The Well-Organized Kitchen
For you, an efficient setup is all about access and speed―quick in, quick out.
Keep necessities within easy reach to save time. Make a place in the zone around the stove and the sink for essentials: oil, vinegar, knives, cutting board. Put ingredients and tools near where you will be using them: Keep the basket of garlic near the cutting board, sugar and flour near the stand mixer, and your best-loved pan on the front burner.
Use under-cabinet space and exposed shelving. A battery-operated under-cabinet lighting strip won't dangle a cord or steal an outlet from the microwave, while an under-shelf cookbook holder pulls down when you need it and folds back up when you don't. Things get lost on deep shelves. Put them in baskets that you can pull out and inspect at eye level.
Put the walls to work. Hang racks or pegs to keep utensils, pot holders, and dish towels in sight. Oversize Post-it notes or hanging rolls of paper (found at stationery and art-supply stores) are useful for reminders.
Make recycling efficient, too. Streamline end-of-meal cleanup by putting a bin for bottles and cans next to the one for regular trash (pull-out recycler, instead of out in the garage or in the mudroom.