Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Kitchen cabinet organized

There are times when the amount of STUFF I have in my house really bothers me.  Being a low income person tends to make me into a hoarder.  Often times I’m afraid to let go of something for fear I might need it and I won’t have the funds to replace it.

When the clutter and piles start to bother me I go on a cleaning spree getting rid of everything I think I can possibly do without. Usually this feeling of being overwhelmed by STUFF happens when I’m stressed.

Yesterday I was having trouble with my quilting machine and decided it best to just quit and go clean something for awhile.  I started cleaning out one of my kitchen cabinets.  This is the one I cleaned.

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It doesn’t look like much in there but that’s the problem.  I see a lot of wasted space and what is in there must be moved around to get what I want from the back.  One of the shelve brackets broke a few years ago and I hadn’t replaced it.  Until now.

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I finally (5 years later) fixed the shelf and was able to move all the canning lids to the shelf.  There was even enough room to put both Tattler lids and regular lids on the shelf.  That cleared up space in my storage room. The jars in front originally had pickle beets in them.  Its easy to move a jar to reach the lids behind.

The bottom shelf still bothered me.  Its clean and organized but a lot of wasted space.  The kitchen gadgets in a can (lower left corner) bothered me most.  I don’t mind using a can but I needed more than that.

I remembered something I read in the Tightwad Gazette Magazine a long, long time ago.  That was before it became a book. I thought maybe I had all the right stuff and sure enough I did.  I needed a couple of round pie pans, some jars, and a bunch of marbles.

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I checked to see how many jars would fit into the pan.  Five empty peanut butter jars fit comfortably.  I could have used canning jars as they are the same size.  Plastic just happened to be handy.

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I put all the marbles I had into the other pan.  Like this.

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Set the pan of jars on top.  Ta Da, an instant turn table for free.

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I’m able to put many more items in the turntable which empties space in my gadget drawer.  It fits nicely in the cabinet too.

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Next the other side of the cabinet bothered me.  Too much wasted space.  I want one of those hanging shelves that attaches to an existing shelf but that will have to wait for funds.  I had to remove the measuring cups on the door because they were hitting the shelf and the door wouldn’t close.  I’ll move the hooks lower.

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I pulled out one of my many plastic containers and put that in the cabinet to hold more STUFF.  Now it doesn’t feel like wasted space and I can get to the things in the back by simply pulling out the container.

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There is still room for more inside the container and the turntable. I’m putting a hanging shelf on my thrift store list.  Those things show up there every now and then.  Umm… maybe Dollar Tree has them.  I’ll check there too.

How’s that for a “make do and mend” project?  Sometimes the low incomed must be creative.

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13 comments on “Kitchen cabinet organized

  1. Dorothy cripplewing
    September 3, 2015

    great ideas I also use those shelves that are coated metal and have 2 hinged legs for a shelf on top of a shelf. I got mine at the dollar store.

    • Na Na
      September 4, 2015

      Thanks, I’ll check there too.

  2. Barbara
    September 1, 2015

    Wow! Your cabinet looks amazingly well organized. I too am feeling tidy envy.
    Love Amy. She set me on this meandering frugal path.

    • Na Na
      September 1, 2015

      Me too. Love Amy too but there was also Mary Ellen and Heloise and who can forget Lynn who drew “For Better or For Worse” cartoons. Oh yes, the “Love is…” cartoons too. Oh my such memories today.

  3. sarasinart
    September 1, 2015

    I wish mine looked that good. That marble and pie pan idea was wonderful.

  4. Nathalie
    September 1, 2015

    I love it! It looks so nice and organized and didn’t cost you a cent! I don’t have marbles (I gave away the ones my boys used to have a long time ago) but I wish I did just so that I could try that lazy Susan idea. It’s awesome!

    When I needed lazy Susans to reorganize my pantry several years ago and the ones that I saw were too expensive, I bought small OXO turntables at Target (they have a rubber ring that goes around the top edge, I think they were $5.99 each?) and cheap pizza pans that I put on top. It wasn’t free, certainly, but much cheaper than buying the already made lazy Susans (since I needed large ones) and it’s worked well for me. My pantry has deep shelves and the corners always had wasted space. I put my jams and peanut butter on there.

    I also keep a lot of things in case I need them. I don’t call that “hoarding:, I call that being smart with the money that I have already spent. All those minimalists who are “getting rid of everything but 100 things” have it wrong, I think.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Na Na
      September 1, 2015

      What is an OXO turn table? Is there another name for them I might recognize? Our Target is closing and I might find them before it does. Maybe at a big discount. I have a couple of large cabinets that are always awkward to use. Turn tables might help.

      You keep stuff too? I say I’m a hoarder because I’m still keeping enough for several people and there is only me. I believe I just need to pare down what I have so it better fits a single senior and her furkid.

  5. Frugalwarrior2
    September 1, 2015

    looks great. I have an affinity for those totes w/ the snap sides and the handle in the lids. I like that they are clear so I can see what I want before I open it. I get them at the hardware. Spices,sewing box,packet of dry sesoning mixes,Greeting card file.
    I think Dollar General had them for $5.last time. And I love Dollar Tree too.

    • Na Na
      September 1, 2015

      Ooo, me too. I wish I could afford some to replace my current plastics. I like that they are relatively square around the outside lid edge and that the container is almost square too. Most plastic containers are angled toward the bottom and have a ridge on the top.

  6. Linda S.
    September 1, 2015

    Anita, you are a genius! Want to come over & do mine? I guess Kentucky to Idaho is kind of a long drive. You did a good days work.

    • Na Na
      September 1, 2015

      Thank you. I’d love to, but yes, Idaho is a bit far out of range for our city buses. 😉

  7. sandy
    August 31, 2015

    I, too, had a subscription to the monthly Tightwad Gazette but had forgotten about the make it yourself turntable. Brilliant. I love how you got creative to solve the storage issues. Bravo.

    • Na Na
      September 1, 2015

      That was a great monthly magazine wasn’t it? Thank you.

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