Thursday, May 21, 2020

Pantry Stocking on a Budget

Right out the gate, I will ask your forgiveness 
as I might get a little overzealous about the pantry.
I think a well stocked pantry is a thing of beauty.
(My Pantry)
We've all seen or at very least heard about
the recent "shortages" in stores due to panic shopping.
We had no such panic at our house,
but there might have been a little grumpiness 
when I couldn't find a bag of spuds,
not realizing that folks were going nuts.
I told hubby, it was actually a sad state.
Most people eat out and are away from home most of the day.
Home has become little more than a parking spot
and place to shower and sleep.
Upon hearing the news that they might have to stay home
for two straight weeks,
with no knowledge of what would be required,
they went shopping.
I've heard of some folks buying things based on expiration date,
some buying what was left on the shelf,
some filling a cart, and so forth.
None of these are sensible ways to stock a pantry.
There are a number of ways to sensibly go about it,
and I will offer some of those methods here.
Take as much or as little of the information as you like.

The very first thing to know is what you need.
Make a list of the things you use.
I find it helpful to categorize the items:
food, hygiene, pet supplies, auto, etc.
This is much like the departments in a store,
but it will be within your own home.
(I wouldn't be able to handle the disarray of this one;-))

Next, is to know about how much of each given item you need.
Yes, here is where the mountains of TP in the garage
makes the perfect example.
I understand not wanting to run out so in some ways
I don't blame the folks who "stocked up."
But the other side of that coin is "C'mon. Really?"
If you don't know how much of a product you use,
simply date it when you open or purchase it.
When you use the last of it, you will know that you use that amount
of that product in the time that has lapsed since opening it.
For things like canned goods, just date and number.
6/1/20 1/6 on the first can of the 6 cans of green beans purchased,
date and 2/6 on the second can, 3/6 on the third...
At the end of the week or month, you will know how many cans
were used in that time period.
Simply multiply that times 52 if weeks or 12 if months.
I know we go through about 40 jars of green beans per year
so I can plan accordingly.  
I try to have an idea of how much I use by year.
Some things are seasonal so really only get used a few months
out of the year, but I've found that "per year" works for me.
This also enables me to look for those items towards the end of the season
when they are more apt to be on sale.
The next piece of information necessary is a price.
This is something that can change of course,
but having a general idea of what is reasonable
will aid in budgeting.

And the final 2 pieces are:
 how much of each is already in the pantry?
what is my budget amount per month?
That last question is one that many might not know.
Much like how much TP is used in a week or month,
some folks don't track their spending.
Now is always a great time to start.
If you don't know how much you spend each month,
choose an amount you think is reasonable for your household.
Don't get too stuck on it at the moment.
There won't be a test, and you won't be graded.
It's almost as though folks don't want to try,
because they don't want to fail.
Learning is not failing~
it's a series of trials and errors and figuring out what works best
in any given situation.
What's best for me probably isn't best for you
and vice-versa.
Go easy on yourself and be okay with it being
a work in progress.
It's fun to see how it develops.
(Source)  Wow!

With the above knowledge,
we can begin to really put it together.

As you begin to look at what you have and what you need,
you will begin to see patterns.
You will make realizations.
And you will know what you need.
But for starters, if you've never stocked a pantry
and have a minimal supply,
the first thing to do is make a shopping list
for one week.
Try to think of what you will need for each day.
Consider what you have on hand
and what additional items will be needed.
Just as an example, let's use a budget of $500/mo.
That makes it $125 per week for groceries.
When you go shopping, if you only spend $100,
you have $25 left.
With that $25, you can begin "stocking up."
If there is a sale on something you use often,
you can purchase extra of those things.
If there is no great sale,
you might choose to buy an extra of a couple of the items
you are already buying,
or you might choose to keep it for the next week
and watch for sales.
One other thing to keep in mind is that 
most items are cheaper when purchased in bulk.
If you don't spend all of your weekly funds,
you might look into purchasing a larger quantity
of often used items.
By doing so, over time and without a shock to the budget,
you will create a store of items you use.
A bulk example:
We actually purchase a whole grass fed beef each year.
We pay roughly $3/lb. (varies slightly by year.)
That's a reasonable price for hamburger, but we get steaks
and roasts and all for that same price.
That is a considerable savings over store prices.
(My Pantry - pints two high)
Once your store is created, you will want to make sure 
you rotate things to keep the oldest up front.
In my pantry, I have foods stored 3 deep which makes it 
pretty easy to pull the oldest to the front and put fresh behind.
My shelves are 11.5" deep and 10" space between them.
This also works nicely to stack cans (or pint jars) two high.
I don't like to stack things more than 2 high 
with the exception of tomato sauce.
I am just clumsy enough to cause an avalanche.
This is another area that requires pantries to be personal.
We each have a different space to use for storage within our homes.
The space I have now, I actually love
due to the fact that it's better than what I've had in the past.
But it is also behind the refrigerator, so it can be warm in there.
That's not ideal since I can't keep things like spuds or squash
or other fresh veggies in there, but I am still appreciative of the space.

You will find the same method for such items as
oil, filters, and fluids for the car, or
laundry supplies, deodorant, and toothpaste for hygiene.
Just start with your "auto" budget per month
or your hygiene budget per month.

It doesn't happen all at once.
It's something that takes a little time to do wisely,
but you will have the peace of mind knowing you'll be okay
if something unforeseen presents itself.
If there is something I've completely missed,
or if you have a question,
give me a jingle - down in the comments.
If you have a tip that you find helpful,
go ahead and let us know in the comments.
I actually like when y'all offer input -
makes it all so much friendlier:-)

Also, I am working on a post in response to the questions posed
in this post.
 I've not forgotten, just need to have things in order
so that they can actually be of some help - hopefully:-)


  1. That's a good price on the beef. My, those are huge pantries. Wow! I still eat a lot of fresh food. I am thankful to be able to grow some here, and to pick up my bi-weekly box from the farmers at the co-op. It feels good to have plenty of extra food.

    1. It seems like you have food in season all year long and always looks delicious:-) I forget about co-ops. We don't have one here.

  2. Will read your post tomorrow but.... Oh my Dear!!!! I have loved Gladys Taber for years and years and years. Have collected all her books about Stillmeadow, and even 1 animal book and the one, after her friend died. Plus her Daughter Connie's book, a compilation of The Best Of Stillmeadow.

    Every September, we went to Cape Cod. Stayed at Orleans, where her summer home Still Cove was, and always went to her favorite beach. On these little holidays, we visited a "million" used book stores, collecting all her books.

    And of course, we got as close as we could, to Still Cove, their place on Cape Cod. She was deceased by then, and it is privately owned, so we could not approach it directly. But found a view of it, across the pond you will get to know, when you read her Still Cove books. Always had a meal, in the restaurant, she loved.

    Then...... Also many years ago, when my husband flew, and we co-owned a little Cessna 4 seater plane... My husband and I, and our teen aged daughter, flew over to the nearest airport, rented a car, and proceeded to find Stillmeadow!!!!!

    I followed the "directions," I found in her books, and brought one book, with me. I still get a gulp in my throat, remembering when we pulled up, in front of that picket fence, and saw IT. Stillmeadow!!!! I rolled my car window down, and just stared...

    Her Grand daughters come out the door, going berry picking. Connie followed, and seeing my face, knew I was a fan of her mother's. She invited us in! And we saw inside. Things, which had become so familiar to me, from reading all her books!!!! Like a dream!

    Gladys was not there, that day. Summer so she was probably at Still Cove.

    Connie said how she was publishing "The Best of Stillmeadow." And she signed her mother's book, which I had brought with me.

    So my Dear, you can see, that you were very, very right! I am a person, who 'would' love Gladys Taber books. -smile-

    Enjoy!!! And know, you have many, many, many more of her books, to enjoy. And don't forget "Harvest of Yesterdays," memories of her growing up years. Delightful. And full of interesting tid-bits.

    I'm tired now and just popped on line, to publish comments. But will return here tomorrow, to take in your bigggggggggggg post!!!!

    Gentle hugs...

    1. Well color me green and call me Envy:0) After the first 2 chapters, I ordered 3 more of her books (used.) They are so kindly written. I believe one of her granddaughters now lives at Stillmeadow~ Thank you for sharing the memory with me. I could hug you for that.

  3. Ahhh thank you! I have always kept a well stocked pantry too- what we need and use. Very different from hoarding! And have also been able to help others a little too.

    1. Isn't that such a great feeling? Not only not being a burden on others, but actually being able to help~

  4. I love your pantry, and Eeyore is a lovely touch! Excellent post. Good advice and very common sense.

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    2. Major typos so will try again:-)
      Thank you Leigh. Eeyore is my pal.

  5. Goodness, were all those shelves of canned goods REALLY yours Now? Back in the day I did do a lot of canning, jelly making, and some frozen items. But with just two people and in an agriculture and chicken farming area items were always available and fresh during the season. It was end of season I'd do the canning and freezing.

    1. Just the ones that say My Pantry; the others are via internet but drool worthy. I do try to can what I'm able to. I really don't like mystery chemicals.

  6. Your pantry is prettier than all the others put together...it's beautiful! I would love to have a pantry just like yours. I have half pantry, half laundry room, with not so pretty shelves. I do some canning in the summer. You have inspired me to work on my pantry.

    1. That is what I had for years and part of why I appreciate this space so much.
      I suppose I should be more grateful for the food on it than the space surrounding it (heehee) :-)

  7. I too love your pantry.
    I have a small stockpile. The hurricane season is coming, so it’s time to check and replenish it. 😊

    1. Oh my, and you do get the hurricanes don't you. Best to stock it before you need it I s'pose:-)

  8. I'm working on organizing my food systems and love any and all advice I can get, so thank you.
    I worry about shelves full of jars in an earthquake though. What a great loss that would be!

    1. Hi Mimi. My mom grew up in earthquake territory and I think almost by habit tacks a strip of thin wood across the front of her shelves creating about a 1/2" lip. It might not save it all in a real jolt, but for tremors works great.

  9. your pantry is lovely. I dare say we don't have one that even comes close to that, but we do have some shelves dedicated for this purpose. We buy on the two bin theory, and when one is used we purchase or replenish it. I don't have an over abundance of any item. We were ok during the hoarding too. I had things in the freezer, and we needed only to maintain the perishables. Very informative posting. And lovely pictures of some serious pantries.

  10. I like your two bin theory. The only thing we have an "over abundance" of is green beans. Our plants produced 2 crops last year. I was giving them away and canning like crazy so didn't have to plant any this year.

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  12. What is the name of her blog? Would love to visit. The Inst. link isn't working for me but I don't have an acct. so. . .
    Thanks! :0)

  13. Your pantry looks like my Mother's pantry. I will never forget the rows of canned veggies sitting there all crisp and beautiful in their glass jars. I wish that I was as organized and fritful as you appear to be.

    1. I won't show you my desk:-) but I do like my pantry tidy.

  14. What a great pantry! I love your organization and the neatness of it. I have a very old pie safe in the back of my pantry which gives me the feeling that I have just stepped into Tasha Tudor's Buttery. This post is such an inspiration.

    1. I love pie safes and have seen more than one abandoned or in a chicken coop or... why do I feel I should save them all? (I don't, but feel like I should.)

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    1. Thank you Wispy - will be adding her to my list.

  16. Your pantry looks great (as do the others you shared). We have a 'room' in our apartment that is meant for storage so it has become our pantry. It's normally quite well stocked but the shortages we faced in so many things at the beginning of the pandemic made us realize that we need to do more. It's been reorganized to allow us to have more of certain items that we use the most. Our buying habits will (and have) changed too. We used to finish up most of what we had before re-stocking but from now on we will have a much bigger minimum before we re-stock trying to ensure that we have a 3 month supply at all times. It's a different mindset but I think it's not something we will regret, particularly if the virus carries on into a second wave and things are closed down again. Well written post from you today - thank you.

  17. May 30th

    Silly me. Yes, the New Blogger has that little 'smiley'face! On top, when writing a new post!

    -head desk-


    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Your pantry is awesome@ Love the dried flowers and I see Eore..for good measure. I hope people learned from this last go round, the next one may not be as forgiving. Continue to build your pantry. Sound advice you gave. People should take heed. Thank you for the book titles, I'm going to see about that at the Library. I appreciate that you took the time. :)

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    1. Wispy, I tried to remove some spam that was evidently attached with your comment. Your comments are always welcome - sorry.