In many kitchens, a designated pantry space is a luxury: Often we're forced to carve out food storage in too-tall standard kitchen cabinets. Baking essentials take up valuable real estate on kitchen counters. Bags of snack items quickly end up stale because we don't have efficient storage solutions.
Here are a few ideas to help you with your pantry storage dilemmas:
• Designate a "station" or area of your kitchen to house all of your pantry essentials. Even if it's a built-in kitchen cupboard, correctly organized it can house all of your essentials in one place.
• Find a space with shelving that is not too deep, using pull-out storage solutions as needed.
• If you don't have a designated space built into your kitchen, try a free-standing armoire, vintage kitchen cabinet or metro rack nestled into a corner.
• Decant items into see-through storage containers for efficient pantry storage. Select containers that are air-tight and fit together snuggly. Clear plastic or glass are ideal.
• Don't over-buy! It's easy to get caught up in stocking up. But if you don't have additional and efficient space to store extra items, don't be tempted.
• Label containers and indicate purchase date on all pantry items to ensure freshness and encourage you to use up what you have on hand.
Remember, it's not the size of your pantry but rather the way it's organized that makes your dinner-time prep an enjoyable end-of-the-day routine.
This article originally appeared in Lifestyle Insights on March 19, 2010