Sunday after-church Costco trips were common when I was growing up the oldest of 5 kids. When we arrived, my dad would pile us onto a flatbed cart. (They used to be smooth and fun to ride on, not the bumpy mesh they are now.) My mom would work off her mental or written list to grab the staples we needed in our pantry and freezer.
After piling the cart high, we would join a long line and take turns guessing the grand total, usually falling short of the truth told by the cash register.
When we arrived home, group participation was required for the laborious task of breaking into the boxes of canned food and trucking the items downstairs to our pantry to stack them. After a long day of church and shopping, helping with this chore felt like it took an hour, but I’m sure it was about 10 minutes all-told.
Pantry Organization 5-Day Challenge
My mom was a superhero at stocking and organizing her pantry, working hard to feed the 7 of us, plus additional guests often at our table. I could always find what I needed when I opened the pantry.
This is something I can definitely do better at in my home. If you are like me and don’t use a lot of canned food, there are still imperishable items you can buy in bulk and stock the pantry with, as well as meat you can keep in the freezer.
I have broken this 5-Day Pantry Organization Challenge into 5-10 minute portions. These don’t have to happen in 5 consecutive days. Just work on them when you have a chance!
Day 1: Organize the pantry and clean the shelves
Grab a wet rag and go to the pantry. Pull like foods together and remove expired food. Wipe the shelves with your wet rag as you go. You don’t have to take everything off the shelf, just shuffle the cans and boxes as you wipe and sort.
Day 2: Make a list of food in the pantry
Make a list of the food in your pantry. Write down quantity for each item.
I include a pantry inventory list in my printable meal planners in my shop.
Day 3: Brainstorm foods to add to your pantry
Brainstorm the imperishable foods you eat a lot of and it would be handy to have those on hand regularly. Add these to your pantry list and just keep the quantity at zero, but now you can reference this when you shop.
Day 4: Brainstorm emergency pantry supplies
How many days could you feed your family in an emergency? It’s recommended to have 72 hours’ worth, bare minimum. Could you feed yourself and your family for 3 days from what is in your pantry? Is there anything you need to stock up on to improve your supply? P.S. You might not want pinto beans for breakfast.
Day 5: Make a meal plan from the pantry food you need to use up
Make a free meal plan! What foods have been sitting in your pantry and freezer for awhile? Plan a meal or two for next week that can use up the old ingredients. Maybe you have a week’s worth. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save on groceries this month by meal-planning from the odds and ends you have on hand.
That’s it! Have fun getting your pantry in ship shape!