Can I throw TP and Ketchup at them? Maybe a box of Mac and Cheese?
|My cluttered pantry|
I wish I could include better pictures here, but with getting ready to move our pantry is neglected and much of it in storage. I looked for old pictures... they show very little. In our home we have been blessed with being able to have a large pantry area. That being said, you don't need a large area to stock up. In fact you can do it, with some creativity, in a small one bedroom apartment or studio; and I have done it in a small space. I speak from experience!
If you are tight on space, think creatively. What's under your bed, besides dust bunnies? They have something you can buy at the hardware store, discount center, even Ikea, that lifts the legs of beds. They are commonly called "Bed Risers" and using them can give you enough space to scoot clear plastic containers underneath a bed full of caned goods, toilet paper, noodles, tomato sauce, juice, and more. A full or queen size bed can easily provide food and other necessities for several weeks for the occupants of the bed. The same with a twin bed. Your bed skirt will hide much of it and no one will be the wiser, unless you proudly show off your savings account. The savings account that will still work even if the ATM's are down. The savings account that will enable you to still have food if you get stuck in your home for a week from a freak snow storm or mud slid that closes off your road to town.
Look into the closets. What's above the rods? Is there a shelf? Make sure its sturdy and add some lightweight items above your hang up clothes. How about below? Can a couple clear plastic containers fit there and then either use a shoe rack or put your shoes on top of them? Look in your kitchen.... do you have very deep lower cabinets? Consider using some pantry solution storage system there if you are so blessed. The key is to use your space creatively. Look at it with new eyes and try to gain storage space. A empty closet that isn't need for clothes could easily be converted and have shelves installed (make sure you don't violate a lease!). There is always a way to have a few weeks food storage for just in case. If you can have more, bonus!
If you buy shelves, I am giving you some advice that I learned the hard way.... make sure you buy shelves that will hold the weight of what you will put on them. I bought "cheap" shelves only to have them fail. I ended up buying better shelves that have a weight rating of somewhere around 250-300 pounds per shelf. I figured over kill would be better than the under powered fiasco I had before. I bought plastic ones from Home Depot but you can also buy really nice metal ones that adjust or even make your own and make them perfectly for quart or pint sized jars. One thing I want to do when we move is to add a chalk board shelf label (similar to what they have on this web site...http://www.shenandoahvalleyflowers.com/wp-content/uploads/DSC00168.jpg). They have chalk board decals that stick but I bet I could also use chalk board paint on the front of my shelves in a new pantry area. I am looking forward to what we will be able to do if we are so blessed.
Now to some having a pantry is an effort to prepare for a coming apocalypse; Zombies, zealots of either political faction, or any religion, nuclear war, a comet bouncing off our atmosphere, invasion by Canada..... well, just a lot of things really. Some people with HUGE pantries are plain hoarders that call themselves "extreme couponers" (I envy their deals with double/triple coupons, I really do...), and then there are the folks like me that "stock up" and put up to save for a rainy day. We know for 100% certain there will be a few paydays every year that are tighter than others. We try to guard against shortened job hours, loss of income, raising food prices at certain times of the year.... and we just plain don't want to have to go to the store for everything we need. I have literally been able to not go and buy groceries outside of perishable items like milk and produce for several weeks at a time. After Bear was born I went three months with limited grocery store excursions. It was NICE. So your reason may be to have jars of peanut butter to throw at the zombies, or it might be to not have to leave the house and venture to a grocery store until roughly New Years, its all good.
What to stock a pantry with? If you asked my husband he would say I have a toilet paper fetish. I like to keep a six month or so supply on hand. I laughingly remind him that we grew up during the cold war and if the Soviet Union ever did invade, by jimmy, I was not using pine cones! But on the same token, if you have to make a choice between milk and TP, what are you gonna pick? Of course, milk for the babies. Food pantries all over often say that things like personal care items are forgotten about but still very needed by people. When you have to decide between food and shampoo, food will win every time, even though you still really need the shampoo so you can go to work and not be sent home because you have unkempt hair.
Buy only what your family will honestly eat and enjoy. I can't stress this enough. It's been a long held belief of mine that if you eat and enjoy spaghetti then when your favorite sauce goes on sale buy a few jars. Instead of buying one or two, buy six. If you use a lot of dry beans, rice, quinoa, corn meal, etc. when you buy a bag, buy two (or three). Put the extra on the shelf (date the item) and place it into your rotation. Newest at the back, oldest at the front. You will build a pantry without going into debt for it. Real pantries are not full or MRE's..... Those are for survival. You want a pantry that is used and enjoyed, not a bunker.... besides from what I've heard, MRE's are really only useful for killing zombies.
Before you know it you have stocked up. Look for sales of items you really use, use store coupons and don't be afraid of store brands. This is why coupons didn't help me much. We don't buy a lot of sugar cereal, junk food, name brands, etc., although coupons do help me when I go a few times a year and buy personal care items. I think the extreme couponers have hindered manufactures giving good deals; through their antics, and lets face it, down right hoarding in many circumstances, manufactures began to really limit amounts. I am told that they might be starting to get better again, this would be nice because I need to stock up on more tooth brushes again. For me, I could not justify the time, gas and headache that was needed to travel to all the big stores. It was not conducive to simplifying my life.
DO NOT BUY WHAT YOU WON'T USE. I am telling you because I have been there and done it..... I bought some foods that I knew we didn't eat but I wanted to have on hand for food donation, and they were on sale BIG TIME. When the time came I forgot all about them..... I recently had to throw out several cans of pork and beans and cream of mushroom soup, because they were past an expiration date for the pantry.... NEVER AGAIN. Buy only what you will use.
If you need big plastic food storage buckets check with local bakeries. I also know that stores locally like WINCO sells them and you can get them for under $7 for a 5 gallon bucket. This are also kind of handy to have for your "emergency kit"; the handle makes it easy to carry and its water proof as well.
If you need gallon jars, look at buying pickles and eating the pickles (lucky for me I have pickle loving family members). Then you can wash the jar well, using a vinegar solution to help remove the pickle smell, or if you or so inclined a few drops of bleach will also do the trick. Of course if you are blessed with a dishwasher, just a wash through it might do the trick. Then you can use the jars to store a myriad of items.... from beans to rice..... I like storing flour, rice, etc. in gallon jars. If you do have to throw something, a recycled jar thrown at zombies could really do some damage. I've had a full pint size jar fall on my head before, and it HURT. Don't throw canning jars.... that's just plain rude! *grin*
If you want to know more about root cellaring and putting up your own food that you grow and harvest, or that you buy locally I strongly urge you to buy or borrow, Root Cellaring. I can't recommend this book enough. It's written in an easy to understand way and practical as well. Its not some high brow unattainable dream book, but really down to earth and has things each of us can most likely pick up, do, and implement. I have enjoyed owning it and reading it to further my knowledge base in the home arts.
Links to some interesting web sites I have found with pantry helps and ideas.... or, better yet, follow me on pinterest! I am not affiliated with these sites listed below, I just have discovered them on my searches for organization and wanderlust!
My Pantry Pinterest Board!
Please share your experiences, thoughts, questions, and more with me. Send me your pictures or blog links to add to my list of links if you blog about your pantry.