organizing tips

Kitchen and pantry organization is a constant feat that can easily get away from you no matter how hard you try. It seems that items move, jump, and fall in my pantry and kitchen when I am occupied by other duties, only to have to search for them or clean up the mess later when I am anxiously searching for some much-needed ingredient.

I have learned a few techniques that have helped make organization easier for me while keeping my pantry and kitchen in order, so hopefully I have fewer instances of hide-and-seek with those necessary items.  

Pantry essentials:
• large wide-mouth glass jars
• small or medium glass jars
• large and small wire baskets
• large and small wicker baskets
• tape or labels

1. As you put items away after grocery shopping, it is best to transfer most of your pantry provisions to clear glass jars. This makes it much easier to see what you have more quickly, and it is also much healthier, since foods often come packaged in plastic-leaching containers that can compromise nutrition. Do your best with what you can, as it is tricky to find glass canisters large enough for some products, which can lead to space issues as well. I find it best to save glass jars in a variety of sizes so as to have some options on hand whenever the need to transfer a product arises. I have also found some great glass container options at Target as well as The Container Store
(www.containerstore.com).
2. Spices are best sorted in tins or glass jars in cool, dark places, since heat and light will shorten their usefulness.

3. Label and date each jar you fill. You may think you will remember what an item is, but after several months you may not know, and it will be even harder to remember when you transferred it.

4. To store serving trays, platters, and cutting boards, use a small tension rod. This is a very effective and simple way to create a place for extras that you may only use a couple of times each year. Simply place the tension rod between two solid shelves, space as needed, and twist well to make sure the rod is secure so that nothing takes a tumble.

5. To keep bugs away from the pantry, simply place whole, dried bay leaves inside the cupboards and on shelves. Also pick up the wire baskets at times and clean underneath and around them to keep dust and stray bits of food out of reach, which tend to bring the bugs around.

6. Wire baskets are the perfect pick for storing potatoes and onions. The breathable baskets allow excellent ventilation so that moisture does not hang around and cause mold. Store these items in the coolest and darkest spot in your pantry. Store onions and potatoes separately though; together they will hasten spoilage and shorten their shelf stability.

7. For quick and easy access, store items next to each other that are commonly used together. This will save time, effort, and hopefully a few trips to the pantry or cupboard.

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