My Pantry Looks Different Than Your Pantry

Are you planning to join in the Eat From The Pantry Challenge? If so, you'll definitely want to check out this excellent article by FishMama on the importance of tailoring this challenge to the needs of your own family.

Remember, this is not a competition; this is an individual challenge and you get to make your own rules! Everyone's Eat From The Pantry Challenge should look different. Do what works for you.

For the record, I don't even have a pantry. Maybe someday, but for now, I'm happily using a metal shelf in our basement laundry/storage room. It works well–even if it's not some beautifully organized closet!

(Photo shown above is Myra's pantry. Read her post here on her Eat From The Pantry plan.)

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  1. says

    I generally only eat from our pantry. However I live in a strange place where you have to have your food flown in so I have to buy in bulk and eat from pantry and freezer a lot. But I plan to keep doing this when I move to regular life again. I’m really enjoying your blog. I wish Canada had this many great resources and coupons. The U.S. really rocks it out that way.

  2. Kristi says

    I just quit my job because of personal reasons so this is an excellent challenge for us. We took inventory of all our cabinets, freezers, and pantries (i am lucky enough to have multiple) and we found we have enough to probably last us for 2 months! We would have have even realized this if we hadn’t taken the time to take inventory. So i encourage everyone to look at what they do have, you may have more than you realize.

  3. Russ says

    I’m with you. We don’t have a pantry. We just have 3 racks setup along a garage wall. For two of them, the bottom two shelves are used for pots/pans/broilers, etc. Middle shelf is canned goods. Second to top is boxed foods, and bottled goods. Top shelf is cereal boxes. The other rack is used for non-food stuff, like detergents, paper plates, wipes, garbage bags, etc. A standing freezer seperates the two food racks from the non-food one.

    It works for us.

  4. Sarah T says

    Hmm… my pantry is metal shelves in the laundry room down in the basement as well. Do actual pantries really exist? I think the only ones I’ve seen have been on mansion tours I’ve had to pay to go through.

    As far as the challenge, I have not taken stock yet, but I have a TON of food in the freezer as well (like all my cooked beans), so my goal will be to eat out of the pantry and freezer.

    Good luck to all who are participating!

  5. Chris Jones says

    I suggested to my husband and two boys at dinner tonight that we participate in this challenge. They looked at me like I had grown two heads. :) After I explained the details though they agreed to help me give it a go. Your pantry challenge got me thinking about other challenge ideas. I am going to suggest to my family that in 2010 we each create one personal goal each month rather than the traditional “New Years Resolution”. I think that will keep the goals in smaller, more manageable chunks.

  6. Katie says

    Hi Crystal,

    I’m with you on your eat with your pantry month and I love your most recent post on this. We don’t get deals where I live – food costs a lot more (a lot more) so I would never manage to feed my family on the same amount as others.

    However, I’m going to do my best without stressing over it. I have done an inventory of what I have (which is not much) and have wrote out some recipes. I have decided that we are going to eat very little meat in order to save money. All meatless recipes would be much appreciated. I have lots of couscous, rice, lentils, dried fruit, stuffing mixes and potatoes – I rather eclectic mix I know

  7. says

    We decided that a pantry was more important than parking in the garage. We built an insulated room in our garage (leaving the garage door intact, so future homeowners can rip out the room if they want) and installed a window a/c unit on a interior wall.

    I’m so glad we did, since that pantry was our food source for 2 years!

    If we lived in an area with basements, we could have used a basement, but those are uncommon here.

  8. Becky R says

    I’m looking forward to this challenge. We spent way over our grocery budget last month because of the holidays so I can’t wait to see how long we can go without going to the store for items other than milk, produce, etc. I know I don’t have enough to last the whole month but I’m hoping to go 2 weeks. I’m also going to start the cash only method for groceries since I tend to buy extras “specials” that quickly add up. Love your site. Since deciding to stay home and then getting pregnant with #3 your site has helped me in so many ways to save money and have fun doing it. Keep up the great work.

  9. Jill says

    How do you keep track of what is in your pantry? I have a hard time knowing what we have as things get “buried.”

  10. Jenny says

    Yes, pantries really do exist! But of course, my house was built in 1894, back when they needed pantries! It is the full height of our 11 foot ceiling, and the shelves are 2 feet deep and go all the way up! We even have a small ladder in there.
    Guess it’s one of the few positives about owning a very, very old “money pit.”

  11. Debbie M says

    Yes, I have a pantry too! Because I added shelves to a broom closet at the end of the dining room. And then I added more shelves.

    I may or may not live in a mansion depending on your perspective–it’s a 1950′s house with 1000 square feet. I have no basement, though–our “soil” is made of limestone. And so my laundry room is my kitchen–at least that’s where my washer is. The drying lines are in the backyard and the dryer racks are wherever the empty space is that day.

  12. says

    I just finished this challenge (on my own) and am now in the process of restocking. I was able to go almost 2 months with trips to the store only for bread, milk and fresh fruits/vegetables. We were on a mission to empty our deep freezer so we could defrost. As we got lower in the freezer, I discovered that we were heavier on some meals than others and had to intersperse more meals with pantry only meals to keep up the variety. It was a good exercise though, I worry about making sure that we don’t have missing items that get significantly out of rotation. I’m hoping I will be better organized this time.

  13. Holly says

    Well, I don’t live in a mansion, and I have a GORGEOUS pantry! I am spoiled to death with it…hubby calls it our grocery store. I used to have overflow in the basement on a metal rack, but since my husband has been unemployed since March, that has been mostly depleted. It’s a wonderful idea to take inventory of what you have! My husband constantly wants to buy things when we go shopping, and I have to tell him, “No, we have that in the pantry!” It would be much better if I just had it all down on paper so I could send the list of “DO NOT BUY” with him! I’m going to join you all on this challenge, but since I’ve already basically been living it for the past 9 months, I’ll have to modify a bit. My pantry is not as well-stocked as it once was, and the things that are in abundance aren’t exactly things I’d want to be eating for dinner every day (ie – cereal). This is a wonderful opportunity and I thank you for presenting it to us! Good luck to everyone!

  14. Christy Carden says

    Yes, pantries do exist! I have a pantry in a 1300 square foot townhome!! Although we are ready for a real house as I call it, with yard, and garage for strollers, bikes, etc., I do have to admit that our kitchen rocks!! We don’t have basements here either–we are coastal and sorrounded by wetlands, dig far enough and you hit water! But with no basement or garage, we have no room for a second refrigerator, which is probably one of the first things we will buy when we move! Hopefully we will have a pantry too!

  15. Ann says

    Myra’s blog post sounds interesting. I’d love to read it. I’ve tried several times, but her site always causes my computer to freeze crash. I’ve run spyware and virus software and rebooted my computer, but still haven’t been successful in getting her site to load. Oh, well.

  16. Kelley says

    I’m excited to try this but was wondering about items like paper and cleaning products as well as pet food….all of which I get at the grocery store….should I just try to keep track of eatible stuff?

  17. thursday says

    We have a pantry, but it’s our only storage spot – so there isn’t any food in it! And the cat litter box is in there. We’ve just got one small cabinet of food!

  18. Mary says

    Katie-try making meat dishes with lentils (tacos, meatloaf, sloppy joes) experiment with the spices to find what your family likes.

    I have many pantries…they are all over the house. Any spare closet space is now pantry space since I started taking advantage of sales/coupons!

  19. says

    We just did this in Oct/Nov to prepare room for hunting season and our tamale making day -we and some friends made 100 dz. tamales!

    One thing I do that I find helpful is that when I make a meal that I know my family isn’t crazy about I will make a yummy dessert to go along with it. That way they get a treat and I get a clean pantry and freezer.

  20. Jennifer says

    I have only been using coupons for a few months. I am surprised at how much I already have stocked up. I cannot go a month just buying fresh foods, but I can really make my budget stretch for the month. I am planning on cutting my normal budget from $550 – $300!
    (this is for all grocery/housedhold items for 4 people) I am hoping to eventually get it down to this amount permanently, or lower!Thanks to all of you guys, I know this is very possible. You have been great inspiration, thank you!

  21. says

    I don’t have a pantry either. I have a “pass through” room the size of a walk in closet that you walk thru to get to every other room. I am slowly turning it into a pantry as I stock up. Since it is visible I will have to keep it straight though!

  22. says

    this is perfect. We are moving out by the end of the month so we will definitely have to consume what is in our pantry for the next few weeks.
    Here’s hoping my husband eats what I serve : )

  23. says

    No real pantry here, either. I use one of my kitchen cabinets, a turnabout and part of a shelf system in my laundry room. I got both of my freezers inventoried. I just have to do the dry food now!