My kitchen is small but well-organized. Nothing without utility lasts long. I make good use of vertical space and watch especially for things of small size that don't overwhelm a small kitchen. I don't use expensive organizing systems, just a few pieces purchased for few dollars, ones that help me use space well.
This cupboard is just above my main working area which sits between the stove and sink. Can you guess my favorite color?! I'm struck that everything in this cupboard is 10 - 20+ years old. The top shelf has inexpensive Container Store tins for sugar and flour ("red is sugar, green is flour" I chant) along with specialty sugars like super-fine, Swedish crystals and demerara. The second shelf has more flour (whole wheat) and sugar (brown) plus my very favorite four -- yes, four -- colanders. I can't believe how often they're all in use! I paid $1 a piece for them many years ago. The bottom shelf holds vinegars and baking dishes. The stacking Pyrex cups are a relatively new addition (that is 10 years ago), from a Dorie Greenspan recommendation from days when I didn't know who she was!
Okay, NOW do you want to guess my favorite color?! This cupboard holds spices, vanilla and other baking flavorings, all within reach when I'm baking and cooking. The big jar on the top is still-steeping vanilla. The double-tiered lazy Susans are a godsend; so are the tiered shelves on the bottom shelf on the left. The red/green spice boxes are ones from Tones collected when I first started to cook -- yes, they're alphabetized. Empty spice boxes move to the bottom shelf so it's easy to know what's low/out when running out the door to the spice shop at the farmers market. The peanut butter is right in front because it's the one thing that gets used every single day. The little salt cellar on the bottom right came from a trip to the USSR when I was a student.
Another space that uses vertical space too, especially important because the pantry is deep and the shelves quite tall. Absolutely everything in here is either tightly sealed or placed in a zip-lock bag -- even if a bag of flour comes home infested, say, it's sealed from everything else. Even all the pasta boxes on the top shelf are sealed. Grains, rice, beans and dried fruit are in glass jars from my mother. I'm working hard to clean this out, use it less for "storage" and more for easy access. But some things do tend to collect -- if they were clothing, they'd have gone to Goodwill a long time ago. Somehow, I can't bear to throw away food.
As much cooking as I do (9 - 15 dishes a week, on average), I do it all from a small space. In fact, the small space may help me stay organized; it's easy enough to see most everything. I do have the luxury of a basement but it's reserved for large and infrequent things.
On Saturdays, we peek into Other People's Pantries.
Come on -- show us your pantry.
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