I don’t love my pantry. It’s a awkwardly-built closet, curved around the staircase. The shelves are odd shaped and deep, so deep that things get lost back there. It’s often a jumbling mess.
At the same time, I recognize what a blessing it is to have abundant storage. Having a place to store a small stockpile of dry goods allows me to stock up on things when they are on a great sale, instead of buying them at full price when I want or need them.
While we could do a major overhaul to the physical structure of the pantry, we’ve chosen not to invest that time or money into a home we are renting.
Keep it tidy.
Instead, I have to regularly go through my pantry and tidy it up. Here’s what it looked like before I snapped that first picture:
Jumbling mess, yes?
Keeping a tidy pantry is essential to both my sanity and my savings. Let me count the ways.
If I know what I have, I know what to buy. By reorganizing my pantry on a regular basis — or keeping it tidy from the get-go — I can avoid buying too much of one item and am reminded to look for a good price on a different item.
Also, if I see that I have 24 cans of organic pumpkin in my pantry, then I am reminded to use it.
(They were $0.25/can after the holidays with an expiration date of 2013. Can you blame a girl?)
Last summer a mouse invaded my house. He left a trail all through my house. We eventually caught him in the pantry. Thankfully, he was stopped before he did any damage.
I’d never had a mouse — and I hope I never do again. However, at the same time, I know that a regular inspection will alert me early to any more uninvited guests. Having critters invade the food that you so carefully shopped for can be devastating to your pocket book.
When the pantry is tidy, cooking is more enjoyable. When cooking is more enjoyable, I am not tempted by takeout, and we eat at home more often. When we eat at home, we save more money.
Tips for Keeping It Tidy
I am no cleanie. I think we’ve established that fact already. I struggle. I imagine that some women don’t need to tidy the pantry every week because they never allow it to become a jumbling mess.
Yeah, well, ahem…
Here are some strategies I use to get things back in shape:
- Stack like with like.
- Secure opened packages against rodents and bugs.
- Keep cleaning supplies away from food.
- Discard stale or expired food.
- Rotate your new supply.
- Start baking pumpkin bread, muffins, and cake!
The Eat Well, Spend Less series continues! Last month we shared with you a number of tips on how to eat great food without breaking the bank. This month we’re continuing the series with a discussion on food storage. Make sure to visit all the other bloggers this week to see their tips and tricks — or to read a past post you might have missed.