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Thread: How to plan a pantry for a solo person

  1. #11
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    What defeats me is the need for a variety of dishes as eating the same dish for 3 days is boring. If I freeze a portion, it gets lost.
    I'm cooking for two but I really don't think it's all that different. What works for me:
    - There's a piece of paper on the refrigerator. When I run out of something we use "all the time" (eggs, olive oil, salt, peanut butter, chips), it goes on the list.
    - Before I go to the grocery store I review recipes and decide on two or three dishes I'll make that week. Doesn't have to be fancy; it could be "roast chicken with frozen string beans". Or chili. Or pork chops and sauerkraut. Maybe we have dinner guests that week. Whatever, all the ingredients go on that piece of paper.
    - Just before I leave the house to go shopping, I check the pantry, fridge, and freezers (free-standing one downstairs) to make sure I have enough of things. Need an egg for a recipe? Count it, knowing that I'll be making one or two eggs for breakfast every morning. Teaspoon of rosemary? I make sure I have rosemary and cross it off the list.
    - At the store, I try to buy just what I need. If the recipe calls for 12 ounces of chicken breast, I riffle through the gondola to find a 12-ounce package. Or I'll buy one-pound package and know that I'll have four ounces left to top my lunch salad one day that week and adjust those purchases accordingly. Sometimes that's hard to do -- the ribs come in a three-pound package and I need only two pounds. Then I'll stuff the rest into the freezer. I know it's sometimes more expensive to buy just the amount I need. But it's not inexpensive to throw away food that has gone bad or gets lost in the freezers.
    - I have certain "use-'em-up" meals. Lots of odd veggies can go on salads. Or in frittatas. Or in soup. So if I know I've got a fair amount of odds and ends hanging around, I use 'em up by making one of those meals for the weekend or following week.
    - Old crackers can become bread crumbs. If I buy a loaf of bread for DW, I'll freeze half of it right away so it doesn't go bad if it's not a bread-eating week. I quit buying fruit because I don't need it; I'll buy it if DW asks, but only in bulk; no bags even if they're the Deal of the Century that week. We rarely go to Costco because, despite the prices, it's just too much to use up on a timely basis.

    Sometimes, though, things sometimes still pile up. I stocked up big-time on frozen vegetables when they were on sale this fall but didn't cook that many meat-and-veggie meals so I've got a lot to use up. I'll have to plan for more meat entrees (steak, chicken parts, fish) knowing I've got the veggies and starches covered. It's inventory control, and generally it works pretty well without boring us silly.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  2. #12
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    I don't know where we would put it at this time, but I've always wanted to build a pantry closet with doors front and back. You would load the pantry from the back and take items from the front. You might even be able to modify a off the shelf cabinet. Since you wouldn't be using the cheep back material, some angle brackets going from the bottom of the shelve to the side of the unit (both sides and near the back) would provide some lateral stiffness. I would do this on a few shelves which means they would no longer be adjustable. You will also need to make sure they don't interfere with the style/location of hinges you use. Then you could either find doors the same size as the ones on the front or cut some simple doors out of furniture grade plywood.

  3. #13
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    Ooh, new idea, I wonder if some kind of tray on a lazy susan could work for the load from the back take from the front concept. Now I'm really wondering how I could make this work for me.

  4. #14
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    Baldilocks - load from the left, take from the right, and you won’t have to modify anything.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    Baldilocks - load from the left, take from the right, and you won’t have to modify anything.
    If cabinets aren't deep that may work, but then I wouldn't get to build anything.

  6. #16
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I have always marked the date on every stored food brought into the house. I made up a list of what I normally buy, I have storage downstairs for my preserving efforts. I am trying to have no more than 2 of any one item in my pantry and buying and making smaller portions of each.
    The moving from left to right is a great idea. I am now placing new items in the back and using the front which is a variation of it.
    Will see how that works.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  7. #17
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    I pretty much follow SteveinMN's system for shopping.

    I allow less cabinet space for groceries than I used to. That keeps quantities down. And I have room for storing other things.

    All spices and nuts are purchased from the bulk foods section or spice store. That way they are fresh.

    Emergency supplies are in the garage. I try to routinely use some and put new purchases in the garage so the emergency food and water doesn't go bad.

    When there are more perishable items in a package than I can use, I give the extra away.

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