I'm lucky to have a great set of inset shelves in my kitchen. I also have a "collection" of canning jars that I love to use for storing everything like rice, beans, dehydrated veggies and mixes like taco seasoning and italian dressing. When I'm canning and end up with more than a meal left, but less than is worth starting the canner, I stick it in the dehydrator. Potatoes, corn and onions are my usuals. I also use the bottom shelf to set out some of the stuff that I have canned. Soups, broths and veggies that we use alot.
Amy Dacyczyn has a wonderful book called "The complete Tightwad Gazette". It has sooo many great ideas for how to use what you have and how to buy what you need to be useful in a long term manner. I love it for the recopies for things like taco seasoning, mix and match muffins, and casserole 'starter' ideas. These are all things that fit into the way that I like to cook. Have the staples in your cabinet and instead of deciding what you want for supper and running to the store, you look in you pantry and see what you have that would make a meal. Sometimes I even switch it up and decide what pan I want to use and then plan a meal around it. Funny yes but it keeps me from getting into a rut. I have a collection of cast iron, enamelware and crocks that I love to cook with.
This is about half of my iron. Cooking herbs in the cabinet and medicinal and tea herbs on the little shelves. Most all of mine are old (iron, I mean). I love the feeling of being connected to women of the past that had these and were proud of it. They have fed families for years and years. I think we live in a wonderful time of 'I can try, and learn, without the fear of my family starving if I don't succeed at first. I garden, we butcher, I preserve, and every time it's a learning experience. How to do it better, faster or get more out of it.I
love the challenge though!