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How This Reader Reorganized Her Pantry Without Spending a Dime

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More Happy Friday

reused instant coffee jars for dry foods

Repurposing & Recycling = Saving Money!

If you’re like me, opening up your pantry to well-stocked and organized shelves has a certain level of indescribable happiness. We’ve posted several tips about staying organized and we are always on the prowl to find the best ways to get those outcomes with as little out of pocket as possible!

Hip2Save reader, Jen, was looking for a solution to organize her pantry without breaking the bank and she totally nailed it!

reused instant coffee jars with dried foods on shelves of cabinet

“I have been trying to reorganize my kitchen and pantry during this pandemic. In the past, I have seen several posts by Hip2Save team members about reorganizing their pantry using OXO containers. Instead of purchasing containers, I have repurposed my instant coffee jars to stock up my dry pantry items and I have been loving the outcome.

These jars are made of glass, completely food-safe, and can be washed and reused. The manufacturer’s labels peel off easily giving them a clean look and I can easily see my food items without having to label them. Plus, the size of these jars is also perfect for my kitchen shelves! The trick is to use jars of the same kind to have a uniform feel.

I have also been taking advantage of the Frontier Co-op spice deals on Amazon that you have been posting and my next project is to repurpose those glass containers for all my kitchen spices!”

reuse instant coffee jars for dry groceries on shelves in cabinet

We ❤️ this look as well!

Thank you so much, Jen, for sharing this tip with us! Not only are these jars a great size for this idea but they are shaped with an ergonomic design which makes them great when reaching for them.

Plus, we often see these jars of instant coffee on sale which means you’ll be saving even more money out of pocket! Be sure to stock up on these the next time we post them to begin getting your pantry organized.


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Comments 54

  1. Arelys318

    This is beautiful! I love the idea.

  2. Belle

    I’ve been doing the same but with pasta sauce jars xD

    • Sal

      I love those glass pasta sauce jars too.Have been using those for a few years.

    • lydia999

      Me too! Most of my pantry items are stored in pasta sauce jars. I even have some that I use as vases.

  3. serenity

    i love it.. it’s all so uniformed.. but i must say, the reader drinks a lot of coffee lol .

    • mayd2bz

      LOL That’s what also comes to my mind when I see those containers 🤣

      • mary

        My first thought also. I don’t think I have used that much instant coffee in my 60+ years. LOL

  4. Sheila

    Looks great! I love coffee too! We all have vices, some better than others! (coffee, chocolate, bread, wine 😆)

  5. Casey

    I do the same and reuse containers I have. Might take a little work to get them washed and the label but worth the effort. Love not having to spend money.

  6. JMonte509

    I love this idea!! I love coffee…just not instant coffee ☕😒 I like the idea of using the pasta jars.

    • Jen S

      Me too!

  7. Varsha darekar

    Nice I m using this

  8. Erin

    Looks so good! Glad you didn’t fall for all those Oxo posts like I did! I like them but they do get quite spendy when you have a lot of whole ingredients (as we both do); the white plastic can discolor to a very unattractive yellow; and they just don’t work that well in my closet’s current configuration. Looks like pandemic is never ending so I should have plenty of time to figure it out!🙄

    • Amy

      I am loving the Rubbermaid brilliance, not as cheap as some but not as expensive as oxo, and the lid is clear and they stack well…just a thought, we don’t eat much food that comes in jars, not to mention that I’d have like a million to fill from just one bag of flour or something 🤷🏼‍♀️ this is just what is working for me

      • Erin

        That’s a great use for Brilliance if you have smaller amounts of ingredients! I have Brilliance for refrigerated leftovers, and I can tell you they don’t hold up to heavy microwave use! Mine are now “wavy” (rather than crystal clear), cracked, and melted around the gasket (which is funny since we try to avoid microwaving the lids).

      • Sonyia

        I take my used candle jars (yankee) for ice tea , they are good in this Az heat

    • Daniibeth

      I’ve had the same OXO containers for about 5 years and they are still bright white and in perfect condition! I also only hand wash my dishes!!

  9. Tori

    I’ve thought about doing this myself but I have some questions. It’s this just about the look of it? Maybe freshness? But we use it ingredients so quickly. Do you put expiration dates on it? What if you buy new stuff when you are low? Do you add to the old stuff or wait until it is completely gone? I’m just not sure I understand the practicality of this but again I absolutely love the look of it.

    • Lauren

      I have all the same questions. It looks beautiful, but I’m not sure about the actual functionality of it all.

      • Auntie

        So don’t do it if you so choose 🙂 This is one idea of many that others will appreciate. 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • shop4mybabies

          she didn’t say she didn’t like it, in fact she said she did and asked a bunch of questions about functionality looking to have those questions answered as am I. i love the look, but am curious the best way to rotate, keep dated, labeled…those type of things

        • Baker's Wife

          And, Auntie, how did this comment add to the conversation?

    • Lunafalls

      I don’t understand it, either! Obviously, there will be products that the entire package doesn’t fit in the jar at once. Then you just have to store the rest of the box/package somewhere, too. Why not just leave it in the box and use it from there? Or maybe she’s filling the jars from huge, club-size packages(?)

    • ljb

      We buy a lot of items from the bulk bins to cut down on our plastic usage in the grocery store. To keep the aesthetic, you can always put a piece of masking tape on the bottom of your container to write the expiration date if you want to keep track. Although most “expiration” dates are simply the manufacturer’s suggestion as to when their product is at its best quality (usually determined using focus groups) and not actually indicators of food safety.

      When replenishing containers, I usually empty the leftovers into a bowl, fill the existing container with the replacement, and top it off with the leftovers from the bowl. This way the older stuff gets used up first. If the container looks like it has a lot of crumbs at the bottom, then I opt to put the replacement in a new container and wash the old container once it’s used up.

      Hope that helps!

      • Kandice

        I work for a center that conducts shelf life studies and sensory panels. It depends on the product. Yes, many products will lose quality before safety issues arise. But some are higher risk products that will have safety issues associated with the use by date.

    • jen2020

      Hi Tori, I empty out my jars and wash them before next use. I buy in bulk to save money and find it more convenient to aliquot them in smaller quantities in jars. Everything I need is at eye level and rows are organized based on item category such as beans, nuts, lentils. This saves me time when I quickly want to grab something. Once I empty out a bag of beans or lentils I know it’s time to buy more. I have been doing this for a few years now and always have some extra clean jars. Of course all the credit goes to my husband who is a coffee drinker! The Bertoli pasta jars are also beautiful for this purpose!

    • Julie

      I have blank white office label stickers that I can use to write what’s inside, with batch numbers and expiration dates. Sometimes I’ll take a picture of the labels from the items. With flour, I keep the empty bag sealed flat in a zip lock bag near the flour container. With my flour, I make sure to use up all the old stuff and wash the container out before refilling, but my parents go through much more flour, and aren’t as concerned as me, so they just dump a new one on top. You can make a plan with what you’re comfortable with. If you have extra containers, you could fill an empty container and remember to use the old one first.

    • Erin

      It’s like flour and sugar canisters, but for other bulk ingredients or perhaps leftover odds and ends that would otherwise get lost, overlooked, or forgotten (e.g., the last little bit of pasta in the box). For example, I buy rice in bulk and keep it in a giant two-gallon container. I have smaller containers for couscous, pasta, dried mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, dried peppers, rice noodles, bean threads, dried beans, etc. I usually empty the containers before refilling, and I don’t necessarily refill with the same items. It’s whatever we happen to be eating at the moment that’s open and needs an airtight container. I don’t really worry about best-buy dates because it’s obvious when something is bad, and the types of foods I tend to buy don’t get recalled. This doesn’t make sense for everyone’s lifestyles. It all depends on whether and how you cook. If you typically buy single servings (a pouch of rice, a can of beans) or don’t cook from scratch, you might not have a lot of ingredients to organize. If it doesn’t make sense to you, you probably don’t need to worry about organizing your pantry. (And if you are worried, don’t! You’re probably just getting hammered on social media with “pantry makeovers.” It’s like any other trend, and it will wear itself out eventually.)

    • MommySpendsLess

      I wonder the same thing when I see any of these types of pantry organizing posts. I love the look but it seems like a lot of continuous effort compared to just putting boxes and jars in the pantry and I worry that I would never have the right size container on hand, would need flexible labels but then the chalk/dry erase would get smudged, etc.
      Maybe the Hip team could do a post on maintaining a system like this? I think they’ve done them before on the initial set-up.

      • Erin

        Once you set it up, there isn’t any additional effort at all. That’s the point. I still have boxes and packages in my pantry, too. Containers are simply for bulk items that are used frequently (for me, flour, sugar, brown sugar, chocolate chips, a couple types of pasta, wheat berries, and so on) or those odds and ends that need an airtight container (the last of a bag of dried beans, dried cherries purchased in a four-pound bag, sundried tomatoes from a five-pound bag). I still have full, unopened boxes and bags on the shelf to replenish the containers. So, for example, if I’m making a pasta dish that requires 16 ounces and my pasta comes in 12 ounce packages, I have to open two boxes, and I’ll have 8 ounces left over in an oversized box. If I leave it in the box on the shelf, I’ll often assume it’s a full box and I won’t have enough the next time I need it or, conversely, it gets overlooked and another new box is opened rather than finishing up the half-used older box. Instead, I put the leftover 8 ounces of pasta in a clear container. The next time I make pasta, I can glance at the canisters and know whether I need to open a new box. This may not work for everyone–some people just cook the whole box of pasta and never have any leftovers. Or they buy prepackaged, single-use servings so there’s nothing to store once opened. If this doesn’t make sense to you, you’ve likely got some other system that works for your lifestyle. Boltsmom has specific pantry organization tips in a comment below.

  10. Mollie

    I hate to brag, my husband keeps our pantry so organized that it drives me crazy. All the beans are in one place, cereal, etc,. I buy the groceries and set them on the counter.

    • Christina

      Where did you find a husband like that. Asking for a friend 😂

      • LIsha

        LOL.
        Sometimes one just needs a distraction with all going on. Thank you, I needed this 😃.

        • jennifer

          Me too! 😂🙌🏻

      • Mollie

        He found me. I had moved from Arkansas to Alabama, and he set us up on a date.🙄

    • EmilyMab

      Does he have any brothers? 🙏

      • Mollie

        Emily, he has 3 brothers and they all live in Florida. They are nothing like him

    • MommySpendsLess

      Is it just the pantry or does he do the garage, junk drawer, etc. too? Maybe he could teach a class… 🙂 Based on the previous comments, a lot of wives would sign up their husbands LOL

      (Completely intended as a light hearted joke, I’m sure there are many organized people out there both male and female and consider strengths and weaknesses to be based on personality type rather than chromosomes.)

  11. Diana

    Those actually look really nice 🤗🤗🤪

  12. Tracey

    Great way to recycle your jars; looks so nice & neat! I’ve done that with a few jars but not as well as you. I write on mine with a Sharpie if I need to add an expiration date or any kind of directions. Or for something like rice, I just cut the directions from the bag & put it on top of the rice (each kind has directions to cook it differently…). Thanks for sharing; what a good way to inspire us!

  13. boltsmom

    For those asking what to do with the remainder of the bag that doesn’t fit – I’ve been doing a pantry/kitchen/laundry overhaul these past few months too. What I did was dedicate a cabinet to “pantry overflow” (I have a tiny pantry, so need the extra space anyway). I didn’t do as many containers, but for the containers/bins I have I fill up then anything extra goes into the overflow cabinet. Also in there are the extra BOGOs, etc. For things like condiments, chips, anything in its original packaging, we mark an X on it if there’s more in the overflow. Even spices we put a little sticker on the ones that we have more of, so we know to look before buying more. For the overflow cabinet, I put a command hook up and hung a clear plastic pocket with a printed list inside of what’s in there on the door.

    • Amy

      Thanks for your comment. These are some great ideas on how to have both the pretty pantry and the organization of packaging.

  14. patricia

    Yes! This is so me except with tomatillo, chile de arbol or restaurant style salsa!!!

  15. Shari

    Dear Molly,
    You are so blessed to have a husband like this. I commend you for giving him the credit on this kitchen project. God has put some of these loving and carring men out their. A close friend has a husband like that. His wife is also a blessing. 45 years togethers and counting.🙏

  16. Tracy

    Love it. My pantry is small. Does anyone have suggestions on square recycled containers? Round containers waste my precious space.

    • Jen

      The newer Taster’s Choice instant coffee glass jars have a square base.

    • boltsmom

      For smaller items, some pasta jars are more of a square shape than truly round, so look out for those. For larger things, the containers laundry/dishwashing pods come in could be used, but be aware those aren’t food grade (maybe the dishwashing detergent ones could be?). I think Folgers or Maxwell House comes in square containers too, but they’re not real pretty lol. And although it’s not recycling and costs money, keep a lookout at Dollar Tree – you can make a really nice pantry using their products, especially since some of their stuff comes with more than one item for $1.

    • Lisa

      Yes!! I use the square containers that nuts come in from BJ’s. Actually, lots of things come in these containers – rice, m&m’s and other things I cannot think of right now!!
      Hope that helps!

  17. Brenda Ledezma

    It takes 1 million years for glass to decompose and about 400 hundred for plastic items. So please consider re using everything. I buy the tasters choice from Nescafe and it’s delicious too. I washed the jar with warm soapy water and the sticker came right off. For those of you who have concerns about freshness you could also use these jars to store arts and crafts, hold cotton balls.. lol anything 😁

  18. Carol

    The great thing about diy organizing and repurposing containers is that, if it ends up not working for you you didn’t spend any money and you get to reorganize. I love organizing, lol. One suggestion from someone who learned the hard way, if you are off-loading bulk packages of product into containers, you might want to keep a list of lot/batch numbers. I had stuff recalled that I purchased and had no idea if my items were affected and ended up throwing it all out. Also , it’s a good place to note those best buy and expiration dates. I love reading all of these ideas and comments. Thanks

  19. doelhaggan

    We drink tasters choice like crazy so I have lots of those nice good quality glass jars

  20. hip2jen

    I use Kirklands mixed nuts containers! My husband buys one every month and I’m obsessed with square containers so..

  21. sara

    I’ve heard of people using glass markers to write directions or expiration dates/dates opened on the bottom or back to help them remember. Also using a small piece of note card or scrap piece of a greeting card to write directions on how to prepare the food and stick it to the bottom with a small piece of scotch tape. So many great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Meghna

    These instant coffee jars are not airtight.

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