Organize It Now

Well Stocked Pantry List- Grouping Like Items Together

What is a Well Stocked Pantry?

Gone are the days of stocking a pantry for meals for several months. Back then, food was harvested and preserved in the summer, for enjoyment in the winter. Now with the readily availability of diverse food products in most grocery stores, the pantry serves a different function. Having a well stocked pantry gives you the freedom of more spontaneous, quick, easy, healthy and creative cooking. In fact the pantry isn't really a place as much as an attitude. It's a way of thinking and planning ahead when you shop so you always have essential pantry items on hand.

The physical pantry in your home is any cool, dry area that you can store consumable food items for a length of time, including kitchen cupboards, shelves -- even a little floor space in a closet will work. Your refrigerator and freezer are part of the pantry, too!

There are basic essential items that are needed for any type of cooking. Yet other pantry items completely depend upon the type of cooking you do and the amount of space you have available.

How Does it Work?

A well stocked pantry has essential pantry items for household convenience and protection against unexpected events. Pantry items are a planned reserve of foodstuffs, dry goods or staples, things you always have on hand, so that the household will never run out of commonly used products. Ideally, the essential pantry items will keep for a long time in storage, or are fresh, perishable foods regularly used up before they spoil.

A well stocked pantry saves time, money and stress in the kitchen. Cut down the number of trips to the grocery store, so you aren't going every time you cook -- overcome a massive hurdle when trying to get food on the table.

The essential pantry items are those products you never think to buy when you're grocery shopping. But there is a good chance that you'll find yourself needing one or more of these kitchen staples at a critical time. You don't have to buy everything at once; just buy what you think you'll eat fairly often, and in small quantities so foods stay fresh. Build up your pantry gradually.

Once you get in the habit of keeping a well stocked pantry, your grocery store trips may be less frequent. Weeknight meals can easily be made without having to leave the house. Needed grocery trips become a lot quicker when you have basic pantry items in house, as you'll only need to shop for perishable foods and depleted pantry items. Watch your grocery bill dwindle, as you stock your pantry with frugal finds to lower grocery costs.

Follow the well stocked pantry tips here and you will rarely find yourself short of something you need for a quick, last minute meal. Sure, if you are adventurous and are making a new recipe or something special, you will need to hit the grocery store.

What your Individual Essential Pantry Items Should Be

Traditional home organization advice often specifies long lists of "recommended pantry items", idea being that you buy them and voila! you've got a pantry. A year and a half later, you're hauling dusty cans of french cut beans halves to the Food Bank and wondering what ever came over you to purchase them in the first place.

Reality check! Each family's pantry will vary according to their own tastes, needs and standard of living. Storage space and monetary constraints also affect your basic pantry list.

For instance, young family will build pantries with cereal, formula, disposable diapers and child-friendly snack foods. Empty-nesters with an active social life and his-and-hers diets will lean toward pickled artichokes, specialty crackers and tiny jars of caviar for pick-up appetizers.

Dedicated home bakers include specialty flours, nuts, and dried buttermilk powder in their pantries, while non-cooks rely heavily on microwave entrees and freezer pizza. And just about every family can stockpile basics for kitchen and bath: toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry and dishwasher detergent, food wrap and paper napkins.

How to determine your individual essential pantry items? Your first source is your grocery list! If you buy it, use it, and it can be stored, it's on your basic pantry list. Remember your refrigerator and freezer real estate. Carrots, potatoes, oranges and apples enter the pantry zone when bought on sale and tucked into corners of the vegetable bin, while freezer convenience entrees qualify, too.

Bottom line: build a pantry to suit your family. Whether it's Kraft Dinner or Wolfgang Puck's upscale condensed soups, feature your family's favorites on the pantry shelves.

How to Build your Well Stocked Pantry & Keep it Well Stocked!

If you are just starting your pantry off, instead of running up a huge grocery bill by buying everything for your pantry at once, simply pick up a few items each time you shop. It's a work in progress. A beginner's pantry focuses on convenience and contains back-up products for each storable item used in the home. The standard is simple: for each open bag, box or carton in the household, the pantry contains a second, back-up product, from soap to soup.Your basic pantry items will evolve as you become more aware of what you eat and not eat. Nothing is set in stone and you'll adjust your pantry item list to reflect your regular eating patterns.

If there are favorite recipes that are heavy in your rotation, buy the ingredients in multiples; that way you'll always have what you need on hand to make it a few times. If a tried-and-true recipe calls for a can of diced tomatoes, buy three or four and always be ready.

If an ingredient is on sale, stock up and take advantage of the low pricing. Grocery stores routinely offer tuna, tomato sauce, canned soup and canned beans at ultra low prices to get shoppers in the door. If it's a pantry candidate and it's on sale, buy multiples! Skim your local grocery store flyers weekly to find your essential pantry items on sale.

Tips for a Well Stocked Pantry

  • Arrange items on shelves so that the oldest ones are at the front and most likely to be used first.
  • Buy only the items you need and don’t buy large quantities unless you use the item frequently.
  • Write the purchase and expiration date with a sharpie on the top of all cans
  • Write the purchase date on bottles of herbs and spices. Throw out any unused portion after one year.
  • Use items like baking powder and baking soda before their expiration dates to make sure that they work they way they are suppose to!
  • When you use up a pantry item, write it on your shopping list right away so you remember to replace it

Using and replacing food on a regular basis ensures that nothing gets so old that it loses its palatability or nutritional value and that cans and jars don't sit around long enough to rust through.

Enter a purchased date & best before date.

Suggested Basic Pantry Items

Your pantry should have similar items grouped together, so it takes minimal thinking to get what you need out of your kitchen pantry.

Canned Goods
  • Canned Soup
  • Canned Fish
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste
  • Black Beans
  • Chick Peas
  • Coconut Milk
  • Evaporate Milk
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Oil & Vinegar
  • Salad Dressings
  • Dip Mixes
  • Condiments
  • Bread Crumbs & Croutons
  • Sauces
Dry Goods
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Barley
  • Quinoa
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Dried Fruit
  • Dried Vegetables
  • White Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Sugar
  • Pancake Mix
  • Raisins
  • Chocolate Chips
Breakfast & Snacks
  • Cereal
  • Crackers
  • Chips & Popcorn
  • Cookies & Treats
  • Granola Bars
A professional organizer can help you with your well stocked pantry