SINGAPORE – When you cook, bake and have never seen a condiment you are not curious about, things pile up in the pantry.

Every few months, stuff starts falling on my foot when I open the cupboard and I find myself buying stuff I already have.

Being mostly housebound in the time of coronavirus, I took the opportunity to do my regular purge-and-re-organise exercise. Here is what works for me:

Group supplies into themes[hhmc]

I bake a fair bit and three of the pull-out shelves in my pantry are devoted to baking supplies. I have one shelf for flavour extracts, leaveners, cocoa powder, yeast, sprays and pastes for greasing cake tins and such. The shelf below is for flour, sugar and other baking supplies that have been opened up. The third is for supplies which have not been opened yet. At a glance, I can see what I need to replenish. I also have shelves for canned food; dried fruit, nuts and seeds; honey and jam; condiments; and Japanese groceries such as Kewpie mayonnaise, and konbu and katsuobushi for making dashi.

Bags not boxes[hhmc]

In my next life, I will have a walk-in pantry the size of a hangar. Then, I can let my inner Marie Kondo go nuts and organise everything in white enamel tins with attractive labels. Alas, that is but a fantasy. Boxes and other containers take up too much space, so I put my half-used bags of flour or dark brown sugar into sturdy zippered plastic bags, press out all the air, seal them and stack them on the shelves. I find I can fit more into the space I have this way. As long as my shelves stay themed, I can find what I want in a jiffy. And I reuse the bags of course.

First in, first out[hhmc]

Re-organising the pantry is a golden opportunity to weed out stuff that is past the use-by date. After throwing out the expired supplies, I group everything into themes, say, canned tomatoes, spicy condiments or honey. Then I tag the cans or jars that need to be used up first, using those rolls of washi tape I keep buying but never use. You can use whatever you have on hand; sticky notes or other kinds of stickers. At a glance, I know which can of tomatoes to reach out for.


* Labels facing out, where possible[hhmc]

Where I can, I like to store tall bottles in the middle of my pull-out shelves with the shorter ones on the outer rim. where possible, I have the labels facing out so I can see what's in the jars. But saving space and cramming stuff in is paramount, so between that and having labels facing out, I choose cramming.

* Spin and grab[hhmc]

In my condiments cupboard, which is near the stove, I store my sauces, oil and spices on inexpensive lazy Susans I get from Daiso. They save space and I can spin and grab whatever I need. Place the bottles with labels facing out, taller bottles in the mRead More – Source

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