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Organize Your Pantry and Freezer to Save Money

by Tara Kuczykowski on January 12, 2009 · 19 comments

Mandi of shares her tips today.

organizeFor many people, the idea of getting organized evokes images of fancy organizing systems and spending lots of time and money for a system that probably won't last anyway.

The truth, though, is that getting organized doesn't have to cost a lot of money. There are ways to do it very inexpensively or even free. And even more importantly, getting organized can actually save you money in the long run.

For example, an important part of being able to save money on your grocery bill is knowing what you have in your pantry and freezer so that you're best able to take advantage of specials and coupons to stock up on necessities as well as your family's favorites.

There are several ways to do this. One way is to keep a written inventory for both your pantry and freezer. There are great downloadable forms at Organized Home if this is the way you want to go.

Another option is to simply organize your pantry and freezer in a way that makes it easy for you to quickly see what you have so that you can look through them while making your meal plan and grocery list each week.

If you have money to invest in your pantry organization, there are great accessories available, such as this 3-tier cabinet organizer or this adjustable door rack .

Even if you are not in a position to purchase any items to help with your pantry organization, I would still encourage you to take the time to get organized. Here are a few tips to get you started:

::Divide your pantry space into types or categories of food. You might separate cans, breakfast foods, baking ingredients and snacks. Or you might keep all of your prepared foods on one shelf where they're easily accessible and put jars/cans/mixes on another.

::Arrange food so that it's easy to see. Turn cans so that you can see their labels. If space requires you to keep things in front of each other, put the larger items in the back so they're easier to see.

::Keep the ingredients you use more frequently at eye level and easily accessible.

::Rotate and reorganize your pantry every 4-6 weeks. When stockpiling food, it's easy to waste food if you're not organized. Rotating and reorganizing your stock ensures that you use any items that are close to expiring or that you may have forgotten about.

Although getting organized may take an investment of time and/or money, in the long run it will save you money. You won't end up buying duplicates of items you already have or having to make last-minute shopping trips because you ran out of an important ingredient. You'll also have a better idea of what you have and when it expires so that you don't end up throwing food away because it's gone bad.

This week at , we'll be looking at pantry organization and the different methods for getting organized to make meal planning, grocery shopping and saving easier. Stop by or subscribe now to be sure you don't miss anything!

Mandi Ehman is a wife and momma to three little girls (4, 2.5 and 1 years old). was born from her belief that getting organized only lasts if you do it your way – to fit your needs, your preferences and your lifestyle.

Are there any other items or methods that you use to keep your freezer and pantry organized? Do you find that you save more money when you're organized?

{ 3 trackbacks }

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laurie January 12, 2009 at 8:40 am

What a timely entry! I just cleaned out my refrigerator & freezer over the weekend and am getting ready to tackle the pantry! Thank you!

By the way, I found a GREAT DEAL on Science Diet Dog & Cat Food yesterday at my local Tractor Supply store. I had stopped there to buy dog food for my dogs because I buy it in bulk. I noticed on the shelf behind me that the 3-4 lb bags of Science Diet Dog & Cat food were on sale for $9.00. And there was a $9.00 rebate peelie on the bag! I only had to pay tax ($.83) per bag (I bought three) and will be mailing in my rebates today! Not bad for free dog/cat food! This offer is good until 2/28/09. And there is no limit on the number of rebates you can turn in (at least I didn't see any on the rebate form.)

Laurie´s last blog post..Jackson Update!


2 heather January 12, 2009 at 9:16 am

I have stopped spending money on tons of baskets and other organizational items. I've been recycling and cutting the tops off of Sunny D gallons (we go through lots of it here) and washing them out. I use them to seperate color wonder markers from washable markers from Unwashable markers, etc. I'm also using them to hold the plungers in my bathrooms and get them up off the floor!

heather´s last blog post..Price Chopper Deal 1/11


3 JoAnn January 12, 2009 at 9:26 am

This is a subject close to my heart. There is so much money to be saved by keeping our pantries organized. For my freezer I purchased small bins at the dollar store to keep meats, vegetables and other small odd shaped items separate. It is so much easier to grab one of those bins than to dig through everything. No more hurt toes. :)


4 Kira January 12, 2009 at 9:53 am

I set up my pantry over my holiday break, utilizing a poorly organized closet in the spare room off my kitchen. I had a plan for what items were needed to turn that closet into a pantry - shelving, bins, etc. - and had money set aside for that project. Imagine my surprise when I cleaned out the other closet in that room and discovered that not only did I have spare bins, I also had spare shelving! A little rearranging and my pantry was ready for use with $0 spent! On top of that, we had a minor family emergency last week and I ended up feeding 13 people for less than $9 thanks to my pantry.!

Kira´s last blog post..Country Mart January 7-13, 2009


5 Mandi January 12, 2009 at 11:13 am

Thanks, Laurie – I'm glad the article came at a good time for you!

Heather, what a great idea! When my baby girl was eating baby food, I stocked up on some of the plastic Gerber containers with lids to use for craft supplies and stuff too - I love reusing things for inexpensive organizing!

Ooh, Joann, I like the idea of plastic bins in the freezer! My pantry definitely stays much more organizzed than my freezer right now.

Kira, what a great story about getting organized with what you have on hand AND of the power of an organized pantry – thanks for sharing!

Mandi´s last blog post..Getting the Most Out of Your Pantry: How an Organized Pantry Saves You Money


6 $ Money Savin' Momma $ January 12, 2009 at 11:39 am

It's so true that organizing your pantry and freezer can save money. We recently did a full pantry inventory and it was like getting a month's worth of meals free... no joke! You can get all the details here:

I highly recommend everyone do something like we did! You will be surprised at how far you can stretch your budget this way!

$ Money Savin' Momma $´s last blog post..Free baking soda from Walmart with $1.00 off 2 coupon


7 $ Money Savin' Momma $ January 12, 2009 at 11:39 am

It's so true that organizing your pantry and freezer can save money. We recently did a full pantry inventory and it was like getting a month's worth of meals free... no joke! You can get all the details here:

I highly recommend everyone do something like we did! You will be surprised at how far you can stretch your budget this way!

$ Money Savin' Momma $´s last blog post..Free baking soda from Walmart with $1.00 off 2 coupon


8 Lori January 12, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Timely post! 2 weekends ago I reorganized the freezer and last weekend I did the cabinet. We have drawers & shelves in our freezer, so I have meat in one drawer and veggies in the other. One shelf is used for my son's foods and the others are for things like icecream or bread.

The cabinet was in much worse shape, but I rounded up some unused bins and used them to tame some of the smaller and funky shaped items that didn't quite stand up well on their own. It is so much easier to see everything in there now!

Of course I thought of taking pictures after I was done! Oh well.

Lori´s last blog post..Free Windex Wipes or Windex Antibacterial in newspaper


9 Tammy January 12, 2009 at 1:55 pm

When taking an inventory of our freezer and pantry, I pull out the oldest items (or items nearing expiration), lay them out in front of me and make my meal plan for the week based on what is in front of me. I do this mostly so I don't have to decide what to have for dinner...the decision is already made for me! This insures that things get used up, and yes, sometimes we have chicken three times in one week, but my husband is very easy going about that sort of stuff!


10 Noelle January 12, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Defiantly couldn't agree more, especially on the timing! I just started selling Tupperware about a month ago and all of January through February 13 they have ALL of their Modular Mates 40% off. They can help you save time, money and space!!! Feel free to check out my website or contact me for more info!!!

Noelle´s last blog post..Money Making Deals


11 Jamie January 13, 2009 at 7:29 am

I use a magnatized white board on my freezer and just update it as I add to or use items from the freezer.

I'm just starting to create a stock of pantry items, which I store on shelves in the basement as my cupboards in the kitchen fill up. I'm struggling to keep that organized. I don't think I need a list so much because everything should be easy to see. I think I'm struggling because you just don't know what you are going to end up with a stock of (cans? boxed pasta? cereal?), so it's hard to plan space ahead. So I either have to rearrange everything as I add more, or just put it where it fits (I am currently practicing the latter, so you can just imagine the mess!). sigh...I guess that'll be this weekend's project.


12 Mandi January 13, 2009 at 10:12 am

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences! Although I am a fairly organized person (which you probably guessed, ha!), I find that *keeping* the pantry and freezer organized is still a struggle, I think because you're constantly pulling things out and adding new things, so you really need to be reorganizing a bit every time you grocery shop. Easier said than done, huh?

Mandi´s last blog post..Getting the Most out of Your Pantry: Make a Plan


13 JanS January 14, 2009 at 5:06 pm

I have just finished cleaning out our refrigerator and tossed lots of old half eaten salad dressing bottles. Not only is going thru your food storage areas a good idea to do at least once a month, it is also healthier for you in the long run. Get rid of those once open containers of food that have long since expired or rancid.

JanS´s last blog post..Quilting squares


14 Deal Seeking Mom January 16, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Noelle, Mandi just wanted me to let you know that she linked to your site today in one of her posts. Hope you see this!


15 how-to-save-money February 10, 2009 at 8:47 am

Great advice...I can't say how many times I've bought something at the grocery store, only to find out later I didn't need it. The item was already in my pantry or fridge, I just didn't see it. Items like spices and ketchup come to mind.

how-to-save-money´s last blog post..How to Apply for the Bridge Card in Michigan for EBT Food Benefits


16 Charlotte Whatley January 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I just wrote an article about organizing the kitchen pantry and then I came across your article. Loved what you had to say!!


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