Whether you have a walk-in pantry with acres of shelf space, or a tiny under-the-sink cabinet in your rental apartment, the key to avoiding cooking frustration is organization. If your pantry is a disorganized mess, and you've just bought your third can of paprika because you can't find the other two, it's worth your while to make a weekend project of clearing out the pantry and reorganizing. Here are a few ideas that can help.
Square glass canisters. For efficient use of your space, square containers stack better, and clear canisters allow you to see what's inside quickly. If you want to avoid plastic containers - those made with #3, #5, #6, or #7 plastic can leach chemicals into your food - ceramic, metal or glass containers like these Anchor Hocking canisters are perfect for bulk foods like rice and pasta, or for storing sugar and flour. $5.49-$8.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond. (Related to my recent rant against plastics...)
Bay leaves. A bay leaf in your flour and grain containers helps keep away mealworms and other unpleasant pantry pests. (Related to "Why you must sift flour...")
Small spice tins. Don't keep your spices in a plastic bag or little plastic bottle. Small metal tins like the ones from Paper Mart are food grade, uniform, easy to label and stackable. $11.76 for a pack of 24 four-ounce tins at papermart.com. (Inspired by our Spice Rack...)
Read more at Check It Off: Organizing the pantry.