Home Hacks

This $8 Item Will Change Your Pantry Game Forever

It will turn things around.

July 30, 2019
Photo by James Ransom

Have you ever reached into the back of your spice cabinet for the cumin and knocked over every jar in front of it? Me too. Has the same thing happened when rummaging for condiments in the fridge? Same. If the regularity of this frustrates you like it did me, you’ll be happy to hear I’ve found the perfect solution—and her name is lazy Susan.

The lazy Susan (neither lazy nor sluggish) is a turntable or rotating tray that has evolved into its current iteration over many years. It all began with a wheeled serving device called a dumbwaiter that Thomas Jefferson introduced to the United States after living in France. In the 1950s, the lazy Susan surged in popularity when it became the centerpiece of Chinese-American restaurants thanks to engineer, soy sauce mogul, and restaurateur George Hall, who installed revolving tabletops at Johnny Kan’s in San Francisco. The storied spot inspired countless others to spin Peking duck and fried rice around the table for facilitated dining.

While plenty of Chinese-American restaurants around the country still serve meals on lazy Susans and artisanal versions are used in homes for entertaining, I’d argue that these turning trays have a higher purpose: to improve your kitchen life instantly and significantly.

Allow me to introduce you to this small, plastic lazy Susan that will organize all the jars in your spice cabinet, pantry, or refrigerator. It lets you place your most used spices or condiments in areas that are facing forward for easy, grabbable access, yet when you need the less frequented items, they’re just a swift swivel away. Imagine a life in which there are no knocked over jars, no spills, and no cracks.

Once you’re convinced of this genius hack, a whole world of organizational lazy Susans will open right up. From a divided lazy Susan with dedicated sections, to a non-skid version so jars can’t slide around, and a double decker lazy Susan with two tiers for optimizing storage, you’ll be able to customize your lazy Susan experience to best serve your needs. Need I say more?

What tricks do you use to organize your pantry like a chef? Tell us in the comments below!

This post contains products that are independently selected by our editors and writers, and Food52 may earn an affiliate commission.
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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Gretchen
  • Carole lynn
    Carole lynn
  • athene
  • LetaBee
  • M


Gretchen August 5, 2019
I use a double decker with spices on the bottom and seeds and spice/herb blends on top. Spices are alphabetized.
A second turn table is for herbs—again alphabetized. I always know when I am low on something.
Third turntable is for baking products like baking soda, powder, extracts, cocoa, and even dry measuring cups.
Fourth turntable houses oils and vinegars.
Fifth has Indian/Asian spices and liquids
Sixth has honey, peanut butter, snack nuts and dried fruits.
All of these turntables are in one upper cabinet next to the oven/cooktop.
Upper shelf of the same cabinet has glass measuring cups; drawer below the counter has measuring spoons, tiny wisks and tiny bowls—ie, it is so easy to measure anything prior to cooking/baking!
This system has been great for me, family and friends who house sit for us!
Kathryn K. January 3, 2020
I have a very similar arrangement of lazy Susan’s!
Carole L. August 4, 2019
I got married in 1968. The first thing I purchased for my new home was a double decker lazy susan for my spice cabinet. I still use the same one 50 years later.
My mother always had a decorative
lazy susan on the kitchen table to
hold salt, pepper, sugar, etc.
hers was fashioned out of wood.
I have a number of fancy ceramic ones that we used for entertaining in the 60s and 70s.
I also have an antique fitted one from China from that was given to my grandparents before I was born.
It may have had a different name back then but it was pre world war ll.
So much for a “new hack”.
athene August 4, 2019
The attention-grabbing headline states the price of the item (i.e. the lazy susan) is a modest & enticing $8. When I clicked on the link to Amazon, the price is listed as $12.99. ?????
Molly S. August 6, 2019
Amazon changes their prices every day. Also, if you are looking for something online, elsewhere, the Amazon price will be lower, but if you go straight to Amazon before going elsewhere, the price is likely higher. Big Brother is watching, always.
Rosalind P. August 25, 2019
Simple takeaway: Don't. Use. Amazon. Go directly to the source if possible. Find a substitute if possible. Do a news search to learn more about how harmful this company is to its workers, to writers and publishers, to its vendors, to our society and ultimately to a healthy economy. It's really helpful to understand the consequences of our habits. If we even limit using Amazon to when there is no other option it could make a huge difference. Thanks.
LetaBee August 1, 2019
The best way I use a lazy Susan is in the fridge.
No longer a problem to reach condiments at the back of the fridge.. where they are lost and inadvertently repurchased.
Plus most of them have a lip, so drips and sticky bottoms are caught and can be easily cleaned. As it can only contain limited items, I am more mindful to use up what's there ..so less waste
Julie J. August 2, 2019
I've been using last Susan's for years in my fridge and my bathroom cabinets too! I'm kinda fond of lazy Susan's. ;)
M July 31, 2019
"Genius hack"? No. These have been used for years for storage, and can easily be found in home storage sections and online stores. Many kitchens even have them built into corner cupboards. It's a handy, classic storage solution, but very very far from a hack.
JP July 30, 2019
From the photo, I thought the item was a label maker of bulk purchases of carry out quart containers. The photo shows neatly organized and labeled items none of which are on a lazy-susan. Why not show a lazy susan in action?
JP July 30, 2019
...label maker OR bulk purchases...