Starting A Storage Pantry

The view from my kitchen door this morning.
Starting a pantry seems like a daunting, time consuming, expensive task doesn’t it? Not to mention you might not have the space to dedicate an entire cupboard or area just for this purpose.First of all decide why you need a pantry and design yours around your needs. I do my shopping from the pantry and refill it as needed. I’ve told you before I HATE SHOPPING so my pantry is put together so I don’t have to go to the store if I don’t want to and I have enough of everything that I only make purchases when they are on sale.

A few reasons might be:
  • To save trips to the store and only do weekly shopping, monthly shopping, or yearly shopping?
  • To be prepared for an unexpected emergency, natural or otherwise?
  • To prepared for an unexpected/ expected financial situation. Job lay off -seasonal or permanent?
  • To save money by only buying things on sale or with coupons?
  • To store your bounty of your home canning and preserving.

Next find space….Where to store everything…..

  • The best place is a cool, dry area. But think outside the cupboard for space. My pantry is a large floor to ceiling cupboard I had built with deep shelves in the cellar. Our cellar is warm and dry.
  • But I have in the past used these tricks:
    cardboard boxes cut down to fit under your bed to store canned goods on their side with the labels up.
  • Look for unused space, clean out a closet. I found a huge amount of space at my sister’s house by cleaning out her linen closet. She only actually used 3 of the 8 sets of sheets she had, and 8 of the 20plus bath towels. You get what I mean, clean out for more space. Now she has 2 shelves of food storage she didn’t have before and less clutter to worry about.


  • How about putting your pantry items into a tote box stacking 2 on top of each other and covering it with a tablecloth for an end table and storage. Think multi use.
    Use those stacking drawer containers. They are clear enough you can easily see what’s in each drawer.


How to pay for it all….

  • For me I wouldn’t dip into my savings or cut my budget short. Slow and steady wins the race – try purchasing just a few items each week. Say condiments. Next time you purchase mustard buy 2, one to use now and one for next time. When next time comes use the spare and add it to your list to replace the one in your pantry. It will take longer but it can be done on a small budget.
  • Each time you go shopping look for the sales and buy what you will use one for now and one or two for later.
  • Keep track of what you use and how often it goes on sale, so next time its on sale you can purchase enough until its on sale again. Even if its only your favorite toothpaste. DO WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD.

What to stock up on….

  • Don’t waste food and your money. Only purchase food you will eat. Why buy canned carrots if no one will ever eat them?
  • Only purchase an amount of food you can eat before it goes bad- remember to rotate your stock. Move the older to the front and use first and the new in the back. Throwing away food is a waste of your money and storage space.
  • Look for the best deals, check the unit prices and keep a price book.

Keep it organized…

  • If you store items in different location you might want to keep a list. Mine is all in the cupboard and I can easily see what is running low. I also write on the shopping list every time I take something out of it.
  • Create “zones” I have the big pantry cupboard for food items, metal shelving for non-food items and emergency supplies, and metal trashcans for animal feed.
  • Group like items together within each zone.: cans, boxes, baking, bathroom paper, candles, lantern oil and wicks, matches, batteries.
  • Put the heavier items on the bottom shelves.
  • Face each label so you can see it and check the expiration dates. Put the oldest ones in the back and use the one that will expire soonest first.
  • Store small packets in ziplock bags or a cardboard box cut to size.

A few things I would like to change in my pantry:

  • To paint the inside a light color so it’s easier to see.
  • I wish I had built it a bit wider. I was thoughtful enough to be sure the shelves were far enough apart that I can easily stack 2 cans on top of each other but didn’t think about lining them up side by side all the way across and mine falls a bit short and has wasted space. I could be creative and store something in there I’m sure, but my goal was consistency in the way I store things. For more years than I care to think about I stashed stuff everywhere I could find. This time I wanted easy, clutter free, convenient.

Here are a few helpful link you might like:

Where to start…


Posted on October 9, 2008, in Food Storage, House Budgets, Planning and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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