Many of us tend to operate on auto-pilot mode while buying groceries and planning meals. However, have you ever stopped to think about whether you actually make use of everything in your pantry? Do you ever find yourself staring at an unidentifiable item in your freezer, or struggling to access the items you know are in there because it’s so packed?
As food prices continue to rise and shortages become more common, it’s important to be intentional about planning, shopping, and using all the items we purchase.
Join me for a simple pantry challenge
Let’s take control of the pantry and food storage we have on hand, so we can better plan for future purchasing, growing, and sourcing of our family’s food.
This series of posts and videos will include the basic steps I am taking to use the food in my home, while either not going to the grocery store, or limiting my grocery purchases to the perishables we do not have on hand.
The Rules – There are NONE!
This challenge is for you, and while I will share what I am doing and why, you will need to decide what is best for your home and family. You are in charge, you decide what the boundaries of the challenge are for you and your household.
These are my plans!
I will be taking the following steps in my home and will share the tools I use, printable sheets, and more as we go through the next few weeks.
- Choosing a timeframe
- Setting Goals
- Inventory of food
- Meal planning
- Future planning and prep
- Organizing and keeping inventory updated
Choosing a timeframe
To prepare for my No Spend #PantryFreezerChallenge, I will dedicate one week to inventory, meal planning, and organizing. During this time, I will document and share as much of the process as possible. Once the first week is complete, I will start the actual no spend* pantry challenge during the second week. This means that I will only eat what we have and not spend any money on groceries for one week. Once the week is up, I will repeat the process until I achieve my goals.
* To be clear, I will be allowing the weekly purchase of milk, coffee cream, and a small amount of fresh fruit.
My goals going into the #PantryFreezerChallenge are:
- to get organized
- use items that have been stored the longest
- donate what we will not use
- preserve some items from the freezer in shelf-stable formats
- get back to meal planning weekly
- eat only what we have on hand (getting creative with meals, baking, and preserving)
- reduce spending as much as possible for the duration of the challenge
Inventory of food
This will be the most daunting task for me, and I am positive I am not alone in this. My pantry is spread out between shelves, cupboards, closets, and on 2 floors. I have a freezer in the kitchen, part of my refrigerator, and a large deep freeze in my basement.
My deep freeze needs to be defrosted, so I will be emptying mine to do this. Using coolers, cooler bags, and outside on my deck while I defrost.
Planning all of our meals around what we have will be easier, in some ways, than planning with the option to go to the store. My main goal here is to get back to meal planning and prepping food each week to make meals easy, frugal, and quick.
Future planning and prep
By taking inventory of EVERYTHING, I should be able to better predict what we need on hand, what to plant in a garden and preserve, if we want to purchase in bulk, etc.
Organizing and keeping inventory updated
My Organizing goal for this challenge is to update my inventory at the beginning of every month and compare my usage of stocked food vs grocery store purchasing. By updating monthly, I will have a better understanding of what to preserve in the future and plan accordingly. This will allow me to plan for stocking up on deals and not overbuying just because I see a deal.
Are you joining us on this challenge? If so, you can download my inventory sheets as PDF files here.