Repurposing Containers for Pantry Storage




Introduction: Repurposing Containers for Pantry Storage

About: Here you will find some of my family favorite recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation along with delicious new finds. Dinners for 2, fun in the kitchen with kids, holiday baking and ...

I have a small pantry that I like to keep very well stocked, filled with different ingredients just waiting to become something yummy. Storage is always an issue as there are so many different sized bags, boxes and tubs to be arranged. Many times I have tried to approach an organized area so that I can see what I have and just struggled trying to find a way to make my space work with me, not against me.

Now I love a good barista brewed cup of fancy coffee as much as anyone, but at home it's simple. A hot cup of strong, bold coffee, a spoon of sugar and a spoon of powdered creamer. Yes, I said powdered creamer, I know, but I love it! Since my husband drinks his that way as well, we buy the jumbo container in order to get the best price. Then one day it dawned on me - the answer to my pantry storage needs.

These containers are the perfect size, they are designed to fit on a shelf and be stacked, they have wide openings so scooping into them with a measuring cup is easy, they are obviously food safe plastic, they hold a good amount...the pros go on and on.

The con of the plan is that the product information is a permanent part of the container, not a label that will just peel away. Here is my solution to that, how I made matching storage containers and FINALLY got my pantry under control, I hope it gives you some ideas of ways to "reduce, reuse, recycle" some of your commonly purchased items as well.

Step 1: Items You Will Need

This is a project I completed from extras that I had laying around, except for the paint. As I mentioned, the containers are from regular items I use all the time. The fabric was a piece I had left over from some other project as well as the ribbon.

All you really need is a container, glue, some tape and a plastic bag, spray primer and paint, a rubber band and various embellishments, a couple of hours including drying time and you will have a storage container that really works in any pantry.

It does help if it is something that you buy regularly, that way you can continue to build a uniform storage solution to suit your needs.

Step 2: Prepare the Container for Primer and Paint

I use a gallon sized zip bag for this. Open the bag and place it inside the container. Tape the bag all around the edge of the top surface, sealing the inside. This step keeps any paint from getting inside the container and making it no longer food safe storage. I wrap a long piece of tape around the outer edge just below the threads of the container, this area will be covered when lid is in place.

Step 3: Prime the Container

I wanted to make sure that the paint would adhere well to these containers so I used the spray primer for plastics, just to be safe. It is a clear coating, a light spray and an hour of drying time and I was ready to paint.

Step 4: Painting the Container

Using the spray paint for plastic I gave the container a light and even coat, turning it over to paint all surfaces. If your container has a hand grip make sure to spray into the recessed areas to cover evenly. I left them to dry for about 1 hour and then gave it second coat. While the paint is drying, I went inside to work on the lids.

Step 5: Adhere Cloth to the Lid (Step 1)

If you like the lid color with the paint color you have chosen you can skip this step. I chose the dark brown paint and really didn't like the look of the red lids so I went looking for a solution. I had some fabric that went well, and a spool of ribbon so that is what I chose. You could paint or stencil them easily enough.

I used craft glue spread evenly across the top with my wet finger, pressed the fabric square and smoothed out any wrinkles. Then I spread glue around the sides and hold the fabric in place with a rubber band.

You could paint the lids instead, just be sure to protect any areas that might come in contact with the foods you will be storing inside. Or don't do either, or put stickers on the lids - what ever works for you!!

Step 6: Adhere Cloth to the Lid (Step 2)

After placing the rubber band around the side of the lid, I take a toothpick and place glue around the edges and tuck the fabric all around and let dry for about 30 minutes.

Step 7: Embellish the Lid With Ribbon and Trim Excess Cloth

Place a small amount of glue around the edges, just enough to hold the ribbon and work your way around trimming the ribbon when you are almost done going around the lid. Then just trim the excess cloth all the way up to the lids lip.

Step 8: Finish the Container

After the paint has had time to dry, pull the tape from around the lip of the container exposing the threads for the lid. Screw on a finished lid, print a label and apply it to the container and there is your finished container, let's see what it looks like in my Pantry!

Step 9: Finished Containers in My Pantry

Now I have not only a well stocked pantry, but a well organized one also. It makes things so much easier when I don't have to dig for ingredients, everything I need is at my fingertips, clearly labeled and waiting for me to fill with something yummy!

Step 10: Watch the Video on My YouTube Channel!

Watch more videos at Jeanna's Good Lookin' Cookin' on Youtube!

Also visit my Facebook page Jeanna's Good Lookin' Cookin' for quick tips and ideas!



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    18 Discussions

    I prefer transparent containers. Peanut butter jars, nut or popcorn jars from Target, animal cracker jars from Sam's Club, and various sizes of Mason jars. I only buy the latter when they are reduced price. Masons can be microwaved, and are great for leftovers.


    2 years ago

    you mentioned "food safe" plastic container, yet then you spray a bunch of toxic types of paint on you store food in them after?


    2 years ago

    Your containers look terrific! We eat a lot of unsalted nuts from Costco so get those square containers and use those for storage. We also saved and re-used orange juice containers until my husband became diabetic and I was told I'm allergic to oranges so no more of those wonderful containers. We don't bother about labels as the containers are clear other than those for black oil sunflower seeds. I had to pull all the labels off one OJ container so I know that one has the un-cleaned seeds for our handicapped squirrel. LOL

    5 replies

    Thanks for the comment. Now tell me about your handicapped squirrel!!!!!

    We call her Ms. Broketail as she's got only about 1/4 to 1/3 of a normal squirrel tail, if that and it drags behind her. :( She also doesn't walk quite right. We figure one day she's going to need the tail that she doesn't have and fall and that will be it for her. So she comes and eats out of a stainless steel dog bowl on our patio whenever we see her out. She comes running and either my husband or I go and put her bowl down and pour her some sunflower seeds. Then we run off the "fluffy tails" by tossing them a handful of seeds to find in the grass. ;) Ms. Broketail has gotten quite used to us walking around and talking to her. She's outside of where our Cairn Terriers go potty and she's not afraid of them even when we had three fosters this summer. When she's done eating I sweep up the shells and there's no sign she's ever been there. She's not naughty like the fluffy tails and has never tried to climb into the bird feeders so she's my favorite squirrel. LOL

    I'm sharing your instructable with friends who drink coffee and use that powdered creamer. They'll love it!

    I LOVE IT!!! I'm a retired veterinary technician, am crazy about all animals and grew up with pet squirrels. My grandfather had one, named Charlie, and he would sit on his shoulder and take nuts out of his shirt pocket!! Good for you as an animal advocate, it takes a special kind of person to be able to foster, love to all your critters!!!!

    Hi, I love the look of your containers, and will be planning to do this with my Folgers Coffee containers. I love how sleek and clean your labels look, as well. Oh, and my grandfather's favorite squirrel, and the only one he actually liked at all, he didn't like squirrels at all since they ate his rose buds & things, was named Marco Polo. I think at the age of 4 or 5 I had my first experience with 'meditation', as I sat on the front porch, staring out the screen door, and not moving a muscle, 'willing' Marco Polo to come see me! And he did!

    Thank you for your comments, I have such fond memories of growing up in the country and making "pets" out of any critter that walked through our yard! Thanks for sharing your story about Marco Polo!

    Excellent!!! Lovely clear instructions and a terrific idea. Thanks.

    1 reply

    Love it! I've been searching for a storage solution, too, and also re-using plastic containers since I didn't want to buy canisters. NEVER did I think of painting them !! Brilliant. Thanks so much. I work for a company that goes through coffee like they're gonna stop making it, so if Folgers would just use square containers I'd be in heaven!

    1 reply

    I had sticker shock over the price of containers, and memories of opening several different butter bowls in my grandmothers refrigerator before I actually found the butter! Painting was an easy solution, and the uniformity makes it so much better. And I'm not throwing away perfectly good, useful items.

    Glad that it will work for you also!


    2 years ago

    Two things, Great idea but I would set the container mouth down when you paint them so that you don't get any paint or primer into the jar, saving your plastic bag for something else. Also I do the same thing with those containers that have the peanut butter filled pretzels. They are square and are the right size to fit into my cupboard space. Round containers take up more space. Love your idea. The more you can reuse and repurpose, the better. There is way too much stuff ending up in landfills. Creativity like yours is much needed. Please continue!

    1 reply

    Great tips, I don't buy anything regularly that comes in square containers but can see how they would work well. I rant regularly about packaging and the cost of trash, repurpose and keep it out of the landfills for sure!!!

    Thank you for the information, and healthy greetings.

    Thank you for the information, and healthy greetings.
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