So you've cleaned the shelves and discarded all the stale items. Now how do you organize what's left? Try our functional yet stylish ideas to maintain your pantry so that everything is fresh, clearly labeled, and within easy reach for your next meal.
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The Perfect Pantry
Any cook worth her salt knows that a great home-cooked meal begins in the pantry. If you can keep it well stocked with spices and everyday staples and well-organized, it will serve you well.
After you've cleaned the shelves and discarded stale items using our pantry checklist, how do you organize your supply? Try our functional yet stylish ideas to maintain your pantry so that everything is fresh, clearly labeled, and within easy reach for your next meal.
Photography: Annie Schlechter2 of 10
Roll It Out
This pantry with roll-out shelves keeps your items organized, and more easily accessible. To the left, spices and decorative baking sprinkles and sugar are kept in round tins on a magnetic cupboard.
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You can create more space in your pantry cupboard by making dividers for your baking sheets, cutting boards, and sturdy platters. To do this, buy tension curtain rods to fit the space, and position them in pairs. Then twist to tighten.
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Store ingredients in airtight containers, away from heat and light sources. These etched-glass storage jars are both functional and decorative.
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Have a spare baking tray? For a simple trick, gather the small items that are harder to reach from the back of the cupboard onto a tray, and then treat it like a drawer, carefully sliding it in and out for easier access.
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Sugar and Spice Stored Nice
Stored the right way, spices will last up to one year. So keep them in airtight, light-proof containers, away from heat. But which was which? Use our clip-art labels for organizing and identifying each one.
Photography: Formula Z/S7 of 10
Reach No More
A pantry can be any size, whether it's small enough to fill a cupboard or large enough to fill a room -- just be sure the space has good ventilation and circulation, low light, and low humidity. In this case, bulk items are stored on shelves alongside a set of basement stairs, which makes reaching for the top shelf much easier.
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Insects are unwanted little guests that can nonetheless creep their way into the crevices of your pantry. Protect them with an age-old trick: Drop a dried chile pepper or bay leaf into each jar. These colorful plants are nontoxic and have natural insect-repelling properties.
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What to do with those extra grocery bags? Reuse them with this handy holder -- it even makes for a pretty addition to the decor.
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Keep bulk cereal, beans, and other dry goods in wide-mouthed glass containers for easy reaching. Airtight containers made of plastic or glass let you see quickly how much of one ingredient you have left. And these are pretty enough to leave out on the counter (under the right temperature and lighting conditions).
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