Before I met my good pal Paula and became what many would call a “health food nut,” I was a couponer and a stockpiler. If you don’t know what a stockpiler is, it is someone who stocks up on food and household products and lots of it. The idea is that you wait until stuff goes on sale and then you buy enough of it to last you until it goes on sale again. It’s good for emergencies and the wallet (if you use it correctly).
Anyway, for the past 4 years I’ve had a pretty decent size stockpile of food and household items in my garage. Honestly, it’s sort of been a security blanket and in-home grocery store in one. I can pretty much run downstairs at any time and find what I need. I never worry about starving or not being able to whip up an unexpected birthday cake. It’s really been nice, but here’s the shocker. . .it’s gotta go.
My dear husband is going to be starting seminary soon and we’re moving next summer. More than likely we’ll be settling in to a tiny apartment in a big city that doesn’t even have a garage. I realize some of you think that doesn’t like sound fun, but I’m honestly super excited! It’s going to be so wonderful!
See, the truth is that I’ve had a false sense of security. I mean, I know that God provides for us and that everything is His, but when you have enough food for who knows how long, it’s easy to take things for granted. When we move we’re going to have to live with a whole lot less and it’s going to be glorious. I know the Lord will provide our every need. He always has and He always will.
In order to get ready for what’s ahead, I’ve been working on a few projects. My first plan is to try and use up all that we have. I want to see how long I can go without really buying much. I know we’ll need some things, like milk, eggs, bananas (my children apparently don’t know that they aren’t monkeys), probably some other fruits and veggies (although I have a lot of frozen and canned stuff!).
For the most part, I have enough of stuff to get us through that time – I think. I’m sort of taking this as a challenge to see how far I can stretch what I have. It will not only make moving oh, so much easier, it’ll also save us tons and tons of money on groceries. We can take all that cash and put it into the “pay for seminary” fund.
Organizing the pantry
The first thing I needed to do was to know what I had. That sounds crazy, but it’s true. My cupboards were a mess.
How could anyone find anything in there?
In September, I visited a dear friend of mine at her parent’s house. Her mother has the cutest country chic kitchen that I ever saw. It was so warm and cozy! One of the things I thought was super cool was that my friend’s mama kept all of her staples in mason jars.
Personally, I thought it was pretty much genius! I had a bunch of mason jars already and discovered that Amazon has these super cool chalkboard labels and pen. They are totally reusable, but they don’t really wipe off.
I love the way that the jars ended up looking. It’s so easy to find things and my cupboards actually look neat, which I’m pretty sure has never happened before.
Downsizing the stockpiles
The next project was to clean out my stockpile. Yep, you heard it.
What’s happened is that over the last few years I’ve changed my diet, my family’s diet, and, that means just about every product we’d stockpiled. Needless to say there was stuff we hadn’t used in years. It was time to go.
I went through and organized everything and then ended up with a garage that looked like a food avalanche had hit it. It was frightening! I put everything in bins and quickly messaged a friend to come take whatever she wanted. I was super blessed because she decided to take it all! She has friends and family who can use it and whatever is left will be donated. Praise the Lord!
After all the organizing and clearing out, the stockpile now looks like this. Can you hear me “oohing and ahhhing?” I’m feeling relieved!
Project eat everything up
The next project is to inventory my freezer. It’s horrifying!!
Once that’s clean, then it’s time to start getting serious about using up everything! I think I’m going to make a menu plan one month at a time with absolute determination to succeed at “Project Eat Everything Up!”
NOTE to TRUE food purists: I realize that you’re going to take a magnifying glass to my shelfs and freezer and realize that there is stuff there that isn’t pure. I’m sorry to disappoint you! We normally eat really clean (I typically don’t use store canned or boxed foods), but right now I’m going to focus on being a good steward of what we currently have on hand for the sake of not being wasteful and also to save money.
In my coupon days, I used to buy things “in case of emergency” and that meant lots of canned goods. So, if you follow my journey and are disappointed to see I used canned beans instead of soaking and cooking my own, I totally get your pain. I hope you can look past my imperfection and understand the goal here.