Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Prudent Pantry Ideas ~ Prepare Your Own Pantry Series


"Covered receptacles should be secured for all foods. Those that are mouse-proof and insect-proof are essential to a well-kept pantry. All bottles and cans should be neatly labelled and so arranged that each one can be conveniently reached. The outside of the bottle or case should always be wiped off after it has been opened and food has been removed from it."

Excerpt Household Science in Rural Schools by Ministry of Education Ontario, 1918


Many of us dream of a "pretty pantry" but few of us can afford such novelties as new glass canisters and rows of matching containers. Here are some suggestions to expand or prepare an organized pantry attractively and frugally.

Recycled Pickle Jars

Recycle all your jars. Place the like-kinds together in groupings. You can also paint the lids to match your kitchen.

Recycled Condiment Jars

For example, all of your old peanut butter jars can be collected together in one place to store your seasonings. All your recycled condiment jars can be used to store your spices. By affixing our printable pantry labels, they will look like a real "set".
    Recycled Coconut Oil Containers

    You can also recycle the plastic tubs that food comes in (because you know these are food grade and safe) such as the larger coconut oil containers. I try and buy the same brand in order to have them match, knowing they will be reused.

    Covering Containers with Stubborn Label Residue

    If there is writing that can't be removed or stubborn labels (which is often the case with plastic wares), simply cover that area with wallpaper scraps, scrapbook paper or leftover shelving paper. Affix the proper pantry label to the lid (or in front) in order to identify the contents. I noticed a lot of neat containers in rectangle shape that bulk nuts are sold in which would be wonderful too.

    Make Your Own Boxes

    Bulkier items such as bags of coffee, snack boxes, oils or vinegar would have a "finished" feel if you place them all together in boxes or baskets. This can be expensive so I suggest you make your own. The photo above is actually a cardboard box that we covered in scrap fabric (think glue stick and stapler). So very simple to make.

    Lastly, larger storage containers may be found for free (or a few dollars) if you inquire into deli's, restaurants or bakeries. They are constantly purchasing their inventory in bulk and often have extras they are willing to part with (that are food grade). Any round buckets (with 12-inch diameter) can be paired with a Gamma seal lid for an easy to open, airtight storage container. This is the next project on our to-do list!
      Note: You will want to use the containers that aren't completely airtight for more forgiving foods like beans. I would use containers with the quality seals for blended flours and such foods which would have a tendency to be invaded by pests, etc.


      "Never is beauty and feminine grace so attractive, as when engaged in the honorable discharge of household duties, and domestic cares."
      ~ The Ladies' Work-Table Book, Anonymous, 1844


      As keepers of the home, we are constantly preparing meals and it is truly delightful to cook with an organized, well loved pantry that you have prettified for pennies. Happy homemaking!

      43 comments:

      1. Beautiful, thrifty, and so clever! I love the way it looks!

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      2. Great ideas! Once we became empty nesters it became much more important to put open foods in jars so that they keep longer.

        If you live in the southeast and have Ingles grocery stores you can purchase empty buckets, 2 and 5 gal sizes, from their deli/bakery area for $1.

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        1. WOW, what a deal! Thanks for sharing, I wished I lived near you :)

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        2. I worked in a deli for years and we always washed and saved our large pickle jars for customers.

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        3. That is wonderful to know! Those large pickle jars are so helpful to have around. Thanks for sharing :)

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      3. I wish we lived close to each other! I would love a visit to your pantry~ I am working on a pretty storage cabinet and trying to do something similar to your pantry in this cabinet. I would love your advice :) In lieu of the real you, I am learning so much! Thank you for taking the time to teach us that are challenged in this area! Blessings to you, JES!

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        1. Oh, how I would love to help :) That is my kind of fun!

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      4. Yours are SO pretty! Mine have masking tape labels - they still work, but aren't beautiful.

        My canisters are clear plastic - from the dollar store. I used to use glass pickle jars, but my wrists aren't very strong, and they're breakable, so the dollar store plastic ones worked well for me.

        More than once, I have put food in one when I brought it home, only to find out that within an hour, bugs had come from the newly purchased food, and were climbing around the INSIDE surface of the container - but unable to escape (rice is a BIG offender here - it has happened to me TWICE with rice - so I would be sure to keep that sealed extra well). The canisters more than paid for themselves by saving ALL the food in my pantry from being infested by a single purchase.

        I cannot agree strongly enough - canisters are a GREAT idea! : )

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        1. Thanks for the information about the rice! and for sharing here today :) I do love my canisters too!

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      5. So pretty and useful and frugal. It doesn't get any better! And I have a love affair with containers anyhow. :)

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        1. As do I Kim :) Thanks for sharing here today!

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      6. Beautiful! How do you get the "pickle" smell out of the pickle jars. Love your blog!

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        1. Ah… the age old question :) That is a good question too! Well, in the past I have done the "chemical" route and soaked them in a solution of hot, soapy dishwater and bleach all day. I have recently found that you can boil the jars in water with 1 cup of vinegar for 10 minutes (similar to sterilizing as shared in my "canning 101" posts) which should also do the trick though requires a bit more work. Happy homemaking! ~ JES

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        2. I was just going to emphasize the vinegar routine too. :) works every time!

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        3. Wash jars & lids in hot soapy water, and when dry, rub rubber seal on lids with peel from citrus fruit. The smell is gone.

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        4. Wow, great tip! Thank you for sharing it! :)

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      7. We have a German Bakery in our area. They were kind enough to let me have their big glass empty pickle jars..These are great for bulk items like flours and sugars . I never thought to use my peanut butter jars. Great idea!

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      8. Ooh, tasty German Bakery nearby :) That is a wonderful way to prepare a frugal pantry. Thanks for sharing!

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      9. I've found many lovely containers for a steal at yard sales -- my favorite place to purchase items that would otherwise be splurges. Thanks for the creatively frugal ideas for sprucing up my pantry.

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        1. Yes, garage sales are a favorite of mine as well!!! How I love the hunt :)

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      10. I love this particular blog! I am a young mama of 4 young very explorative children. I really NEED organization in my life! thank you for providing ideas for the kitchen organization. Our family is trying to get moving on the Food Storage thing too.

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        1. Well, don't be too hard on yourself. This season is bringing you a lot of busyness :) However, perhaps you can implement some things that will make your household run more smoothly… Happy homemaking (and mothering those darling little ones)… ~JES

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      11. I love bright colors, but couldn't afford a set of cannisters. Since my Beloved drinks coffee, I buy the big plastic containers in either red or blue, and when the contents are gone, I thouroughly clean the containers and use them for storing sugar, salt, etc. the Folger's website has a 'can decorator' page, where you can print out a label template to cover the logo.

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        1. What a great tip! I didn't realize there was such a thing as a can decorator page. How nifty! I am going to have to check that out...

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      12. What do you use to affix your labels?

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        1. I just use a glue stick… You could also print on sticker paper and cut to size. One reader printed on paper and covered labels with clear contact paper (a little wider than the label). Hope this helps!

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      13. Just lovely! Simply lovely! Can't wait to do a little more of this myself. Found you at the Joyous Notions bloghop.

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        1. Sounds fun to me! :) Happy organizing!

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      14. I really love reading your blog! Could you please share the brand of coconut oil you buy to get those nice containers? Thank you so much!

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        1. Glad to help! And happy to hear some of this is helpful. The coconut oil is the Nutiva Brand which is bought at Costco. It is the 78 ounce container which sells for about $15.99 (and is the only affordable one I have found that fits in our budget that is still organic, cold pressed, extra virgin, etc.)... Hope you can find it!

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        2. Wonderful! Thank you so much! Blessings!

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      15. Great ideas! They all look so nice matched together. :) We use the square containers... they are quite spacious... for black beans, lentils and diatomaceous earth... and if I had more, I would use more of them... they are great. The big frosting buckets from the bakery are used here for extra sugar, powdered and brown sugar, bags of rice, splitting up 50 pound bags of flour or rolled oat, and more. Very nice... BUT we were so glad when we finally bought one of those openers for the buckets... they are worth the money and save fingernails and fingers. :) Those are HARD to open without the opener. Thank you for a great article.

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        1. Are you referring to the Gamma Seal Lid Joy?

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      16. Kroger is the only grocery store in our town that has a deli and they said that they wasn't allowed to sell or give away any containers. I have asked the store manager and he said that was correct.
        Betty

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        1. Oh too bad! How about local bakeries? I have heard many good success stories with those?

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      17. I love it! Found this post via your The Art of Home-Making Mondays

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      18. So very clever. I love how you've made it so beautiful and yet so simple.

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      19. I alway enjoy a peek into your pretty pantry :) I noticed you have coffee grounds in a glass jar... We drink a lot of coffee, but I simply keep it in the container it comes in {which is plastic}, do you find the coffee stays more fresh and tastes better by being stored in glass?

        Thanks so much for sharing at ROI, sweet friend. Hugs to you!

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      20. I almost didn't read the full post because I thought it was all store bought containers. Then I saw the frugal part, so I read the remainder. I'm glad I did! It looks so pretty, but it's so frugal! I reuse all my containers, but I didn't think about using labels or painting the lids to match. It would make my pantry look so much better.

        Thanks for the suggestions! I found your post at Coffee and Conversation linky party!

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      21. I never thought that storing food could be so beautiful! Thanks for the inspiration, JES!

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      22. I take all my jars to the recycle center but this is a great idea to get use out of them instead of buying some.

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      23. What a lovely pantry you have! I have been collecting glass cannisters that I come by frenquently at the Goodwill Stores. Once squeaky clean in the dishwasher, they are as good as new! Thanks for all of the lovely hints and advice!

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      24. Such lovely ideas! I like the idea of covering up stubborn labels with scrapbook paper or wallpaper - so pretty! I am inspired by this post to spruce up my pantry - thank you for sharing. xo Karen

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