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With the holiday season around the corner, you'll likely be hosting gatherings for friends, family members and/or co-workers at your home. Having an organized kitchen will go a long way toward easing the stress of holiday entertaining and sidestepping hidden dangers (more home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day than any other holiday—Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are the next most common days). Here are seven tips for getting your kitchen in tip-top shape.

Safety First

Hang it up
If you're not cooking it, keep it away from the stove! Place aprons, oven mitts, potholders and dish towels on adhesive hooks or metal pegs mounted at least two feet away from the stove. Keep kitchen rags and dishwashing gloves on hooks on the door below the sink for easy access.

Did You Know?

According to a 2015 National Fire Protection Association report, unattended cooking is the leading contributing factor to kitchen fires.

Clear your countertops
Always unplug gadgets, and remove large appliances you don't use every day from your counters and store in cabinets or in a utility room. If you have a knife block, keep it out of reach of children.

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Organize Your Space

Create work zones
Maximize efficiency by designating certain areas of your kitchen as zones for food preparation, cooking, cleanup, serving and food storage. Store related items—cooking tools, wraps and containers, cleaning materials and so on—in (or near) the appropriate work zone.

Pare down on duplicates
Consider whether you really need multiple whisks, spatulas, sauté pans and measuring cups—donate your extra tools and gadgets to charity. Not ready to part with them for good? Stow the extras in your basement or garage.

Cluster similar items together
Place baking pans and casserole dishes in the same cupboard. Store all pots and pans in a cabinet next to the stove. Keep plastic wrap, foil and plastic bags in a drawer near the fridge. Shelf and drawer organizers can keep things neat and tidy—and easy to find.

Order your pantry like a library
Group items by category, putting all paper products, canned goods, cereals and baking supplies together in their own sections. Label the shelves to make it easy for everyone to find what they're looking for.

Showcase frequently used items
Keep your go-to items—oil, vinegar, soy sauce—in the front row of the cabinet or fridge shelf. If you don't alphabetize your spice rack, put frequently used dried herbs and spices along the outside of a turntable stand so you can get your hands on them quickly.