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Kitchen storage should be well planned. Let's break this down into compartments.

Pots, pans and cooking utensils should be kept close to the food preparation area. Detergents, dish cloths and sponges should be near the sink. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure those last two statements out, but did you know that it is not wise to keep the pots and pans in the same area as detergents?Soap powder might easily get into the pots and pans and unless they are rinsed each time before use, the food might end up with an added, unwelcome taste. Detergent shouldn't be stored near food for the same reason.

The old-fashioned pantry has certainly passed the test of time with flying colors. Sometimes called a larder, this room or designated space should be on the coolest side of the room to help maintain food freshness. Good ventilation or at least air vents in the ceiling are a must in this space. The pantry can be as simple as shelves attached to a wall or as elaborate as a walk-in room with wine cooler, freezer, refrigerator, dry herb storage and more.

Cupboards with pull-out shelves and storage on the door afford the most amount of efficient space. Ever hear of an appliance garage? No, it's not a place to take faulty appliances in for repair. It is just a cute name for a cupboard that is attached to the counter where small appliances are kept. Coffee maker, toaster and the like fit into this storage space and a roll-up shutter, like the old roll top desk, conceals the appliances. Just roll the door up and out of the way when the appliances are in use then back down to hide the equipment.

Storage under the counter can quadruple in usable space when racks, trays, bins drawers or revolving carousels are placed inside. There are even tables that store under the counter and pop out when needed. Many of these items are retrofitable and inexpensive to buy so added storage in this case doesn't always require expensive remodeling.

Cupboards that are over the counter come in standard sizes unless they are custom made. Usually that extra large serving dish will not fit flat inside these units. If space is available on a wall or suspended from the ceiling, perhaps over the sink, a rack can be made to hold these larger plates. This will serve as storage as well as decoration.

Actually if all the plates are attractive enough, a full plate rack on wall or suspended from the ceiling might be a very nice attraction in the room that also offers convenient access to the dishes. - Rosemary Sadez Friedmann,

Scripps Howard News Service