August 24, 2010

Pantry Purge Update

After checking out some of your blogs, I started to feel embarrassed.  I thought our food stockpiles were somewhat normal.  My mother has a big freezer in her laundry room along with extra shelving for those items that are "on deck" and are waiting for a home.

Jay's parents have an extra mini fridge for drinks and quite possibly a deep freezer or two in the garage or basement.  (I'm not allowed to go in either.)  Also, Jay's Pawpaw has an extra refrigerator in his garage.  An abundance of food is normal right?

Well not according to your pictures.  Some of you (who have more people than me to feed) aren't working with the space I have to work with.  Quite frankly my excess is embarrassing. 

Warning - I took pictures of most of the places I have food in the house. This blog is going to be very picture heavy.

Jay thinks the cabinets are beginning to look a bit sparse.  I haven't been to Sams Club in a while nor have I shopped at the store with my mind on stockpiling. 

Okay so I'm cheap and by Big K (the Kroger generic) soda.  Jay loves orange and grape soda and the generic tastes the same.  And I get them for $1.99 a 12 pack. 

(Please overlook the dirty clothes hamper also in this photo - I don't have a laundry room, just a laundry closet.  The hamper stays on top of the dryer, unless I'm doing laundry.  That must have been the case when this picture was taken.)

Here is the top portion of the pantry.  Notice the Tupperware with a brown substance in there?  I'd like to claim that's brown rice, but I'd be lying.  Both that container, and the Christmas snowman tub are filled with popcorn Jay received in a tin for Christmas.  The remainder has since been thrown out.

Also, yes those are cases of canned green beans, corn, and sweet peas.  Meijer had them on sale for $0.30 a can or something insane like that and Jay had his mom get us 3 cases of each.  (We don't have a Meijer nearby, but his parents do.)

Here is the bottom portion of the pantry.  Lots of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce.  We love spaghetti and chili in my house.  Well I love how easy it is to make, and Jay swears my chili is the best non-chili in the world.  (According to him, its not real chili if you can eat it from a plate.  Mine is thick and hearty enough to eat with a fork.)

The most embarrassing thing in that photo?  The bottle of strawberry daiquiri mix.  Jay and I bought it on our honeymoon and I had daiquiris that whole week.  We didn't use it all and brought the rest home.  We've been married 2 years come fall.

This is the freezer in my kitchen.  Its stuffed full of things that have already been opened - bags of fries, hash browns, pizza rolls.  We check here first, before going out to the mud room freezer.

When I took this picture the refrigerator was actually kinda full.  Eggs have been eaten, beer drank, and some wilted lettuce thrown out.  I wanted to get a picture of the after but I couldn't find Jay's camera.

On top of the fridge was my empty bottle of Darma Initiative beer, bread, and some chips.  Those are all long gone by now and Jay has stashed the beer bottle.

I had trouble taking pictures of the big freezer in the mud room, because the door kept shutting on me.  Here's the door though.  Those big jugs and powerade bottles are full of water - I've read that full freezers are more energy efficient.  Also, in case of emergency we'd just have to wait for them to thaw and we'd have a decent water supply.

More crap.  And some not crap - the frozen tilapia is perfect for those nights I really don't feel like cooking.  Just a little lemon pepper and some time baking in the convection oven and I've got a healthy meal.  (Remember all those canned veggies?)

The 2nd draw is full of frozen veggies.  I tend to throw those into one dish meals I make, just to add in some veggie content.  We love stir-fry so I tend to stock up on those veggies when Kroger has them on sale for $1.  Last time I was at Sams I bought that box of Boca burgers and I love them. The taste is good, but I love how simple they are to make.  Just 2 minutes in the microwave and I have dinner!

Some chicken, ground turkey, beef tips, and chicken thighs round out the rest of my freezer.

I also have a cereal/baking products cabinet as well as one full of spices, and a drawer with Kool-aid and chili, spaghetti, and alfredo sauce packets.

This weekend I made a list of all the items I have on hand and put it in an excel spreadsheet.  Turns out I have 170 different items in my kitchen.   I'm not taking about 10 boxes hamburger helper + 3 containers chicken.  I mean 170 different varieties of food in my house. 

I told you it was embarrassing!

So for the month of September I'm vowing not to grocery shop.  I will use my pantry stores to make breakfast, lunch and dinner each evening.  Like many of you suggested, I'll take the planning a week at a time, surveying what I have on hand at the moment.

I'm giving myself $15 a week ($60 for the month) for fresh produce.  I also want to know, given how much we have on hand, how quickly we'd go through it. 

I was reading Shop, Save, Share by Ellie Kay this weekend and she told about an ice storm her family experienced.  Because of her food stockpile, her family didn't go hungry.

While it seems like a lot of food just looking at it, I'd like to know just how long it'd last us if we had to rely on it.  We're not in an area that gets lots of snow, but I am married to a man that works off straight commission.

No sales = no paycheck.

Sure we have our emergency fund in place, but it'd be nice to know that on those months we don't have as much money coming in we can skimp on grocery shopping and not have very much money going out as well.

Now that I've bored you with the details of mine, how's your pantry purge coming?


  1. Okay, I am determined to do this with you (as much as possible). I told Kyle about it a couple of days ago, and he looked at me like I'd lost my mind. But I like the idea of using fresh produce. Hopefully, I can keep up!!!

  2. I am so impressed! My daughter was just showing me her stockpile and she's getting a nice one built up too. I need to work on mine.

  3. Good luck on your pantry purge challenge. We've been slowly using up our stockpile too b/c I don't want to end up like my MIL and serve 5 year old soda and chips. Oy!

  4. Don't feel embarrassed - I am just as bad (probably even worse) than you. We have two fridges (both with a freezer on top that is very full), a deep freezer, a large pantry cupboard, a small "snack" cupboard, cereal/chips/bread above the fridge, AND, we sometimes use our landlords extra freezer that they have over top of their beer fridge in the barn.

  5. I haven't even thought of cleaning my pantry. Maybe I should.
    : )

  6. Good job!! It is great to be able to live off what you have in the house. The trick truly is to rotate the food so you don't have to throw any away because it goes bad. You have a Fantastic start to being able to spend little at the grocery store, eat well, and rotate what you have.
    It will pay off big time!!
    You Rock!!

  7. Wow! I think you'd have no problem living off of your pantry for awhile. It looks like you've got a good variety of food.

    It's interesting, we didn't have a really hugely stocked pantry when I was growing up; not sure if that's a California thing (no weather to trap us where we lived) or if it was just my family. My husband, a midwesterner, definitely stockpiles the pantry well. We have kitchen cupboards + hallway closet + part of a closet in the garage with food stuff! We also keep a separate earthquake kit, which needs rotating about once a year.

  8. WAY TO GO!!! you have more food in your house than I do for childcare & home :) I can't wait to see you do!!!

  9. I tend to stockpile, especially when I'm able to get stuff for super cheap (like school supplies right now, but mostly canned goods!) After you've completed this challenge, do you plan to stockpile again? We are in an area that is at risk for hurricanes, so stockpiling has come in handy!

  10. I cannot believe you have so much food! My pantry and fridge are looking so bare compared to yours!!! Awesome!!! I just recently finished this pantry challenge! Came up with so many creative ideas to finish all the food I had. Love the Dharma beer!!! lol I had the chance to get some Dharma beans in a contest but I picked out some Jack pins instead. lol

  11. I think that is totally ok. When we get low on food, I kind of panic. I grew up in a house where food was bought in bulk with coupons, and when there is a deal, you stock up.
    Totally normal. And, hey during armagedon, I am totally heading over to your place!


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