Monthly Archives: February 2013

Setting Up a Pantry

Part of running a household involves budgeting and grocery shopping.  In order to save money on food, it can be helpful to buy food ahead of time, when it is on sale, and store it in a pantry.  So if you don’t already have one, consider setting up a pantry.

As a teenager, I swore I would never have a pantry.  My mom always had one, and I thought it was ridiculous.  If we ran out of something, she would ask me to run downstairs to the basement to get a replacement.  Well, mom knows best.  At least there was a replacement in the house.  And that replacement was purchased on sale.  By shopping ahead of time, you can buy things on sale, and keep them in stock.

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Locations for A Pantry

The first step in establishing a pantry is to determine a location.  Some options include:

– A dedicated cabinet in your kitchen

– A few shelves in a closet close to the kitchen

– An area in the basement

My pantry is in the basement.  We have a finished laundry room, and my pantry started with two cabinets on the wall.  I added a large shelving unit in the laundry room closet. It worked out so well, I added a second one.  At last count, my pantry items take up 8 shelves.  Here’s a similar pantry shelf:

Simple Deluxe Heavy Duty 4-Shelf Shelving Unit

Wondering how to organize your pantry?

Group your like items together and see what you have in stock. Here are the main areas of my pantry:

Shelf 1: Breakfast Items
Cereal, oatmeal, pancake mix and granola bars

Shelf 2: Pasta Sauces, Canned Goods and Soup
Red sauce, alfredo, tomato paste, tomato sauce, canned vegetables, cans of soup

Shelf 3: Pasta and Water:
Basket with all pasta (spaghetti, linguine, ziti); case of water bottles

Shelf 4: Coffee/Tea
Basket of Tea (Earl Gray, Cinnamon), decaf coffee, regular coffee, coffee filters

Shelf 5: Health items / Cold and Flu
Vitamins, tissues, ginger ale

Shelf 6: Household Cleaners
Clorox wipes, dishwasher tabs, laundry detergent

Shelf 7: Baking Supplies
Cake mixes, frosting, chocolate chips

Shelf 8: Dry Goods and Canned Items
Taco shells, mac and cheese boxes, baked beans, nacho cheese jars,

Organizing with Pantry Baskets:

To organize smaller items on the shelves, I use baskets like these:

They are great to contain smaller items, like taco spice packets. The lined basket is pretty and makes finding items much easier.

Next Steps:

* Determine a pantry location
* Buy some shelves and baskets
* Set up your shelves and baskets
* Start shopping for sales items

Happy organizing! It’s all part of running a household. 🙂

House Rules: Clean Up the Kitchen Before Going to Bed

At the end of the day, we are all exhausted.  Sometimes, it feels like the dishes can wait until the morning.  Maybe you’re just too tired.  Maybe the dishwasher is full of clean dishes.  Or maybe you don’t want to wake the kids.  No matter what the reason is, don’t procrastinate.  You’ll find that it doesn’t take long, and you will feel so much better waking up to a clean and tidy kitchen.   Make this one of your “House Rules” and before you know it, you’ll be running a household efficiently.

Things to Do After a Winter Snow Storm

The snow storm is officially over in New England, and it’s time to get the house back to normal.  In addition to shoveling your driveway and walkways, here are a few additional things to take care of:

  1. Clear the snow from exhaust pipes, and vents for heaters, furnaces and dryers.
  2. Rake your roof with a snow rake to prevent ice dams.
  3. Assess your refrigerator and freezer, if you lost power.

Did you know that consuming foods such as meat, seafood, poultry and eggs that were not properly refrigerated can cause you to be sick, even if you cook them properly?

According to the FDA, the temperature for a refrigerator should be at or below 40 °F and the freezer should be at or below 0 °F.

  • A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours, if the door was not opened.  Plan to toss any perishable foods (like meat, seafood, poultry, and eggs) if your refrigerator has been above 40 °F for more than two hours.
  • A freezer will keep the temperature for 24 hours if it is half full, and 48 hours if it is full.  In both cases, the door needs to remain closed.

Not sure if a food is safe?  I follow this general rule: when in doubt, throw it out.