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I always know when it is time to re-organize the pantry- things begin to go missing. You know those laundry mysteries? Two socks go in the dryer but only one comes out, never to return again? Well the same phenomenon occurs in the pantry.  I call the phenomenon pantry elves, but what it really is, is frustrating!

A few months ago, I knew it was time, because I bought a new bottle of balsamic vinegar, put it in the balsamic vinegar spot that was empty and looked a few inches over and there was a half full bottle of the same exact balsamic vinegar. Same thing with the confectioner’ s sugar – something I must say was rarely used in my kitchen, except for now, I have joined that pesky group known as the Daring Bakers, and sugar, flour, baking powder and things that got used once a year started getting used once per month! But now there were doubles of everything – old containers I forgot where there, sitting right next to new containers of the same stuff. So now, my small pantry had even less space because I was repeat buying things I couldn’t see in my dis-organized pantry!

The moral of the story is keep your pantry organized and cooking will be much easier.

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Top Three Benefits of Having an Organized Pantry:

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1) You save loads of money by not repeat buying
2) You can actually reach into your pantry and find what you need without moving stuff all around, creating even more chaos
3) Things , like little bottles of vanilla extract don’t get tucked in with a bag of brown sugar that you pull out of the pantry and then have vanilla extract and broken glass everywhere-keeping your toes and the toes of all the people you love safe!

Top 5 Tips For How To Organize Your Pantry:

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1) First you have to take everything OUT of the pantry. If you miss this vital step, there will be consequences later- like that sneaky bottle of vanilla extract.
2) Check the dates on all your items. If its time has passed get rid of it and then think about whether or not you need to replace it -how often do you use it? Can you get a smaller amount next time?
3) Place all the items that are close to their expiration date up front so that you remember them and eat them before they expire.
4) Combine boxes and bags. If you have two boxes of confectioner’s sugar, put them in one box. If they don’t fit this way, use a canister or jar and label it. This way you can make more room for other things.
5) Place like items together. My pantry is organized in this fashion: favorite cookbooks together (the gazillion others are in boxes in the garage), baking stuff together, canned goods together, staples together, grains together, vinegars, oils and spices together, snacks together.

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What are your tips for pantry organization?