Organizing Ideas

I was thinking about some organization ideas as I was going through a cupboard this morning and cleaning it up and making some new labels for my jars. I was thinking about the different things I use to help me organize cupboards, shelves and counters and thought I would share.

Canning jars have to be my most favorite. I use all sizes; small ones on up to gallon size, depending on the need. I have a small cupboard above my mixer and I store salt, baking powder, baking soda, measuring spoons, Sharpie pens, and some extracts on the bottom shelf. It was a mess so I took everything out and cleaned it up. Here is the way I store these items..

I purchase salt, baking powder and baking soda in large quantities. Then I transfer them into small canning jars to make them easy to use..

I also keep my measuring spoons in a short, wide mouth pint jar..

And I have a little tiny creamer that my mom gave to me years ago and I put the Sharpie pens in it.. I use the pens to mark ziplock bags for freezer storage..

I had one part of some drawer organizers that I was not using so I use it now to store my extracts and flavorings…

When I put everything back, it looked like this….

Here are some other jars I use for storage.. On my kitchen counter I 4 gallon size jars. One holds granola, one holds instant oatmeal, one has rice in it and one has cocoa mix in it. I buy rice in 25# bags and store it in the freezer. I bring out enough to fill the jar and refill it when it's out. ..

I use to get the one gallon glass jars from Costco. They sold their pickles in them. I was sad to see that the jars are now plastic and am glad that I saved the glass ones along the way. You can purchase one gallon canning jars however.

I also use 2 quart canning jars. In the two below I have whole corn in one (I use whole corn to grind up for cornmeal), and the other jar has bags of green tea in it…

Sometimes I use them for non – food storage. The jar below holds my extra clothes pins…

Baskets are another way I organize things. I have posted this pic before. It is my cloth napkins in a basket on my table…

I buy one package of paper napkins from Costco each year. There are 4 individual packages of napkins in the one big package. I would sit the open package on the shelf in my laundry room. But it always made the shelf look messy. So when I was cleaning out the basement I came across a basket that holds 2 packages of napkins perfectly and sits on the shelf, making it look so much neater….

Since I make my own soap I need a way to have it sitting out in the bathroom for use. I use a pretty basket on my bathroom counter and fill it with my homemade soap…

The other item I needed to figure out how to organize better was spaghetti noodles. Costco sells organic whole wheat spaghetti noodles. You get several packages all in one package. They were sprawled out on the shelf and I was not pleased with this. I had a plastic container that I buy my fresh spinach in (again it was from Costco).. it was in my recycling bin and I pulled it out, washed it and was happy to see that my spaghetti noodles fit in it perfectly! Which goes to show that I don’t always need to run out and buy something to serve a need.. sometimes I already have it right under my nose..

I found these little white baskets at Walmart, a few years ago… I use them for a couple different purposes.. One basket sits at the end of the shelf near my washing machine and it holds our used cloth napkins…

The others I store extra kitchen towels and cleaning rags in them….

Finally I use small size plastic totes to help keep things organized. This tote holds cleaning tools such as brushes and squeegees..

And this one holds my vacuum cleaner attachments and extra vacuum bags…

Lately I have been keeping my eyes open more and more when I am out and about (and around the house).. looking for items that will work for storage and organization!


  1. I'm am so drooling over all this...this is AWESOME. My storage is a little bit different because I live in an apartment..but there's a really nice linen closet downstairs and upstairs. I was thinking of using part of that for laundry supplies etc..the bottom shelves..and the top shelves for storing extra food stuffs that don't spoil. Plus, I have the cupboard in the kitchen for food like rice, beans etc. I went to a huge church benefit sale today looking for glass jars..and disapointed, didn't find anything. So thanks for the tip about where to find glass jars. I'm going ot check my local Ace hardware, because they sell all sorts of canning supplies, believe it or not!! ! I want them all uniform, so they'll fit easier in my kitchen :) :) Oh, this is good. I'm showing this to my dad. If he sees how nice your shelves look, he'll go along with my ideas ;) :) Thank you!!! Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :) :) :)

  2. Crystal, your post is just in time. I'm in the mist of organizing right now. I have six kids in a very small house. Organizing and down sizing is the goal.

    As a mom with many kiddos, I would love if you shared more. Oh, and I get to use my first homemade soap. I'm so glad you shared how easy it was. It wasn't nearly as scary as I thought. I wish you would share the shampoo soap recipe.

    Loving learning from you.

  3. Oh, I'm excited. More storage ideas for organizing. I've been going through cupboards and trying to organize so I know what I have. Thanks for the ideas.

  4. Heather.. I know you can also get the one gallon jars online.. you can search for them, if ACE does not have them.. glad I could be of some help and inspiration!! :)

    Shell.. I know life in a small house with lots of kids.. At the time we had 7 kids we were living in a 3 bedroom house with 1100 square feet.. it was a tight squeeze and I learned a lot about organizing.. it was either that or chaos!! LOL.. Right now I don't have little ones anymore so my organizing is not what it use to be.. If you have anything specific you want me to share about.. let me know..

    Ruth.. good luck on the organizing! You are doing it right.. first go through stuff and see what you have, makes it easier to know what to do.. :)

  5. Very nice. I like using canning jars for storing items, too. Your ideas are great!

  6. I love your ideas! Where do you find your lids?

  7. Thanks for posting this, Crystal! Once again, you have inspired me! It's time to clean my cabinets out and reorganize! Thanks for sharing!!!

  8. Crystal, I love your labels for your jars. Where did you get the design for them? I love your other website too. I think I've downloaded all your e-books. I'm still using your bread recipe, freezer cooking recipes and of course the cinnaman roll recipe.
    I've been getting big glass jars, and food-safe 5 gal buckets from Azure Standard. This has helped me keep my bulk food organzied (plus, I know what I have in the pantry and garage at all times now). Great Ideas, Thank you ;) Jerene ps: I love the coffee creamer recipe too!

  9. Anon. I have tons and tons of clipart.. I made them with address labels and my clipart. That design comes from

  10. Anon.. the white lids are storage lids and can usually be purchased where the canning supplies are located..

  11. Things are looking great back home!! :D Nice way of organizing things. :D

  12. We have almost identical storage ideas! I smiled through reading and seeing the pictures here because SO MANY could have been taken of my own kitchen and pantry!
    My mom taught me this and I have just about every thing in various sized jars --- especially Mason jars. People are always commenting on it.
    Just had to share!

  13. Crystal,
    You always have good ideas. I have been cleaning and organizing also. Canning jars are a great way to keep foods tight and organized. Thanks for sharing.

  14. I am with Shell and a Mom of Many at any givin time I need to de-clutter and organize my home. I have been a bit overhwelmed a bit lately and trying to figure out how to declutter our home. Very hard!!!! And the sad part is I do not know why!!! I hate clutter and I am embarrased by it but I do not know why I am this way not how to stop it. Please post more for us that are this way. I am a visual learner and there are no videos on de-cluttering only books, not for me!
    Thanks again

  15. Hi Crystal! I am a new follower of your blog, but I have kept up with the Family Homestead for years! Good to see you here. I hope you will follow my blog, as well!


  16. I have been using canning jars as storage for many years now. I have my salt, pepper, baking soda, cornstarch, and baking power in them. I also have my own cajun seasoning and cinnamon sugar. A great place to find the gallon glass jars is your local restraunts. They will sometimes save them for you when they are done so you can just pick them up at no charge. I would start at the "mom & pop" places first.

  17. Crystal, Your storage ideas look very neat and tidy. Those are good ideas. :-)

  18. Some great ideas here! Thank you for sharing!

  19. THANK YOU for posting this! We live in a small house and storage has always been a problem. I'm going to use some of your ideas to simplify and streamline my house!

  20. Organizing also helps find your thing easily.There should be proper containers for all items...also as there are similar looking things it is better to have labeled bottles.

  21. I loved looking at the pics of your storage ideas using jars and baskets...two of my very favorite things. One of my most fun past times is going to garage/tag sales in the summer to find these. I have a beautiful jar collection and a fantastic basket collection...all bought very cheap at these sales. I know some of them are collector's jars which would sell for large amounts of money. But that is the fun of it, seeing what kind of a jar I can find, and how cheaply I can get it. Some are the large jars which hold items such as flour. But some are smaller which can hold anything from dried cranberries to sunflower seed nuts. I have a set of wooden shelves in my kitchen just for all these jars. I loved seeing your ideas for them.

  22. very inspiring!

  23. I have been trying to find the glass canning jars EVERYWHERE. Where do you find them?

  24. Amykinz, I find glass canning jars at Walmart, just about any grocery store in my area, various local stores (like Bi-mart and Fred Meyer which I believe are only found on the west coast) and online. has them and I would guess would as well..

  25. I'm pretty young as in 18. I just moved in my first apartment and boy is it hard to organize this small space! But this gave me some wonderful ideas! Thank you so much!

  26. This is amazing! I love all the jars & the soap basket. I think I need you to come over to my house & help me get this HOMEMAKING CHALLENGE 2014 started. I'm feeling motivated now :)

    Ila from

    1. Ha, ha Ila! That would be fun.. :) .. Glad your feeling motivated! Crystal


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