caption

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Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

Left: fish spatula; Right: offset spatula

Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

The podcast version of this episode was produced by Clare Marie Schneider.

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