Fill Your Pantry

Your kids want a home-cooked meal, your bathroom needs a new roll of toilet paper and your husband is searching for a new roll of paper towels to clean up his latest spill. It’s enough to drive even the most sane mother to the brink of insanity. Luckily, there’s a solution that will make every family member happy. Look no further than your pantry.

For centuries, the pantry has been the world’s go-to storage solution for homes. Our ancestors had some very different options for their pantries. The Middle Ages may have been the start of the pantry’s alternative interpretations. Meats, breads and alcohols were all kept in their own special rooms. Think that’s the weirdest combination? Think again. Butlers during the 1800s actually slept in their pantries to protect valuable silverware.

No matter what its history has been. The current incarnation of a pantry has become a family’s best option for convenience and savings. Whether you’re new to setting up a pantry and a total shopping pro, we’ve got all the answers about having a pantry in your own home or apartment.

Six Reasons Why A Stocked Pantry Is Important

If you’ve never tried a pantry before and just avoided your previous ones, now is the time to start using this exciting option. Consider these great reasons why you should start a pantry today.

Saves Money
This one is a no-brainer for any families. We try to find ways to cut costs on every part of our lives. From soaps to soups, a well-maintained pantry cuts costs in every area. Some of that savings can be found by buying in bulk.

Reduces Clutter
Let’s face it. No matter how hard we try, space is always an issue in our homes and apartments. A pantry offers a solution to any cluttered area. Arranged shelving makes it easy to make up a storage system that brings order to everyday chaos.

Increases Variety
When it comes to meal planning, we can all become a bit predictable. That may come from a lack of different ingredients. With a pantry, you have more options and a wider range of ingredients to choose from. That means more variety for every meal.

Saves Time
We’re all pressed for time in our daily lives. Having a stocked pantry means less time running to the store and more time taking care of what’s important. Think of it as having your own personal shop stocked with all of your favorite brands and items.

Helps In An Emergency
Pantries offer a life-saving option if an emergency strikes. Natural disasters are a great example. If you live in an area that has hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or earthquakes, a sturdy pantry is vital to staying safe. Keeping emergency supplies on hand like batteries, flashlights and bandages as well as easy to prepare foods can really come in handy.

Promotes Healthy Eating Options
We all pick up take-out options when our family is in a hurry. Too much of these high calorie foods can lead to serious medical conditions including diabetes and high blood pressure. Stocking your pantry with easy to make healthy meal options reduces the chances of these conditions and gives your family delicious recipes that they will love.

What Items Should Be On Every Shopper’s List

There are certain staple items that turn a few average shelves into an amazing pantry. Be sure to include these items on your next shopping list. They are sure to turn any space into the pantry of your dreams.

Pasta is one of our favorite choices for any pantry. It can be used in a wide range of recipes from cool salads to warm Italian specialties. Try to purchase more than one variety to give you the most bang for your buck. Penne, Rigatoni and Spaghetti are all great choices.

A delicious sauce is good for more than just spaghetti and meatballs. Keeps a few tomato sauces on hand for quick meals such as an easy Eggplant Parmesan or Lasagna. For linguine fans, a great white sauce or basil pesto sauce should always be standing by.

Soups are always great choices during fall and winter months. Choose a few canned selections from your favorite brand for a quick boost of warmth during cold nights. One word of caution, look out for products with extremely high sodium counts. This is especially important for anyone on a special low sodium diet.

Boxed Meals
Boxed meals are the perfect option for busy families. They often feature all or most of the necessary ingredients for added convenience. With so many brands on the market, you’re sure to find new and exciting cuisine choices.

Baking Mixes And Ingredients
Baking ingredients like sugar and flour are staples in any kitchen. Keeping them on hand can prevent a failed recipe or the need to stop preparation to get additional supplies. Baking mixes are also a wise choice for pantries. From cakes to brownies, there’s a choice to suit any occasion. Keep in mind that many of these mixes require additional ingredients such as eggs or milk.

Canned Vegetables And Fruits
Canned veggies and fruits are one of the best additions to any pantry. The better selection, the more options you’ll have when it comes to meals or snacks.

Bottled Water
Bottled water is essential to keeping you and your family healthy. Whether you have a great water supply or you are dealing with less than acceptable water options, bottled water is the answer. It’s also an easy choice after workouts or sporting events.

Paper Products
Nothing can compare to running out of toilet paper and realizing there’s nothing left until you run to the store. Luckily, toilet paper and its counterpart paper towels are easily available in bulk packaging to handle any family size. Wet wipes are also helpful for families with young children and babies.

Cleaning Products
Keep several bottles of your favorite cleaning products on hand. They can deal with any messy emergency and make it easy when spring cleaning comes around. It should go without saying that any toxic items should be kept away from food.

Personal Hygiene Products
Soaps, toothpaste, toothbrushes and any other personal hygiene products are tailored made for long term storage in a pantry. You know your family will need these important products, so keep a few handy. Travel sizes are a fun choice if you love variety, but full sizes work just as well as their smaller counterparts.

Pet Products
Don’t forget a few supplies for man’s best friend and our feline companions. Stocking up on a box of cans and an extra bag of dry food puts you ahead of schedule for feedings. For cats, don’t forget a bag of that much needed litter. It doesn’t spoil and stays fresh for a long time. We haven’t forgotten small animals, birds and fish. All of their food sources, treats and toys can be safely stored in your pantry.

What To Avoid When Stocking Your Pantry

It’s easy to make a mistake when stocking your first pantry. Even skilled pantry shoppers have fell for one of these common errors.

This one we’ve all been guilty of from time to time. A good deal here and a one time only sale there can lead to mass overstocking of your pantry. We love a great sale as much as anyone else, but you have to consider you’re space and how long it will take to use any product. Keeping an updated spreadsheet or file on your smartphone can help you avoid this mistake.

Products With Short Shelf Lives
No deal is that great if it’s going to spoil when you get it home. Simply put, keeping something that none of you will eat wastes money. If something is going to expire quickly, consider whether your family will use it before the listed expiration date. A no answer means leaving it at the store for another untrained shopper.

Areas Open To The Elements
When you put together a pantry, your first consideration will probably be the items you put in it. Take a moment to think about your pantry’s location. An area that is exposed to the elements, especially rain or water can destroy your entire pantry’s stock. Instead, look for a cool, dry space that stays dark when not in use. Contact or shelving paper will also help if you need an extra amount of protection from debris.

We all known pests love our scraps and food. The pantry is no exception when it comes to pest control. Keep products in air tight containers if previously opened. Do regular spot checks to find any problems. Most, if not all, animals will flee when caught by a human. If that fails, you can also try pest deterrent sprays.

The Best Stores For Pantry Shoppers

Any dedicated shopper will tell you that not all stores are created equal. This is especially true when it comes to shopping for your pantry. Keep these stores in mind when its time to go shopping.

Costco is the only membership club on our list. Renowned for its bulk sales and amazing prices, Costco will quickly become one of your favorites too. If you’re unsure about how a membership club works, the chain offers free shopping passes for first time customers. After that, you’ll be required to purchase an annual membership. Prices vary based on membership level and number of memberships your family will need.

Target is a favorite among families and it’s easy to see why. Their Archer Farms brand of food items makes quick work of any shopping list. Plus, the prices are not that bad. Some items can be more expensive, so check around for the weekly deals. They are conveniently placed at the entrance doors. Online shopping is also available through the company’s website. It’s a safe and easy way to get your favorite items. Delivery costs are usually small and the benefits of not carrying large items from the store to your home outweigh those fees.

For years, Kmart was the only game in town for many shoppers. With increased competition came increased problems for the chain. The company heard complaints and renewed its commitment to the customer by bringing back their popular layaway program. This solution can help families that may not have the funds for a stocked pantry, but will be getting them in a short time. Much like their rivals, weekly circulars offer the best deals and coupons on selected products.

Walmart and its membership only Sams Club chain of stores is arguably one of the most popular options for pantry shoppers. The business offers rollback deals and special savings that are hard to find at other stores. All of the special savings comes at a price that may be too high for ethical shopper. The company has been found to offer low wages to its employees. In many situations, full time Walmart staffers report a need for government assistance such as Medicaid and food stamps. The products in stores are equally as troubling. Many of Walmart’s good come from overseas producers, some of which have been cited for dangerous working conditions or child laborers.

Best Buy
If you’re looking for accessories or replacement items for electronics, Best Buy is the perfect choice. Their range of products cover a variety of items from vacuum cleaner bags to spare headphones. Prices can run a bit higher than bargain stores, but you’ll actually be getting brand name products from trusted producers.

There has never been a better time to add a pantry to your home. With so many organizers on the market and a range of products with long shelf lives, the options are endless. You and your family will love how it brings new flavor to every routine. Plus, you’ll save time on those costly trips to the store. Get started on your pantry today and let us know how it goes. Remember, there’s no wrong way to do this. Just have fun!