Spring Cleaning for Pantries: Tip #3

Much of one's success with cooking comes down to how one feels when cooking.  By taking control of your pantry, refrigerator and freezer, you're taking a giant step to feeling under control when cooking and planning meals.  I have three spring cleaning tips for pantries.  Here is the third:

Spring Cleaning for Pantries
3.  Keep less often used ingredients separate from everyday staples

The kitchen pantry is no place for clutter.  Clutter impedes efficiency and limits the visual appeal of everything wonderful inside the cabinet or pantry door.  "A place for everything and everything in its place" has never been more true.  Consider what items are regularly used and place these at eye level in the most accessable spot.   Assign these items to the prime real estate of the kitchen.  In my kitchen, I dispaly apples, citrus, avocados and tomatoes on the counter.  I also keep a salt bowl on the counter near the stove top.   Put less used ingredients somewhere secondary, still making sure they are visible and reachable.  Keep baking goods together.  If your cabinet space is limited or you bake infrequently, you may like storing them in a baking basket and keeping this basket out of prime pantry space entirely.  Years ago I found a "porch blue" basket perfect for this purpose.  At the time I had a small galley kitchen and kept my baking basket on a shelf at the foot of the basement stairs.  Now, even with a much larger kitchen, I still store my baking basket out of the kitchen in a little cabinet off a utility hall.  Satellite storage areas in a mud room, laundry room, back hall, basement or even a garage can be excellent places for canned and dry goods, pans and large appliances that are infrequently or only seasonally used.

The evolution of pantries and the methods of storing foods through history I find interesting; such a charming reflection of the times and trends.   I wonder where the women (certainly not men) who first cooked in my kitchen 130 years ago stored things.  With no electricity, running water, refrigeration or grocery store down the street,  the challenges had to be quite different.  But perhaps one goal remains the same for those women as for me:  To have a place for everything and everything in its place.