The most effective frugal strategies are the most organized ones. This is because you cannot reuse, recycle, repurpose, redefine or use up something if you don’t know if it exists or how long that you have had it.
Case in point, I own a home built in the 1980s which came with a too small kitchen and an overly deep, overly generous pantry. Because the shelving is so deep, I could see what I have and apparently, I tend to overbuy things like light corn syrup, molasses and whole wheat flour.
Time for an organizational upgrade. I asked my terrific handyman to install two pull out shelves so I could pull out and see what I had. He also shored up the underside support of other shelves which had seen better days. The result is that now I can see everything that is not a large, labeled container. It took some effort to pull everything out of that pantry and I feared the worst, that I’d find multiples of condiments that I rarely use or need to replace but turns out I only found multiples of whole wheat flour, light corn syrup and molasses. Go figure. I actually make homemade candy for special occasions so I already have a use for the extra light corn syrup, and I can easily use up the extra whole wheat flour in one of my many baking projects such as my homemade pumpkin and peanut butter doggy treats. The molasses? There is a GF carrot cake I make with surprisingly delicious molasses frosting that I’ve been meaning to bake up again, so I’ll use up the extra that way. As for the curious overabundance of still fresh candy corn, I had several takers. As for my pantry, for the cost of one hour of my handyman’s time and some slide-out shelving I bought from that site that shall not be named, and I was able to transform my poorly designed and ill organized pantry into something much far more efficient. Now I can see what I’ve got. I warned my already suitably impressed partner that we would be going through one of our quasi-regular, ‘use up everything we have’ phases and he’s all in. That’s because something delicious and frugal always comes of using up what we already have.