How I Organize My Food Cabinets: Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen

updated Jun 6, 2019
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(Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

How does Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen keep her kitchen organized? That’s what we wanted to know as part of our ongoing series this month. From the three things she always keeps on hand to where she stores her dishes, here’s what we learned when we peeked into the Smitten Kitchen kitchen.

How do you keep this area organized?

I don’t. I mean, I try. Sometimes there are whole days or weeks when it remains organized, but in general, I’ve never had the gene for daily maintenance, no matter how much Marie Kondo I read.

I do try to corridor things; there’s a cabinet with a lot of dry goods I don’t use daily (I always think that if I were a normal person, with a normal cooking habit that didn’t have me picking up a random grain or three different brands of cornmeal to test a recipe with, it wouldn’t exist). There’s a shelf that’s supposed to be all baking stuff, like chocolate and sprinkles (high up, so it’s less tempting), and I try to keep the sugars, flours, and salts I use the most down low.

What organizing trick or tool was a game-changer for you?

Being sure to have a supply of glass jars (I like the gasket-top type), masking tape, and Sharpies. Glass jars wash up like new, last forever, keep everything fresh and crawly things free (you know, just in case), make cabinets light and bright, and you always know what you have left.

There was a dark period many years ago when I thought I’d print labels for dry goods, like from my computer; I kept that up about a month. Masking tape leaves no gunk on jars and makes labeling what needs to be labeled a cinch.

Finally, we only have four cabinets in the kitchen, and we’re able to use them for food stuff because we keep our dishes and glassware in the living room, in a big cabinet next to the table.

Thanks for sharing, Deb!

Visit Deb’s blog → Smitten Kitchen (and check out our Kitchen Tour of her old kitchen!)