Friday, April 5, 2013

Simple Steps to Preparing a Pantry ~ Pantry Series



"Laura returned to the front room... She knew it must be the pantry door, but she stood in surprise and then in delight, looking at the pantry. All one wall was covered with shelves and drawers, and a broad shelf was under a large window at the pantry's far end…

One whole wall was shelved from the ceiling halfway down. The upper shelves were empty, but on the lowest was a glass lamp… At the end, where this shelf was above the window shelf in the corner, stood a row of cans of spices. 

Beneath this shelf were many drawers of different sizes. Directly below the spices, and above the window shelf, were two rather narrow drawers. Laura found that one was almost full of white sugar, the other of brown sugar. How handy!

Next, a deep drawer was full of flour, and smaller ones held graham flour and corn meal…"

~ Laura Ingalls Wilder, These Happy Golden Years


How I appreciate a well organized pantry, one that is loved with it's orderly arrangement while providing the family with nourishing meals! It speaks to me of preparedness, blessings, sustenance and provision. When properly maintained, it is like a private grocery store located in your own home *dreamy sigh*.

Here are some ways to get started (from easiest onward):
  • The first simple step which requires little work but some investment is to build up a surplus of dry goods.  By simply storing bulk grains, you are that much more prepared for a rainy day. This is also very cost efficient since you won't be paying for all the individual, small portion packaging. (Here is our printable "stock your pantry" list.)
  • The second step is to stock up on items that you use often when they are on special. Just make sure your family will be able to finish the products prior to their expiration dates. For example, a surplus of whole canned tomatoes, honey, certain oils and vinegars will always be a good thing because of their variety of uses and excellent shelf life.
  • The third step which requires some time and effort is to plant a garden and preserve the abundance by freezing, fermenting, drying and canning your own food. If you can make goals for yourself during the harvest to put up at least one batch of food per week, you will be building up an inventory and your grocery store bill will start to decrease.
  • Do you have any fruit trees on your property (or a does a family member and/or friend)? We have our fig trees that we make into jam, our pomegranate trees that we juice and freeze in ice-cube trays for smoothies, etc… Our neighbor gives us loads of lemons when they are season. Here is what we did with them to increase our pantry inventory. I think you get the idea. Create items for your pantry using your own resources. Don't buy these products when you can produce them frugally. 
  • The final step is to forage your fields and see what wild plants you can preserve and utilize (this is something to do when your garden is not producing). For example, we have loads of chamomile flowers (soothes stomach and nerves) and stinging nettles (excellent for allergies) which can be dried, stored in jars and used for tonics, teas and tinctures. We also have lavender plants which we use in many ways. Be resourceful with what you have to increase your provisions without spending a dollar!

Remember that the better stocked you are, the least you have to grocery shop because…

“The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and
coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.” 
~ Erma Bombeck


20 comments:

  1. I always loved that bit of description from These Happy Golden Years when I was a little girl. I'm feeling inspired to do a pantry overhaul sometime in the next couple of weeks!

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    1. I wish I could come over and help! :) I love those kinds of projects, such satisfaction!! Thanks for sharing here today!

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  2. My pantry definitely needs some organization - your post is very inspiring :) Have a blessed week, sweet friend!

    Hugs,
    Stephanie

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    1. Thanks for sharing here today and have a wonderful weekend :)

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  3. I love it - use what you can frugally. How many times I have bought a "good deal" only to realize that I won't use it all before it goes bad. Not a good deal :-/

    Love the Laura Ingalls quote :-0

    ~Cinnamon

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    1. True! No such thing as a good deal when it gets wasted… Or a large pantry full of foods that were cheap but we don't like to eat them :) Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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  4. I love an organized pantry! I'd love to have you stop by and share your post on The Creative HomeAcre Hop today!
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/04/the-creative-homeacre-10.html

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    1. Thank you for the invitation :)

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  5. Great post! And if everything is organized and neat it saves money because you can find it...and don't have to run out a buy one! And the Erma Bombeck quote is so true!

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    1. Thanks for sharing here today, neatness should be taken into account so you don't purchase what you already have in a pile someplace else, good point :) And yes, the Erma Bombeck quote says it all! Have a wonderful week!

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  6. That's my favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder book, and I always loved that passage about her pantry. What a husband Almanzo must have been! :)

    Our apartment is so small I don't have room for much of a pantry right now...and with an apartment, I don't have any yard in which to grow vegetables or herbs. Someday! I do keep shelves stocked with canned products (mostly tomatoes and some tuna and chicken), pasta, rice, flour, beans, potatoes, etc.

    Great post--thanks for the inspiration!

    Jaimie at Living in the Light

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    1. We were in the apartment world for the first two years of our marriage. And "someday" did eventually happen :) on year 13... Stocked shelves of the basics are the best start… And yes, that pantry passage is rather exciting for a lover of home! Happy homemaking! ~JES

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  7. What a wonderful site...so much inspiration, logic, and fun. You're doing such a great job, and service to help us get organized. Thanks so much. I've just become a follower.

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    1. Thank you Lynne! I love organizing… Call it a hobby :) I am happy to "meet" you! Happy homemaking and hope to hear from you in the future!

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  8. Found you from Wildcrafting Wednesday. I was drawn in by your links and had a great time exploring your blog. I love finding like minded bloggers from these blog hops. My pantry needs a major facelift, thanks for the inspiration and the labels, I am so excited for those. Thanks again.

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    1. Thanks for introducing yourself! Happy organizing :)

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  9. Hello there! I've recently come across your blog and find it to be absolutely refreshing and wonderful! :) I am wondering, what brand & size are the containers in the picture above? I really like them. -Kate

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    1. Thank you for your kinds words :) Here is a link to The Container Store where I purchased them (shared below). I used a coupon and was able to pick them up in a local store to avoid shipping :) Hope this helps and enjoy building up your pantry!

      http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10006387&N=&Ntt=tellfresh

      They are the 5 quart size.

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  10. Thank you for answering my question. I really appreciate it! :) I really like that the containers hold 5 qts versus the standard gallon container. -Kate

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    1. I am happy with them. They line up real nice and are space efficient and they are clear so they match everything too. They are also freezer safe, BPA-free, etc...and considering the prices of rubbermaid these days, they are not that expensive.

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