How do the pros keep their kitchens in tip-top order? They keep it simple -- and you can, too.

chefs secrets

Spice It Down.
 Brad Farmerie, chef of New York restaurant Public, uses a ton of spices. How does he keep them straight? Step 1: Toss what you don't remember buying. Step 2: Buy from the bulk bin and store spices in half-pint plastic containers (like what wonton soup comes in). They're cheap and stackable. Step 3: Label!

Return to Basics.
 Frankies Spuntino owners (and authors of The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual) Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli run a 12-by-6 kitchen with the essentials. "All I need are serrated, butcher and paring knives, a cutting board, a bowl and a big pot," Falcinelli says.

Go on a Vision Quest.
 Lighting specialist Steve Glenn of Lutron, who consults on Boulud's restaurants, believes in the organizational powers of light. Halogená bulbs, a sort of incandescenthalogen combo, produce lots of light, but with a softer, natural tone. Add a dimmer, and the kitchen can go from rotisserie to romantic in no time.