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1. WAIT to buy any new organizational gear until you've assessed your needs and space!
2. First, take everything out of your current pantry/storage sitch and assess what you have.
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!)
4. Measure everything so you know exactly what you're working with and clean while those shelves are bare!
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.
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.
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.
9. Transfer dry bulk food to stackable, airtight storage containers to make organizing easier and keep food fresher for longer.
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!)
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.
13. And put items that need air circulation into stackable baskets or mesh containers — think potatoes, onions, and garlic bulbs.
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.
16. Tuck lightweight items like wax paper and snack bags into under-cabinet shelves so there's no dead space left unused.
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.
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.
21. And if you have a little more room, install a behind-the-door cabinet to corral spices and other small items.
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.
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.
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