Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pantry Reorganization (Again) and How I Saved $100

When my space is organized, I can think more clearly.  When I can think clearly, I am more productive.  And that is why I felt the need to reorganize my pantry, even though I had just done a complete organization a couple months ago.  You can read about my first pantry organization here.  And you can read about my pantry update here.  Even though the space felt more organized, and most of the baskets were the same color, giving a more cohesive look than when I had different colors and sizes in there, it still felt a bit chaotic.  Since the pantry is one of those places I visit multiple times a day, I knew I needed to create more order in there.

That is when I stumbled upon a pantry organization on one of my favorite blogs.  I realized there was something this pantry had that I was lacking.  And I knew what I needed to do!

What I love about Maria's pantry is how her labels are the same or similar.  I realized that what was bugging me about mine was how I used different labels.  The other thing that was driving me crazy was all the boxes and mismatched containers.  I wanted more uniformity, but I didn't really have a large budget for this area in our home right now.  

So, I did what any thrifty girl would do and I headed to Costco.

My friend Amber has been telling me for a while that I should do a post on what I buy at Costco.  That place is a lifesaver to me and my family.  We had a financial advisor tell us they called Costco the $100 club because you could never get out of there without spending $100.  But I say if you are smart about what you buy, you can save yourself $100.  And that is just what I did when I bought these containers.  There are eight OXO BPA free containers in this box.  It cost me $47.99 for the box of eight containers.

I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond's website and researched similar containers to the ones I bought at Costco.  If I bought similar sizes AND used a 20% off coupon,  I would have spent $88.74 on comparable sizes.   

That's a savings of $40.75.

And I ended up purchasing two of the big boxes by the time the pantry organization was all said and done.  Do the math.  Two sets of the same containers at BB&B would have cost me $177.48 (using a coupon).  At Costco, two sets cost me $95.98.  No coupon required.

That's a savings of $81.50.

Now, for the labels.  When I first organized my pantry, I bought these labels at Target.

I love the look of the chalkboard label.  It's pretty popular right now.  Here are some of the places in my house we have used chalkboard labels.

I like the chalkboard because it is easy to change.  It's definitely less expensive and simpler to erase and rewrite a word than to create a whole new label.

But the labels themselves are expensive.  I bought a pack of chalkboard stickers at Target for $3.99. The pack contained 6 labels.  So, in order to provide a sticker for each of the 16 containers I bought at Costco, I would have needed 3 packs.  At $3.99 a pack, that would have cost me $11.99.  

I found an even better solution at Lakeshore Learning.  This rainbow paper comes in a pack of 30 for $9.99.  When you scratch on the surface of the paper, you can write with rainbow colors.  If you just write lightly with a piece of chalk, the paper acts like a chalkboard.  The chalk erases easily as well.

So, I took one of the stickers and made a pattern out of an old folder.

Then I traced the pattern onto a the back of a piece of rainbow paper.  I was able to trace six labels on the back of a single sheet of rainbow paper.

So, I got six labels out of one sheet, and there are 30 sheets in the pack.  30 times 6 is 180, so if I wanted to, I could get 180 labels out of one pack of rainbow paper.  Here's a view of my homemade labels...

Want to see my pantry now?

I don't know what's up with this crooked picture.  I must have needed a V8.

 So much better!  I even wiped down my spice rack and alphabetized the spices.  Did you know most of my spices start with C?  Cayenne pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, cloves...kind of crazy!  My husband makes fun of me for putting our spices in ABC order (first grade teacher thing?), but I can't tell you how much time it saves me when I am cooking! 

I actually hate stuff on the floor of a closet.  But since I need the space for storage, I used these green baskets to coral the items that would not fit on the shelves.  And I made sure not to put people food items on the floor.  From left to right: Summer's food, treats, bottled drinks and extra food storage bags (unopened), kids' lunchboxes).

Here are my tips for using purchasing containers and choosing the right label:

1. Head to Costco now!  I found these containers on an endcap which means they may be a seasonal item.   Spring cleaning time?

2. Choose your labels wisely.  I decided to use my label maker to label the canisters used most by my children.  I knew the chalk would just rub off and I'd be frustrated trying to rewrite the labels all the time!  Carson loves to use my label maker, so he labelled most of these.

3. Use a chalk pen instead of chalk for the canisters you want to look pretty but don't want to find yourself rewriting.  Chalk pen still erases (with a little water), but does not easily come off when touched.  I ordered mine on Amazon.

4. Finally, don't be afraid to repurpose containers.  You may find that you don't really want chips in a clear container.  After Camden brought me the chip container 5 times in one day, I realized the view was just a little too enticing.  I'd rather him have a healthier snack.  So, I put veggie sticks in that container instead of chips.

How do you keep your pantry organized?


  1. This post is so inspirational. I dream of having an organized pantry like this. You did such a good job with the labels--I'm so impressed. That's also a great tip to remember which ones rub off easily and which ones need to have a bit more staying power.

  2. Thank you, Megan! I've been much better about putting stuff away now that everything has a place. :)

  3. Great organization! My pantry is shameful - I must get it organized one of these days!

  4. Thanks, Kelly! One project at a time...:)