Investing in a well stocked pantry requires planning. You need to know where you are in order to map out the route to your destination. Organising your stockpile is no different.
Once you decide you’d like to create your own well stocked pantry, you’ll need to do a stocktake. That means getting everything out and making some decisions:
- What’s in your pantry now?
- How long has it been there?
- Is it past its expiry date or best before?
- How many of each item do you have?
- Will you (and your family) still eat it?
- If not, can you donate it?
You might be surprised at just how much stuff has made its way into your pantry, never to see the light of day again. Sort through it as quickly as you can, if you linger too long at this task you’ll start to focus on the money that’s potentially been wasted rather than the task at hand (sorting it) and that’s not useful at this point.
Create three separate piles; keep, use immediately, donate. It would be prudent to throw away some things and I’m sure you know which ones when you see them. The ‘keep’ pile will form the basis of your stockpile, the ‘use immediately’ pile will mostly consist of items you bought on impulse rather than items you buy regularly so find ways to use them immediately. If you can’t, donate them via a local food charity. Anything you can’t ever see yourself or your family eating again, that’s still well within its “use by” or “best before” date, donate.
Give your pantry a clean while it’s empty. You might want to cover the shelves while you’re at it, too. But, don’t get too carried away or you’ll lose sight of your objective, which is to start building your stockpile.
When it comes time to refill your pantry, take a couple of lessons from the supermarkets. Make sure the items you use every day are the most easily accessible and that usually means eye level. Items that are heavy or bulky should be on the lowest shelf or floor, items that are used less often can go on higher shelves, which is probably a good place for the biscuits, too! And, employ stock rotation. Make sure the oldest stock is at the front so that it will be used next and when you replenish your supplies, move everything forward and put the new stock at the back.
Now that your pantry is clean and uncluttered, you’re ready for the next step. Next week we’ll start working on what you need in your pantry. In the meantime, start taking note of the prices of the items that are regulars on your grocery list. They’ll come in handy later.
P.S. You can find part one of this series here: Investing in a well stocked pantry.