Last year, we packed up all of our belongings and moved two states over when my husband was invited to pastor a precious church body that is bursting with anointing and God-given talent. We love our new church, city, and home!
One of the plans we had for this new house was to turn a small room in the lower level into a bulk foods storage area. During the last few months we've tossed stray boxes and miscellany into this small room and then closed the door behind us, all the while dreaming of setting up sturdy shelving and beginning to really stock up our whole foods pantry.
Quick Peek Into The Upstairs Closet Pantry
We do have a closet pantry upstairs in the kitchen where I keep my "in process" grains, rices, popcorn, quinoa, beans, etc (mostly stored in OXO containers and mason jars) and a few small appliances, including my yogurt maker and food processor...
But the downstairs pantry-to-be? Well, that really needed work.
The Bulk Storage Pantry, Before
A few weeks ago, after researching different shelving options and not really feeling a peace about making a purchase, an acquaintance of ours (out of the blue!) offered us some commercial restaurant shelving he'd purchased from an auction. What a blessing! We quickly accepted his offer and went to work cleaning and assembling the units.
The Bulk Storage Pantry, After
The room is small, so the shelving fits a bit tight, but there's ample room to store our bulk purchases. We managed to fit a large upright freezer in there along with three shelving units that are 42" wide and 24" deep.
It's not beautiful, I know, but I suppose it's not intended to be. Our plan was for simple and functional bulk storage space. I think we've achieved it, along with ample space for future purchases.
Most of the items in there now were purchased from Azure Standard and Vitacost, including rolled oats, oat groats, hard red wheat, barley, dried beans, organic pasta, organic tomato sauces, and yes, even chocolate. Chocolate helps makes everything better, doesn't it? *smile*
We have a bit of bottled water for traveling and emergency purposes stored down here, as well as some personal care items. Also worth noting is that this room stays fairly cool and dark, so I'm storing my potatoes here, too.
In my upright freezer I'll store extra homemade jams, fruits, and veggies that we'll hopefully have after this season's local harvests and sales, as well as some grass-fed beef. I'm working with a local farmer right now to try and secure half of a grass fed cow. We don't eat an abundance of meat, but we do eat some meat and are hoping to stock up on the best quality for the best prices possible.
I also like to bake my whole wheat bread (using soaked ww flour) in large batches, then slice and freeze them for easy use later. That extra bread will be stored in this freezer. I grind my own grain using this beautiful, durable mill; here's why.
We eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and you'll find those stored upstairs on my kitchen counters and in my refrigerator, not in my bulk storage pantry... just in case you were wondering!
Why Stock Your Pantry?
- Having ingredients on hand means you’re less likely to eat out. It's a huge help with meal planning and prepping... you always have something on hand for a quick meal!
- A well-stocked pantry makes grocery shopping easier and saves your family money. Having what you need already on hand saves you money at the store because you can stock up on pantry items when they are on sale at their lowest price, and you can plan your meals around meat and produce "loss leader" sales as well. You can also order bulk foods online at a fraction of the cost and eliminate long trips to the store. Just do a quick run when you're running low on fresh produce!
- It’s healthier to cook at home from scratch. Having your pantry stocked so that you’re cooking more from home and from scratch is one of the first steps to a healthier lifestyle. Prepackaged, processed food items contain lots of preservatives and additives that wreak havoc on your body. You control the amount of salt, fat, sugar, etc that goes into everything, and you control where it came from.
- You're better prepared for hard times or economic difficulty. Be it something extreme (like a local, national, or global catastrophe) or something personal (like a job loss, underemployment, or illness) you will have food on hand to feed your family during lean times. It's not a matter of fear, but rather of stewardship.
Do you have a bulk foods pantry or have you been thinking about creating one? I'd love to hear about it!