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[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

Last week's Weekend Cook and Tell challenge was a little different than our usual topics. In fact it didn't involve actual cooking at all. Catastrophic Cupboard Cleanup stemmed from my embarrassingly overfilled and disorganized kitchen cabinets.

I was curious to see how all of you keep your pantries neat and tidy with so many ingredients on hand. How do you keep track of what lies behind the closed doors of the cupboards to make sure you don't go out buying a second jar of fennel seeds or yet another can of coconut milk? Organization is obviously the key to overcoming kitchen clutter, let's take a look at some face the chaos.

Contrary to ProfessorChaos's screen name, all spices are organized alphabetically and pantry items are grouped by type of ingredient. ProfessorChaos claims that this order doesn't exist outside of the kitchen but anyone who has their books divided by genre, then alphabetized by author seems pretty on top of it to me.

ec_washington uses a big open baker's rack to keep all of the everyday appliances, pots and pans, and Tupperware out in the open for easy access.

Magnetic spice containers plus a P-Touch are CEBakes path to a clutterless cupboard. The spices go right on the side of the fridge which eliminates the need to dig around in a dark cabinet.

After the holidays finsbigfan decided to clean out the pantry and organize things in a more organic way. Now ingredients that go together are stored together. Planning meals is much easier when you can actually see what you have on hand.

gastronomeg spent last Friday night reorganizing her pantry and recipe binder. She thinks it's a little old and lame but I think it's a Friday night well spent.

I think that Larikatz might have some background working in a restaurant. Cans are grouped by type of product and rotated (!) and further organized into sweet and savory areas.

NWcajun likes to use spice jars from World Spice Merchants since measuring spoons fit inside the jars themselves without all of that messy shaking.

resolutejc offered a few helpful tips to organize spices. First, put your least used spices into smaller jars, and secondly, buy your spices whole, then grind them when you need them since whole spices stay fresh much longer than their ground counterparts.

The best kitchen organizing gadget that Carioca ever bought was her Lazy Susan, not only can she see all of her spices but it gives her a thrill every time she spins it.

eatup's spice drawer solution was to put them all on a baking sheet so that they can slide out easily and no hunting for spices in the back of the shelf.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to share their clutter-free kitchen tips for this week's Weekend Cook and Tell. Be sure to head over to Talk and read about next week's challenge: Double Dip.

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