Pantry Challenge Wrap Up

Back at the beginning of January I accepted a challenge to clear out my pantry. My thought was to clear out anything that was expired, organize what I do have and get some sort of inventory list going. I had my son pull everything out of the bedroom closet we call a pantry so I could get a real look at what we have.
image I’m pretty pleased with the small amount of things I found that were expired. There were a half dozen cans of beans that were given to us last year when my dh was unemployed. I never used them because they were already expired when given to us but I didn’t want to get rid of them because if things got really bad I thought we might have to use them.
Note to self and anyone else listening…if you are going to help someone out by giving them food…don’t give them expired foods. I know you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth when things are bad. However, while I was grateful to receive the free food…I was also a little afraid of giving my family food poisoning. Now that we’re in a better financial position I’m sure the opportunity to help someone else will happen. My lesson learned? Give the best of what you have not the stuff you plan to toss.
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. Proverbs 3:9-10.
Anyways, back to the challenge. One thing I discovered was that I have a lot more than I thought in some areas and am sorely lacking in others. Plus, things are scattered in too many places around the house to be used in an organized fashion. I’m finding things that we’re tucked in the back of cabinets because there was nowhere else to put them.

I’ve set a couple of goals that I want to accomplish over the next few months.
1. Get everything we have put onto some sort of inventory list. Anyone have any suggestions for a simple inventory system?
2. Clear out the extra room so it can effectively be used for our food storage. Not sure how fun this will be…it’s become the catchall room for everything that doesn’t have a place.
3. Create a menu plan to use what we have. This is going to be my biggest challenge. I have major menu plan envy from all the wonderful blogs on the net. I’ve never been very successful at creating a menu plan that works for my family.

One last thing… I tried to keep shopping to a minimum for the month of January with the intent of using up things that might be close to expiring. I can honestly say that this part of the challenge was a big success! I only purchased basic items that we needed and we ate from the pantry the rest of the time. Money spent for the month?  $134 out a $300 budget. We did eat out twice…but dh wanted to take me out both of those times….so I wasn’t about to say no.

I’m pretty satisfied with the way things went in January, but still feel like I have a long ways to go in getting as organized as I want to be.

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