Inexpensive Solutions for Kitchen & Pantry Organization

The inspiration for this post came from week 7 of Home Storage Solution’s 52 Weeks to an Organized Home challenge.  Originally I challenged myself to go through each and every week, but here I am editing this post in May having only been able to get through 8 weeks of the challenge (whoops!). So clearly that didn’t work out too well.  I think I am going to officially declare myself defeated!  This post will discuss cheap ways to organize your kitchen!  I would like to think I am an organized person, but this house does not demonstrate that.  The kitchen especially.  After moving into the housey house, it took us over a year to fully unpack everything (notice I said “unpack” and not “organize”).  On the plus side, it makes for some very dramatic before and after pics…

When I wasn’t tossing bags of molding produce or 2014 pizza sauce from our refrigerator, or cleaning up a bag’s worth of frozen kale bits that had fallen on the bottom of the freezer 6 months ago, I realized there’s some good ways to save money here:

1. IKEA sells a great set called Fintorp for wall organization.  However, the cost of a rod, hooks, and buckets to hang stuff adds up.  To save yourself the cost of the $9 rod you could use a stick instead (plus it gives it a cool rustic look):

kitchen organization


2. Instead of buying a sponge holder, I substituted a mini corningware I was gifted and never have used for cooking (but that’s a different story)

sponge holder

3. Matchy matchy spice jars are really great, and essentially make you a better homeowner and person (not to mention your friends/family will think you have your life completely together), but it’s way cheaper to organize them without stressing about that.  Here’s what I did:

Figure out where to put your spices.  Do you want to store them in the cabinet, on the refrigerator with magnets, or in a drawer?  Our pantry is an ikea cabinet with drawers.  And of course we decided to put our most frequently used item in the pantry – the spices, on the highest drawer in said cabinet.  Hmmm:

spice cabinet before

Instead of cayenne (get it? crying?!) over my lackluster spice organizational skills, I decided in the spirit of the 52 week challenge to reorganize my spices and entire pantry.  I figured hey, no big dill, right?!  After removing all the spices and putting them on the freshly cleaned counter thanks to week 1-2, I realized I had a problem: spices in bags, expired spices, jars that had been cleaned out and thrown back in the cabinet, and duplicates of some spices (I’m sure the fact I could barely reach the spices in the cabinet had nothing to do with the fact there are duplicates).  I also found a few of my smaller glass and plastic tupperware containers I thought were long gone…

So many spices

After cleaning out the empty spice jars (amateur-but-pretending-to-be-pro-tip: soaking the jars and caps in white vinegar does a nice job of removing whatever residual smell of spices there may be), I used my leftover chalkboard labels cut to size to label each one.  Then came thyme to place each one in the drawer in alphabetical order, so when we needed one it would be easy to find…once you recited the alphabet to yourself.  Organizing them proved an interesting task.  Since I’m no sprig chicken, alphabetizing them at 11:30pm on a Sunday night proved to be an interesting debate between the husband and I.  Me: “Oregano goes after Paprika right? It doesn’t? What do you mean it doesn’t? A,B,C….L, M, N, O…oh…”

organized spices

organized spices2


4. Buying a set of mason canning jars is often a cheaper alternative to buying individual mason jars online or in the stores.  I went to my local Fred Meyer for those, but Target also sells them.  I used them to store food from our pantry, and labeled with chalkboard labels.  Here’s what the cabinet looked like before, and after organizing them:

smoothie cabinet before

kitchen organization


And here are some more organization before and after pictures from the first few weeks of the kitchen & pantry challenge!  Onwards!

top drawer before

top drawer after


flour before

flour after


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