From Susie (OrangeSwing), in Newbury, New Hampshire:
I've been peeking at Other People's Pantries for months now, looking for ideas on how to better organize my pantry and spice rack once I finally got around to cleaning and sorting it all out -- without spending a small fortune on new jars or organizer gizmos.
Before starting, I had two problems with these areas: they were not logically organized, and too many items were being shoved further and further back along the shelves until they were exiled from sight -- and use. I needed to find a way to solve both these issues.
So this past weekend, I took a quick ride over to Big Lots and spent about $15 on plastic containers of varying sizes and got cracking.
I found these neat containers that were the perfect size for my pantry shelves... lime-green sure wasn't the color I was aiming for, but that's all there was and they were only 80 cents each. What I love most about these containers is they store about 12 cans each, and will prevent my husband from pushing items so far back in the shelf we'll never find those banished items again.
Now all I need to do is slide out each container and I can see EVERYTHING! I also used one of these to hold all those half-open pasta bags that always seem to get pushed out of sight. Once it was all organized, the top shelf remained for appliances, the second shelf for crackers, cereals and pastas, and the third shelf for all my baking mixes and ingredients. The bottom two shelves store canned items and snacks.
My spice shelf holds everything else -- and also needed a good cleaning and organizing.
Since this is really the only place I have besides the pantry for food, it needs to hold lots. So I grabbed these narrow containers and segregated the spices into groupings that made sense to me and how I cook: cinnamon with nutmeg and pie spice, basil with oregano, salts and peppers altogether, sweeteners, etc.
This after pic is my result. So the top shelf holds the overflow, the second shelf holds beans, legumes, breads and extra spices, and the bottom two shelves hold the spice and baking groupings. Having baked and cooked twice already, I am really liking these little containers of groups: it's making sense to my way of doing things.
Here's what I learned: It didn't take a lot of space, money or time, and -- for me at least -- the success came in creating groupings for each container. Made my pantry more organized, and my cooking more efficient. Yay!
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