Pantry Building: Grandmother’s idea

The grocery and household supplies spending for large and medium size families doesn’t have to be huge though the food and supplies are. And building a pantry for these supplies doesn’t have to be difficult. I think that moms with just a few children can benefit from learning some shopping tips as well as stocking their home with supplies and food to serve their size family adequately.
The frustration levels and stress that a mom deals with when the pantry is bare, the kids are hungry and the husband is about to walk in the door is draining. Having that area of our life prepared and taken care of lifts a huge burden.
I have started building my pantry and we have been reaping the incredible benefits of returning to the idea of “grandmother’s pantry”. I have cleaned up some shelves that now house laundry detergent, stain cleaner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, shaving cream, shampoo, diapers and other household and personal supplies. The kitchen pantry is also being built with the same purpose: buy multiple quantities on sale with the goal of limiting immediate need buying.
I was reading an article about building your pantry that mentioned the old time custom of Grandmother’s Pantry. It said:

Your grandmother surely had one; your mother probably did, too. But as a contemporary cook in a contemporary home, you may not have one at all. A pantry—that is, a “room or closet, usually near a kitchen, in which food, silverware, dishes, etc. are kept,” as Webster’s puts it.
That’s a shame. Keeping a pantry is an honorable custom. Your grandmother’s pantry was likely filled with jars of fruits and vegetables, maybe even some she put up herself……

Pantry building is a foreign concept in today’s society. We are very dependent on the stores being open and readily available when ever we have a need. Most families are extremely dependant on a weekly basis. In times past, this shopping style was not common practice.
As I started to build my pantry, the first thing I realized was how incredibly vulnerable I was. Say a huge snow storm shut the town down for a couple of days or something happened on a national level, we wouldn’t eat! I ran a instant consume pantry.
Over the last few months, I have put much time and effort into building my pantry. I have my basics: pasta, rice, beans, canned tuna and chicken, oats, grain. I am adding other items and rotating my supplies as to not buy and let sit.
For example, I have been buying juice on sale over the last couple of months. I bought 6 jugs of Motts Natural Apple Juice several weeks ago. Recently, I bought 12 more on sale for about .57 cents each. I will put my new jugs in the back and move the rest of the jugs forward. The key is to rotate your supplies. Another example: I bought 20 cans of organic diced tomatoes last week. The sale was .77 cents buy one, get one free. I had ten .40 cent coupons that were doubled, allowing me to “buy” those 20 cans for free. Another one of my pantry building deals was using a $10 rebate on Delmonte canned fruit and veggies, combining that with coupons and sales to not only benefit my pantry, but saved a lot of money as well. This month I also bought 50 lbs of grain from a natural food co-op and figured out that 50 pounds isn’t going to go as far as I thought it would. I will need to adjust for this miscalculation and buy more next ordering time.
To begin Pantry Building:
Spend some time planning out what sort of pantry build you want to implement. A month? Three months? Six months?
What types of basic items do you consume and how much of it will you need? List out some basics: beans, rice, pasta, grain, flour, oats, salt, sugar, oil etc.
What types of flavor builders can you use with these foundations? canned tomatoes, canned veggies, cream soups, variety of spices, oils and vinegars, canned milk.
What types of refrigerator and freezer items do you use and need to have a stock of? butter, meat, frozen veggies, frozen fruit, condiments.
What types of household supplies will you need?
After you have developed a pantry list, you may have to take some time to pay attention to the amount used during a typical month. I have recorded several usage statistics on different items in our home. For example, I know about how long one tube of toothpaste lasts or how long it takes to use up a roll of toilet paper, a pack of diapers, a box of 4 sticks of butter, a bottle of laundry detergent etc. I use a sharpie pen and mark the date on the bottle or package or make a note of the date and from that am able to figure out how long it took to use it up. I then multiply that by how long I want to store it for and determine about how many of each I item I need.
I stock up on items when they are at their lowest price and try to stock the amount I need for the length of time I have determined, although many times it takes several weeks or months to do this. The first step is making a list.
Eventually, I want to implement several freezer building days into my work week. I have experimented with making and freezing bread dough and cookie dough with excellent results. I know it is probably my overworked mind, but I literally dream of a freezer with neatly stacked and labeled bags of homemade pizza dough, bread dough, and varieties of cookie dough.
Pantry building is one of the wonderful managerial opportunities we have as homemakers to provide for our family.


  • sarah says:

    They have a survival bucket for sale at Costco for $109, pretty nifty. I think my pantry is built up pretty good because of my neurotic need to organize. đŸ™‚

  • Jillian says:

    I’m a big fan of a full pantry too. I get feeling insecure if my pantry isn’t full! (-: We are planning to sell our car so having a full pantry will be even more important, as we will have to get on the bus or walk to get groceries. Being frugal is very important to us, and making things home made is much cheaper, and easier with lots of supplies on hand.