WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Faye's pantry organization project is complete!

Posted June 28, 2013


After multiple Super Doubles promotions in the last month, my pantry was out of control! I started organizing it last night and just finished up. Here are the BEFORE and AFTER photos. How did I do?

What does your pantry look like after all these crazy deals?

Feel free to send me any pantry photos you want to share and I will add them to the photos above!

I will say that I packed up a number of bags to bring to the food bank which helped to clean things up quite a bit.

Plus, I took out all the cooking pots and pans from the bottom of the pantry and moved them to the garage since I was only using those items about once per year. I also removed all the lunchboxes and canvas grocery bags to the coat closet so I had more room for groceries.

There are additional groceries on the far sides of the pantry that you can't see in the picture because they are hidden by the doors including rice and baking items like flour and some baking mixes.  I keep spices in a cabinet in the kitchen.

I do not have another overstock area for groceries as the more extreme couponers usually have. There is no food hidden under the bed or crammed in various closets next to clothes and towels. I have not turned my garage into a mini-mart. 

I do have an extra upright freezer for our frozen overstock and the kitchen fridge and freezer are also full. And that's all we need. I don't want to have so much food on hand that it is not manageable.  Once you get too much food, it starts to expire before you can use it and that is not at all frugal.

Here's a pantry tip I have used for years: FIFO. This means First In First Out. The items you bought a long time ago that expire sooner need to be used before the newer items you are buying now that have a later expiration date. Make sure the items that expire sooner are moved to the front of the pantry and those that expire at a later date are moved to the back. This also helps reduce waste due to expired products.

If you have any pantry organization tips or stories, please share them!

FYI - I have just loaded pictures from Carla's pantry as well. Thanks for sharing them! Yours does not look half as bad as mine did when I started out. :-)


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  • jdouglas13 Jun 30, 2013

    Since you pantry looks so good, how about coming on over and helping me organize my freezer!? Hmmm? J/K Talk about a hot mess! It's worth your life to open the door. Thank goodness it has a lock!

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Jun 30, 2013

    I have a funny story - We had some friends over this evening and the husband reads this blog. The first thing he did when they got to the house was exclaim that he needed to see the reorganized pantry! It was really funny. I was happy to oblige of course. :-) It was so nice to have room to put the goodies I bought at HT today without having to shove it anywhere I could find room.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Jun 30, 2013

    Excellent tips, grkmiley! Thank you for sharing them! I love the idea about the shoe organizer. for odd items. I used a rubbermaid container for the 12 packets of gum we have but a clear shoe organizer would work great for that kind of thing. I need to look into that.

  • grkmiley Jun 29, 2013

    Here are my tips:

    1) I LOVE fabric shoe organizers (clear pockets that hang inside the door from bedbathand beyond.) holds 20 shoes but great for odd size things like tacos packets, gum, odd glass jars (think jellies and sauces)... I used sturdy rope to hang the organizer at the right height so the pockets would bump into the shelves.

    2) When I rotate or clean the pantry, items to be used up go on the counter or top shelf in the fridge. I try to use them the same week in my meal planning.

    3) I had a white board on the outside of the fridge with three lists: the menu for the week, the grocery list, and the use-up list. It is so much easier to have all 3 lists in one spot.

    4) I agree with Faye about a set space for the stockpile. I have my kitchen pantry and two lower cabinets. That is it! I don't want my life overrun by my stockpile as it would create more work for me to rotate the items.

  • jdouglas13 Jun 29, 2013

    We've had very few pantries over the years, and it's one of the main reasons I chose this house when we were looking for one to rent.

    One thing that might help with the very deep or high shelves is the plastic shoe-box type things they sell at Target. They come in larger sizes, and I have them all over my the house to make storage easier and prevent various avalanches, especially from tall shelves. For certain more vulnerable foods, I use the kind that have a locking lid. It has been a great solution for us.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Jun 29, 2013

    I hear ya, Oxy. In the last house we lived in, we did not have any pantry at all so we used 2 tall bookshelves around a corner hallway as our pantry. I felt like I was living the high life when we moved into our current home and I had a pantry with doors! LOL When we lived in Durham, we had a pantry that also housed the hot water heater and sounds very similar to your current pantry.

  • Oxymoron02 Jun 28, 2013

    Can I just say ... I am so jealous of those of you with proper pantries. I have a pretty good number of cabinets in my kitchen but I lack a proper pantry. My "pantry" is a closet that obviously once housed the hot water heater, down the hall from the kitchen just outside the bathroom. It's got old, makeshift, uneven shelves, and it's DEEP (4, maybe 5 feet), and the top shelf is at a height of at least 7 ft, and it's hard to work in. To pull stuff out of the back of the top shelf, I have to stand on my tip-toes on a chair, and hope the item is big enough I can get a grip on it or else I have to get a spatula or something to push it forward.

  • Dr D Jun 28, 2013

    Oxy: I love your Manager's and Blue Plate Special sticker titles! I also recently put a small dry erase board on the front of our refrigerator which says "What's in the Fridge?" at the top, then I list the entrees and the date they were prepared. This has reduced the time hubby spends standing at the fridge with the door open, trying to decide what's in there that he'd like to eat. To be fair, it's a relatively small fridge, and I tend to pack it pretty full, making it hard to see everything, so it's nice to know what's in there without having to (re)move everything.

  • TJ84 Jun 28, 2013

    It looks good Faye! I reorganized mine about a month ago. It is a lot of work. I don't have an extra freezer which is probably good because I would buy too much stuff that we wouldn't eat.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Jun 28, 2013

    Those are great ideas, Oxy - thanks!

    Just saw your photos, jdouglas! Thank you! I am posting them now. :-)