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An Organized Pantry
By Monica Resinger

One night I was making burritos for dinner. I went to grab refried beans out 
of the pantry and couldn't find any. Later, while cleaning out the pantry, I 
found some. If the pantry had been organized to begin with, I would have been 
able to find the refried beans and save my husband a trip to the neighborhood 
store, saved money as refried beans at the neighborhood store are not cheap and 
lots of frustration. Another problem with a cluttered, unorganized pantry is 
waste. I found spilled flour, noodles, Jello and cornmeal packages. So, in an 
effort to improve myself and knowing what I had done in the past wasn't 
working, I put some thought into how I could create a better system. Here's 
what I 
came up with:

Assign a Home for Each Item

Assign a home to each different type of item. For example, have one shelf for 
cereals, another for canned foods, another for spices and another for 
prepared boxed meals such as macaroni and cheese. If you have to, you can split 
up a 
shelf for two different foods. Be sure to keep multiples of foods together so 
you can see at a glance how much of something you have. 

Get Rid of Dead Space

Make sure your shelves don't have too much ‘dead space'. Dead space is unused 
space which is usually found above what you are storing. For example, when I 
was putting my canned food away on the canned food shelf, I noticed I couldn't 
stack two regular sized (about 15 oz.) cans one on top of another, but there 
was a lot of empty space above the cans (dead space). So I adjusted the shelf 
up a couple of inches so now I have room to stack two regular size cans and 
there is less dead space. This made a tremendous difference--I could now get 
canned foods onto this shelf rather than have them scattered throughout the 

Creative Containers

Find canisters or other holders for noodles, flour, sugar, rice, popcorn or 
other food that comes in plastic or paper bags. I used to store the opened bag 
of rice (or other plastic or paper bagged food) right in the opened bag 
(closed with a twist-tie) which always lead to spills. Now I use canisters, 
coffee cans, glass jars, and other containers to hold these items for no mess. 
If you use pretty glass jars (which you can find at thrift stores), you can 
store noodles, rice, split peas or other attractive food in them and display on 
your counter to save pantry space. Finally, put taller items in the back. This 
makes finding things easier. 

The effort you put into organizing your pantry can be very rewarding. It will 
save you time, frustration and money. It is so nice to be able to open the 
door and see everything organized (or just being able to see everything without 
a can falling on your head or toes). 

For more kitchen organization tips, check out The Kitchen Organization Tips 
E-book; it's packed with tons of tips that will help you get your kitchen 
organized and keep it that way including the topics of refrigerator, freezer, 
drawers, spices and more!  Click here for more information:

Get Monica's FREE e-zine for homemakers!  Each issue includes a home & garden 
article, delicious recipes and more! To subscribe, just send a blank e-mail 
Check out the 56 home, garden and recipe e-books full of reader tips that 
have been published here:

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