cheap tricks: shop your pantry

by Diane Lofshult on May 18, 2010

Food for Thought

How many times have you come home from the market and gone to put away a new can of pinto beans, only to realize you already had three cans lurking in the farthest regions of your pantry? Main­taining order inside your pantry is one easy way to save time and money in this trying economy.

Organizing the food in your pantry can help you easily see what you have and what you need to put on your grocery list. (Another way to save money is always to travel with a list!) Here’s how to make your pantry pay off:

  • Store all your baking goods, such as flour, sugar and baking soda/powder, on one dedicated shelf. This way, you can be sure you have everything you need for your baking recipes.
  • Place high-calorie and sugar-dense foods high up on a shelf that is difficult to view and reach. Out of sight, out of mind is a good way to resist temptation.
  • Organize canned goods in rows based on food group; for example, put all the canned fruits off to one side and all the soups together.
  • Buy an organizer that has multiple tiers for things like spices or small cans. This will expedite cooking and shopping tasks.
  • Use clear, plastic containers for dry foods, like pasta, beans or rice. This allows you to see what you need at a glance and to readily estimate when you’ll need to replenish these products.
  • If your pantry is small, use the cabinet above your coffeepot or tea kettle to store tins or boxes of tea and java.
  • Free up some pantry space for bulk items that go on sale, and arrange these items by category.

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About the Author

Diane Lofshult

Diane Lofshult IDEA Author/Presenter

Diane Lofshult is an award-winning freelance author who specializes in nutrition and weight management topics. She is the founder of In Other Words, an editorial consulting firm based in Solana Beach, California. Reach her at