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    Here's How To Have The Most Organized Pantry Of Your Life

    You don't need another avalanche of soup cans in your life, k?

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    1. WAIT to buy any new organizational gear until you've assessed your needs and space!

    Investing in a pantry starter kit may seem like some solid motivation for getting organized, but it's detrimental to your goal.

    Get the pantry starter kit (only if you *know* you need it!) from The Container Store for $167.93.

    2. First, take everything out of your current pantry/storage sitch and assess what you have.

    Warner Bros.

    That's right, bring your pantry down to the BARE BONES. No one said this was going to happen in 10 minutes! The key to creating a successful organization system for ANYTHING is to take out everything before you can put it all back together in a way that works for you.

    3. Then check your expiration dates and toss anything that's gone bad. (And donate stuff that's still good that you don't want!)

    James Ransom / Food52 / Via

    Confused about expiration dates? You're not alone! "Expiration" and "Best Used By" dates can cause you to throw away lots of food that's honestly safe to eat. Want to learn more and get disgusted by how much perfectly fine food you've likely thrown away in your life? Read more on this from a report by the NRDC and watching this Last Week Tonight with John Oliver clip starting at 9:30. For info on how long different foods are good for, check out our infographic and an explainer from Spoon University.

    Perhaps you'll find non-expired canned goods you were super gung-ho about during that one trip to Costco but haven't eaten. This is a great opportunity to donate them to a local charity! Find a local food bank at Feeding America and make some people in your community very happy.

    BTW, this is the Food52 pantry, which is what yours COULD look like if you keep scrolling ;).

    4. Measure everything so you know exactly what you're working with and clean while those shelves are bare!

    When measuring, make sure to take height and depth into account, especially. This is where the *meat* of your extremely capable storage space lies. Think UP with the possibilities!

    And be sure to clean those shelves that rarely see the light of day because of your stock of soup back from when you were prepping for Y2K has left them dusty. (Hey, prepping isn't a horrible idea. I've seen the v good film 10 Cloverfield Lane.)

    5. Consider some big ticket storage solutions that could really improve your life, like a gorgeous baker's rack that'll add some counter space and lots of storage.

    Just make sure that it's really worth the investment because you dig cooking but don't want to live on ramen for a month because you bought a storage hutch you only kinda needed.

    Get it from Wayfair for $374.99. And check out a fancier ~French~ baker's rack with strictly open storage from Crate & Barrel for $2,299.

    6. But remember that lots of substantial pantry storage items don't require installation, like an affordable slide-out tower sturdy enough to hold bottles of wine and seltzer cans.

    If you have a few weird inches of empty space in a deep recess of your pantry, a cart like this could be a lifesaver.

    Get it from Amazon for $36.99. And check out similar options here, here, and here.

    7. Need more shelf space? Buy some bare-bones metal shelving and line it to give you easy access that'll be equally easy to clean!,

    Promising review (for shelves): "I love these shelves. I bought two so I could start a stock pile of household goods and they fit so much more than I thought they would. They weren't hard to put together at all. They are very sturdy and look great! I would highly recommend these." —Gamble

    Get them from Amazon: shelving for $54.99+ (two finishes, three sizes) and liners for $25.99+ (six sizes, three colors)

    P.S. If you'll want to move a bunch of stuff on the same shelf at the same time (like a stand mixer and cake ingredients), group them together on a shelf lined with a sheet pan! If you didn't already invest in a sheet pan because of Pioneer Woman chocolate cake recipe, here's another incredible excuse to do so! Check out more pantry organizing tips from The Kitchn.

    8. Don't just group like by like. Organize everything by zones in a way that works for you. For example, stuff that goes in the kids' school lunches can live on an easily accessed shelf and party supplies can go on a tip-top shelf that you rarely use.

    What do you use your pantry items for the most? Prioritize that and put those things where you can easily see them. Then you can tuck all the random Halloween paper cups and napkins left over from last year on a lofty shelf 'til it's ghoul season again.

    Get this Swedish wood shelving system from Williams Sonoma for $9.95–229.95.

    9. Transfer dry bulk food to stackable, airtight storage containers to make organizing easier and keep food fresher for longer.

    Storage jars with non-stacking decorative lids look gorgeous out in the open, but think about utility here! Pouring dry pantry essentials into storage containers that fit together will create more space. Original packaging may have lured you into buying that box of fancy pasta, but its charming box is worth zilch if it gets pushed to the back of a shelf because it won't fit up front with your go-to noodles. BTW, these BPA-free plastic containers have interchangeable lids and stack easily.

    Get them from Amazon for $34.99. Check out some other stackable options from Amazon here, here, and here.

    10. But *still* label them, lest you ruin a birthday surprise with lowly all-purpose flour instead of cake flour. (Have you tasted a cake made with cake flour? It makes a difference!),

    If you're feeling committed, you can write on the containers in permanent marker or even use this as an excuse to buy a label maker. (Get the label maker!) But there are also lots of pre-written and blank labels to fit in with your desired pantry style, needs.

    Get them from Amazon: 84-pack of pre-written labels for $14.95 or 72-pack of pre-written labels for $14.99

    11. Corral items that can't be easily dumped into plastic containers into clear bins so you can easily move them when it's time to grab a fruit cup or can of tuna.

    This is another product category where measurements matter a lot. Double check your shelving and storage area measurements so these will neatly fit where you want them. They're are also great for the fridge or freezer! You can go as far to label these by person or use.

    Get a pair from Amazon for $19.99. And check out similar ones here, here, and here.

    12. Give lazy Susans a whirl to get a clear view of bottled, heavy items.

    Promising review: "I had bamboo turntables in my pullout pantry, and I loved them. But, every time I closed the pantries, my spices slid and made the turntables useless. These lazy Susans solved that problem and the spices are still quite visible. I am VERY WELL PLEASED with this product." —C. Clemons

    Get a set of four from Amazon for $37.99.

    13. And put items that need air circulation into stackable baskets or mesh containers — think potatoes, onions, and garlic bulbs.

    FYI, here's our explainer on how and where you should be storing your groceries.

    Promising review: "I've purchased four sets of three giving me 12 stackable baskets that I use in my small pantry and I love them. The baskets works for what I need them for and they're sturdy. I will purchase more for family. This was a great buy." —TheRightPriceShopper

    Get a pair from Amazon for $39.99. And check out similar ones here, here, and here.

    14. Safely store the mountains of cans that are so much easier to buy in bulk on special racks that won't send them tumbling next time you need some black beans for a pot of chili.

    Promising review: "No more expired cans, because I can see what I have and USE IT before it's bad! Shopping is more efficient and I have less wasted food and money. The rack itself stays together very sturdy when loaded completely with cans. Very pleased with this purchase. My one caveat would be the suggestion to measure your space against what this takes up because I didn't and I had to place it in a different spot than I originally intended, my oversight." —Liz

    Get it from Amazon for $21.87.

    15. Double up on vertical use of space with sturdy stacking shelves or sliding baskets for smaller items.,

    I have a set of these sliding baskets under my kitchen sink and they stand up to the weight of sooo many cleaning solution bottles.

    Promising review (for stacking shelves): "I love these versatile organizers as they're both strong but light simultaneously. The open design along all sides allows ultimate use and have doubled the space we have available as a food pantry. Auspiciously, they were able to be coupled with wire baskets I had previously purchased for the pantry that failed to open up additional space. I bought four each and won't hesitate to buy more in the future when I find the need." —Amazon Customer, Pamela Z

    Get them from Amazon: two shelves for $14.87 or sliding baskets for $25.87

    16. Tuck lightweight items like wax paper and snack bags into under-cabinet shelves so there's no dead space left unused.

    Promising review: "We use this under-shelf mainly for lightweight goods in the pantry. We ended up buying four shelves. They couldn't have been easier to assemble. Sturdy enough for storing kipper herrings cans, as well as paper goods, snack bags, etc. These were items that ended up on top of other things, and it was a daily pain moving them to get to other things. Problem solved! I like them so much I'm looking for other areas to put more." —Stitch in Time

    Get it from Amazon for $9.97.

    17. Use those corners! They're an excellent spot to shove in a lazy Susan or a tiered corner shelf.

    These are the perfect size for plates or packages of tortillas. (TBH, would not judge if this thing was filled to the brim with tortillas. Just shows you're doing something right!)

    Promising review: "This corner shelf counter is perfect! It fits perfectly in my pantry. Items re stacked, but remain visible! I bought two and wish I purchased more! I looked in a local store selling shelf organizers and found shelves that were more expensive and smaller, holding fewer items and were not as sturdy as this!" —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $17.99.

    18. Place paper packets (like mixes for fruity drinks, sauces, and dips) into wall-mounted sponge caddies so they stay in sight and don't fall through the cracks of shelving.

    Check out more pantry organization inspo from Make Bake Celebrate.

    Get a similar one from Amazon for $7.34.

    19. Afraid you won't be able to glimpse into the dark reaches of your pantry? Stick on some cheap motion-activated lights in dim areas so you can see what you have on the reg., Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

    I put these lights in the recesses of my closet and LOVE them. They take three AAA batteries each and stick onto surfaces.

    Promising review: "I used the lights for my hallway closets and pantry. They work great and the adhesive strips they come with are strong! I tried moving one after I stuck it to the drywall and a piece of the drywall came off with it. I ultimately placed them on the top lip of the interior door frames to get the most light. The photos I took were in the dark and you can see what you are looking for just fine. I also like that there is a quick timer as my kiddos seem to leave doors open often and this will turn off after 10 seconds." —JR Sunny Consumer

    Get three from Amazon for $12.49.

    20. Hang smaller stuff with a rack or lightweight organizer on the inside of pantry doors (or on a bare wall).,

    This is great for items like instant oatmeal packets, often-used spices, and K-cups. Think of how much vertical space is going to waste inside your pantry door!

    Get them from Amazon: adjustable rack for $27.99+ (two sizes) or two clear hanging pantry organizers for $12.87

    21. And if you have a little more room, install a behind-the-door cabinet to corral spices and other small items.

    This takes a little more installation than the other products in this story, but if you've got it (and by it, I mean the space), flaunt it!

    Promising review: "Great product plus wonderful customer service. I added this to the inside of my kitchen pantry. Initially I wanted this to open and close as separate storage, but discovered I liked having the cabinet flat against the inside of the pantry door. We might need another in this tiny down-sized place." —Pamela

    Get it from Amazon for $150.99.

    22. If you use your pantry to store china and other special dishes, invest in some padded storage containers to cushion the stuff you pull out for special occasions.

    And then you nestle them in with the stuff you use less often to make way for your staples.

    Get them from Amazon for $49.99.

    23. And once you finally square away everything how you like it, spend a little time each week tidying up so you can maintain your organizational system.

    Walt DIsney Productions

    You can even set a reminder on your calendar for it! Ahem, commercial breaks anyone? Also, if something that seemed like a great idea doesn't work out so well all of a sudden, make necessary adjustments!

    Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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    Allison Krausman / BuzzFeed