Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Prepping in your Kitchen!

     When you made your list of what you have, I hope you made yourself familiar with what you have on hand in your pantry or food cabinets.  You can best see what you use and what you don’t. 

     I hate my mom’s pantry because she likes some strange things.  She has a jar of pearl onions.  These are the kind of onions often served in a mixed drink.  My mom doesn't drink!  She likes the taste of these onions, so she bought them, but the sell by date was seven years ago.  So, let’s say she likes them every ten or twenty years and thinks it’s nice to have them on hand for that rare urge.  They are brown and there is no liquid in the jar.  I tossed them.  We had a lively ‘discussion’ as I did it!  You can’t complain to ME about not having storage space if you fill it with stuff you don’t use within 12 months of purchase.

     Go through your cabinets and separate out everything you haven’t used in the twelve months since you bought it.  Donate it to a food bank.  As long as you have made a mess, take out everything and wipe out the shelves!  You are already half way there, so, wipe it clean!  As you put away your groceries, think.

     Think how much you use in a week of each item you are putting back, how often in a month, how often in a year.  Ask yourself why you are giving space to something you use once a year, are you storing it well enough to last for years, will it last two years?  I hope you know that I know you have food coloring and cookie sprinkles and half a tube of cake icing and some other delicacies like cocktail onions!  Take them out of the weekly grocery area and store them together in a basket or Tupper container that lost its lid in an area not accessed every day.    Make a list of everyday items.  You are almost ready to go shopping. 

     If you eat rice, put a 10 lb. bag on your list instead of a one pound bag.  If you eat a lot of Macaroni & Cheese, look for deals and buy more.   If you only consume soup in the winter, check the sell by dates in the store, use your coupons and buy soups on sale in summer for less and store them for the winter. Stock your kitchen well with the things you really use and you will save money and have more things you really use instead of clutter.

     From your list of things you use, you have accomplished a list of what to buy when prepping for disaster.  You will also have what you know you will use on hand when you need it.  You are saving time and money for gas by stocking well.  One of my sons has a regular kitchen cupboard where he and his wife store the staples for the house.  He has another shelving unit with one flat of each item that is in the cupboard.  This is the shelf where they go if they run out of that one can of corn that wasn't in the cupboard instead of running to the grocery store twenty minutes before dinner.  If a storm threatens, they don’t have to rush to hoard items they may need in the 3-7 days after the hurricane.  It is already in the house.  They replace any item taken from the backup stores when they next do their grocery store shopping.  They have their long term prep foods in another location.

     If you are a hopeless impulse shopper, make a list of things you never want to see in your pantry again.  Take it with you and before you go to the checkout at the store, read the list and remove the items you have forbidden yourself.  Check yourself before you check out.  How much money are you willing to throw away on things you don’t use or use up?  If you want to donate to a food bank, give what you like to eat not just what you forgot you bought.

     Know yourself, know your budget, know what you need.  Then and only then is it safe to go shopping!

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