The Most Frugal Way to Organize a Pantry (+ Free Printable)
Tips for organizing a pantry using dollar store containers, recycled boxes, and repurposed baskets and bins, plus a free pantry inventory checklist to make grocery shopping easier.
Cheers to accomplishing New Year’s resolutions in the first week of January! Huzzah!
We won’t harp on the fact that the rest of my house is an utter trainwreck right now. But, hey, the pantry is organized, so the rest of this place doesn’t even matter.
I thought this would be a fast process, and I would have this thing done by last night. Ha! I wish. But our pantry is finally in order, and I gotta say, I love how cheap it was almost as much as I love the final look. Whatever you do, do not spend $500 on food storage containers because I found three much cheaper options.
Okay, y’all, can we stop for a second and appreciate how far this space has come? Excuse me while I cringe in shame.
It physically pains me that I’m even showing you these before shots right now. Having a toddler who explores all of the shelves in her reach, being on-the-go most days, and having those obnoxious builder grade wire shelves that make every box of food fall over was a disastrous combination.
I couldn’t even think anymore. And I’ve noticed that my mood changes along with the clutter in our house. If we have hit a disorganized state, I’m stressed out to the max.
So I emptied that entire pantry, and said goodbye to my countertops for the day. My entire kitchen was covered in food containers.
I honestly had wanted to organize our pantry for a long time, but the price of my “vision” was pretty steep. After doing my homework and finding that even the cheapest pantry storage options in Walmart were at least $5 per container, I resolved to finding something more budget-friendly.
(Yes, y’all. I’m cheaper than Walmart. Hey, I take it as a compliment.)
So here ya go- 3 cheap pantry storage options:
1. Wrap cardboard boxes in pretty paper or fabric with labels. I collected diaper boxes for a few months with this plan in mind, and they work perfectly! The only cost was the $8 roll of paper I used. You can see my DIY pantry crates from yesterday’s post.
They look pretty snazzy for only $8 for 10 big pantry boxes.
2. Use Dollar Store Containers. So those handy clear containers there…did not cost me $5-$10 a pop. I found them at the dollar store! (Dollar Tree to be exact if you live in the U.S.)
I bought 8 tubs and 10 containers with pourable spouts. I cut out labels with black cardstock I had lying around, labeled them with a white chalk marker, and taped them on. I could have gotten fancy with printed labels, but I kept it simple.
I’m not totally sure these are air tight, but they are doing awesome so far. And they’re much more air tight than the store containers all of the food was in before anyway.
3. Shop your home for baskets and bins. I sort of have a basket addiction. They come in handy a lot around our house, so when I needed a little more food storage, I put a couple of baskets from our living room to good use. They were only holding clutter anyway, which forced me to organize that little bit too. Win win!
While searching our house for other baskets, I found a couple of wire ones to hold my cook books and Lola’s pet supplies too. And I repurposed a galvanized bucket sitting on a bookshelf that served a better purpose as a potato bin.
I keep walking by the pantry and find myself just staring at it in awe. How many people can say that, right? Actually, don’t answer that. I’m probably just weird.
I happened to already have those glass containers from earlier last year when I first attempted the pantry organization process and sort of lost my steam. They’re great in here too though. I bought them at Walmart last summer.
I resolved to create a pantry inventory list to hang on the wall in here too. I usually have a running list in my head of things I need to buy when we run out, but I never fail to forget at least one item every week.
I’m hoping this solves that dilemma.
And maybe I won’t have to spend as much time writing out my grocery shopping list each week.
You can print the pantry inventory list for yourself here:
In the end, here’s how much our entire pantry makeover cost: (Affiliate links are provided below. For more information, see my full disclosure here.)
Do you have any frugal organizing tips for the pantry? Or even other parts of the house? Or at least strategies to keep a toddler from rearranging shelves? There might not be any hope for that one. Good thing she’s cute. 😉