Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Organize Your Pantry

Once you really start couponing, you will find yourself overflowing with items that you buy and stock up on. Where do you put them all?

Boxed Food Ideas:

baggies--put things like pudding, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, seasoning mixes, etc. into plastic baggies which you mark and if you wish you can cut the directions off the box and tuck it in the bag. I keep all my seasoning mixes (taco, ranch, etc.) in 1 baggie in a cabinet so I can easily find them.

plastic storage containers--rice, all those bags of pudding mix, pasta, cereal, chips, grains, sugar, etc. Again, I cut the directions off the box or bag and tuck it in the box.

Some of the boxes I have in my pantry:

waffle mix
beans--beans, lentils, split peas and soup mixes
pudding--each type of pudding is stored in its own baggie. Since we mix up 1 serving at a time this cuts down on waste and spillage.
cake flour
brown sugar
crackers--I can fit 6 rows in my Tupperware box.
granola bars
treats for the children--seasonal candy, suckers, etc.
quick rice
fancy pasta

By doing this, I can combine boxes of items. So rather than having 3 boxes of granola bars in the cabinet, I have 1 box that fits all of them and more.

What about the unopened boxes of cereal, cake mixes, etc.?

I store these in the space above my cabinets. I started with the area above my refrigerator and continued around the top of my kitchen. I have an area for cereal, cake mix, fancy crackers, mac n cheese, etc.

This is nice because I can see what I have and it is easy to access when we need these items.

What do I do about canned goods?

I am lucky enough to have a room in my basement that I use for a pantry. We have lined the walls with shelves and I am able to store home canned and store bought canned goods there. I keep like things with like and everything is orderly so I can easily see what we have on hand.

What if you live in a small house or apartment without a lot of extra space?

You can get plastic under the bed boxes to keep your overflow in. Or you can put shelves up toward the top of the ceiling where no one looks and store things there.

What about meat? Or other things in the freezer?

I store these things in plastic freezer bags in meal sized servings. Here is a list of what I do:

steak--1 lb or so per bag and I roll it up into a log so that it take up less space.
chicken--1 breast per baggie
veggies--enough for 4 people to eat for 1 meal in a baggie, after I put the veggie in I flatten the bag because you can store more when they are flat and stacked up on top of one another.
fruit--enough for 1 pie and I do it the same as the veggies.

Good luck with your pantry organization. Do you have any great ideas for food storage?

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