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Editors’ Picks for Conquering Kitchen Clutter

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Whether it’s the magazine test kitchen or our homes, Fine Cooking editors spend a LOT of time in our collective kitchens, and we have strong opinions on the best way to corral and organize a big collection of cooking gear. Here are some of our top picks to start off the new year with cleaner countertops, more accessible spices, and beautifully organized drawers.

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    Drawer Chic

    Trying to find the right kitchen tool in a jumbled drawer is frustrating. Drawer Decor solves this problem with brightly colored silicone mats and small silicone dividers that keep tools in place in a single layer. Just cut the base mat to fit your drawer, arrange your tools on the mat, and place the dividers where you want them (they stick to the mat; to rearrange, simply lift the dividers to move them).

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    Libbey Glass Spice Jars

    "I hate keeping spices in a high cupboard where I can’t see any of the labels, and storing them on a wall-mounted rack exposes them to too much heat and light," says web editor Sarah Breckenridge. "My solution is stocking a wide, shallow drawer with these squat, sturdy glass jars, with labels on the lids. They're perfect for holding a standard bottle’s worth of ground spices, and the opening is wide enough for most measuring spoons."

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    Magnetic Knife Strip

    Like many pros, test kitchen director Diana Edwards swears by magnetic strips to hold her knives. "They keep all my knives within easy reach, yet out of the way. I have much more counter space since I no longer need a knife block (and they don’t harbor germs or moisture, like knife blocks can). I also store my kitchen shears on this rack so they’re always at my fingertips, too."

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    Oval Hanging Pot Rack

    Food stylist Ronne Day loves the easy accessibility afforded by this hanging pot rack to keep pots and pans organized but within easy reach.This version is available in several different finishes (I’m partial to the oiled bronze) and includes 24 hooks, so you can hang all your most-used pots, plus a few utensils too.

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    Simplehuman Dish Rack

    With all the dishwashing that goes on in our test kitchen, we’ve tried a number of drain racks over the years and this is the first one we’ve really liked. It's large enough to hold baking sheets, while its off-side wire system cleverly keeps glasses out of the way of pots and dishes. It’s held above the counter by adjustable legs so that no mildew-producing moisture gets trapped underneath. Smartest of all is its drainage system, which funnels water to a spout that extends over the sink and fits with almost any sink design.

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    Great Finds: Ikea Grundtal System

    Sharp-eyed viewers of Fine Cooking’s how-to videos may have spotted Ikea’s Grundtal shelves in our kitchen studio, and special projects editor Sarah Opdahl is also a fan for her home kitchen. The collection combines stainless steel rails and hooks to suspend everything from a dish rack to pans to spice jars. “The rails and hooks can take a good amount of weight, they're easy to keep clean, and the dish drainer tucks away when I don’t need it.”

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    A Double-Duty Cooling Rack

    This cooling rack, recommended by copy editor Chris Hoelck during holiday baking season, does double duty for storing your cookie sheets and cutting boards when you're not in the middle of a baking marathon. If you have a lot to store, flip it on its back for vertical storage within a lower cabinet.

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    Rubbermaid Configurations Shelving

    Fine Cooking contributor Anna Thomas’s home kitchen inspired us to adapt Rubbermaid’s Configurations shelving system to turn an awkward kitchen alcove into a storage powerhouse. Though created for organizing closets, the shelves are sturdy enough to hold platters, pots, and small appliances. Add baskets or bins for storing produce, and hang pots and utensils from the upper shelves with s-hooks.

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