Tuesday, February 28, 2012

{Price-less} Kitchen Cabinet Organization

If you're lucky, you're able to buy in bulk.  I'm not talking Costco-bulk, I'm talking items like oats, grains, and flours bought in bulk and then repackaged by your store into relatively smaller bags so the (bulk) savings is passed on to you.  Our local grocery store as a pretty good bulk section and I make good use of it.

This poses a problem for my kitchen organization.   All these bulk bags stuffed into a standard cabinet causes some angst. All this was shoved in the bottom left shelf of the cabinet behind.  No joke.


Not only is it a pain to find what you need when you need it, but it doesn't allow you to see what you really have (without pulling everything out) so sometimes I'd end up buying more oats when I had a couple bags hidden in the back.  Bags with only a little left in them would get lost in the mess and I'd end up having three small bags of popping corn and five bags with only a cup or so of oats in each (true, true).

To purchase one of those nice cabinet bins/drawers, would have cost me at least $50 or a lot of time and effort (and some cost) if Jamey used his precious time to make one for me.  I decided to take matters into my own hands.  We are women and we are resourceful!  Hear me howl!

I don't why I chose to howl instead of roar.  I just did.


I went to our stash of boxes ready to be recycled and found a few that suited me.  I trimmed off the lids and made a hole in the side for a handle where needed.  I pulled everything out of the cabinet, wiped it clean and combined all my duplicate bags.  Container lids are in the right side of this cabinet and I had been using a large shoe box for them (which worked great, but needed replacing after a couple years of use), so I found a new box to house them, too.


Next, I divided up the goods putting the items we use most in the most convenient box to slide out and the items we don't use as often in the middle box.  There was some space left in the back, so I stuck a few back-up items back there.  I know they're back there.  Really.  I do.

Now when we need a bulk item, we just slide out the box (or boxes, if we need to get to the center one) and we have a full visual to locate the item we want and survey our supplies.



No more frustration getting to the bulk items I need?  Price-less.

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23 comments:

  1. Well,hear me roar,how does anyone get enough space to put boxes in? But very well organized ,yes. Is that the extent of your can goods-I have them stashed in the bedroom ,in the entertainment center. Oh well,tell you something funny tho,yesterday I saw a red and chrome kitchen island [ the type with wheels ] so as more or less a joke [ this was on Craig list where I do a lot of household shopping ]I sent her a e-mail to see if I could put it on layaway-I know gutsy huh? but thats me ,I thought -well,they say the squeaky wheel gets the oil!-NO GO AS YET

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    1. That is the extent of our store-bought canned goods, but as you well know our pantry is stuffed with canned jars:-).

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  2. That's pretty clever & frugal of you! I'm duly impressed.

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  3. It does feel good to get something reorganized. I tackled the kids clothing drawers a month ago and with a new plan their shirts have stayed neat since I started it. Recently my utensil drawer had a slight modification for a huge improvement. Organized space makes me smile :)

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  4. I have made bulk purchases of whole wheat flour, etc. and had it come to my home with "friends", aka weevils. No fun. Bugs know what is good for you and they go there first. In the home I grew up in, we had mice every fall. Because of that, I re-use jars and keep the bugs and rodents out. Some of these items I keep in the fridge to keep them fresh.

    I buy in even larger bulk, though, and keep some items in 5 gallon buckets with gamma seal lids for easy access. I can get a 10% break from my local store when I buy a 25 pound bag of garbanzos or black beans. I tend to eat alot of these, and a 25 lb. bag of some things doesn't last me a year, and then I don't have to keep shopping for them. There is a huge mark-up on some things like oatmeal and buying a 25 lb bag can make a big difference.

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    1. We often buy 25-pound bags of oats, but we still transfer them to smaller bags to keep in the kitchen. It's a bit handier that way.

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  5. Great idea! I love the resourcefulness of it. I've been doing some reorganizing around here in the last couple of months, and I'm SO tempted by all the cool (expensive) organizing containers out there! Thanks for the reminder to use what we've already got. I can always count on you for doing that! :-)

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  6. Just out of curiosity, what do you use all the oats for? I actually typed this once and deleted it thinking...ooh! She has a link that lists recipes by ingredient...I'll look there, but there's no oats category. :) I used to make meatloaf with oats, but got complaints about mushy meatloaf so now I stick to crackers (by the way, I thought the oats were better and not mushy at all!). We love oatmeal, but not everyday, and although oatmeal cookies are delicious, my waistline doesn't really approve (neither does my brain when I have all those dishes to clean afterward). That's all I can think of to use oats for. Would be great to incorporate more oats into our diet.

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    1. We eat baked oatmeal (in the recipe index under "Breakfast and Brunch") every morning for breakfast. I one and a half the recipe and have to make it more than once a week. That in itself calls for 13 cups. Our favorite muffin recipe ("Fruit and Oat Muffins" in the index) and roll recipe ("Oatmeal Rolls") also call for oats. These are the main recipes we use oats for, but they get used elsewhere, too:-).

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  7. That's so funny how we end up with so much duplication of foodstuffs like that. Because we buy in bulk to save money but end up spending more money because we didn't organize it very well. I've used boxes in drawers and cupboards and cabinets for a hunnert years. My daughter does, too, now. Boxes can butt right up to each other; drawer units cost you space. Unless you replaced the whole cabinet with a drawer unit which is expensive. I'm sure this post will inspire some folks out there who hadn't thought of it.

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  8. I buy in bulk from a local mennonite bulk food store. I've found gallon pickle/condiment jars at garage sales for 25 or 50 cents and I store my bulk foods in them. I actually have so many jars I have empty ones! :) it works great, but I also have a large pantry with room to store them!

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    1. I love that idea! I've put some of my bulk items in smaller quart size canning jars...for items that I don't have as much of. I do have a couple gallon size jars I got at a yard sale too, but I only found them one time. I'd love to get more & do this.

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  9. Love it. We do much of our shopping at Aldi - and we always grab the free cardboard box/tray things to bring our groceries home in. Once home, they are wonderful for organizing items in the cupboards. I've even just spray painted the outside white in the past, to give them a cleaner look in my pantry.
    -gigi

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  10. Nicely done! It's such a good feeling when you can see what you have available! I use boxes all the time too to organize. My grandmother (Great Depression Era type) was always finding a way to use a trashed box for something else.

    Have a wonderful day!

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  11. This is a really great solution!! Do you ever have problems with mice? Living in the country, I find that once in a while they work their way inside and I've had them eat right through the bags. I started storing grains in 5 or 6 gallon buckets with gamma seals but these buckets literally line up the entire length of my very long, narrow pantry. I have even double stacked some. I often wish it were out of site more, but still easy to access. I've thought about having my husband build a counter over them that looks like a table, but I certainly would not be able to stack them anymore. (Can you tell I'm trying to convince myself to solve this issue?). Thanks for sharing your organizational strategy! It seems very efficient, frugal, and out of site!

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    1. We used to have problems with mice more regularly. Since Jamey sealed up most of the holes and crannies (to better insulate), we haven't had any critter problems. That project looks like it took care of two problems!

      I would like to buy more in (major) bulk, but I struggle with where to store the buckets, too. Our pantry can hold a few, but once it's full stuff gets hidden under our work table in the office (also where some of our sweet potatoes are stored). It's so far from the kitchen I often forget about them up there. Storage can be tricky when you already live in an old house without much!

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  12. Love it! I do something similar, but everything is in jars instead of bags because we get those weevils like nothing else otherwise. Not sure where specifically they come from but every time they come, they go to work on all bagged things.

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  13. Excellent organization..maybe I should give it a try, my cabinets are a disaster right now!

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  14. oh my goodness, I'm so nervous for you having all those grains in bags in your kitchen!!! Ever heard of meal moths? They are my worst nightmare and we have been battling them for 2 years and 3 different houses! They lay there eggs in grains at the store/manufacturing plants and then hatch at home later and eat their way out of your bags. They are inpossible to get rid of, even for an exterminator. The only way to prevent them is to freeze everything you bring home for 3-5 days and then keep everything in air tight containers(we use jars). Maybe you know all this already, but it seriously made my stomach drop when I saw all those bags!

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  15. You are clever, but my word, don't you ever get little bugs in your bags of goodies?? I learned the hard way just after I set up house when we were married and now I keep my grains in glass jars, with the extra in the freezer. And we have mice, too, in the fall.

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  16. Okay, dearies. Wow. I'm feeling a little left out because I haven't found little bugs in my plastic bags! Goodness. I can see why you'd want to avoid the bags if this has been your experience. Glass jars with tight-fitting lids sounds like the way to go if this is the case.

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  17. Great idea! I love the resourcefulness of it. I've been doing some reorganizing around here in the last couple of months, and I'm SO tempted by all the cool (expensive) organizing containers out there! Thanks for the reminder to use what we've already got. I can always count on you for doing that! :-)

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Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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