Food Organization, Storage and Menu Planning

One goal for 2009 is to tackle my house room by room. January’s room is the kitchen. This was probably a bad room to start with since it needs the most work and we were gone for half of the month. Included in the kitchen are the cabinets, drawers, fridge, freezer, both pantries, and the desk. The desk really needs a month of its own, but I am not sure if that is going to happen.

One way that I am able to save money is by menu planning and stocking up on sale items. Over the next 30 days I am experimenting with creating 30 days of meals which will allow me to stock up, plan ahead, and purchase items for the best price when they are on sale.

In order to do this I needed to organize my pantries. Don’t think that I have a huge house or kitchen because I used the word pantries. My kitchen is average sized and it does not have a pantry. In order to maximize my food storage space I turned the coat closet into a pantry with some inexpensive shelves from Lowes. I also have a very old cupboard that I purchase for $30 at a flea market 14 years ago. Since the cupboard is tall and thin I use this to store spices, canned goods, dressings, and baking helps.

Both areas needed some serious attention if I was going to attempt to shop for an entire month of food.

I forgot to take a before picture of the cupboard, but here it is almost empty.

My kids helped me by emptying both cabinets. This a great job for your little ones, just make sure they don’t move the breakable items.

With everything out I was able to wipe down the shelves.

I then put everything back into the pantries, except this time it was well organized.

One thing I noticed is that my pantry was filled with lots of little snack type items that needed a home. This basket worked perfectly.

Once my pantries were organized I looked over my 30 days of meals’ ingredient list and crossed off the items I already had. Purchasing an item you already have can be a waste of money. It is one thing to stock up if it is on sale, it is another to purchase an ingredient at full price that is already in your home but lost in the clutter.

I also found several boxes of almost empty items such as old pancake mix, rice, potatoes. Using those over the next few days will free up room in my pantry so I can stockpile the good deals.

Home organization is an essential key to living a frugal life.


Need help getting organized? Don’t forget to enter my Motivated Moms 2009 Planner Giveaway! Click here for details.

For more Talk About Tuesday visit Lara, for more Tightwad Tips visit Mary, for more clutter busting adventures stop by Crystal’s site and for more domestic divas visit Blissfully Domestic.


  1. It looks so great- you have inspired me!!

  2. “It is one thing to stock up if it is on sale, it is another to purchase an ingredient at full price that is already in your home but lost in the clutter.”

    So true! Great post, thanks for sharing and showing – the showing part always helps. 🙂

  3. Make sure to check the date on any pancake mixes, etc that got pushed to the back of the pantry. Mold can grow in them, and you wouldn’t be able to see it (although the pancakes would taste nasty).

  4. I love to see how others organize their pantries. I need to do this too, before shopping again.

  5. Lable makers are your friends…very helpful for putting stuff in containers

  6. How did I not know you could keep syrup on the shelf? We have a huge Costco-esque sized syrup, and it takes up valuable room in my fridge, which bugs me immensely. Hmmm. You learn something every day. 🙂

  7. There was an article on Blissfully Domestic (on the Frugal Bliss channel) this past week on how to stockpile groceries. She had a lot of great tips.

    I think a 30 day meal plan is a fantastic idea! (One I may try next fall when both my kids are in preschool.)

  8. And I did NOT know that catsup didn’t need to be refrigerated!!

    Great post … thanks for the pictures.

  9. I love decluttering and organizing things in my pantry and kitchen cabinets. I’m always looking for ways to make it work better, and thus, keeping me from buying things that have gotten “lost in the clutter.”

    Good job! I noticed you had several containers that looked like they had homemade mixes. Do you have the “Make a Mix” cookbook?
    That is my FAVORITE money-saving cookbook. If you don’t have it, I highly recommend it. See if you can get it at the library or through inter-library loan.

  10. I am in love with your green hutch!!!! I too just did inventory of our pantry. We had some doubles and triples of big stuff! Keeping it organized is my goal too.
    We have our grocery list of items we buy from each store we shop at posted in the pantry. The list are in order by where they are found in the store. It helps with time and buying only what we need. We also take our monthly menu with us to the store. If something is on sale ( a great buy) we change the menu up.

  11. Wow, that is quite the job. I need to do the same. I know I have several boxes of cereal that no one eats that are way past their expiration hiding in my pantry.

  12. That looks great! Very good job!

  13. This is one area I need to work on a bit more. Thanks for the how to’s and inspiration.

    Blessings and ((HUGS))
    In Him<

  14. I love the green cabinet! Well done, such a great feeling isn’t it!


  15. I love an organized pantry! We also turned a downstairs closet into a pantry. We just kind of did what you did. It’s now my mom’s pantry.

  16. It looks great! My pantry has become a mess these days too. Time to get in there and organize.

  17. Toni (my mothers name by the way) I was looking at your post for organization. I too like to organize things, some of the things I do is try to place everything in containers, I like to have boundries on my shelves, I place like items together in buckets or baskets, I find this eaiser and things look lots neater. My most favorite thing I do are my “snack buckets” for my 4 kids. A few years ago I was having trouble with unfair sharing of the snacks. If one child liked something better than something else that child might eat so much of that one item that other family members might not get any of the item. I decided one Summer to purchase buckets for each kid ( I use a white dishpan) I wrote their names on them and then I purchase individual wraped snacks and divide them, you can only eat whats in your bucket, they are allowed to swap out snacks. Anyway, I hope you get the idea, it works really well.

  18. Pam from Ohio says:

    Is there a list of must haves for the pantry? I need to organize, too many hands looking for things. I need to know what to have on hand. Thanks,

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