My Food Storage Deals: Pantry Basics

Pantry Basics

>> Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Having a well stocked pantry helps make meal planning and cooking MUCH easier! One of the most frustrating parts of cooking is not having all of the ingredients you need at your fingertips. Having a well stocked pantry and food storage makes all of this EASY and fun!

I get several questions a week from people wondering how I organize my pantry. Lets just say it is not as organized as my food storage, but it works :)

Here are a few commonly asked questions:

#1--Where do I store the 25lb. bags of wheat, flour, sugar, etc. that I bring up to my pantry from my food storage room?

*I bring the bulk bags upstairs and keep them in the bottom of my pantry in a 5 gallon bucket, or on the bottom shelf. I fill the canisters I have on my counter of sugar, flour, oats, and salt for easy access, and then keep the rest of these items in the bucket in my pantry. Unless your home has a problem with rodents/bugs, this should be fine.

#2--What items do you keep stocked in your pantry?

*Basically I have one or two of everything I keep in my food storage room. The list would be quite lengthy if I were to list everything in my pantry, but here are a few of the basics that I can not do with out:
*Basic grains; wheat, flour, oats, pasta, rice, flax seed (I like to put it in a lot of breads & pancakes), cereal.
*Oils; olive oil, vegetable/canola oil, shortening, and peanut butter.
*Legumes; dried beans, canned beans (kidney, black, great northern, refried beans, etc.)
*Vegetables & Fruit; corn, green beans, mandarin oranges, pineapple, pears, peaches, etc.
*Cooking Basics; white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar ( I use vinegars in TONS of recipes and buy them in the large gallon size), soy sauce (couldn't live without that!), sesame seed oil (I LOVE Thai food!), balsamic vinegar, worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, jam, coconut milk, taco shells, etc.
*Baking goods; coconut, chocolate chips, raisins, craisins, chocolate & almond bark,
*Misc.; croutons, tortilla chips (great to have on hand for soups, dips, salads, hot cocoa, etc. **TIP: If you have leftover USED #10 cans from the Cannery, use them to help organize your pantry. You can also buy them at the cannery for around .15 each**
*Keep a well stocked spice rack/cabinet so you have all of your favorite spices on hand for a variety of meals. Some basic spices to have on hand are: chili powder, taco seasoning, cumin, Montreal Steak Seasoning (my personal favorite!!), garlic powder/salt, parsley, oregano, basil, Italian Seasoning, cajun seasoning, dry mustard, sage, ginger powder, dill weed, rosemary, poppyseeds, vanilla, baking powder & soda, cocoa, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, etc. I try to keep a year supply of these spices on hand at all times. Many of them you can buy at Costco in bulk for great prices. **TIP: If you have extra mason jars lying around, use them to store spices, dried goods, or baking goods. They are easy to see what's inside, and help your pantry stay clean**
*My wheat grinder for EASY access..making it so I can pull it out, grind wheat into flour, and have homemade bread in about an hour!

Think of your food storage as an extension of your pantry. When you keep a well stocked food storage, you will have nearly everything you need for meal planning at your finger tips. Cooking is FUN when you have all of the ingredients on hand. Keeping pantry basics on hand will make your life more simple and cooking a breeze!


Angela February 19, 2009 at 1:45 AM  

I love that you even have everything labeled so neatly! Seriously, you just need to hire yourself out as a personal organizer ;)

The Yardley's February 19, 2009 at 10:26 AM  

you read my mind! that was everything i wanted to know. thanks! love your website! i finally feel like i actually bought something at the grocery store, instead of wondering what the crap i just bought for $80. so, thank you!

Grannie K February 19, 2009 at 10:36 AM  

I like a lot of your ideas. Thank you for sharing.

Julie Avery February 19, 2009 at 10:42 AM  

I love that your pantry isn't JAM PACKED. Its totally easier to cook when you have a clean well stocked pantry. Wohoo!

And your basement is so organized. Love it!

Michelle February 19, 2009 at 11:45 AM  

I saw in an older post that the next time there were case lot sales was in Feb. Can you tell me where and how you know when stores are having case lot sales.

Anonymous February 20, 2009 at 1:46 PM  

Talk about organization and variety! Thanks for sharing your tried and tested methods.

Steve, Meghan & Elena February 20, 2009 at 4:55 PM  

Thanks for the tips! I have a question...I'm starting my food storage and want to get it soon but don't have the time to start cooking with it at all so it would sit for a while. Since you buy the majority of your staples in bulk bags, how do you properly store them? Have any of your bags gone bad? I'm debating of whether to put our staple stuff in pouches from the cannery to make sure they last, but if I don't have to, it's cheaper and less time consuming to buy in bulk. I didn't know if you had any ideas at all. Thanks!

Sweet Angel February 21, 2009 at 9:44 AM  

I notice those #10 can's look like the are from the church cannery, however they have items in them like raisins and pretzels. Do you take them to the cannery and can them yourself or do you just re-fill the cans?

Heidi February 22, 2009 at 6:26 PM  

Just a note, I had a leftover #10 can after doing some canning at home, so I thought I'd use it for storing snacks in my pantry and the plastic lid does NOT fit a #10 can until it has been run through a canning machine, because the process of canning rolls in the metal edge to the right size. So, don't go buy a bunch of cans thinking it's a cheap & easy way to organize because the lid doesn't fit!

Thayne&Jenny February 23, 2009 at 9:30 AM  

Ok, SO I wish I had alot of space to store extra food... but I don't! My husband and I are living in an apartment and well, there's not alot of room for food storage, we don't even have a panrty! I really don't want to resort to using food storage as furniture :), or cluttering up the house but am really wanting to get started on some basic food storage. Are there any crative ways to store food with limited space?

The Jenkins Family February 24, 2009 at 1:14 PM  

I found your blog through google and am totally interested. I would love to sign up for your service but I however live in las vegas. I was wondering if your deals are general store deals that would still apply at say a walmart here. We do not have a maceys here so I know that one will not help but I was wondering about the others. My ward is HUGE into food storage and so I am very interested in sharing your sight with them, I just want to make sure that it will be something worth our while, something we too could get deals out of in nevada. Thanks my email is, I would love to hear back from you.

Jeri February 24, 2009 at 2:48 PM  

I have an idea for the last commenter who was asking about where to store food without a pantry.
Do you have a linen closet? For a while I didn't have a pantry, so I took the bath towels/linens and stored them under the bathroom sink and on one of those 3-tiered a shelves that goes up above the toilet.
I bought plastic bins that fit under each bed and I now store the sheets underneath the corresponding bed. It is more convenient when it comes time to make beds, and it forced me to de-clutter - I only kept two sets of sheets for each bed - one to be on the bed while the other is in the wash, then when clean, the spare goes back into it's bin under the bed.
Hope this makes sense. It should clear out the majority of your linen closet, which you can then use as a pantry instead. Happy Food Storing!

Km February 26, 2009 at 1:33 PM  

What kind of wheat grinder would you suggest getting. I would like to get one but don't know what kind to get.Thanks for your help. I love this blog! It has helped so much!
Kari M.

Annie March 1, 2009 at 12:28 PM  

Shandra, you are my hero! Seriously. Where do you get all this energy and creativity? I just wanted to let you know that I was at a playgroup (here in Houston) a couple of weeks ago, and some of my friends were talking about this "amazing" food storage website they had found, and how they couldn't believe the pictures of the food storage in her basement. I immediately said, "well, that has to be husband's cousin that your are talking about!" Sure enough, they were talking about you! So, rest assured, the word is spreading and you are inspiring thousands. I hope I can be more like you when I grow up! :)

Nathan. Alissa. March 1, 2009 at 6:12 PM  

I've looked through your site at most of your postings. Do you actually store the recommended amounts of wheat, rice, beans, etc and actually go through it within a year? What items do YOU get in the #10 cans? Also, it's definitely cheaper to store your bulk items in the huge tubs than the #10 cans, but do you ever have a problem with bugs getting into that bag of flour you haven't used almost dating back a year? Has anyone else used your tub system and stored items that lasted longer than a year with no problems? Also, is your storage room/closet finished complete with floors, or just dry walled?

Shultzybabe March 5, 2009 at 9:06 PM  

My husband was laid off just this week. Thankfully we have been working on our food storage little by little. My sister in law was living with us for a while rent free. She just offered to come up Monday and let us have $200.00 for groceries. I think we are going to let her do that. She'll feel like she contributed because we weren't taking her money when she was struggling and it will help us out too. So with that being said... What would you buy with that money?? I really want to stretch the money. We're going on Monday. Help. :)

Nat March 12, 2009 at 7:01 PM  

Did I mention how much I LOVE your blog!? You are the B-E-S-T! I literally tell ALL my friends about you!

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