Monday, January 10, 2011

How to build a Pantry

Now that you have a idea were to have a pantry, and why to have one, here is how to start building it.

Rule Number One - Never buy anything you don't eat, if your family doesn't like mushrooms there is no reason to have mushrooms in the pantry.

I have started a pantry many times for example when getting married and  after moving. Over time I have come up with this method and it works well, and since every families pantry needs are different you can make it work for you.

Picture yourself as a manager of store you only want things in the store that sell, and you need to make sure that you have just enough on hand, and you need to rotate the stock.

First get a notebook and pencil, you are going to make a list of everything in your freezer, and pantry shelf items. For example :

Corn Flakes
Egg noodles
elbow noddles
ground beef

This is also a great time to clean out the cupboards and freezer while making the list. Also when you go shopping this month if you buy anything not already on the list add it.

Next every time you use a pantry item in the next month you are going to place a tally mark next to it, at the end of the month you will have in front of you your pantry list.

It will change a bit season to season for example we eat more elbows in summer and more soup in winter.

Then you are going to make a new list, I have two copies my pencil one and the other on excel that I can print out each month , it is going to look a bit like this:

Food Item          Need           Have           To get       

1. The need collum is the amount of that item you used in the last month, that is the number that over time you want to have in your panty as a min.
2. The have collum is the one that each time before you make your shopping list you are going to go to your panty and take a inventory
3. The to get collum is the the difference been the Need and Have collum, this is where your shopping list starts

You do not need to buy everything in the "to get" list at once, but over time if you pick up one or two extra things each shopping day you will get the pantry built up. Also this list lets you know that if you come across a great sale of lets say tuna fish but the shopping list is already to the penny, you can look and see that ok I have 10 pounds of rice already at home, so I can take rice off todays list and use that money to stock up on tuna.

Seasonal items- over time I have learned that we use about 14 bags of powered sugar over a year, so when baking goods are on sale at Thanksgiving- Christmas time I try to buy all 14 bags, same with canned pumpkin we eat it year round but the best price is at Thanksgiving. The same thing applies to things like peppers, I can buy local peppers at a great price in Aug, and I cut them up ( diced, sliced) for the freezer and I do not buy another pepper until next year.

This comes from being really aware of what we eat over time, something that if you have never had a pantry you will learn.

Baking items- I do have things like spices, vanilla, and yeast on my pantry list , they are things I might only buy 1x a year, but I am not caught with them going empty. Because when I inventory them I can look at the list and know that I just opened the last yeast so I need to get another one, or the vanilla is 1/2 empty I need to pick up another soon.

Non- Food items- like dish soap, laundry soap ( or if you make your own the supplies to make it), foil , toothpaste, extra toothbrushes, other personal care, etc also go on the pantry list.

Pet items - if you have animals make a section for them on the pantry list to
Hope this gets you started on building a pantry if you do not have one.

And now I am off to follow my own advice as I make up this month's big food shop.

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