Organize Your Kitchen for Free with Repurposed Items

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collage of 6 images of white modern kitchen and plastic packaging used to organize the kitchen.


Organize your kitchen for free with repurposed items and packaging. I was so happy to guest post over at my friend, Cynthia’s blog, Feeding Big a couple of weeks ago.  She has does a feature called Living Big on Less Money.  I enjoyed sharing some of my kitchen organizing ideas using free repurposed items.

medicine bottles in a clear tub in a cabinet.
an arrow pointing to a clear tray under bottles of oil on a wire shelf.
plastic lettuce container.
2 clear containers holding bottles of cleaning supplies under kitchen sink.

I grew up in a military family, was in the military myself and my husband is still on active duty.  I have 20+ moves under my belt.  I love, love to organize, but I refuse to invest any much money in organizing tools because I never know if that perfect designer bin/box/basket will fit in our next house.  With moves every 11 months to 3 years, I just can’t keep purchasing new organizing tools.  Plus, I can’t stand to throw anything in the landfill that doesn’t have to be thrown away.  I’m always looking for ways to repurpose items and use them for simple organizing jobs.


Before I let you into my kitchen, let me explain.

We’ve just moved within the past month (again).  Once I live with my new kitchen and decide if these boxes and containers really work for me, I’ll decorate them with paper and pretty labels.  For now, I’m testing out their function before I invest any time in making them pretty.

Ok. Welcome to my kitchen.

Organize Your Kitchen for Free

One of my favorite items to repurpose is plastic food containers. Why throw away a container I’ve already paid for if I can use it?  Many of these containers have both a lid and a bottom that can be used.

The box is the perfect size for corralling items in your cabinet.

Or for corralling items that might leak and damage your cabinets.

And the lids work perfectly as drip trays for bottles that might drip in cabinets or a pantry.

Yogurt containers come in many different shapes and sizes.  I put them to good use in my kitchen.
To organize change in my junk drawer.
yogurt cup holding change inside clear square container holding masking tape and keys.
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To organize small office supplies in my junk drawer.
square 2 compartment yogurt cup holding junk drawer items, paper clips and pencil sharpener.
square 2 compartment yogurt cup in kitchen drawer holding corncob holders.
2 different cardboard boxes on upper kitchen cabinet shelf used as organizing bins
clear tray in drawer holding office supplies.
dishwasher tabs in frosted container with no lid next to cleaning supplies under kitchen sink.
collage of repurposed plastic packaging holding measuring spoons, spices, office supplies, and more.
clean white modern kitchen with text overlay Kitchen Organizing Ideas.
cardboard box in drawer holding chip clips.
cardboard box holding notepads and paper on shelf like a magazine holder.

To hold small kitchen items like corn on the cob holders.

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I use boxes of every type to keep my kitchen in order, all for free.

To hold items in a drawer.
 To hold papers, calenders and note pads.

To make it easier to reach items on the top shelf of cabinets (I’m short and it’s incredibly difficult to make that high shelf really usable but yet, I need to be able to use the space).

Finally, I love to find new purposes for kitchen items that no longer function as they should.

The clear tray was a lid to a cake pan that started to rust and had to find a new home in the garden.  The lid, however, works great in keeping all these loose items from flying around in my pencil drawer.

The plastic pitcher lost its lid during a move a while ago.  It now works perfectly holding dishwasher tablets.

You can see how I used 1 repurposed item to organize 10 different ways.

If you’re like me and love to organize and are looking to save both money and the landfill, try really looking at the items in your kitchen that you’re about to throw out into the recycle bin.  You may be able to find your own repurposed organizing containers for free!

 Happy hunting and organizing!

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  1. Hi Susan, I commented on your guest post, but to reiterate… FRUGAL is a very, very good thing. I love how you re-purpose everything! Hugs, Holly

  2. I am always on the lookout for a great way to get and stay organized! I need to implement all of these great ideas.

  3. Hi Susan – Thanks for sharing another fantastic post – I love the lettuce container reuse. It is clear plastic and you can see what’s in it. It would be great for storing my Honey Bunnies little fairies..

    I’ve actually used cardboard boxes as drawer dividers. They work just as nicely as the plastic ones you can get at the dollar store and I would prefer to repurpose that would otherwise go into recycling or a landfill over running to the dollar store.

    Have a great weekend.

  4. I’ll be looking at containers in all new ways….love the tray idea! Thanks for sharing….I am a new G+ follower!

  5. Love these kitchen organizing ideas! I will be using some of them for sure. Found you from a share by The coconut head via our Linky Party

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  7. Oh my goodness…what a great way to recycle. I had never thought to use the containers that items come in to organize my items. The clear containers are PERFECT for my glass projects. Thank you so much for sharing a great way to recycle and organize!

  8. Thanks for some great ideas! I originally read this post a few days ago, and have used several of your ideas since then –
    and these ideas have also inspired me to discover a few others on my own : )

    Thanks a bunch! : )

    1. Anna, I’m so glad my ideas inspired you. I’d love for you to share your ideas, I’m always looking for new tips.

      1. Susan: I am an avid recycler and I have recycled many of the items that you have used. This is great….free containers and organizers. Thanks so much.

  9. I have tons of plastic containers and I wash them and store them for these purposes. I LIKED the idea of putting the lid under the oils. This will protect the area from leaks.


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  12. These are some nifty ideas. I use quite a few of these already…butter containers, yogurt, baby food jars/cups, etc. Love using the cardboard boxes because of the shape and ability to alter to height I need. To make these boxes a little more sturdy, I use contact paper or scrapbook paper to cover. It adds matching colors of my kitchen and reinforces to it doesn’t get worn as easily/quickly. The .98 spray paint goes a long way in decorating/personalizing, but I always spray a clear coat over it to protect the paint and keep it from chipping/fading as fast. Thanks for sharing

    1. Melissajo, I love that you take the extra step to make the boxes and tubs pretty for organizing. We’re always moving, so I don’t usually take that extra step since I’ll just be recycling the containers when we move. But lately I’ve started making more of my repurposed containers pretty, too. I’ll have to try spray painting butter tubs. Thanks for the idea.

  13. I just finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and the author was adamant about NOT using fancy bins and totes. Basic shoeboxes and recycled plastic containers are the way to go.

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