Pantry Clean-Up

Get Space
I was walking along the perimeter isle of WalMart the other day, when I noticed their plastic storage shelves. I took a closer look, because my pantry needed serious organization. A sturdy 36” X 18” X 73” shelf unit was under $40! It has a 625 pound capacity: 125 pounds per shelf. That’s more than my body weight! I liked that. I took about 30 seconds to decide to purchase two. (As it turned out, they were really easy to snap together.)

I spent most of yesterday cleaning up and organizing my pantry. It had to be done. No matter how hard I tried to keep my pantry organized, it devolved into a cluttered mess, because I just didn’t have enough storage room. Now that I have additional shelving, there’s no excuse.

In order to free up some shelf space, I previously placed a bunch of light bulbs in a box and forgot all about them. So what did I do when I needed a 60 watter? I went out and purchased more. Now that I have additional shelving all my light bulbs are stored together. (I won’t be buying any for a while.)

Madison is checking out her kitchen pantry.

Get Organized
Being organized is the key to successful long-term food storage. It’s important to rotate your food, so the oldest is used first. In tight spaces, that can be a challenge. Once my new shelves were in place and the food and other household supplies stored, I could easily see I purchased too many white beans and not enough pinto beans. And, I have enough paper plates to last me 3 years!

Food storage accomplishes several things. First, you can lower your food bill when you purchase food on sale and in bulk. Food is continuing to increase in price, so food storage is a  hedge against inflation. Secondly, you will be able to pull a fabulous meal together at the last minute for unexpected company, because you’ll have your most used items stored. Finally, you’ll be prepared for any emergency: everything from a personal financial setback or illness or terrorist or extreme weather.

Get Prepared
The first item to consider storing for any emergency is water. Weather or terrorist emergencies can interrupt your water supply. No matter where you live, the advice is to have enough water for your family for a minimum of three days (7 to 10 days is better). One gallon per day, per person is recommended for drinking; another half to 1 gallon per day for food preparation and sanitation.

Just two years ago, I purchased a couple of 5-gallon BPA-free water bottles. At the time they were $20 each. Today, they cost nearly $23. That’s quite a price increase in just two years. Prices will only be higher next year. We have not had an emergency since I purchased them. I take them into my yard every fall and empty them into my garden, rinse them out, and refill for another year’s storage. I used to add a little bleach to the water, not any more. All potable water will store easily for one year. While I was organizing my pantry, I refilled my water bottles.

When I’m organized, I’m not stressed. Also, it saves money, because I won’t buy things I don’t need…like more light bulbs or paper plates.

You’ll want to read: Squeezing a Nickel for more food storage ideas.


For a synopsis of Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, Click Here.

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