Shelve This Idea

The last time I cleaned the pantry shelves built into the wall just outside my kitchen, I organized similar items together: Canned goods on one shelf, condiments on another….If you’re thinking that sounds like a no-brainer, you’re right. But rather than returning items to their rightful places, I had gotten into the bad habit of just sticking them wherever I saw a hole. Before long, I had to carefully scan every shelf in order to find anything.

Grouping related items definitely is a time saver. But in an article about kitchen organization by Nicole Sforza in the January 2013 issue of Real Simple magazine, organizing expert Chip Cordelli takes the concept one step further. He suggests creating a baker’s tray of the usual suspects (flour, sugar, vanilla, etc.), so everything you need is easily accessible (not to mention transportable) next time you decide to bake.

I also like Cordelli’s idea of following supermarket shelving strategy: “Stock bottom shelves several cans or jars deep, with one item in front to mark the category,” he explains. That way, you’ll always know when it’s time to refill.

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