I save my mayonnaise jars, coffee cans (Folgers), and my catsup bottles for re-use again. I keep uncooked rice, dried beans, macaroni and graham crackers in the clear mayonnaise jars. I use the large coffee cans for dried beans, peas, and other items like spaghetti and noodles. The catsup bottles are used to put catsup back into. I buy at Smart and Final and the large cans fills up 5 of the catsup bottles for me. I place the rice into my freezer before putting it on the shelf because the rice sometimes has bugs and by freezing, it assures that the bugs will not hatch, if any are there.
Because I use about three different types of flours, (sr,ap and spelt) and three types of sugar (cane, beet, and splenda) I need a lot of jars. Last year I found 8 1/2 gal canning jars for a dollar each. I use those to put the different things in. Then I also use those large pickle jars, which I got from the high school concession stand I worked at. I will paint the tops of them this summer to match the cabinets which are country blue.
I re-use glass jars for food storage but hesitate with most plastics as they were not meant to be reused....just for one time use and that means the plastic is not safe. I always have plenty of glass jars to be reused and then there's no worry about them and I know they can break but I never seem to break any glass containers.
Canning jars are also very good to keep pastas, rice, macaroni, dried beans, etc in and they keep the food fresh. I got a hold of a dozen 1/2 gal size of Ball canning jars and they are just wonderful in my pantry for those types of things. I can see what's in them as well. Just be careful with using plastics for food storage unless it has the right recycle # on the bottom.
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
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On the bogof stuff.some stores will charge you half price for the first item if you don't want two of them. Meijer's and giant eagle used to do this.they said lots of older folks or people with just one or two in the family didn't have a use for two.
I buy by bulk and plan meals as what do have and get the meals i want and freeze
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.
Since our kids are now on their own, we don't keep a large inventory of stored food goods in the pantry, but I do like to keep a few items stocked. I put a rubber band around the last item to remind me that I need to stock up on that particular food product.
"File" your food in your freezer. Organize frozen food boxes where the label shows and you can see what the item is. Put all meats "filed" together, all vegetable bags "filed" together, and all juices "filed" together.
First of all, I empty all cardboard containers into plastic containers. Then I label them: pastas, rice, chips, crackers, spices, sugar, flour, etc. I do not use a canister set.
Pantries can get really messy. With their deep shelves, foods can easily get pushed to the back, only to be found after they expire.
I don't like keeping certain pantry staples in the original paper box. I transfer them to plastic containers with tight fitting lids.
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
By open shelving do you mean wire shelves? I hate them. Things fall through. I lined mine with contact paper.
Purchase some plastic lazy susans at Wal-Mart or $ store. That should help.
I have a 2-door pantry cabinet with several shelves on each side. A couple of the shelves are pretty easy to organize, like soups on one shelf and canned fruits and vegetables on another shelf.
I have a very narrow shelf in my pantry and could get only a few cans in. When I began to put one as far back on the shelf as possible and then the other as far front as possible (touching each other) then I could get several more on the shelf.
I am dying to know how all of you with those beautiful pantries that have a container for every item keep your back up items? What do you do when you purchase more of an additional item? Keep it in the original bag unopened, until all of the "old" is used up? i.e. chips, pretzels crackers. etc.
By D. O
Unless it can be dehydrated, I don't buy anything until I need to. When the food item is down to about 1/3 then it goes on my list. I may not buy just then but wait if it's one of those food stuffs that goes on sale.
Sometimes I get carried away by specials or forget I already have a lot of something and buy more. After my last pantry cleaning, I posted two lists on the refrigerator.
The post about buying peanut butter reminded me of how I handle sale items. I store cans of coffee or jars of peanut butter upside down. The most recent item is right side up. When I open this one, I turn another one over.
This is a really simple hint, but it helps me with my tiny pantry, just a few shelves in my kitchen. I try to keep like types of items together.
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. They are stacked in alphabetical order.