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Best place to shop for pantry staples and storage containers?

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fbf242 Aug 7, 2008 07:10 AM

I am in the process of cleaning out our pantry, which is quite disorganized and home to some frighteningly old food packages. Once I have sorted through what we have, I am planning to buy some fresh staples, and some better storage containers, so that we will keep better track of what we have and waste less.

First of all, what stores in Newton/Waltham/Watertown area have the best prices on flour, sugar, and the like? Is there anywhere besides Whole Foods with bulk bins for things like rice, dry beans, oats, etc?

Second, where should I look for good quality storage canisters at a good price? I'm not looking for anything fancy, just good quality and durability.

Thanks!

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  1. MMRuth RE: fbf242 Aug 7, 2008 07:23 AM

    I bought a bunch of them at the Container Store (though in NYC):

    http://www.containerstore.com/find/st...

    http://www.containerstore.com/browse/...
    http://www.containerstore.com/browse/...

    They're not a bargain, but are great because they are stackable and come in different sizes.

    1. rlh RE: fbf242 Aug 7, 2008 07:33 AM

      China Fair on Mass Ave outside Porter Square in Cambridge has good values for storage containers.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rlh
        galleygirl RE: rlh Aug 7, 2008 07:37 AM

        Also China Fair on Needham Ave in Newton....Sometimes target has great stuff, too...I bought gallon Anchor Hocking storage jars there for considerably less than I bought them for at even China Fair...Worth a peek...
        Most of my storage is antique Ball jars with zinc lids, but these take longer to gather in any quantity...

      2. t
        taterjane RE: fbf242 Aug 7, 2008 08:22 AM

        For storage containers, we have discovered the joys of shopping at Marshalls and HomeGoods. I always thought Marshalls was just clothes, but we went to the one in Bedford after we moved last month and got stainless steel containers and plastic airtight storage containers (Oggi brand) which were easily half the price of those at the Container Store. So far they are working fine.

        I know there is (or was) a Marshalls on Needham Street in Newton but not sure what kind of home goods they carry, if any.

        We love the Container Store, which has a lot more options, but it is pricy. We didn't care if our stainless steel containers were a tiny bit dented on the bottom because of how cheap it was at Marshalls and also because we weren't planning on displaying them on the kitchen counter or anything.

        1. kobuta RE: fbf242 Aug 7, 2008 08:59 AM

          If you're not looking for overly fancy containers, I loved the stuff I found at the store in Kam Man in Quincy that sells all sorts of goods from dishware, storage items, toys, make-up. It's off to the left handside once you enter the complex (next to the bank). They sell a variety of tupperware like containers of every size, and often customized for just about anything you can think of in the kitchen. Very useful and inexpensive (with smaller containers often going for under $2) without being too cheap. Many of them are Japanese manufactured, and I love the ones particularly geared for the Asian kitchen (i.e., the rice holder on wheels for easy loading of large bags of rice to the lunch sized container that comes with a small steaming rack so you can microwave frozen dumplings or buns ). Also great for those who have a smaller kitchen and require more compact options to maximize storage efficiency.

          4 Replies
          1. re: kobuta
            c
            chowfamily RE: kobuta Aug 7, 2008 09:39 AM

            I really like the Quincy Kam Man marketplace for rice, miso, and lots of other interesting food.

            There is a new Ocean State Job lot in Randolph with a good selection of Bob's Red Mill flours, grains and other basics.

            King Arthur Flour mail-order can be another good resource for yeast and flours.

            Good luck with your clean-out. We have always had the dreaded meal moths, and have gone from Tupperware to freezer and refrigerator - still looking for some better solutions.

            1. re: chowfamily
              f
              fbf242 RE: chowfamily Aug 7, 2008 12:55 PM

              I did some Google-mapping and it looks like the Quincy, Norwood, Randolph, Marborough, Westborough and Foxboro Ocean State Job Lots are all within reasonable driving distance from me. Any input as to which of these might have the best selection of Bob's Red Mill products? Thanks!

              1. re: fbf242
                LindaWhit RE: fbf242 Aug 7, 2008 01:27 PM

                The way I understand it, each one can get different shipments - but the one up in Salem that I've been to has a decent supply of Bob's Red Mill grains and flours - more than I've seen elsewhere (non OS Job Lot stores).

                1. re: fbf242
                  itaunas RE: fbf242 Aug 7, 2008 01:30 PM

                  In my experience all of the Ocean State JLs have lots of Bob's Red Mill, not certain there is one to recommend over others. Keep in mind that sometimes something might not be displayed in an open box, but they will often have a closed box/case of that item (I think they come 6 bags to the box), so look around for a closed one. DeMoula's (more of a north shore thing) also has good prices on Bob's Red Mill, but less of a selection.

            2. LindaWhit RE: fbf242 Aug 7, 2008 09:34 AM

              I'm a fan of the rectangular Click-Clack storage containers (not the round ones). They stack, are dishwasher-safe, and clear so you can see what's in them. You can find them at times at BB&B or LNT but they don't have the rectangular ones as often anymore. But they're really sturdy - better than Rubbermaid containers. But they're most certainly not inexpensive.

              http://www.cooking.com/products/shpro...

              1. g
                ginnyhw RE: fbf242 Aug 7, 2008 11:14 AM

                Target for containers - also cheapo storage bags.

                1. Chris VR RE: fbf242 Aug 7, 2008 12:35 PM

                  For storage containers, I think you can't beat IKEA for variety of sizes/shapes and prices.

                  I used to get my bulk items at Harvest Co-op in Central Square when I lived down in that area.

                  1. b
                    Baiye RE: fbf242 Aug 9, 2008 06:41 AM

                    I'm a cheapskate, so my favored storage container is an old peanut butter jar.

                    For larger containers, you could inquire at places that sell bulk, like the Harvest co-op or Whole Foods, and ask if they have any empty containers. 5 gallon buckets are very durable.

                    I believe you can get a case discount at WF, but you have to ask.

                    1. BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: fbf242 Aug 9, 2008 11:54 AM

                      For storage containers, you want to try City Housewares, on Harvard Street in Brookline near the intersection of Harvard and Fuller. It's in the same block as Aborn Hardware (a fine old hardware store) and Anna's Taqueria. City Housewares has good stuff at popular prices. Most of our storage containers come from there, and I bought some of the smaller Rubbermaid freezer containers for as little as 50 cents each!

                      Also, I just bought some shelf liner to finish a similar pantry project and the price was less than half what I'd seen for the exact same roll at bed Bath and Beyond the weekend before. Definitely worth a look.

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