Prepper Pantry Organization
Organization is a huge part of prepping, and it is absolutely vital to having both good and useful preps. In this article, we will talk about why organization is so key to being a good prepper, and some helpful tips to become better organized yourself.
I personally started my prepper organization with my pantry and kitchen cabinets. I looked at my space, and determined the best way to maximize it, while staying organized. You may also find when you organize, you have even more space. Which is huge in my mind.
If I can stretch my space to fit more, I feel more prepared, and that makes me happy. A happy wife is a happy life, I say. Because it honestly makes me feel like I’m providing for my family in the best way I possibly can.
I have designated two cabinets to food in my kitchen, plus a separate pantry. In my cabinets, I have one solely for canned goods, and the other for boxed/dry foods and spices. I have created an inventory list based on two things. One, the amount of space I have. Two, what I go through the most. Which is what I keep a bigger supply of. For example, I use far more chicken broth than I do beef or vegetable broth.
Therefore, I keep a bigger supply of chicken broth. Keeping more than what you’ll go through before it expires is a waste of both space and money. I do not believe in buying foods that I don’t typically eat. Some people say in an emergency, you’ll eat whatever you can. That may be true, but who wants to be miserable during an emergency?
Food you enjoy can boost morale, make your household less cranky, and just be far more pleasant overall. Not to mention, having food you would normally eat can be comforting. In the case of an emergency, I would prefer to be as comfortable as possible.
Keeping an inventory list is also extremely important. Because we don’t want to exceed our space with stuff. Then it ends up in either weird places that are easy to forget where it is, or it ends up just taking up space on the nearest flat surface. I don’t know about your kitchen, but mine is small.
Flat surfaces are prime real estate for me, and I can’t afford to clog it up with overflow from my cabinets because I had bought too much at the store. Knowing my space and what I have room for is absolutely essential to the function of my pantry. In keeping an inventory list, I know that I should have 10 cans of chicken broth, 10 cans of condensed milk, 4 cans vegetable broth, and so on down the line. I then count before going to the store. Let’s say I have 4 cans of chicken broth in the cabinet, I will need to buy 6 to have a full cabinet.
Labeling with an expiration date is also important. I use a Sharpie and write the month and year each product will expire on the front, where it is easily visible, as well as on the top of the can. Expired food can be dangerous. Please do not buy into the myth that expiration dates and simply “best by” dates and are only there because it is required by the FDA.
Many preppers claim that the food will still be fine for years after the expiration date. I don’t buy into that. The date is placed on the can because the cans will degrade over time. They are also made with chemicals. Sunshine and rainbows are not what is holding those aluminum cans together, I can assure you. Those chemicals will leach into the contents of the cans over time, and who honestly wants to willingly ingest chemicals used to make aluminum cans? I don’t and I hope you don’t either.
Once you know your space and what will fit in it, it is time to start stocking up on the items of your choice. Pick things you’ll eat now. Don’t buy stuff and save it just for an emergency, thinking you’ll eat anything. Pick foods you’ll use now, and rotate as you go. Every time I go to the store, I take inventory of my cabinets and note what I need to pick up.
Then I rotate my stock/inventory, so everything that the newest stuff is in the back, and stuff that will expire the soonest is up front and will be used first. I keep an eye on my cabinets and if something is going to expire soon, I’ll plan a meal to include that ingredient. This cuts down on a lot of waste for me because I’m not forgetting anything in the cabinets. Throwing away old food is like throwing money directly into the trash, and I’ve been paying more attention to that now that I’ve started organizing.
Another thing that will be vital in the event of an emergency is spices. Freeze dried food, or stuff out of a can or box may not taste spectacular, so it will be important to dress it up a bit, make it spicy, or simply add some salt. Spices will become a hot commodity. One of the things I have done to maximize my space is buying bulk spices.
I love the Costco sized spice containers. I buy these, and then I watch for smaller containers to go on sale when my supply of one gets low. Then I simply buy a smaller container and refill the large one. This helps me to keep everything in one place, I personally despise looking for tiny containers and having to search through a bunch of them. This method keeps it very simple for me, and that is wonderful.
The easier it is for me to keep track of things, the more efficient my household runs. Another great way to think about it is that I have time to watch for sales and buy it. Not when I desperately need it and have to pay full price.
I have applied this same method to my bathroom. I’ve made a list of all the products we use, and what we have room to keep stored there. Then stocked the shelves up. I still rotate them exactly the same way I do the kitchen stock. This is wonderful when the store runs out of a particular product that I use, which seems to happen fairly often for me, especially when it comes to my preferred face wash.
I have no idea why, but they are out of things I need about 50% of the time. So when I use one, I’ll put it on the list for our next store trip, and if they are out it’s ok. Because I have backups. It simply stays on the list until I am able to purchase it.
I also make lists for my grocery store trips. I’ve become a bit OCD about lists. The single biggest lie we tell ourselves is we don’t need to write something down. When the reality is, we get busy and forget. Something crosses our mind, and we think we’ll remember it and it’s forgotten before we even think to write it down.
Making it a habit to write things down and making lists will save both time and money when going to the store. Making the list ensures you pick up everything needed at the store, and no extra/separate trips. This saves time, gas, and money. Sticking to the list ensures you have everything, but you don’t overbuy and then exceed the space you have. For me, not exceeding my space is extremely important.
I hope this has given you the tools to become a better and more organized prepper. For me, organization is absolutely key to saving myself a lot of time, money, space, and waste. This is good advice for anyone wanting to be more organized and looking for ways to do so.
But I also believe it is an absolute requirement for preppers. I started in my kitchen, worked my way to the bathroom, and now I am currently working on my closets. Start slowly and don’t let yourself become overwhelmed, because it is so easy. Focus on one single area at a time. Small goals add up to big goals, and you’re done before you know it.
17 thoughts on “Prepper Pantry Organization”
Holy Organization. Your system seems to work perfectly for staying on top of your inventory. I can barely keep track of my shopping list before I go to the store let alone an entire pantry full of food! I will admit that I write the expriation date large with a sharpie on items when I know they might be out of the way for awhile. These are some incredible organization tips that I need to start using in my daily life.
This is something that my grandmother did. And now my mother does. But you are so good at this! Everything is so well organized, it looks so perfect!
Wow your system is amazing. I am so bad at organization. I am more the type that is super disorganized (at least in the eyes of others) but I actually know where everything is. I’m trying to improve this, because sometimes I’m aware of how messy my house looks, but every time I try to properly organize stuff, I end up losing something :))
Wow, I like your organization woman! This is brilliant, I feel inspired to do mine now.
I’d like to think of myself as a prepper. Like a lazy one, but still prepper-y. This is a whole new level!! I will never achieve this level of prepper organization but I’ll just live through you. Do you have a post coming up about how to prep for on-the-go with food? We bought a bunch of MREs but that’s about it. I’d love to read your take on it.
I’ve honestly never tried MREs. We do a lot of freeze dried food though, because it has a far better shelf life than MREs do. I recently became a Thrive Life consultant, so I will be talking in depth about my thoughts on their food, and bringing recipes as well. Which is something I’m really excited about! I will be talking a lot about food in the near future, Kaye!
I’m so friggen unorganised that I forget my LIST when I go to the store! I really need to take a page out of your book and start making organisation a priority when it comes to storage. I love how you write down the quantity of what you need for each item.
Like seriously, I have a sliver of soap in my shower right now and I continue to ration it becasue I keep forgetting to buy soap when I’m at the store! Clearly I need help! One day I will become organised, especially if I keep picking up awesome tips from your blog!
I think I have a serious case of OCD at times, Lindsay! But I feel like if I didn’t, I would just go insane. I need to stay organized, and my house just runs more efficiently. I hate running to the store for something I forgot. Which is always the one thing I need to either make or break whatever I’m doing or making.
Thanks for sharing your photos of your organized spaces. I’m super inspired to go through my cabinets and put my things in order. I’m a list girl too, I always think I’ll remember then I remind myself to write it down because it’s too easy to get distracted and I know I will simply forget.
I’m the same way, Betsy! I am always easily distracted. It doesn’t take much, and whatever was in my head is gone.
Super organised and efficient. I really like using a sharpie to mark the date – so easy to see
I don’t know how you do that! Honestly, I can’t believe your cabinets and cupboards looks so incredibly neat and….PERFECT! There is no way I would have time to do all that and I commend you for keeping it up! With a house full of kids and being a single working Mom, the best I can do is pick toys up off the floor and make the kids beds and hope that at least most of the surface of things look clean! I do love your idea about getting Costco spices and then using them to fill the smaller ones. I absolutely hate going through my cabinets looking for the spices I need and often wind up with duplicates because I couldn’t see them. I like those rotating trays for spices but they don’t fit in my cabinets and I don’t have much counter space.
wow! so very neat! i do need to put a lot more work under mine to have it the best shape when I move into the house this fall (hopoefully). Your advise is very much appreciated
You are so very organized. Your kitchen shelf looks absolutely fabulous. I wonder how much of planning that would go into it to have it all when you need anything. Plus the fact that you store only enough based on usage so that there is no wastage due to expiry or best use period. Just in awe.
My pantry is full, but not nearly as full (or organized) as yours. I love the idea of writing the expiration date on the front and the top with Sharpie–that makes it so much easier to see what to use first.
Ok, I needed this! My pantry isn’t exactly ‘a mess’ but it definitely could use a little work. There’s no real organization in it right now, so it’s hard to find something when I need it. I think it’s going to take a little more than organizing my pantry (although that’s a good start). I also need to retrain my husband to put things where they go versus the first opening that he sees when opening the door hahaha
If you figure out how to train your husband to put things back where they belong, please let me know how you did it! My husband is also the worst about this. Nothing ever goes back into the same place twice!