Pantry Organization Tips - Goal $300 Grocery Budget

Since I became a stay-at-home mom I've come to realize that I'm a mess!  My work-life was completely organized, structured with spreadsheets, plans, goals etc.  I knew where everything was.  At home I've found I need to get this crap organized!

So the first place I started was my pantry because I do have financial goals - you know, a budget - after all we did go from two incomes to one income.  So in order to cut my grocery bill from $800 to $300 a month, I first needed to know what exactly I have available in my pantry.

I WAS SHOCKED:  I found 2 jars of opened Nutella, 2 others new, 3 jars of new peanut butter and 2 jars already open - how much peanut butter do I think we need?! I had a whole bunch of tin muffin cups falling all over the place.  SERIOUSLY, how did I ignore this?!

I issued myself an Organization and Budget Challenge:
"Organize your pantry, go grocery shopping in your pantry BEFORE you go to the grocery store and make a list of what you need.   If you don't have space in your pantry for something, then you don't need it. Stay within $300 grocery budget and $150 household budget."

Boxes, bags, and multiples of everything and no discernible organization method!  I can't believe I lived like this!

To get organized, I purchased 2 Interdesign 4-Piece Fridge and Freezer Storage Bins and 2 boxes of these cute Mikasa Set of 2 Stacking Storage Baskets Steel Wire 13.5x10.5x7.9 Organizer!  All within my 'Household' budget line item.

The result, is huge! I had a ton of food that could easily last us for a month!

Here is what I did to organize my pantry to help stay within a $300 monthly grocery budget

(and yes I know they sound simple and logical, but you know what, I didn't do it and I bet a lot of you are in the same boat - no judgement, just saying take a couple of hours and save yourself some time and money.  So, here you go :) ):

  1. Compartmentalize: designate a shelf for a purpose and use the Kitchen Binz to further compartmentalize.  For example: one shelf I have designated for side dishes: vegetables, rice and pasta.  On that shelf within a Binz I have powder soups and rice packages, the vegetables are stacked within a Benz can holder.  At a glance, I can tell what we have readily available for dinner, sack lunches, snacks etc.
    I did the same for a baking shelf.  It is so handy to simply pull out a Binz and take it to the kitchen to make brownies!

  2. Make snacks visible - ditch the boxes.  Put the snacks in clear containers instead of leaving them in a huge box. I used the stackable metal baskets for snacks.   This way I know at a glance what remains and whether I actually need to purchase more AND the kids know what they can grab and how many is left.

  3. Donate staples that you know you won't eat.  I've stubbornly held onto a box of granola bars I bought at Costco for about a year because 1)the kids said they'd eat them and darn it they are going to and 2) it was like 40 bars!  The reality - even I didn't like the granola bars.  It was time to consider it a sunk cost and give it to someone who might actually like them.

  4. Use wall space.  I used baskets were not actually meant to hang on the walls, but they were sturdy metal, so I installed brackets and screwed them on giving extra visible snack bins.

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I've seen lots of organization posts that show baskets with labels or shelves with labels - I thought about doing that, but after a week of living with this pantry reorganization I found I don't need labels - everything is visible!  

Next Grocery related project to tackle: KITCHEN!

What do you need to organize?  Join our discussion on Facebook and Twitter!

Grinning Like An Idiot

Grinning Like An Idiot: Create your Happiness. I'm a stay-at-home mom who doesn't 'stay' very well. I like to provide everyone with resources and ideas for crafts, painting and DIY!