How to reboot your kitchen

HOUSTON – Learn how to reboot your cooking space!

Culinary Instructor and cookbook author Marcia Smart from Smart in the Kitchen School shares her tips to help you clean out and reorganize your kitchen, pantry, fridge, and freezer.

She will be teaching an upcoming Kitchen Reboot Class on Aug. 27 at 3 p.m. where she will walk you through how to set up your kitchen step-by-step. From prep space flow to equipment necessities (no you don’t need 20 chef’s knives!), stocking your pantry for easy weeknight meals, and how to know if a gadget stays or if it goes.

The class is over Zoom and you can register here.

But first, she stopped by Houston Life with the basics everyone should know!

Check out her complete interview and recommendations in the video above.


“First things first: Your work triangle. Where is it? You want to think about the things you most often use when you’re cooking and have them within one step. Can you reach your cutting boards? Your knives? Are your pots and pans nearby? What about salt you use when seasoning during cooking? Wooden spoons, whisks, and spatulas? Hot pads? Meat thermometers?.” said Smart.


“Ask yourself how much equipment and how many gadgets you really need. You really only need 3 critical knives: A good chef’s knife, a serrated knife for cutting bread, and a paring knife.

-Use the closet rule: If you haven’t used it in the past year, move it on and make sure that you are currently using doesn’t have missing or broken parts.


“Tackle this step before you stock up for school lunches or restock after being out of town on a vacation,” said Smart


- Keep snacks labeled in baskets so you can grab them when packing lunches.

- Also use labeled baskets for the ingredients you’d use the most: pasta, grains, baking, and in my case a chocolate box and a salt box! I only canister the things I use regularly: all-purpose baking flour, granulated sugar, and oats,” said Smart,


Go through condiments and wipe down shelves to toss anything that’s old, expired or you just don’t use. Group like items together. For instance, all the pickles, capers, olives, and relishes can go in the same area, and all the salsas and hot sauces can be grouped together.

Tip: Always refrigerate meat on a small, rimmed baking sheet or plate. That way, meat juices will stay contained.


“Anything with freezer burn sadly needs to go and Label and date everything — I just use masking tape and a sharpie.,” she said.

- “Keep older meat in the front or on top, and newer things in the back. That way, you’ll use up what needs to be used up!,”

- “When meal planning on Sunday, I start by looking at what I already have that needs to be used up. It’s a great way to be more economical,” said Smart.


Any useable equipment that you won’t need or want can be also donated. Unexpired and unopened dry goods you won’t use can go to a food pantry.

There’s a food drive on the second Saturday of every month at St. Luke’s Methodist Church in the parking lot and food donated fills the pantry at CCSC.

About the Author:

Beatriz is a producer for Houston life. She’s a dog mom who enjoys traveling and eating her way through new cities and cultures.