10 Organizing Ideas That Will Save You Money

updated Jul 18, 2020
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Being organized has far-reaching effects. Not only will you have aesthetically pleasing spaces (even when you open the pantry or cabinet doors), but you’ll know exactly what you have and where it is. Another huge plus for getting organized, and one that may not be as obvious, is that being organized saves you money.

When your items aren’t lost in the back of the pantry, for example, you’ll be able to use things up before they expire and you won’t spend money buying duplicates of things you already have (I’m looking at you, collection of hot sauce bottles!). And if your tools are organized and stored properly, they’ll likely last you a lot longer, too.

Here are some organization ideas that will save you so much money in the long run.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Organize your spices so you can see them.

It’s so easy to forget what spices you have if you have to dig through your jumbled collection of spices in various containers. It’s easier to just add it to the grocery list. Pretty soon, you’ve got three partially used bottles of cumin and a way-too-crowded shelf. A tiered spice rack, coupled with neatly lined up spice jars, solves this problem. You’ll be able to see what you have and what you need at a glance. At the very least, try this brilliant tension rod hack.

Note: This tip is especially helpful with spices but rings true for everything in your pantry and fridge. You need to be able to see what you have, if you hope to use it!

Credit: Darryl Brooks/Shutterstock

2. Set up a FIFO system for canned goods.

Canned goods only seem like they last forever. Those older cans? They get older and older and will eventually expire. A can organizer like this one keeps the oldest cans (the ones that should be used first) in the front and makes sure that you’re using a first in, first out (FIFO) method.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. … and for all your dry goods, too.

If you’re filling up a canister of flour, dump the older stuff into a bowl, add the new stuff to the container and put the older stuff on top. FIFO is a rule that should be followed, basically, all of the time: for canned goods, dry goods, and, well, everything.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

4. Make your own organizers from empty boxes.

While we’re huge fans of certain store-bought organizers (like the two above and this lazy Susan), we certainly don’t think you need to go out and buy specialized containers for everything. Instead, make your own dividers and organizers using empty cardboard boxes that would otherwise be headed for the recycling bin. Use a cereal box for container lids and cut up cracker boxes for your drawers.

Credit: Lauren Volo

5. Save your empty egg cartons.

Got a messy fridge door full of mostly empty condiment bottles? Steal this tip from Alton Brown and turn half of an egg carton into a condiment holder on your fridge door. The carton will hold upside-down bottles in place so that the door is organized — and so that you can use up every last drop of something before you recycle the bottle.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

6. Store leftovers in the fridge at eye level.

Failing to eat your leftovers before they go bad is a big waste of money! Storing them at eye level in the fridge reminds you to use them as soon as you can. Practice the same thing with produce that’s in danger of rotting, too.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

7. Set up a system to keep snacks fresh.

Stale items usually end up getting tossed and that’s money down the drain. To ensure that your chips, crackers, cookies, and cereal stay fresh, decant them into air tight containers or use these ingenious Grip Sticks. You could also simply place the bag into a zip-top bag to maintain freshness.

8. Label your freezer items.

You know what you probably won’t pull out of the freezer at the end of a very tough day? The unlabelled glob of who-knows-what that’s been sitting in the freezer for who-knows-how-long. Take a second to label every thing before you put it in the freezer — include what it is and the date. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

9. Make sure you’re storing your gear properly.

Taking proper care of your things saves you money in the long run and it’s a big part of a successful organizational system. One tip: Place a paper towel in your cast iron skillet when you store it. This will prevent any additional items you nest within it from scratching your pan and will also absorb any lingering water to prevent rust. Another: Don’t store any small electrics under the sink. Water could leak from the pipes and cause serious damage. And one more: Identify any kitchen avalanches and rethink how you store those items. If your platters tend to tumble when you pull one out, you’re risking things breaking or chipping. (Instead, consider filing them with tension rods.)

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

10. Declutter, declutter, declutter.

The best way to save money by organizing is to have less to store and less to organize in the first place. If you don’t have a million mugs, you won’t need to buy a million little mug hooks. Simple! Not sure where to start? Here’s a quick cheatsheet to doing a bit in just 20 minutes.

Got any other tips to add? Leave your ideas in the comments below.