We Asked Ina Garten to Show Us Her Most Organized Kitchen Spaces — And She Did!

published Mar 4, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Getty Images, Graphic: Kitchn

I’ve been watching Ina Garten on TV for the last 13 years and, unsurprisingly, she’s inspired me in all sorts of ways. She’s moved me to put a little carefree joy and love into the meals I create, and she’s energized me to entertain without stress. Plus, she’s motivated me in a more unconventional way — with her kitchen storage and organizational ideas.

See, I’ve started paying close attention to how this best-selling cookbook author organizes her tools, utensils, and pantry. And, let me just say, I’ve learned a lot from studying her kitchen during my streaming sessions.

Inspired to learn more, I reached out to Ina herself to ask about her top tips for kitchen organization and storage. (Journalism at its finest, folks!) And guess what? She not only shared her secrets, but she also went around her home and took photos of her pantry and shelves to help demonstrate her points! (How cool is that?)

Through Ina’s own lens, let’s take a look at eight smart ways the Barefoot Contessa organizes her kitchen.

Credit: Ina Garten

1. Store your citrus at room temperature on your counter.

Ina keeps bowlfuls of lemons and limes on her counter because citrus tastes better and is juicier at room temperature. Learning this was a real aha moment for me. Not only is it easier to squeeze lemons for my daily vinaigrettes, but now I also have lots more room in my fridge’s crisper drawer.

Credit: Ina Garten

2. Arrange your pantry items like a grocery store.

Ina used to run a specialty food shop in the Hamptons called The Barefoot Contessa, so it makes total sense she arranges her pantry shelves like she would in a grocery store. Ina notes that the labels should all face forward. This is less about a Pinterest-worthy photo op and more about efficiency. When everything is easy to read, you can quickly take stock of what you have and what’s running low. (Look at all of those spices in Ina’s pantry!)

Credit: Ina Garten

3. Keep your alcohol in the pantry.

I recently invested in a proper wine rack for my vino collection, but for years I’ve stored my gin, whisky, and mixers in a random storage room in my house. Ina, smart lady that she is, keeps her booze on a bottom shelf of her pantry. This makes so much more sense. Even more sense than, say, a bar cart! After all, everything you need to make a cocktail is in the kitchen, including those room-temperature limes.

Credit: Ina Garten

4. Stash tasting spoons on the counter.

I’m not the first Kitchn writer to gush over Ina’s spoon storage tip. And with good reason: It’s one of those little changes you wish you’d done sooner. Ina keeps a jar full of “tasting spoons” close at hand, so she can sample as she cooks and adjust the seasoning level. When I worked as a line cook a decade ago, my sous chef insisted on having a collection of tasting spoons at the ready. But I’d never thought to do it at home. Now my soups and sauces are so much better seasoned. 

Credit: Ina Garten

5. Use open shelving for easy access.

Ina has simple open shelving in her kitchen so she can easily grab whatever she needs. Because my house has a wood stove, open shelving isn’t practical for me (I’d be constantly cleaning soot and dust from them). However, I will note that I’ve started keeping my best-loved plates and bowls arranged prettily on the counter.

Credit: Ina Garten

6. Corral cutting boards in a basket.

I’ve got a collection of wooden cutting boards and slabs. No surprise here: Ina does, too. But instead of leaving them in random places all over her kitchen like I do, Ina collects them in an attractive large woven basket. I’m going to order one that’s big enough to store the pizza peel that I recently got, too. 

Credit: Ina Garten

7. Make use of two utensil crocks.

Ina stores her cooking utensils in two different crocks: One for wooden spoons and tools, and another for metal. I love this idea, and I bet you will too, especially if your lone utensil crock is as jam-packed as mine.

Credit: Ina Garten

8. Keep your mixing bowls near baking ingredients. 

Ina’s collection of perfectly nested glass mixing bowls lives near her glass canisters of flour and sugar. (Note: Those ingredients are decanted. They stay fresher that way instead of kept in bags.) My mixing bowl collection has been living in a cupboard far away from my baking ingredients. Moving them closer together was one small but important step toward better efficiency. Thanks, Ina!

Do you use any of these organizational techniques in your kitchen? Tell us your ideas in the comments below.