By mkymlp from NE PA
It must work for them so I decided to do try it and do the same sort of thing in my pantry. Talk about shocked, I had doubles of quite a few things and had some items I have no idea why I purchased. The money sitting on those shelves could sure have been put to better use. If the store was as disorganized as I am it would go broke in no time. They can't sell something if no one can see it and I can't use something I bought if I don't know I have it. So something had to change.
A new organizing system had to be implemented. First of all everything came out of the pantry and was sorted into like groups: vegetables, pastas, condiments, etc. This I had done before, for the most part. Then each group was re-sorted. For example, the beans: chili, pork and beans and green beans; you get the idea.
My pantry is a wooden self-standing cabinet about my height so reaching high was not an issue. When it came to putting the goods back into the pantry, the most often used went on the top shelf at eye level and so on down to the bottom. I adjusted the shelves as I went to accommodate for the size of containers. When I came across those oddities I had forgotten I had, they went to the front, duplicates also went to the front.
When I use everyday items and only have one left I add them to my grocery when I use it. When I found duplicates I made a "2" on the lid of one and that one went in front of the other one. That tells me I have one left. Beside my grocery pad, I tacked up a piece of paper with the duplicates, neglected items and older items on it to remind me to plan around those items that needed to be used first.
Now to stick with this plan and keep my pantry looking organized, and easy to find items will be a pleasure instead of a chore. Hopefully this will help someone else keep organized and stop wasting money that could have been used elsewhere. Happy organizing and shopping everyone!
By Ann from Loup City, NE
Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml
Our pantry shelves don't go all the way to the floor, so there was a lot of wasted space that could be used. I bought a few plastic drawer sets and adjusted the shelving so that the drawers fit underneath. I use the drawers for items like bags of beans, granola bars, and microwave popcorn. It makes snacks more accessible to the kids and is a great way to organize items that don't stand up or stack well.
Most of the drawers are labeled. The two drawers with Post-its on them are for "rotating items", such as the last few juice boxes from a larger package. By having a few drawers to catch the lasts of things, you can free up space for the full replacement.
You can also "file" foods in the refrigerator. Put all liquid drinks on the top shelf. Use the second shelf put all lunch meats and cheeses (if you don't have a meat keeper drawer). "File" all sour creams, butter, etc. on the third shelf. The bottom shelf is for your leftovers.
This can also be done in your pantry. "File" all of your canned green beans one behind the other, your corn the same way, etc.
Organizing your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator this way will cut back on time because you'll know what you have in your areas and you can quickly grab these items. Also, you will know what you are out of when making your grocery list. This also saves money. How many times have you purchased a grocery item and found out when you got home that you already had spaghetti sauce!? When making your list for the week, if you have spaghetti, use it, but put spaghetti sauce on your list to go with it.
Another thought, "file" your grocery items in the grocery cart! When you are placing items in your cart, put all of your canned goods together, all of your frozen items together, etc. and when you put them on the conveyor belt, they will be all together and the clerk will bag most of these items all together in like categories for easy unbagging and putting away when you get home. Place the bag with freezer items on the floor near the freezer, the bag with the canned goods on the floor in front of the pantry, etc. This makes for less going back and forth and saves steps.
Happy Food Filing!
By Jane from Paducah, KY
Items stay fresher and safer in plastic containers. I keep a list on the door of my basic items and check them off when they need replaced. I keep a backup behind each of most used items. For larger items, I separate into smaller containers and do buy in bulk for items used more often especially my spices which are also put in smaller containers. I empty all bagged snacks and cereal as soon as they are bought. I find this saves time and money as items last longer and are all eaten because they remain fresh longer.
I also label my shelves and make sure all items are put back where they belong. That way I don't have two jars of peanut butter open at the same time for example. I don't repackage my oil but do put a small plastic box under it to prevent leaks and save my shelves. It's a system that continues to work and does save me money and time. I love always having my supplies handy whatever I want to cook.
By Lise from Huntersville, NC
I finally did an inventory of each shelf and listed everything on a piece of paper and taped it to the inside of the cabinet door near that shelf. Now I can scan my lists to find which shelf the item I'm looking for is located. This has saved me a lot of searching time!
By Sharon from Poland, IN
By Wendiesioux from Indiana
By Marty from Knoxville, TN
I don't like keeping certain pantry staples in the original paper box. I transfer them to plastic containers with tight fitting lids.
I cut the item name from the paper box and use wide, clear tape to tape it to the plastic container.
If you use a good tape, such as the kind sold for sealing packages to be shipped, press out all air bubbles and seal all edges by pressing firmly with your fingernail, the label will last through many hand washings.
I have a big pantry, but obviously it's not big enough. It has open shelving and since I have major OCD it drives me insane! Does anyone have any tips to make it both more functional and more aesthetically pleasing?
My shelves are really deep, and so there is stuff just piled behind more stuff. It is not very functional.
By Jennie from Tempe, AZ
Divide the shelves into sections. The hardware stores sell drawers that pullout for shelves. Or construct your own.
My husband built me a pantry, which now I get to use all my cupboards in the kitchen for kitchen stuff. I like organization. My can goods are in alphabetical order (as are my spice goods, but they are not pictured here). I only purchase something if its on sale and I have a coupon.
By Tracey from Michigan
By By Terri H.
By Suzanne S.
By Harlean from Arkansas
I have a small pantry and would like advice on how to organize it. Can you stack canned goods on the floor?
Onesummer from GA
I keep my spices in one of those ELFA racks from The Container Store that hubby shortened so that it fits on a shelf. I keep the spices in alphabetical order and the ones in large jars are very close by, all grouped together.
Been using the Elfa spice drawer rack for so many years that I am guessing it's been at least 15. Still satisfied. (09/05/2006)
For my son's apt., I set up some large stacking wire shelves (also from The Container Store) in the apt. coat closet and arranged canned goods on them. He has a protein shelf (peanut butter, tune...), a canned veggie shelf, a soup shelf and the top is the junk food shelf because potato and tortilla chip bags are the tallest. Holly (09/07/2006)
Now for the fun part... RECYCLE YOUR CONTAINERS! Plastic or glass containers originally used for mayonnaise, peanut butter and jelly are great for storage. (I use the ketchup containers for mixing my own cleaning solutions for veggies, etc.). Simply remove all of the labels and once the jar is washed thoroughly and dryed out, use those containers to sugar, flour, salt, beans, rice etc. You'll have no more pesky bags to deal with (and hopefully no bugs in the flour).
Take a permanent marker or label maker (if you want to get fancy) and clearly mark the new continents of each container (going for the salt when you think it's sugar is no fun!). Best of all... you'll have a beautifully organized pantry that looks great, and you'll be helping to save our planet. (09/11/2006)
I organize my pantry in alphabetical order. When I get home from the grocery I put things away in a certain order. Especially canned foods. I put beans, corn greens, potatoes, tomatoes etc. They are stacked in alphabetical order so when I need to know what I have I just check the row and know when I am getting low on a certain item.
It helps to have it this way so you will not have to move cans over to search for a can of potatoes. They will be in the same place each time I buy them. My spices are also in alphabetical order, this sure saves a lot of time, just grab the "Ginger" in the "G's" and go on. You'd be surprised how many steps this saves.
By Connie from Smithville, TN