Peek Inside My Pantry – Use This Tool To Help Plan A Year’s Worth Of Food & Supplies

Every year I “put to store” about a year’s worth of food and supplies for my family.
I begin in June when serious gardening commences and try to be finished by the end of October. My tool for planning a year’s worth of food and household supplies is a detailed and complete household inventory.
For over 25 years I’ve done a yearly household inventory and recommend the practice to anyone seriously interested in a more self-reliant life.

October 2010 -Basement Pantry

October 2010 -Basement Pantry

By now I’m pretty proficient at estimating the quantities of food and household supplies for my family for a year or longer, due to sheer applied experience.


But when I was younger and there was no such thing as the internet. Basic household management information had to be obtained by way of “home economics” books checked out of the local public library, or by the oral tradition and histories from the 2 generations of women preceding me.

In the beginning when I started to plan for a year’s worth of household needs, I had absolutely no idea about how many rolls of toilet paper, green beans, Q-Tips, pounds of hamburger or coffee were used in my home in any given year.

The way that I was able to determine that information was with a wall calendar diary and pen.

Every time I’d open a package of chicken, a box of laundry detergent, a bottle of aspirin or jar of peanut butter I’d note it on the calendar. I was determined and faithful about recording all food, supplies and ordinary household sundries.

By the end of the first year I had a pretty good idea of what I was and wasn’t using and how much of each item I was consuming.

It took me about 2 or 3 years of really paying attention and keeping track of what was actually occurring in my home to be able to make educated guesses so I could confidently plan for a year’s worth of food and supplies and not waste a penny. I had to learn about and understand my own family’s unique cycle of consumption.

I’m sure that there may be other ways or better ways to glean that type of personal household information, but the simple calendar supply diary is what worked for me and got me started on the road to plan for a year’s worth of food and supplies.

Clean Empty Upright Freezer In June

Clean Empty Upright Freezer In June

With a yearly inventory I’m able to notice  possible patterns of changing food ways, behaviors or brand preferences and can make the necessary adjustments. The information I gain provides the foundation for a master household and pantry shopping list.

Shopping For Pantry Supplies In July 2008

Shopping For Pantry Supplies In July 2008

By planning and purchasing  household supplies and certain food stuffs ahead of when I actually need them or run out, I save time, money and gas because I’m not making weekly trips to the grocery store.
Most of the time, the only “shopping” I ever do between the months of November and June is in my basement pantry with a laundry basket.
Once I have a list to work with I know exactly what fruits and vegetables I need to grow for any particular year and how much I can expect to home can or freeze. My list also informs me as to type or quantity of livestock or poultry needed to be raised or butchered in any given year.

Freezer Beef

Freezer Beef

I’ll use my master list to help me buy and then store a year’s worth of food and household supplies that I can’t or don’t want to produce myself – things like light bulbs, paper towels, dishwasher soap, lipstick, olive oil, brown sugar – you get the idea.

By spreading the purchase of store bought items out over the course of 5 months my monthly budget is not as impacted and the acquisition and storage is easily accomplished.

Upright Freezer In October

Upright Freezer In October

 I’m almost ready to write my master household supply and pantry list for this year.
I spent 3 days last week cleaning out all my cupboards, closets, freezers and pantry and this year’s inventory is just about complete. I still need to take an inventory of all the “Personal Care & Medicine” stuff, but think I’ll wait until next week to tackle it. It will only take about 20 minutes.

 This year I had a few unexpected surprises with my 2013 inventory.

Inventory Of Kitchen Cupboard

Inventory Of Kitchen Cupboard

I was actually shocked at how little white cane sugar I have on hand – less than 3bs. I was also  surprised at how much peanut butter we used this past year – over 25 lbs!
Turns out I still have green beans left from 2010 & 2011 and I have more than enough canned beef and pork to go another year. I had forgotten that I canned part of a pig last year.
I should have exactly enough canned sauerkraut, vegetable beef soup and red beets to carry me through until spring and summer 2014. I will be making jams and jellies this year which is something I haven’t had to do for the last 2 years.

Concord Grapes In September

Concord Grapes In September

Because I did an inventory I now have a clear understanding of what’s NOT on my pantry shelf.  I know that this summer I need to grow lots of tomatoes. I’m desperate for whole tomatoes and tomato juice. In fact I had to buy 5 cans of grocery store crushed tomatoes (hasn’t happen in 25 years) just to hold me over until the end of this summer.
I can also see from this year’s inventory that I’m still growing way too much garlic and broccoli. This summer I’ll only plant 8 or so broccoli plants, but there’s not much I can do about the surplus garlic because it was planted last October.

Hopefully our orchard will escape the predicted frost and we’ll have a good apple crop this year. If we are spared a hard frost  I’ll be able to make plenty of apple sauce, cider and apple butter, with a bushel or two of apples to store in the basement. Also it looks like my pear trees will bear heavy this year so I’m planning on canning lots of pears.

Waiting For A Turn At The Local Cider Press

Waiting For A Turn At The Local Cider Press

It will take me another week or so to actually sit down and write out my master shopping list.

When I do I’ll be sure to share it just in case you are interested in perusing what types food and household supplies two middle age strangers living in western Pennsylvania will eat and use in one year’s time. After all the whole point of blogging and the internet is to be nebby.

And just in case you’re too shy or too busy to comment… no, I’m not a bit worried about other people seeing my “preps” or murdering mobs and bands of desperate starving neighbors or zombies storming my house when the economic collapse comes.
I put back extra food and supplies every year in the event of a local or national catastrophe to help those less fortunate or who have fallen on hard times and I suggest that you do too.

**As a side note, I happened to find 2 Pantry & Supply Lists from the old GRANNY MILLER website. The lists are from 2007 & 2008. I posted them Saturday morning under the category ‘PANTRY’. You can find them at the top of the page, under ‘KITCHEN’.

So without further ado, except for dish soap and a few cleaning products under the kitchen sink and in the bathroom dresser, what follows below is pretty much all the food and supplies in my house that are left over after a hard winter and a very long year.

 

 2013 Pantry Inventory List – May 2013

Seasoning & Condiments & Oil & Tea & Coffee & Specialty & Spices

1 bottle dry sherry + 1 cup Marsala wine
1 jar tahini
dry corn husks for tamales
4 ½ large cans coffee
3 boxes lemon herb tea
1 box red raspberry herb tea
1 large box black tea
1 jar green olives
2 cans black olives
1 jar artichoke quarters
2 jars sweet relish
1 bottle lemon juice
1 large bottle ketchup
2 medium squeeze bottles yellow mustard
4 jars mayonnaise
6 jars Miracle Whip
1 jar beef soup base concentrate
1 small can water chestnuts
4 small pkgs. Jello – 2cherry/2 orange
#2 sea salt
#4 bulk salt
4 bottles soy sauce
1 bottle barbecue sauce
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 #2 package Tender Quick meat cure
# 4 corn starch
½ 4 oz. jar powdered pectin
small bag citric acid
4 small envelopes gelatin
3 ½ quarts red wine vinegar
1 gallon cider vinegar
6 gallons white vinegar
3 large paprika
1 large red pepper flakes
1 large chili powder
1 large ground black pepper
½ large ground cumin
½ large dry minced onion
½ pound za’atar
1 12oz. garlic powder
1 3 oz. red ground red pepper
3 ½ gallons olive oil
small amount ground ginger
#1 ground nutmeg
#1 ground cinnamon
½ lb. ground cloves
ground allspice
.25 lb. ground sumac
ground mustard
ground turmeric
ground curry
½ lb. pretzel salt
½ 3oz. jar meat tenderizer
cream of tartar
# 2 baking soda
# 2 baking powder
# 1 canning salt
whole dried cumin
whole dried caraway seed
whole dried oregano
whole poppy seed
whole dried basil
whole coriander seed
dried orange peel
ground marjoram
ground cardamom
.33 lb. celery seed
whole anise seed
ground thyme
ground white pepper
whole cloves
whole fennel seed
dried cilantro
whole black pepper corns
whole mustard seed
1 oz. almond extract
7 oz. maple flavoring
7 ½ 7 oz. bottles pure vanilla extract
.75 oz. anise oil
.50 oz. peppermint oil
7 rennet tablets
# 7 honey
# 5 bread crumbs
2 pkgs. croutons
# 4 stuffing mix

Flour & Grains & Dry Beans
# 60 white flour
# 15 bread flour
1 box cake flour
1 ½ boxes baking mix
# 2 masa flour
1 ½ lbs. yellow corn meal
# 2 macaroni
# 8 white rice
# 8 red kidney beans
#4 chick peas
# 4 lentils
# 2 black beans
# 2 barley pearls
1 large old-fashioned cooking oats
#2 bulgur wheat
½ box cream of wheat cereal
# 4 rotini

Baking Supplies & Goods
#1 raisins
1 32oz. bottle corn syrup
# 2 crunchy peanut butter
#1 chopped dates
4 ounces instant tapioca
# 7 light brown sugar
# 2 confectioner’s sugar
6 ¼ bottles of dark molasses
6 cans sweeten condensed milk
3 cans evaporated milk
½ can cooking spray
1 7 oz. marshmallow creme
1 ¼ can of vegetable shortening
2 boxes food coloring
round toothpicks
cupcake/muffin papers

Grocery Store Canned Food
4 15 oz. cans of pumpkin
2 15 oz. cans great northern beans
1 28 oz. bake beans
5 15 oz. cans garbanzo beans
1 14 oz. can beef broth
2 10 oz. cans baby clams
5 cans smoked kippers
2 14 oz. cans pink salmon
5 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
3 24 oz. jars tomato pasta sauce
2 cans tomato soup
4 10.5 oz. cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 10.5 oz. cans cream of chicken soup
16 2 oz. cans tomato paste

Home Canned Food
1 pint applesauce
1 pint elderberry syrup
1 pint concentrated cranberry juice
3 1 ½ pints cranberry sauce
3 quarts black beans
13 ½ pints mushrooms
10 quarts sauerkraut
13 quarts canned pork
18 quarts canned beef
12 pints boneless chicken breast
12 quarts green beans
14 quarts yellow wax beans
2 quarts chili
8 pints salsa
21 pints of beets
10 quarts chicken soup
20 quarts beef vegetable soup
6 quarts beef stock
5 pints beef stock
22 pints tomato sauce

Freezers
4 boxes of pierogies
# 22 wheat berries
1 bag of cranberries
2 quarts blueberries
16 quarts broccoli
# 3 butter
2 skinless chicken breasts
#5 yellow corn meal
#200 + or – assorted beef cuts
1 cut & wrapped lamb

Household Products
3 rolls paper towels
2 bottles toilet cleaner
1 large dishwasher detergent
11 rolls toilet paper
2 boxes Kleenex
1 box paraffin
28 light bulbs
2 boxes moth balls
6 vacuum cleaner bags
Mop refill
1 ½ gallons lamp oil
4 Aladdin mantels
2 Aladdin chimneys
2 Aladdin wicks
6 boxes large kitchen matches
100 + or – book matches
Nappa soap
Plastic food storage bags for 3 years
Canning lids, bands & jars to last at least 3 lifetimes

Katherine Grossman

Katherine Grossman was born and raised in the greater Washington, D.C area. For the last 30 years Mrs. Grossman has lived a life of deliberate self-reliance in rural western Pennsylvania. She loves to garden, knit mittens; makes a killer meatloaf and has been known to deliver triplet lambs with her eyes closed. 

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  10 comments for “Peek Inside My Pantry – Use This Tool To Help Plan A Year’s Worth Of Food & Supplies

  1. Dani
    May 13, 2013 at 7:10 am

    That is one lovely looking larder :)

    Very impressive – that is an inventory I would be proud of! Oh, if only I was so organised (and had the storage space…)

  2. Diana Smith
    May 13, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Found this very interesting as I do the same. In fact just finished my spring inventory.We are a retired couple who still are able to grow our own food, raise our own beef,chicken and milk a cow. Also care for large orchard and berry plantings. We do more than we might at our ages to be able to help our children with their food budgets. They come and help with the heavy chores like getting firewood in for the winter. It has been a totally odd spring and we are just now able to plant most of the garden…month late for our area…but at least we made it thru all the crazy cold spells and snow in May!!! and didn’t loose our orchard bloom. I really enjoy reading your blog

    • KMG
      May 13, 2013 at 9:03 am

      Dianna –
      Maybe spring inventories are an older generation thing :-) We had a frost last night – hope it didn’t do too much damage!

  3. missy steiger
    May 13, 2013 at 8:50 am

    I have yet to try to make a list of what our family of seven uses per year although I have a good idea what we use per month. We shop monthly. Our meat depends on what we can butcher. I try not to purchase meat from the store if I can help it. Last fall we were in the process of moving our family so that really changed what we had available. Maybe you can find a neighbor to trade some of that excess garlic to for something they have an abundance of!

  4. Angie unduplicated
    May 13, 2013 at 9:01 am

    You’re working on my dream: to visit the grocery store only once a year. Prettiest thing on earth in the winter is a pantry full of jars and a woodpile full of dry wood.

  5. DFW
    May 13, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    This is my 1st year planting a few cloves of garlic (last November). I have about 1/3 coming up. We don’t eat that much fresh garlic but I plan to share & what isn’t shared I hope to dehydrate & grind into garlic powder.

  6. Linda
    May 13, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    We planted too much broccoli, too; though it was more because it’s our first garden in years.
    We are blanching and freezing the exess.
    Your list is… quite amazing. I’m not sure I could be that consistent. I’m trying to do it with our garden this year, and am only marginally successful so far.
    Hope you have a great week. I look forward to your inventory lists!

  7. Connie
    May 14, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks so much for this ! It is one of my favorite things to read. I need to start my own list of everything I use. I try to keep a stock on basics, but am not nearly as organized about it and lack your freezer space. Can’t wait to see your shopping list.

  8. Marion
    May 14, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Great post. I copied your list and plan on using it for my inventory.

  9. Glenda
    May 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Thank you for posting your inventory. I will look forward to seeing your Master Shopping List. I love your blog and always learn something from it.

    I just finished an inventory, also. We are in our 60’s and are well stocked up. We still have quite abit left from last year’s canning, so it’s time to decide what lasted; what we didn’t eat; what we ate up quickly; and what not to plant this year.

    Thanks, again, for your wonderful blog and for sharing.

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