David and I spent most of the weekend moving things around in the basement to put all of the pantry items in one place. The freezer was in one room. The refrigerator was in another area. The pantry shelves were in a third area. It was not efficient and we knew it. But we also knew in order to make it the most efficient would entail a great deal of change and sacrificing space we had allotted to other things. We finally decided it was time.
So now everything is in one room and has been freshly organized. When we return from the store, it will be much easier to put things away. (We have to keep a basement pantry because our kitchen is rather smallish and doesn’t have a lot of cupboard space.)
Now that everything we have is nicely organized, I’m using my Master Pantry List from my A Quiet Simple Life Planner and Guidebook to go through and determine what I am missing. While reorganizing all of the shelves, I noticed I have more of some things than I realized and less of other items. I think this is typical of most people who keep a pantry so I didn’t feel badly about it. I simply saw it as a problem to be rectified.
I was pleased to see that we didn’t have any surprise past-dated foods. I’ve tried diligently to stay on top of this the past couple of years. Part of this is due to the fact that we write the expiration date on everything using a black Sharpie pen before we put it on the shelf.
We are consistent in where we write the date so whether it is David, Caroline, or me writing it on there, we all know where to look for it.
It makes it much more efficient and no more squinting to find expiration dates.
I’m especially taking a look at holiday needs right now. I heard that Hershey had announced this week that they were not going to be able to produce their normal amount of Halloween and Christmas candy this year due to supply issues. I suspect this will be repeated across many companies. So I’m looking at the ingredients I need for Thanksgiving and Christmas cooking now.
(If you are ready to start thinking about Christmas, A Cozy Christmas Planner 2022 is now available.)
Next up will be cleaning out every area in the kitchen. I know there are many dishes and cookware pieces in the cupboards we do not use very often. They need to be relegated to a cupboard in the basement pantry. Some things will get donated.
I know my spices are in a real need of a going over. The way we cook around here changed drastically when I was diagnosed with EoE. We don’t use spices like we used to and I’m sure the collection will clearly show that. (It’s a task I’ve put off over and over again.)
How are you making the most of your pantry? If you haven’t spent much time thinking about this, I encourage you to go through all of the posts that are relevant to your life in the category The Prudent & Prepared Homemaker. There are worksheets and such to go with that series in my A Quiet Simple Life Planner and Guidebook. If you feel overwhelmed, just take one step at a time. Every step you take is progress forward!
If you have any great pantry tips, I hope you’ll share them in the comments!