Organize This: Pantry
By Jenny Ko
Styled by Adam Fortner
Photographed by Casey Dunn
Trying to prepare a meal from a pantry that's overstuffed with bought-in-bulk canned goods, extra dishes, and seldom-used appliances can make dinner impossible. "A cupboard that's organized will end up saving you time, frustration, and money," says organizing expert Donna Smallin. Start by completely clearing the shelves and tossing anything that's expired. Then read on to get a bit more food for thought.
Create a system of shelves or over-the-door baskets, whatever makes sense for your space. Group like items into categories -- such as pasta, sauces, and snacks.
Begin at the top, and re-shelve by use. The ice bucket and platters that only come out for parties belong on the highest shelves. (Stash a step stool inside the pantry or nearby for easy access.) Keep occasionally used goods within reach and daily essentials front and center.
Maximize the vertical space by storing spices and canned goods on tiered shelf organizers. Transfer cereals, cookies, and chips from the bulky packaging they come in to clear airtight containers. They'll take up less space and stay fresher longer.
Hang a dry-erase board in the pantry or on the door to keep track of things that need replenishing and to avoid duplicate purchases at the grocery store.