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best improvement ever made to my SMALL kitchen

With time to think and plan, the pandemic was a great opportunity to organize my kitchen pantry. I was frustrated with irregular, half-empty packaging and an inability to neatly consolidate foods by type. Plus, I could not always tell when it was time to restock an item. The state of my pantry caused a lot of stress. And it was not pretty – literally and figuratively. Time to whisper away the clutter.

Solution? Spinners or turntables, also known as Lazy Susans. They are magical!

I took all the food out, tossed expired and unused items, organized them by type, and wiped down the shelves. I used approximately 8” high round containers – a mix of pretty ones from The Container Store and pasta and canning jars – although it is not necessary to use expensive, fancy containers when canning jars will do just fine and look just as nice. It is always more space efficient if they mostly match in height. Then, I filled the jars and labeled them. So much fun and so gratifying!

My three shelves accommodated up to three spinners per shelf. I placed the baking supplies on the top shelf since I use these items the least. Most frequently items are on the lowest shelf. Have a folding step handy in your kitchen so you can easily go up and down to reach higher shelves.

Below is a list of pantry food categories I created for myself, plus other categories that you could also have for yourself, depending on what you cook and what ingredients you use.



Baking – various types of flour (all-purpose, cake, bread, almond), sugar (white, light brown, dark brown, powdered), baking soda, baking powder, chocolate chips…

Dried Fruits & Nuts – shredded coconut, dates, prunes, raisins, cranberries, cherries, apricots, pineapple, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews…

Grains – white rice, brown rice, yellow rice, basmati, jasmine, risotto, couscous, quinoa, soup pasta, bread crumbs (regular and Japanese)…

Dried Beans – lentils, black, white, kidney, navy, pinto, lima, Great Northern, fava, garbanzo,

bean soup mix…

Cooked Cereals – oatmeal, grits, cream of wheat…

Crackers/Cookies – assorted…

Canned Food – soup, broth, coconut milk, beans, tomato products…

Miscellaneous – honeys, teas, cinnamon sticks, salt/pepper grinders, cinnamon sugar in a shaker, peanut butter, dried mushrooms…

Spices – Too numerous to list.



Lazy Susans come in varying diameters. Make sure to measure your cabinet shelves to determine what you can accommodate. Keep in mind that some cabinet shelves are adjustable.

And they come in varying materials – single, double, plastic, wood, glass. Having a rim is almost mandatory – to keep items from falling off the spinner.

For spices, they come with one or two tiers.

And there are larger ones for refrigerator shelves!

Here is a good introduction to what is available for purchase:



Pasta and Dry Cereal – Obviously, the volume is too great for inside cabinet spinners.  Keep pasta and dry cereal on a counter or in an easily accessible cabinet with height.


NOTE: I prepared oatmeal while writing this. It was pure joy to spin around my Lazy Susans and easily access all the ingredients in a couple of minutes. You will feel very smart, and even smug :-), if you convert to a spinner system for your dry goods.


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