Food storage/Pantry assignment

So, are you doing a good job grabbing some bargains here and there and slowly stocking up your pantry/food storage? Now the question is, how do you know how much food storage you actually have and how much you actually need? You have heard me talk about having a 3 month supply and the fact that we lived off of it in an emergency we dealt with. How can you estimate how much food storage you have? You have a lot of stuff but, is it enough to live off of if an emergency happened in your family?

Do you look at your food storage/pantry and say, "Well, I have 10 tubes of toothpaste, 12 boxes of cereal, 8 boxes of pantyliners, 9 deodorants and 14 boxes of macaroni and cheese." (I'm using recently stocked up items I have gotten for just a few pennies as an example LOL)) That obviously is not going to sustain your family for even a week let alone any length of time.

Now don't get me wrong, that is a great start. I got items at a great price or even free. And those are items I won't have to buy at a later date when money might be very tight. Or have to pay full price for ((shiver))!

Now, let's think about all those boxes of cereal bought at pennies on the dollar. If in an emergency situation, how are they going to be served? Granted, a lot of cereal is good to munch on just out of the box however, most of the time you need some milk to serve it. So, how is the powdered, canned or boxed milk storage coming along? Have you tried cereal with powdered milk yet? It actually isn't bad in cereal as long as it is made properly and is cold.

Many different trains of thought are out there regarding how to stock your pantry and build up your food storage. My personal method is two-fold.

1.) pick up items that go on sale and you have coupons for to get the very lowest price possible.

2.) Stock up a little at a time according to how much you put aside each week for building your food storage.

The LDS church, which is probably the very best and most thought out food storage advocate, has a lot of great information regarding what to stock, how much to stock and how long things can be stocked. If you do any kind of Internet search of food storage, 75-85% of the searches are going to produce information from the LDS church. Oh, and if you were wondering, I'm not LDS, I have just done a lot of research on this subject.

So, getting back to how to figure out how much food storage you have and how much you need. Here is what I want you to do. It isn't going to be difficult and isn't going to make you freak out...honest!

I want you to make a menu for one day. That's right, only ONE day. I want you to include everything. Write out the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also include snacks and beverages. Make sure you write out the amounts of each food item you use for your entire family. This will be best accomplished if you keep a little notebook and write down things as you fix or serve them. No guesstimating things. Write down the actually items and amounts. Remember to include any little "extras" you throw in (seasonings, a dash of this or that).

You should preferably be using a menu that you and your family enjoy on a regular basis.

The day after you have done this, organize the list of everything you ate or drank the day before. Example: (breakfast)
6 cups of cheerios
2.5 cups of milk
3 ounces of coffee
10 cups of water
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of creamer
24 ounces of orange juice
3 bananas

The above is just an example, but do you get the picture? Note, I included water. Water is very important to store. What happens if you water main breaks? Been there!

Now, over the course of this next week I want you to see what items that were either fresh, frozen or refrigerated that you used in this typical meal could be substituted with shelf stable items. For example, in the above list, everything there is shelf stable except the milk and bananas. So, obviously the milk could be powdered, canned or boxed. The bananas could be substituted for some kind of canned fruit.

Once you have done this, you now have a list of food items that you will need for one day's worth of food storage. Next up would be, how many times a month would you typically serve this days meals? If it is once a week, then you know that in order to have a months worth food for this menu would be 4 times all the ingredients you used that day.

You now know what you need to get and store for 4 days worth of meals (or however many times you would eat this menu in a month). This is a good time to make the list of ingredients out and start watching for sales or coupons for these items. Also, this weeks food storage/stocking pantry money can be directed to things on this list. Keep a little notebook with you so you can mark off how many of the items you get so, you will know for sure what you have and what you still need. I really recommend that you keep this day menu and maybe add it to a cheap 3 ring binder. That way you will already have a menu in place in case hard times hit and you need to live out of your food storage. You won't have to try to come up with meals.

I'm not telling you to stop stocking up on other items as they come on sale for rock bottom prices, but I do want you to continue to work on fulfilling this list of ingredients so that you have enough of the items to make this menu for one month.

So, that is your goal for this week. Make the menu, list the items used and start filling your pantry with those items for a months worth of that meal. And realize, even just for this one days worth of meals, it will probably take you longer than one week to accumulate the amount for one month. Most of us are experiencing hard times right now. But, at least you now know where to start.

Good luck and have fun! Please feel free to leave me a comment on how you are doing with this assignment or any other tips you may have to help us all get our pantry in order!

This post is linked to these two awesome blogs:
Tackle it Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom
Talk about Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer

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  1. This is a good reminder to think about your pantry. I've been in kind of an opposite mode lately, trying to use up stuff that I think has been on my shelves for a while. In the last few years I've gotten better about putting a date on canned goods as I put them away so at least I have a better handle on how old stuff is, and what I should be using up first. Thanks for the good reminders about checking to see what's there :)

  2. Hi Lynn, I know what you mean about "using up" items in our pantry. I do the same, oddly enough. LOL I have been working hard at rotating my food storage. I plan to write a post about that next week.
    Thanks for stopping by!
    Diann :)


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