What is a pantry, precisely? It is something different to each person. For some, it is a room. For others, it is a cupboard. You have your idea of what a pantry is. And I have my idea. Who is right?
We all are!
I would like to tell you about my pantry. Mind you, I am really just beginning to create mine, and I do not have a lot of room to spare.
Last year, my older daughter moved onto campus. I moved my younger daughter into her sisters’ room, and am using the empty ‘box’ as a sort of store all. Mostly, at this point, it stores my older daughters apartment stuff. She has recently moved up north, and will likely get all of her stuff next month. The ‘box’ also holds a few book shelves:
1. Gifts and gift wrap.
2. Homeschool books.
It also has another set of deep shelves, with two drawers underneath. I am turning this little area which uses to be an incredibly small closet, into part of my pantry.
So, what does my pantry consist of?
1. The deep shelves, with the two drawers.
2. Three small racks in the kitchen, which holds the food that we will be eating soon or use frequently.
3. My refrigerator.
4. The freezer above my refrigerator.
I spent some time the other night cleaning out the freezer. It is only the freezer to the refrigerator, but I consider it an extension of my pantry. It looks better now, and I found out that I can still room for more freezer foods.
NOTE: I freeze all leftovers, even the leftovers for my childcare business. That is why there are single servings of some things. I am trying not to waste any food if at all possible.
Here is what is stored in my freezer at this time:
1 qt. fruit mix-ins
5 packages of 1/2 chicken breasts
2 cream cheese
6 – 4 packs of butter
1/2 qt. homemade crushed tomatoes
19 qts. homemade pasta/pizza/salsa sauce
1 sm. Italian bread
3 – 8 oz. blocks of cheese
2 meal size packages of turkey bacon
5 servings homemade fruit sauces (apple, peach, pear)
1 package Boca burgers
1 turkey ham
5 – 1 c. servings of shredded zucchini
8 qts. homemade chili
1 package broccoli spears
2 packages sliced American cheese
3 qts. vegetable mix-ins
3 qts. strawberries
1/2 can tomato paste
5 servings cantaloupe
1 pint homemade vegetable broth
2 qts. egg noodle casserole
Not too bad. And I will be adding a few more things as well. The trick is to freeze flat when using plastic freezer bags. Then you can stand them up or stack them for optimal space use.
5. Shelves in the bathroom.
Are these three really considered part of my pantry? Yes! They are very important aspects of my pantry, as a matter of fact. Of course, I also am also trying to stock up on personal hygiene and household needs. I am including these into my pantry stock-up plan.
Below is where I will record how I am creating my pantry, as well as the step-by-step plan for setting it all up.
P.S. Feel free to join the challenge any time. This page will stay here for your convenience, and you can post here any time, even when I am done creating my pantry.
I guess that the first step here, if you have the choice, is to figure out what you use regularly that can be stored for the long-term. I plan to get out a notebook and work on this myself. Why don’t you all join me. I will post my list, then move onto the next step here.
Feel free to comment with your own pantry list. It will help us all to figure out what is needed.
My list will consist of items for all four of the areas of my ‘pantry’.
The next step is to decide how long you want to store things for. 3 months is a good place to start. Once you have three months of everything in stock, then you can picking up things for six months and so on. I am doing mine for three months to start.
The second part of step 2 is to decide how many of each item that you will need to stock up on to equal three months worth (or however long you choose).
NOTE: Mine is done and all posted below. Notice that I was mainly concentrating on three months, but the personal hygiene items that I listed are for a year.
The next step in creating your pantry is to decide where you will store everything. I have several places in which I can store items:
* on the racks in the kitchen
* on the shelves and in the drawers in the extra room
* on the bathroom shelves, and under the cupboard
* in the laundry area
You should begin by disinfecting these areas and letting them dry well, then we will move on to step 4.
This is more like a bunch of little steps in one. Here is the process:
Begin shopping. Getting a little each week for your stocks, along with your regular shopping, is great. These can be sale items if you like.
Store your items in an organized fashion. Earliest expiration dates in the front. Like items together.
Begin marking off the items (and how many) that are on the master list that you made.
Create another list, which will be your inventory. Mark how many of each item that you have with tally marks, checks or dashes, so that it will be easy for you to mark off each item that you use. This will help you to determine what you need to replace.
Now you just have to keep up with it.
These are all the steps that I am using to create my pantry. I hope that the challenged has helped you as well.
NOTE: I have made some notes below my previous comments. Read down further to see what I have been doing.