Thursday, January 21, 2010


We officially ended our 2 weeks of eating out of our pantry. We did it with no problem at all. We could easily do a month, but I really don't want to deplete supplies I keep on hand. If we had gone a month I would have had to buy some milk and cheese. So that being said, we didn't spend any moola on food or other household supplies. We even had fresh produce (i thought i would have to buy) from our garden!

Today's topic (if you haven't guessed) is Pantries. Do you have one? Do you want one? Why have one?

I think we'll start with the why have it:
  • Plan meals in advance or on the fly.

  • When prices are high you can shop your pantry for deals you've already snagged.
  • Eases your burden in a financial crisis or lean times.

  • Prepared in case of short or long term emergency.

This is a short list( it could be much longer). The reason why we keep our pantry? All of the above and I grew up seeing my Mom and Grandmother do it. It makes great sense for any budget conscious family (aka us).

I remember going to my Grandmother's house and getting things out of a very long, narrow closet (which I think was made from part of a bedroom by my Grandfather) lined with shelves on one side. It was dark, cool and a lovely place to be in Florida. She never seemed to run out of anything!

My Mom used laundry rooms and extra cabinets as we were growing up. Now she has a small walk- in one in her kitchen and neat cubbies my Dad built years ago in their laundry room. The grandchildren always find what they are looking for and it's easier to keep treats out of sight.

My all time favorite pantry would have to be of our neighbor's, the West family. For a short while we lived in a small farming community in the Utah town of Pleasant Grove. People had acre lots with HUGE gardens and the apple orchards abounded! (We'd pick fresh apples on our walks home from school.) The West's had a dairy cows and would bring us fresh milk over every other day. Yumm!

One time their oldest daughter took me on a tour of their home. Their entire downstairs (semi- basement) was a pantry. Be still my beating heart! I think that's where my love of all thing homey, and agricultural may have come from. Seeing shelves lined with buckets upon buckets of dried fruits (ohh the cherries!). I'm getting all tingly just thinking about it. They also had lots of canned items and anything you would need to whip up a meal for 10 on the spur of the moment or for a year. What a lovely place.

They stored food according to their religious convictions, but I think we all can learn something from them and the Bible. Be as prepared as you know how and the Lord will provide the rest.

Types of Pantries:
Well if you don't have one there are so many ways to create one. You can start out small and grow larger as your needs grown and decrease if it becomes necessary.
  • plastic bins

  • crates

  • under bed storage boxes ( great for people in apartments)

  • book shelves,
  • dressers
  • armories

  • pickles and jellies and salsa Oh My!

      • closets (our's houses clothing not in use)
      These are my uncreative ideas. I'm sure there are many other types of containers and spaces that could be used...foot lockers, bedrooms, etc.
      This dresser was part of a bunk bed that we didn't need.

      Back to our reasoning. The past two years have brought very tense times at my husband's job. We've been on a roller coaster! Will they get rid of his department or will they keep it another year? Due to the strains on this agency we have lost income to help save jobs. So we took quite a hit and insurance etc. went up creating an even larger strain. But for the time being he is still employed and not far from retirement. (Superman is very young- he started his job at 21) So we decided to make a plan. Ways to keep us afloat if the bottom fell out.

      First we had been budgeting with a vengeance (and we have almost completed a long awaited goal). We also knew that we had a small savings. So we decided to take my bi-weekly shopping fund and really work the sales and co-ops to create a pantry that might sustain us 3 months.


      We then looked at where in our home this might take place. We decided to use a very small 8 x 10 bedroom and create a pantry/clothing storage/ gift giving center. We didn't want to spend any money to accomplish this so we looked around the house and garage for storage items. We found old bookshelves, plastic shelves, a dresser from a bunk bed set and armorie. We did end up finding one metal shelving unit on clearance for $19.99.

      I use a thermometer to keep an eye on my temperature and generally run the ceiling fan to move air. It's a work in progress. I'm glad we started it. I'm not sure if we will "always" have one of this size. But I think I'll always have one. It's in my blood.

      This pantry has been a huge blessing already. I can't control everything, but I've done what I can. I leave the rest in my Father's hands.

      Do you have a pantry? What do you store in yours? I'd love to hear from you!



      Anonymous said...

      WOW! We did the same thing with a small room. Last year tornados came thru at Easter and I realized that we were NOT prepared for ANY emergency. Now I have slowly started to build up my pantry and I've started to keep extra supplies in the van. Water, blankets, snacks, DIAPERS!! etc. I can't control everything but I am a little more prepared.
      Love your blog!)
      Kim in Mid. Tenn.

      momof4sweetsisters said...

      I agree on the car thing. When we lived in Colorado the first thing my Grandfather gave my Dad was a car kit. We carried blankets, candy and garnola bars(hard kind), emergency radio, matches, candles, small can. It all (accept for the blankets) fit in a big metal coffee can. You pulled everything out and it was a make shift stove to melt water.

      Sonshine said...

      I have a pantry! I just about have to with trying to feed 5 growing kids. I have this room in my basement that is under the stairs and it has shelves on one wall for my pantry. The room also serves as my storage room for out of season clothes. :)

      I keep at least a month's worth of stockpile. I try to keep a little more during the winter months just in case we get bad weather and it is difficult to get to the store. :)

      I would love to store more but hubby doesn't like it when I get 30 boxes of cereal in the pantry. :) So I keep the stock within a compromised range.

      The Prudent Homemaker said...

      We buil a room in our garage and installed a window a/c unit in one wall. It gave us a big pantry (a little smaller than a one car garage; we left the outer door up and just put in inside walls, so it looks the same from the street). The walls are insulated as well. We lived from our pnatry for over 2 years, and we'e doing it again right now, so we know how important it is for us.

      Here is my pantry:

      Stephanie Snowe said...

      My mom always had a pantry (and a cellar, and a room in our house that was an EXTRA pantry). I really don't and I REALLY want one. I've just started getting serious about couponing and stockpiling and I have no idea where I would put things right now. These tips are great!