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I should probably warn you from the start: we are going to be doing a lot of cleaning, organizing, & inventory-ing this month! (I never said it was going to be easy!) One of our main goals for the month is to get into the habit of using what we have, rather than buying more. Another goal is to realize and appreciate all that we DO have, which is easier to do when our things are cleaned, organized, & inventoried. Sometimes all you need is a fresh look.
We will be starting off our challenge for the next few days by planning our food strategy. I don’t know about you, but the second I start to think about trying to cook with only the food in my pantry & freezer for a whole month, I start to panic. My brain shuts down and although my cupboards may in fact be brimming, all I see is “NOTHING TO EAT.” Worse, I have found that it is when I am hungry that I make my worst financial decisions. I am willing to spend more when I just want to get food in my belly as quickly as possible!
Today we are going to start by taking stock of exactly what we have on hand. If you are a coupon user or stockpiler, you probably have more than a few forgotten packages back in the nether-regions of your shelves. It’s time to take control.
Organizing your pantry and freezer always sounds much worse than it actually is. Even if you have a huge, stockpile of stuff it shouldn’t take too long to get it under control. Here is what to do:
- Clear your kitchen counters and table before you begin so you have plenty of space to work with
- Take out all the food from your pantry cupboard(s). As you remove it, put like items together. Be sure to put all OPEN items in a separate section. As you go, toss any items are no longer edible.
- Wipe down cleared shelves.
- Use this pantry inventory worksheet to write down everything you have, going section by section though the different types of items. Place items neatly back in pantry once you’ve inventoried that section. Be sure to put open items that you are currently using in a separate cupboard or on a separate shelf. Make a rule to not open a new package until the old one is finished!
Repeat this process for your freezer.
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When was the last time you cleaned out your pantry? Were you surprised by how much food you did or didn’t have? In what way?
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